It was not hard to detect a somewhat saddened mood over the peloton as we began to gather for our regular ride. Earlier in the week we had heard from Gary (aka Garibaldi) that his wife’s health had taken a turn for the worse and that he may not be free to ride with us very much in the future. Although Gary has been a regular at our rides for only a comparitively short time we have really come to enjoy his quick wit and his great comic contributions to the web site. We have not yet had the opportunity to meet Lynn, but our thoughts are really with them both at this trying time.
With a couple of other regulars also missing, including Hooters who had rushed off to PNG to escape the approaching Melbourne Winter, we could see that the peloton would be a little smaller than we had been getting lately. The final starting group consisted of Peter, Mal, Lex, Bob and myself. In addition we had JCL, who had somehow forgotten to wear his uniform and presented in long jeans, flannel shirt and jumper. I suppose we should have been grateful that he had at least worn his helmet.
We had not ridden more than a few hundred metres before Mal fell victim toanother attack of Doswell’s Disorder and bolted off out of sight. Lex and Bob headed off in pursuit in an effort to bring him back to the peloton. We never saw any of them again before reaching Warburton.
The peletonic remnant rode on until Woori Yallock wear we waited for Spanner Billson. After about 10 minutes of waiting I received a phone message from him saying that he had headed off from Launching Place and was already halfway to Warburton. This was not turning out the way I had planned. Cheryl also rang in to say that she had decided to stay home and finish her makeup instead of riding with us.
This left the three of us to complete the somewhat lonely ride to Warburton. As we reached Millgrove we were rapidly passed by a elderly manic cyclist coming from the opposite direction. As he flashed by we could see that it was actually Crasher Lewis, pedalling furiously with his face set in an horrific rigor. Surely not yet another haemorrhoid burst, I wondered. Or maybe he had decided to rush back home to try to salvage some of his dwindling Options Portfolio, in a late afternoon cyber frenzy of panic “puts and calls”.
It was only when we reached Warburton that we found out the true reason for Crasher’s Premature Evacuation from the peloton. It was apparently because he had been beaten in the sprint by both Mal and Lex (and also by an 8 year old school girl on a BMX bike). I guess old Crasher did not take this turn of events very well and rushed home to lick his wounds and try to remember what life was like when he competed in his last National Title.
At the coffee shop I again discovered that the cupboard was bare, apart from a couple of remnants left over from last week. I had no alternative than to settle down with nothing more than a cup of coffee and a somewhat flacid pastry for my lunch. It is such a pity that the previous owners chose to leave – this place used to make really nice sandwiches.
On the return ride we did not hold any formal sprint, but we were pleased to see that the local council had apparently obligingly put markers on the Settlement Road to assist us locate the correct starting points. If we can manage to get a good turnout next week we might be able to give them a tryout.
The remainder of the ride went without incident, apart from some cheeky guy who tried to pass us on the final climb up to Mt Evelyn. This is always taken as a slight on the Ghost Riders, so we dug deep to make sure we arrived at the top well before him. Next time he might show a little more respect to his elders.
This weekend we start our training for the Round the Bay in a Day Ride.