First, who was there. I will stick to the convention of keeping to forum user names - my senior club mate has just adopted Old Git, the other I'll refer to as P.H.
As I said originally, I intended to invite two forum members to make up a group of six with three clubmates and myself. On the morning one of the forum invitees failed to get up and therefore shall remain nameless. One of my clubmates had also pulled out so that left us with four riders, which made an efficient and manageable little group.
Apart from a cold start and a little ice on the back roads before the Hog's Back we had a near perfect day, with a rising south west wind to help us home. By mid day the sun was actually making us feel warm - in my case hot, because I was wearing too many layers. I think this made at least a small contribution to the bad patch I suffered in the afternoon between Liphook and Seale. In his report Illy very tactfully refrains from mentioning that I did not manage to keep in the tight bunch over the whole distance.
To be realistic this period of weakness was only to be expected; my two clubmates are, unlike me, both classy riders with impressive palmares. P.H. will almost certainly have some victories to add to his tally this season, and I expect the Old Git will get results in the Vets category. Illy is obviously on the upward curve of his racing career; he rode strongly all day and although he said he was tired at the end I can't say it was noticeable. I expect to see his name high up on result lists soon. I must admit being a bit miffed that, using exactly the same gear as myself, Old Git, who is half a decade my senior and says he has not ridden fixed on the road for half a century, could drop me going downhill as well as up.
Just a couple of points from the other posts above. Hippy, yes we had a car with us. Having a photographer was essential if there is to be any hope of media interest in this story, and no one could have done the photography from a bike. Illy, in his report, uses the phrase "at their age" implying the Hounslow riders were all of a similar age, so just to put the record straight, although Old Git and I are both over sixty, P.H. at forty four is a generation younger.
The route was not just longer than in 1959, but also harder because the section from the Hog's Back to Hindhead was on hilly lanes which were tougher than the now unuseable A3. On the other hand the weather was better, and whereas on the first trip we rode in complete darkness from Guildford, this time the daylight just about lasted to P.H.'s house at Egham.
Now to think about that Hard Day in February.
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