“I’d like to come on this afternoon’s ride with you guys”. The voice on the phone sounded a little hesitant, but I quickly let him know that we always welcome new riders to the group.
“Have you ever ridden with us before”, I asked, to keep the conversation going.
“Well, er, yes I have”, he replied.
“When was that?”
“Well I, er, came on the Donna Buang Ride last year” he replied with a somewhat guilty sound in his voice.
No wonder the name sounded slightly familiar. In fact David Cook had gone down in the annals of the club as the scoundrel who appeared for the 2005 Donna Buang Lung buster and convinced us to let him head off with the slowest riders. Once on the road he disappeared into the distance (all 50 kg of him) and proceeded to score the record fastest time for the ascent. At the time we reckon we had all been conned well and proper.
I took a deep swallow and told him that all that was forgotten and that we would be glad to see him back again for another ride – provided that he rode with a little more discipline this time.
Later that day I met David in person. If anything he seemed even thinner than he had been on the Donna Buang Ride. Introductions were made all around and we were soon ready to get rolling. The weather was cool but fine and the trail was in quite good condition. As we headed off down the trail I tried to make sure that David was trapped in the rear of the peloton and this strategy obviously worked as we managed to maintain quite good formation through to Woori Yallock.
After four years of riding this trail you might think we had seen most things, but we still get regular surprises. The sight of two people calmly taking their pet goat for a walk might seem out of place in most areas but in these hills it did not seem so unusual. We waved as we passed by and proceeded towards Warburton. The goat, at least, seemed quite pleased to see us.
By this time we had over a dozen riders and made quite good time to our lunch stop at Milgrove. On the return ride we took our old route down Settlement Rd, albeit without the final sprint. After dropping quite a few at Woori Yallock the final group headed off up to Wandin. This is the stage that the pace inevitably starts to increase. David quickly started to exert his hill climbing prowess by ramping up the speed to 24 kph on the fist incline. The group started to fragment in his wake.
After crossing the highway and starting the final climb to Mt Evelyn, he decided to stop playing and start pedalling. Without 200 metres he was out of sight. The rest of us were left spread out over about 1 km of trail. He had done it to us again.
When I finally reached the car park I looked across at David waiting casually by his car, with a guilty smirk on his face and consoled myself with the thought that, if I only weighed 50 kg I could also probably climb just like him. I also suspected that he had spent more than $120 on his fancy mountain bike. Maybe I will challenge him to a downhill ride next time……