Gloriously sunny conditions greeted the masses of riders who turned out for The Chiltern 100 Sportive on Sunday.
The race is an exciting new addition to the Human Race Sportive Series portfolio and more than 2,000 seasoned cyclists made their way to Bovingdon Airfield, all raring to take on the tough route.
The start line was filled with riders preparing to take on one of the two distances - the 110-mile Gran Fondo and the shorter 76-mile Medio Fondo.
Among those participating were riders taking on the challenging hills in aid of the official charity partner, Prostate Cancer UK.
The cyclists faced an early start as the first Gran Fondo waves headed off at 7am. The route takes in almost 110 miles of beautiful Chilterns scenery and riders were up against 2,700 metres of climbing.
This relentless course includes the pursuit of 22 hills, and both of the stunning but testing routes take in infamous climbs such as Whiteleaf and Wardrobe.
The Chiltern 100 was organised in partnership with the Verulam Cycling Club of St Albans – the cycle club that created the event eight years ago, and made it the esteemed and challenging sportive that it is today.
Members of the club were out helping on the course, mostly at the busy feed stations, which proved to be a big hit.
Many riders underestimated the challenging hills but were in awe of the scenic route; fortunately, the feed stations offered riders a much needed boost of energy.
Special mentions go to Carl Nanton and Stuart Blowfield who, after completing the Financial Times London Cycle Sportive on their Eliptigos, were back for more at thr Chiltern 100.
Oli Hucks and Seb Garry, both 15, took on the Gran Fondo and completed the route in 6 hours 16 minutes.
Matt Brooke, event director for the Chiltern 100, said: “I grew up around here so I know that this part of the world is a hotbed for cycling.
“I’m really proud of the fact that this year we’ve been able to bring the event to Hertfordshire too, with the event starting and finishing in the county for the first time.”
Human Race’s senior marketing manager Dan Lipman added: “Not only is the Chiltern 100 popular because of its history and traditions, it is also an event which has a reputation for being closely in sync with the local community.”
Next up in the Sportive Series is the 11th annual Wiggle Dragon Ride, the UK’s most prestigious sportive.
The South Wales event takes place on Sunday and will start from the picturesque Margam Park, Port Talbot, having moved there successfully in 2012. This year sees the introduction of a mammoth Dragon Devil distance.