After the first three versions of 'The One', we felt the Surrey Hills had been bled dry of it's ascents so it was only right to take it on the road. Situated just to the North West of London, you'll find a quiet area of our beloved countryside steeped (excuse the pun) in rolling valleys, quaint towns, windmills and some sharp nasty climbs too. With help from local guru Mike le Renard @torgey, we have put together another version of this now infamous hill series. Welcome to The One v4.0 - 13 hills of the Chilterns, 70 miles, 6000ft...
There are plenty of places to stop for a coffee and bit of cake along the route but if you are only going to stop once it has to be at about 48 miles in at the top of Balhams Lane in Turville Heath. Easy to miss but keep an eye out for the bike and sign on the entrance to a single drive looking road which then bares left onto a gravel road, here you will find a walking and cycling cafe (strictly no cars) built into an old barn simply called The Barn at Turville Heath, it is an absolute cracker.
0-10miles: Roll out from Amersham, it's a soft rolling start, enough time to get the legs warmed up because there aint no flat! First climb comes after Great Missenden, short but Hotley Bottom has a max. gradient of 15% so best to take this one lightly. The next few miles is probably the flattest although there might be a couple of kicks included but it will be mostly descending into the next section of this ride.
10-20miles: Your second climb could be seen as the most difficult. Whiteleaf is on the Official Climbs list and rightly so cos' it hurts! Our tip is to wait for the road to bear to the right, this is where the hurt zone is. Your reward though is a descent of Kop but it's not long until the third climb. You might associate the colour pink with the feeling of kindness but there's not much that is friendly about Pink Hill. Do we be wary of the junction as you may have to stop for traffic when the climb is halfway done. You'll be thankful for the rest as you roll down to the next batch of climbs.
20-30miles: One of the longer climbs of the day next, the Chilterns are ultimately full of short sharp ascents, similar to Surrey but we find the roads much more quieter. This is against the stereotype though as Wigan's Lane is a gentle ascent for a couple of kilometres. Your next climb though punches that one in the face with length and a kick to boot. Kingston Blount will test the legs somewhat. It starts calm but like with most storms, can get a little violent so leave something for the end.
Polka Dot Challenge #4: Wigan's Lane, Chinnor, 2.2km, 9.5% max
30-40miles: Another rare flat section but you haven't even ticked off half the climbs yet! Next up is one of the climbs out of Watlington, the steep section of Hill Road (what an unique name for a climb!) comes at the beginning so get up that and you can relax into the ascent as you hit the brilliantly name Christmas Common where you will bear West before hitting your next round of hills.
Polka Dot Challenge #6: Hill Road, Watlington, 1.9km, 18% max approx
40-50miles: Next on the list is Balhams Lane which once you conquer, you can stop off at one of our favourite cafes, The Barn at Turville Heath. Eevn if you didn't stop for a rest, shake the legs off because Shogmoor Lane has a kick right in the middle and stays there for a bit, prepare for this one. But the fun doesn't stop there, just a mile or so down the road and you have the shallow climb of Fingest Lane to deal with. At this point, it's nice to remind yourself that you've only got a few climbs left!
50-60miles: Nearly there! You climbed up Chinnor from the East earlier, it's now your turn to climb from the South and it's another uphill drag with a kick at the beginning. There's another kick after you reach the top so leave something in reserve on this climb. But that's nothing compared to what Smalldean Lane has in store for you. The sting is definitely in the tail with a harsh ramp at the very end so maybe take a gel or two beforehand to top up the energy stores, you don't want to be crawling home!
60-70miles: The penultimate climb is a short gentle one which your legs may thank you for but make sure you leave this ride with no regrets so pace yourself well up this climb for a decent time. Final climb comes around Great Missenden, get up for the first ramp of Hyde Lane and then the climb then plateaus off allowing you to revel in your achievement in completing The One v4.0.
Polka Dot Challenge #13: Hyde Lane, Great Missenden, 1.7km, 15% max