Having done two 50 mile rides this summer (The Tour de Tendring, and the Essex Castle Ride), the challenge of the Essex 100 was too much to resist. Fortunately, this ride, organised by Action Medical Research, comes in both 100mile and 100km options- and with 100km being around 64miles, my fellow rider and I opted for the latter. It still hurt!
The ride started at Danbury Outdoor Centre, and everyone was given a ride number to fix to the front of the bike, that came with a chip, to enable a start and finish time to be collected electronically. The BBC Weather site was forecasting heavy showers at 11:00 and hailstorm at 1:00, but as we rolled out of Danbury on the A414 towards Chelmsford it was cloudy but dry.
The 100km route took us on a tour of Essex, through a lot of countryside at first, through Boreham and Great Leighs, through Littley Green (past The Compasses pub, which I’ve been meaning to visit), and Pleshey.
After the first stop at about 25miles, when most of the food had been wolfed down by riders setting off earlier than us!, it got a bit more urban, as we got on the old A120 heading east through Little Canfield, and skirting Dunmow – a good few miles with lots of headwind and traffic! We turned off and headed south through Little Dunmow, Felsted, back through Great and Little Leighs, before heading through Terling and then Faulkborne, where lunch was served, and they did us proud, with a great collection of food :
We headed up to White Notley, then turned south and dropped down through Witham, before heading through Woodham Walter and up to the A414. And I mean up! The profile of the race shows a lot of climbing in the last few miles :
The saving grace for us was that we finished, got our goodie bag, and got back to the cars at 2:00pm just as the heavens opened. Whilst the 11:00am heavy rain forecast by the Beeb hadn’t materialised, the hailstorm at 1:00pm was only an hour or so out. It tipped it down, and continued to do so on my journey home up the A12, with me sparing a through for those still out on the road.
A great ride, and at the end of 100km/64miles we were pretty knackered, but we’ll be looking to do the Essex 100 in 2012! Still the 100k though…