Last weekend was the first and toughest of this year’s Chiltern Classic Series of Reliability rides. The Harp Hilly covers 100km of scenic, challenging terrain including Bison Hill, Ivinghoe Beacon and Aston Hill. Despite the windy weather there was a large turnout of riders, with all 200 places taken by 9am – any riders turning up after this time were allowed to ride the route “unofficially”. It was impressive to see and to be part of a ‘peleton’ of around 80 riders taking over Berkhamsted High Street 10 miles into the route. The pack gradually broke up (or disappeared into the distance from my perspective!) as it made its way over to Bison Hill.
By the time we left Dunstable and turned into the wind which blew incessantly along the Chilterns the field was strung out and there was little shelter on offer, making for a tough stint. Once Aston Hill was negotiated at around the half-way mark we had the wind to help us once more and the remaining miles seemed somewhat easier under a cloudless blue sky.
There is a trophy for the club who have the most riders completing the 100km route. There were 7 Nomads on the start line and all 7 completed the route, a number that was only exceeded by Milton Keynes CC and Hemel Hempstead CC. Special mention should go to James Gomm who punctured within the first couple of kilometres and who then had to ride “solo” for the remaining 98km. The series continues for the next 5 weekends.