Sunday morning saw a dozen foolhardy souls turn up in atrocious conditions at Lea Valley Ice Rink for the 3rd ‘Ronde Chelmsford’. Reluctantly they set off into the driving rain and gusting headwinds it really was beginning to resemble the Paris –Roubaix at its worst with the potholes substituting for the cobblestones. In what was quickly becoming a battle of attrition it was only a matter of time before riders started baling out - literally - with the likely looking result that no one would complete the full 160km loop. By the time the Matching Green was passed only four riders remained - Patrick Fields the old master of the long distance ride, Dave Moreno and Sean Marlowe on their recumbents and Neil Irons on his hybrid that should have given up the ghost long ago.
They pushed on through the ECCA Senior Championship Road Race at High Easter and some locals on an organised Fun??? Ride and on up North Hill to some very welcome Tortillas and Teas at Danbury. A few more coffees and teas allowed the weather to clear a bit and they set off downhill with the wind finally at their backs.
Dave set off on an elite ride of one leaving the others to work out if they were in the points or on the bus. Bumping into an incredulous Clem Berril – incredulous that anyone started never mind finished - as they hit the start of the Lea Bridge Road he kindly drafted them in to the finish at the Princess of Wales.
Sean Patrick and Neil 160km later still smiling and still wet.
In future years - who knows - the 2010 ‘Ronde Chelmsford’ may become one of those epic tales that hundreds ‘remember’ – well there are four riders who will beg to differ.