In Which we are mauled by a Pack of Huge Wild Beasts

When the day dawned bright and sunny it was hard not to get excited at the prospect of having our first club ride since the triumphant Great Traverse. Although Bob was off in Sydney, competing in some criterium races for elderly one legged riders, I was hopeful of a good turnout of the remainder of the members.

As arranged I commenced at Mt Evelyn at 1pm and was soon heading off down the first hill, feeling on top of the world. I can never take for granted the fact that we have freely available and accessable to us, one of the finest bike trails you could ever hope to ride upon. By 1.20 pm I had joined up with John at Wandin, and I was pleased to see that he had left his flags and hooters at home where they belong.

As we headed off towards Woori Yallock we reflected on the fact that our discussions have not been nearly as contraversial since Bob’s absence. We need him back ASAP to throw some sparks back into our lunchtime problem solving sessions. By this time the afternoon was cool, still and sunny – absolutely perfect for riding. Cruising along at about 25 kph we soon were confronted by an appalling sight on the trail ahead.

It is bad enough when you are threatened by a single, unleashed dog but when you see about 10 very large and angry looking dogs all heading down the track towards you, it is every cyclist’s worst dream. As we tentatively drew closer we could see that there were a couple of owners in the middle of them, trying to pretend that the pack was under some sort of control. But we both knew that such dogs are never really “under control”.

The dog pack approaches

John reached for his handy digital camera to record the event for possible future court action and was immediately involved in a nasty shouting match with the female owner who soon proffered him some advice which is better not printed on this page.

Since I was not willing to get into another visit to the emergency ward I decided that discretion was by far the better part of valour and retreated to watch from a safe distance away.

The pack retreats

Of course I had not counted on John’s array of secret weapons, including his penetrating electric horn. Soon we were both through the pack and on our way again. It still makes you wonder though at why some people would consider it OK to go wandering down a busy bicycle path with a whole pack of untethered beasts.

Although Mal had previously indicated that he would probably meet us at Woori Yallock, when we arrived there was no sign of him. We tried ringing him on his mobile but there was no answer. When, after 45 mins, he had still not turned up, we realised that it was going to be yet another “no show” for Mal and headed off to Warburton without him.

Keeping a lookout from a safe distance

Fortunately the remainder of the ride to Warburton went without a hitch, and after a few sausage rolls and cups of coffee we were ready to return back to Woori Yallock to meet Spanner Billson and Dave Rocket Garrett. They were waiting for us at the station and looked keen to get under way. Looks like with these two we may have let the genie out of the bottle – I bet they are already browsing through the lycra section at the local bike shop.

The enlarged “quadraton” proceeded up the hill to Killara station where exhaustion gave way to high jinks, and after a short rest we arrived at the watering hole near Seville. By this time Warren and Dave were starting to feel the effects of the high altitude and crank madness and could proceed no further. They decided to wait while John and I completed the trail and then go back to rescue them from the wilderness.

Although it was getting dark by the time I got back to Mt Evelyn it had been yet another great ride, with just enough incidents and danger to keep us coming back for more.