Stuart, the other Stuart, Tom and myself rode the Harp Hilly Hundred today. The first reliability trial of the 2012 'Chiltern Classics' series.
Harp RC from North London have run this event since year dot when the event was a more manly 100 miles, not the sneaky foreign kilometre.
We left Nash Mills together promptly at 9.0am, but mere minutes later Stuart..the first Stuart had a puncture. We didn't say anything to Tom and the other Stuart, so they could just get on with the ride. Twelve minutes later we were on our way again.
I should say at this point that the wind was bloody dreadful, so banter was at a minimum. I could just say we rode the 64 miles without saying much and end this here, but I'll pad it out a tad.
We rode along for a bit, nowt special. Then we hit the first hill of the day, an easy accent of Ivinghoe Beacon. Chatting set to 1 on the dial we rode past everyone we could see on this first hill....yay!
Hill number two was Bison Hill, again this was done with ease. We chose not to stop here like many others and kept the legs turning.
Bison Hill lead us onto the Dunstable Downs. It was a different story up here, very very windy, too windy to take a hand off the bars to grab a bidon. Unfortunately the very strong winds stayed with us in the form of a headwind all the way from Dunstable to Aston Clinton. And the reward waiting for us at Aston Clinton was a windy accent of Aston Hill! Still job done and we were rolling through the lanes on the way home. Time to grab a gel, my only gel. On the first safe straight I came to I bit into the gels packet and the bloody thing exploded all over me and the bike, so no food for me then. I just hoped the two slices of toast I had that morning would see me through.
The next hill was a different accent of the Beacon. By this point I was a little empty and slowing Stuart, so I urged him to go on...which he did, the git.
I actually felt better after the Beacon and started to take other riders, including a very irate bloke on a De Rosa King.
The final hill was one I didn't know and it felt the steepest, but I knew it was the last one of the day so I just got to work. Over the top it was a dash for home.
Feeling a little hungry I started to plan my post race meal, and about two miles from the finish I decided on a McDonalds quarter pounder with cheese and a vanilla shake...no chips, don't want to get fat/ter.
So a final roll in, park up the bike, say hello to Stuart, clock in and grab a cuppa.
I did it in about 4 hours 6 minutes with puncture time taken out, which is 5 minutes faster than last years ride in more favourable conditions. I think Stuart got home in about 3 hours 50 minutes, which is pretty darn good. And I think both our times are a tribute to the club.
I didn't have the McDonalds BTW