This preview first appeared on www.cyclosport.org
Chiltern 100 previewThis is intended to help you complete the 2014 Chiltern 100. The Gran Fondo is 176km long and takes in 21 hills that add up to 2,700m of climbing in total. It's a serious challenge which will need preparing for and require careful riding on the day - go too hard, too soon and you will pay later.
The Medio Fondo option is 122km long and features most of the toughest climbs for a total of 1,900m of climbing. The Medio route splits from the Gran Fondo after just 8km, and is effectively a short cut that misses out 54km. It rejoins the Gran Fondo route at the 69.5km point.
A further rise up onto the Astridge Estate and then a fast descent down Tom's Hill will have you coming around to climb Hemp Lane (55km) - not the steepest but certainly requiring an effort to get up. For Gran Fondo people there is a feed stop at the top of this hill. You drop briefly into the outskirts of Tring and then head out on a minor road to one of the gems of this sportive - The Crong.
Once over The Crong you roll up towards Cholesbury Common where you are joined by the Medio Fondo people (fresh from no significant climbing and with just 15km in their legs). Everyone drops quickly down Aston Hill, turns left for Wendover and takes in a couple more reasonable rises before dropping again - this time near Princes Riseborough.
At the top you immediately turn right and drop very quickly; I saw 70kph going down this one and there's a sharp left-hand turn at the bottom. Immediately, you come around to Pink Hill/Wardrobes Lane - another serious hill. It starts fairly reasonable but has a T-junction and very steep left turn up ahead. Once you've negotiated this tricky turn things remain very steep for a long stretch.
Next up is Kingstone Hill (no. 122 in Another 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs). This hill starts very gradually so be careful - don't go too fast at the start because despite the initial 3% grade it goes up to 9% for a long stretch and then 12%for a long stretch, then 15% for a bit longer and towards the end is up at 19%. You come out very near the iconic Stokenchurch BT tower which can be seen from miles away and is a landmark beside the M40.
Another sweeping descent and ride along the flat (always seems to be a head wind here) gets you into Watlington and a long climb back up onto the Chiltern top. Coming at 119km (65km on the medio) this has an initial steep bit that eases slightly before climbing at a steady 10 to 12% all the way.
Dropping once more, this time towards West Wycombe along a main road you turn sharp left and head towards a high wooded hill - not a welcome sight. This is the climb up onto Bledlow Ridge, and it has some very steep slopes towards the top. The 3rd food stop (2nd for Medio) should be here (145 or 91km). Soon enough you are dropping again, joining another main road and then turning off left through the pretty Bradenham estate. You start climbing again for quite some time, mainly at 8%.
Fingers crossed for fine weather and strong legs. Good luck!