In Which Winter Starts with a Bang

A Peloton (started from Emerald)
Mal (Bolter) Doswell
Lothar (Lex) Rockmann

B Peloton (Mt Evelyn)
2 Bob Leedham
Big Al Field
Dennis (Smoky) Dawson
(Dr) Phil Jones
Mal (Bowy) Bowmaker
Andrew (Dicky Knee) Dunne
Peter (Legs) Warren
Gary (Garibaldi) Hall

C Peloton
Warren (Spanner) Billson
John (Hooters) Seamons
Willy (Wonka) Schadd
Ross (Fall Guy ?)

Although it was technically the first day of Winter and therefore the official start of the runny nose season, the ride started under a mostly clear sky with almost no wind. Once we were underway, however, there was no denying that the ait temperature was surely in single digits. I was certianly glad that I had donned my arm and leg warmers and also my wind jacket. Mal and Lex were already well warmed up by their ride from Emerald and therefore had an unfair advantage on the rest of us.

In such cold weather it is a good idea for the peloton to ride closely bunched together, in order to conserve what little body heat we have. (This of course is NOT a good idea if Crasher Lewis is part of the peloton – in that case it is best if all riders keep at least 20 metres apart from each other). Fortunately we all made it safely through to Woori Yallock where we discovered that the C peloton had already departed.

The pace of the chase group increased but all this achieved was to fragment our riders. It was evident that the C riders must have left a long time before us. In fact it wasn’t until we reached Milgrove that we noticed a couple of them already enjoying their coffees. Before we could join them we still had the Warburton climb to complete.

It is worth noting that when I first started riding this trail 4 years ago there were two sections that I really hated – the climb up to Warburton and the final climb back to Mt Evelyn. It is ironic that these are now the parts of the ride that I most look forward too. I suspect that this helps explain why cycling becomes so addictive. It is such a good feeling to be able to complete rides that a short time ago would have been impossible.

Soon we had all completed the Warburton leg and were back at the Trail Blazers Cafe enjoying a coffee and a chat. I was pleased to see that Ross had recovered from his recent misadventure on the trail. At least he seemed to be able to laugh about it all in retrospect. That is the best attitude to have. Finally 2 Bob was proudly wearing his coveted yellow jersey, after about 6 months of waiting. It certainly helped make him look like a much better rider.

It was only when we went to get back on the bikes that my afternoon started to go pear shaped. Since I was riding my new HASA with the big mountain bike tyres I had thought that I would be immune from punctures – after all I have not had a puncture on the red rattler for at least 6 months. Unfortunately I was wrong. My front tyre was as flat as a pancake. This meant that I was delayed about 10 minutes while Peter replaced the tube. I was left to pump the thing us again and I realised that a mountain bike tyre holds a lot more air than a road bike tyre. The puncture turned out to have been caused by a minute thorn imbedded in the tyre – and I thought that mountain bike tyres were meant to be tough !

We were finally underway again, but by that time half the peloton had decided to head off without us. It was not until Launching Place Pub that the peloton was once again all together. The remainder of the ride was completed without further mishap, although by the time we reached Mt Evelyn, Andrew was starting to wilt a little. After all it had been his first time back on the bike since his knee injury several months ago.

Now only 12 more Winter rides to go before Springtime …….