It wasn’t so long ago that the thought of having 10 riders in the mid week peloton would have seemed hard to believe. Now, with the steadily growing size of our group, we are averaging that number every week. This week’s ride was going to be significant on two counts – not only would we be riding the Dandenong Creek Trail instead of our usual ride, but it would also see Roger (Ramjet) finish his qualification period to officially become our 18th member.
The ride began at the Mulgrave Reserve under a blazing Autumn sun and a temperature near 30C. The initial group saw Mal, Little John, JCL, Garibaldi, Peter, Cheryl, Roger, Lex and myself head off soon after 1 pm. Just prior to the start Hooters rang in to say that he would not be able to complete today’s ride because he was worried about the big mountains near Dandenong. I tried to tell him that there was a difference between “Mt Dandenong” and “Dandenong” but it was no use – he was determined to stay home and pass the afternoon resting.
The rest of us headed off at a brisk (wind assisted) pace. Daryl, who is currently on holidays, had indicated that he would meet us further along the trail near Dandenong. On the other hand (or wrist?), Bob was at home languishing with his recently broken wrist. Several people suggested that we should put in an offer for all of Bob’s cycling gear and memorabilia. Probably $50 for the lot would be fair under the circumstances, after all, he has no need for them now.
When Daryl joined us at Dandenong the peloton reached its final size of 10 riders. We then set about completing the final 12 km section down to Carrum in formation. Peter and Little John did a great job at the head of the peloton in restricting the bolters from bursting away. (In fact many tried to pass but could not find an opportunity).
At Carrum we had an extended late lunch at the Coffee Shop. It was a rare treat for me to finally be able to get a sandwich for my lunch, unlike the situation in Warburton. We also received many admiring glances from passersby. I guess they don’t see elite athletes in their midst very often.
The return leg saw a much harder effort into a predominantly head wind. Although the peloton split into two groups for some of the time, we did not get out of touch with each other. I narrowly avoided a ticket from Constable Plodd at Dandenong, but apart from that, the return ride was completed without incident.
This trail does not offer the scenic beauty of our own Warby Trail, but is still an enjoyable alternative (especially when the wind is blowing TOWARDS the sewerage farm and not away from it.)
Congratulations Roger Ramjet – You are Member Number 18.