The rapid (and welcome) onset of Spring always brings forth dramatic changes. As well as the explosive changes that we can see happening all around us in Nature, the Ghost Riders are also undergoing a visible transformation. We can clearly observe the steady discarding of unsightly arm and leg warmers and the emergence of new shiny yellow lycra. Even the winter curse of the the ever dripping nose is beginning to wane in its intensity.
The shedding of the winter pelts also brings forth displays of new enthusiasm and male aggression as the pack struggles hard to establish a new pecking order for the coming cycling season. Settlement Rd sprints take on a new sense of urgency with ageing legs pumping harder than ever in a desparate attempt to prove that they still have one more season left in them. Along with the obvious displays of physical prowess comes an assortment of audible boasts from the competing members of the peloton. “My legs are bigger than yours”, shouts Peter, “I’m climbing Donna Buang this Saturday”, replies Dennis, “I can win EVERY sprint”, adds Lothar. All eyes turn to Hooters. “I want TWO cream cakes at the Bakery” is his only response.
For, although it is true that change and growth has been rampant in the Ghost Rider peloton, Hooters has been quietly undergoing his own transformation. After three years he has now progressively reduced the length of his mid week rides until they have practically disappeared into their own vanishing point. His leg muscles have also undergone their own exponential decay. The rest of the pack turn on him with taunts and threats, but to absolutely no effect. “I’m just a weckweational wider” is his first and only defense.
Sadder still is the situation faced by the old dinosaurs of the peloton. These riders once used to dominate the pack but can now only live in their memories. Nowhere is this tragedy demonstrated more clearly than in the case of old Crasher Lewis. Once able to set a cracking pace on the trail, now the only things cracking are his ancient bones. Faced with his near extinction caused by an ever increasing spiral of cycling mishaps, old Crasher now prefers to sit alone at home looking at his cycling memorablia, while the new generation takes his place in the group.
Fortunately the rest of the peloton is in good hands, and when we stop to count the herd outside the coffee shop we make a startling discovery. Fifteen riders makes this yet another NEW MID WEEK RECORD. A far cry indeed from the days of 2002 when all we could muster were three riders and one hooters. With new riders rushing to join us every week, I am beginning to wonder if the Warby Trail will still be big enough for us in another three years time.
This week we welcomed Roy Whiting (another crazy fireman). Apparently he used to be a serious competitive cyclist and is now wanting to regain some of his former glory. Also back from his travels around Australia is Mal Wilkinson – just in time to prepare for our forthcoming Donna Buang lung Buster on September 24th. Rounding out the visitors was Gary Binding – the man renowned throughout the cycling world as the guy with the biggest chain ring ever seen in captivity.
It was a pleasure to be out on the Trail in relatively warm spring weather, especially with so many in the peloton. It was an even greater pleasure to be able to redeem some of my presidential prestige by taking out the Settlement Rd sprint final (even if I did have to cheat just a little).
With the news that the flatlanders from Bendigo will be challenging our position of pre-eminence next Thursday it is essential that all of our riders start psychologically preparing for the showdown. I am sure that, one way or another, history will be made on the Trail. We might even get to see old Crasher Lewis back on two wheels again, wobbling his unsteady way up to Warburton.
Bring it on!