It had been yet another hard call, but when the Bureau predicted “rain and showers” for Thursday and a fine day for Tuesday we reluctantly took the cowardly approach and altered the scheduled ride day. This inevitably meant that some potential riders would be disappointed, but on the other hand, it would mean that at least some of us would be able to get in a rain free transit of the trail. Over recent weeks this has been something of a rarity.
At the start of the ride I was a little concerned when I found that only Lex had turned up. We waited until after 1 pm, before setting off down the trail. Although the initial peloton was the smallest we had experienced for some time, at least it was a pleasant change to be riding under a blue sky. At Wandin we were joined by Gary and the three of us set off toward Woori Yallock where we were due to meet Hooters and the Spanner.
Although Legs Warren had promised he would attend so far there was still no sign of him (or his legs). I felt a little disappointed for the inevitable fans who would already be busy securing good vantage points along the trail thinking that they were going to be blessed by a glimpse of the famous yellow jerseys, only to witness a partial peloton.
At Woori Yallock I found that Cheryl was busy adding extra layers of clothing and blow drying her hair, but by the time she joined the ride the group had grown to 4 riders (plus Hooters and the Spanner). Legs finally caught up and we pushed on towards the next check point. Somewhere near Launching Place we noticed an elderly rider approaching somewhat unsteadily towards us. The old guy looked like he was about to fall off at any minute, and as he drew closer the reason for his erratic lack of bike control became evident. No sooner had Crasher Lewis joined us than he started off on some incoherent story about his epic battles with haemorrhoids and elusive National Titles. The rest of us shrugged and headed off towards Warburton.
It was a welcome sight to see so many fans gathered to welcome us to the coffee shop – a pity that most of them were over 60. Apparently they must have come to see Crasher. “My grandfather saw Crasher win his last National Title” one toothless old lady told me.
We could see the excitement mount as the bevy of blue rinsed buxom spinsters all turned to watch as Bob rolled into the car park. It would have been an unfortunate turn of events if he had managed to stage another of his spectacular crashes with so many ladies watching on. Somehow he managed to stay upright and the rest of us let out a collective sigh of relief.
Surprisingly there was actually a little warmth in the mid winter sun and Cheryl removed the outermost 4 layers of polyester, goose and eider down to enjoy the unexpected influx of solar energy. I sat down to enjoy my lunch and do a final head count on the size of the peloton. Eight riders was not such a bad turnout after a late change of schedule.
Suddenly Bob let out a shriek and went begging for someone to loan him a phone. Apparently he had forgotten to lodge his “sell” orders and had managed to lose another small fortune on the share market during the course of his ride. With sweat dripping from his brow he vainly tried to give Fran instructions on how to rearrange all his afternoon calls and puts. He somehow reminded me of the captain of the Titanic trying to give instructions to his staff on what to do after hitting an iceberg.
All too soon it was time to get back on the bikes again and head back to the real world. It was at about this time a most unusual phenomenon took place. No sooner had the peloton passed Milgrove than Cheryl put her foot down and disappeared off into the distance. In no time she had opened up a gap of almost a km. I am not sure what she had eaten for lunch, but I could only assume it had not agreed with her. She seemed determined to get back to Woori Yallock in record time. The rest of us looked on in amazement.
It was not until we reached Settlement Rd that we finally caught up with her and the peloton settled back into some kind of order. Either she had acccidentally eaten one of Bob’s testosterone sandwiches, or maybe she is starting to catch the competitive spirit (something that Hooters has never managed to even get a sniff of).
After leaving most of the peleton behind at Woori Yallock we were left with only Lex, Peter and I to complete the ride back to Mt Evelyn. Fortunately the pace was moderate and I was able to stay in touch all the way back to the cars. In spite of the risky decision to switch the ride date, it had still turned out to be an excellent ride. By the same token, next week we PROMISE that the ride will go ahead on the scheduled day.