This year’s Hard Day demonstrated the vitality and enthusiasm of some Forum riders. My clubmates who came out to help and who have all been in this game a long time were impressed. “These are the sort of new members we’d like to have.” was one comment. Although the event was given publicity outside the Forum, with the exception of a solitary Hounslow man, all the riders were from lfgss.
A total entry of eleven was a bit disappointing, but it was clear that the postponement caused by bad weather was at least partly responsible: there would have been at least another four Hounslow riders on the original date, and it’s likely that there were some who had booked the 19th but had other commitments on the 26th. It’s an inevitable problem for any promotion in January.
There were no takers for the Marlow ride, even though there had been some interest beforehand. I only realised late on Friday evening that I would have to cover the possibility of riders turning up to go to on this shorter ride after the Berinsfield groups had left. This meant I could not ride myself as I’d intended to do, but it did enable me to be a roving marshal and photographer. Because I didn’t manage to get my own bike out of the car I can’t write a proper ride report as I have done in the past, but I can give you my impressions from the roadside.
The first group (designated ‘fast’) looked as though it was working efficiently with three stronger riders doing a lot of work on the front and the others using the shelter they gave in a sensible way. This was certainly a valuable tactic since the wind was unfavourable for much of the day, turning more easterly in the afternoon and failing to give the assistance which might have been expected.
The second group seemed to squander some of its energy by not keeping in a compact formation but, to its credit, it managed to arrive at the turn point very soon after the ‘fast’ group which had set off a good five minutes before them. I think they achieved this by wisely descending the big hill before Wallingford on the main road, while the others went down one of the lanes still covered with packed snow: exciting, but less efficient.
On the way back I lost touch with the riders after Twyford and although the groups took what I consider to be the slightly harder (Drift Road and Windsor Park) and more hazardous (Egham roundabout) route, everyone got back safely.
I spoke to my clubmate Andrew to ask him how he had found it. Interestingly although he has ridden on the track he had never ridden with a group of fixed wheel riders on the road (by Hounslow standards he is a relative newcomer). He was impressed with the standard of riding, and particularly with the climbing ability of the single gear machines (or perhaps by the riders – it’s not always easy to tell). His parting comment was: I’m now seriously thinking of building a winter fixed bike – I could do with a 54 cm (21”) steel frame. So we seem to have a convert.
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