2019 edition postponed…it will be back in 2020, bigger and better
Firstly, an explanation of the name. A Catholic Education (ACE) is the title of Teenage Fanclub’s 1989 debut album, one of the finest of that era, of any era and the ride starts from St Peter’s Square in Hammersmith (long-time home of Island Records). We can’t offer any form of redemption through suffering but can guarantee a few oaths will be sworn over the course of the day.
From Hammersmith the route heads out of London via Ealing and Ruislip and onwards to the Chilterns. Once beyond the M25 there are a some small climbs to tackle on the way to the first control at Potten End (55km). From Potten End the route passes through mainly rural countryside and quiet villages as you make your way northwards. Woburn (87km) is the next town where provisions can be found, followed by a pleasant stretch of road in open countryside past the Safari Park. The town of Ampthill (99km) offers the weary traveller a Camra-award winning pub in the form of The Albion but don’t linger there too long as the halfway control at Houghton Conquest village hall (104km) is nearby with free food, drink and a warm welcome guaranteed.
Homeward bound, the route remains mainly flat but there is a short climb at Hexton (125km). The penultimate control is reached at Wheathampstead (148km). The route skirts around At Albans and heads in a south-westerly direction to avoid the major roads heading into London. This final section contains a little more climbing as you cross the ridgeway and enter the suburbs via the ‘info control’ at Croxley Green (173km). One final sting in the tail is presented with the ascent of Roxeth Hill to Harrow on the Hill before dropping down via the delights of Wembley and Harlesden and onwards to the finish.