Saturday was certainly a glass half full day for me.
It was disappointing that I did not feel able to do the whole distance, but it wasn’t a shock. Considering my age and the small amount of riding I managed last year, it’s surprising I got as far as I did.
It seemed to me you had an excellent group – in fact just the sort I’d hoped for when I planned the first open Hard Day. My impression was that there was a high level of both fitness and competence: the group felt like an ‘olden days’ training run.
Which brings me to an important point. In the past when I did this sort of riding with clubmates it was always seen as a preparation for racing. On that very first ‘hard day’ in 1959, our run leader was John Aldridge who went on to ride the Tour of Britain later that year. For us these early season training rides were not a one off annual event, they were every Sunday (sometimes Saturday as well) for at least a couple of months. To do only one ride like this is to have a sufferfest just for its own sake and with no view to progress.
I don’t know how many of you are planning to compete in 2017, but I’m confident that if you do many rides like Saturday’s you would soon be able to put in some respectable performances. This raises the question – where would you find other rides like the Hard Day? Hippy’s excellent listing of reliability trials elsewhere in Rides & Races is one obvious source, but if you want to ride fixed you will really need other like minded people. Long ago, when I was younger and fitter, I tried to ride the Harp Hilly Hundred without gears – I got round, just about, but I don’t recommend the experience.
Maybe this forum could provide more of these rides. As I proved on Saturday I’m limited in the riding I can do, so you would to find other run leaders. I could at least offer some routes and cafes, if you wish. Bear in mind these would only be suggestions and would not be ‘Risk Assessed’.
And as for leaders, didn’t YAL do a brilliant job? I first met him on the 2012 Hard Day, and I thought then that he had potential as a rider, but needed a bit of development. There has clearly been a lot of development in the riding department, but he has shown great organising ability as well.
At the moment club cycling in general is struggling with the fact that my generation is coming to the end of the road as organisers, and the younger (i.e. middle aged) people are showing a reluctance to come forward. That’s exactly what YAL has done – I just wish he lived far enough West to join the Hounslow.