As the clock ground its way towards 12.30 pm I could see that I would have no chance of getting to Mt Evelyn in time for the start of the ride. I think it would be true to say that, over the past 4 years, there is no other Ghost Rider whose attendance record at scheduled rides comes close to mine, but there are times when even the President can’t be perfect.
By the time I finally was able to get away from the office I knew that my only chance would be to forsake all my principles and do a shortened ride, more befitting of a Hooters than a President. I set off for Woori Yallock and arrived about 1.30pm. Although I was disappointed at not being able to do a full ride, I had been suffering from the flu for the past week and was still not feeling up to par, so maybe it was a good idea under the circumstances.
Anticipating that the rest of the peloton would be approaching Killara by this time I headed back over the big bridge and up the hill to Killara station. I looked as far as I could see up the trail but there was not a yellow jersey in sight. At this point I decided to do a U turn and ride back slowly towards Woori Yallock. Although I kept looking back over my shoulder for the approaching hordes, I was able to make my way at a gentle pace all the way to Milgrove without them overtaking me. I started to suspect that they must have been delayed by a puncture and continued on my way to Warburton. On the way back down the hill I expected to run into the peloton around every bend, but to my amazement, I arrived back at Milgrove to find the coffee shop deserted.
Rather than panic, I decided to get in early and order my lunch before the queue started and was soon settled in and enjoying my coffee and salad roll. It was about this time that the first yellow jacketed riders started rolling into town. For some strange reason they didn’t seem pleased to see me. It seemed that they had waited at Mt Evelyn for 15 minutes for the arrival of the President – that was the reason for their late start. For a moment I started to regret that I had not told anyone that I would bot be starting at the usual place, but then I came back to my senses and recalled all those occasions that I had spent waiting for non existant riders to turn up for the start of a ride. Maybe this is what karma is all about.
Over the next five minutes or so the rest of the group arrived at Milgrove. It seemed that no one was interested in continuing to Warburton but all were intent on filling their tummies with coffee and cream puffs. It was encouraging to see that we had another good turnout of riders present. Apart from Hooters, who had decided to stay home and play with his train set, most of the other regulars were in attendance. Even Crasher Lewis had come along to lend his usual political incorrectness to the ride. Glenda continues to impress everyone with her determination and steady improvement.
On the return ride we took the old familiar route back along Settlement Rd and the devil somehow made us get involved in another sprint to the finish line. In the mass confusion I can’t remember who actually won the sprint but I don’t think it was me. I did, however, safely make it back to Woori Yallock in one piece and was able to wave goodbye to all the “real riders” who were riding back to Mt Evelyn. Somehow it did not seem like a real ride at all – a 40 km ride leaves a rather hollow feeling at the end.
With only one winter ride remaing for 2006, I am sure we are looking forward to the warm and sunny days that lie ahead.