After months of languishing in the miserable depths of a Warburton Winter you can only imagine how much we long for the first suggestion that the warmer days are coming. For those of us that battle against mud striped backs, running noses and frozen fingers the thought that spring is finally on its way is enough to sustain us in our lonely battles against the Warby Trail. (Of course for those like Crasher Lewis, who NEVER venture out in any weather where there is even a slight hint of rain, they can never experience the true exhileration of emerging victorious against the odds).
In fact I was so excited at the prospect of riding in 17C temperatures that I decided to leave early and begin my ride at Wandin, then ride back down through Mt Evelyn to meet John Green on his way up from Lilydale. It was even warm enough for me to leave the leg warmers off and ride unfettered for the first time in months. It was good to see John (“Eggs”) about halfway up the hill from Lilydale. With his extended overseas holiday he had not been out on the trail for some weeks.
Because we were running early we had time to stop for a quick coffee at Mt Evelyn before riding on to meet the rest of the starters at Mt Evelyn. Then it was time to muster the riders and head off in the warm afternoon sunshine. With Lex, JCL, Ben, Little John, Peter as well as Eggs and myself we had the making of a good sized peloton.
When Gary joined us near Wandin (he always manages to avoid the Mt Evelyn climb) and Hooters, Spanner, Big Al and Cheryl joined us at Woori Yallock we had grown to 12 riders. The pace was steady as we travelled the section to Launching Place. Cheryl was feeling the pinch and decided to stage a spectacular crash at the traffic lights, just to give her additional time to catch her breath. And to think that some people still think that wearing cleats is dangerous.
The outward sprint was a very orderly affair with Spanner doing a great job at keeping discipline in the ranks. That was until JCL came hurtling down the wrong side of the road about 200m from the finish post. The order immediately disintegrated with a chaotic run to the sign. Fortunately JCL had expended most of his energy too early and I was just able to catch him before the line.
At Warburton, Spanner announced that he was ready to attempt the Donna Buang Ride, but that he would start at the half way point. Hooters looked horrified and tried to convince Spanner that he could not do it. A strange way to demonstrate a friendship – but we all know the real reason why Hooters doesn’t want Spanner to do the ride. If Warren does Donna Buang then Hooters will be all alone in his disgrace.
After the stop at the coffee shop we were soon back at another standstill when Little John had another flat tyre, just out of Warburton. This time he has decided that he has had enough and replaced the offending tyre with one of Peter’s solid rubber specials. Not even an H bomb can puncture them.
At Woori Yallock we scanned the skies for any sign of Eddy, but alas and alack, there was still no sign of him. Although Gary insists that Eddy is still alive and attacking cyclists, I am beginning to suspect that this is just the mental deterioration in Gary’s brain. JCL decided that he had only ridden about 120 km for the day and wanted to ride another 30 or so km before we was ready to call it a day. I was glad that I just had to make it back to Wandin.
Big Al has now completed his second ride with the group and seems to be enjoying himself. Soon he will be pedalling with the best of them.