With the days getting progressively shorter and cooler I have noticed an interesting trend taking place. An increasing number of riders are choosing to start at Woori Yallock at 12 noon and then ride back along the trail to join the “official” start at COGS at 1.00 pm. In fact so popular has this alternative been than we have been finding the majority of riders electing to follow this option.
There are a few advantages of this approach –
(a) You can ride the climb up to Mt Evelyn when you are still fresh
(b) The hardest section of the ride can be done at your own pace, rather than trying to keep up with the group
(c) You finish the ride about 4 pm, instead of closer to 5 pm
My advice to our riders is that they should feel free to select whichever start option they feel most comfortable with. I had also chosen to start at Woori Yallock and was pleased to see a group of other riders already there unloading their bikes. We headed back towards COGS but soon discovered that we were in for a big battle. In fact the howling wind, blowing straight into our faces was more like an invisible force defying us to pass through it. It did not take long for me to come to the conclusion that it was one of the strongest winds we had encountered on the trail.
I slowly made my way towards the big Woori Yallock bridge when a sad realisation gripped me – I had not locked my car ! This meant that I had to turn around and ride all the way back to the car park (not so bad going downwind, but meaning that I would have to fight the wind riding the same section a second time).
After locking the car I noticed another rider had arrived. It was someone we had not seen for some time. Brendan (aka Cracker) said that he had not been doing much riding lately but it was certainly good to see him back after such a long absence. Together we battled our way back into the teeth of the gale and were greatly relieved when we finally gained some comparitive shelter from the trees in the forest.
In spite of the wind wind and the duplicated riding we still made it up to COGS by 1.00 pm and were able to have a short rest before the return ride. As the peloton assembled I noted that we also had Constable Paul “Tubby” Clarke and Chief Fire Officer Gary Hall with us. With a paramedic, a policeman and a fireman we would be well prepared for any emergency that might arise. How someone of Tubby’s diminuative proportions would cope with the ferocious force of the wind would be anyone’s guess.
What a relief it was to roll back down the hill with the wind at our backs. It was no wonder that we made good time, but more surprising was the fact that we actually managed to ride as a group for much of the way. It really is a great feeling when the entire group rolls along in unison, offering a chance to chat and share some fellowship together. Maybe we need to appoint a pair of riders to ride at the front of the group to act as “corks” to restrict the bolters from breaking discipline and destroying the peloton. Of course we need to have at least one section where the faster riders can feel free to burn up some testosterone, so perhaps we should designate the final straight section from Wesburn to Milgrove and the climb from Milgrove to Warburton as the “sprint sections” where everyone can ride at their own pace. From Woori Yallock to Wesburn we could all ride at a common speed in a combined group. What do you think about this ?
As we were enjoying lunch at Milgrove I watched some ominous black clouds gathering in the West. I started to wonder whether we would be in for a drenching on the way back to our cars. As it turned out I needn’t have worried because it was not until I was safely in the warmth of my car that the first heavy drops of rain started to splatter on the windscreen. Another example of perfect timing that vindicated my decision to start at Woori Yallock rather than at COGS.
It was not until later that I learned that Glenda had suffered a major catastrophe before getting back to her car. One of her treasured lipsticks had gone missing from her pack and defied all attempts at discovery. This meant that she would not be able to replenish the gloss on her lips until she got home. A disaster of Biblical proportions in anyone’s language.
Next Thursday’s ride will be in the shortest daylight of the year so another Woori Yallock start might be the order of the day.