After the late end to our event filled night ride of the previous evening and a significant backlog of work inconveniently coming my way I had to be content with a shortened ride today and therefore chose to commence my ride at Woori Yallock instead of Mt Evelyn. Although it was much shorter than my regular ride it would still be at least twice the distance likely to be attempted by Hooters.
As I unloaded the car in blazing sunshine (will this summer ever end?) my mind went back to the night ride. This ride had seen our most dramatic nocturnal spill when Ben (sans headlights) went headlong into a wombat at high speed. The resultant crash was quite harmless to the wombat but very nearly brought the entire peloton to an unceremonious catastrophe. Fortunately Ben was the only rider to actually bit ethe dust, which is only fair, since the crash was his fault after all. Anyone who tries to ride through the forest without any lights is asking for whatever might befall them.
The riders started to appear around the bend in dribs and drabs. Obviously the outward pace had been quite high resulting in a elongation of the peloton. Over a period of about 10 minutes the riders assembled into quite an impressive group of at least 20 participants. It does not seem very long ago that we celebrated our first peloton of 10 riders, now we seem to be getting at least 20 every week.
After everyone had arrived and refreshed their thirst it was off again in search of Milgrove and the coffee shop. We seemed to be tormented and teased by a recalcitrant windthat sometimes aided but mostly blew straight in our faces. By the time we arrived at Milgrove I must admit that I had a raging thirst and all I could think of was getting something cold to drink. A few headed on up the hill but I suspect that the majority decided to take advantage of the coffee shop and our nice new tables.
It was great to be able to sit and chat together while the staff from the coffee shop were kept busy bringing out our food and drinks. This would also be the last opportunity for our group to ride together before our 2007 China Team sets off on its adventure.
The return ride was undertaken in high spirits and was uneventful until we were almost back at Woori Yallock. In fact we were carefully negotiating the very last chicane before the station when Phil “Bagga” Hession staged a spectacular crash right in front of the peloton. With stones flying and arms and legs all akimbo he bounced heavily off the wooden gate post and lay spreadeagled in the dust. It had been a crash worthy of those that Crasher Lewis used to be able to pull off week after week in our early stages.
As Bagga rose back to his feet and surveyed the damage, he soon realised that the only real harm was done to his dignity. I reckon it is sort of a coming of age for every rider to have a crash on the trail at some stage or other – although most manage to do it without so many people watching. Fortunately, after the laughter had died away, Phil was able to resume his ride only a little the worse for wear.
For me the ride was over. For the next several weeks I will be absent from this trail, but we will think with fondness of those on the Warby Trail while we are “suffering” for them in China. See you all soon.