Just what is it about cycling that is so damned addictive? Is it the quiet serenity that you experience on long solo rides through the country? Is it the feeling of being at one with nature? Is it the sense of triumph you get at the top of a challenging hill? Is it the high speed rush of a risky descent? I suppose it can be all of the above, but surely one of the most enjoyable aspects is riding as part of a group. When a group forms it can develop an energy and identity of its own. In a mysterious way the total strength of the group is far greater than the combined strength of its individual members.
On those rare occasions when we have been able to maintain discpline long enough to hold together for longer than about 5 minutes I think that everyone experiences something special. Unfortunately, all too often someone breaks and bolts off into the distance and the peloton is shattered. Maybe whoever rides at the front of the peloton should be fitted with compulsory rear vision mirrors so that they can not make that old lame excuse “I thought everyone was right behind me”.
It was very encouraging to see such a good turnout for our weekday ride. By the time we reaced Woori Yallock our peloton was boasting 9 riders. Even more surprising was the fact that John Ruigrok was proudly sporting a brand new pair of lycra riding knicks. He really looked like a genuine cyclist. A far cry from the days when he used to turn up wearing a coloured vest borrowed from a council worker.
As I looked around the group it was great to see that virtually all were dressed in the “official” uniform of the Warby Riders. With all the yellow and black it was a most impressive sight to behold. The only unfortunate note came when Little John announced that he was going to head back to his car at Mt Evelyn. Apparently the others had driven him so hard he had no energy left to complete the rest of the ride to Warburton.
With the peloton thus reduced to 8 riders we headed off towards Warburton. In spite of my hopes for a unified peloton, several riders could not control their testosterone and set a cracking pace. As I watched the bolters disappear in the distance I had something of an epiphanal vision. In the immortal words of Martin Luther king Jnr “I have a dream”
One day the strong will ride with the weak.
No longer will anyone bolt into the distance.
United we will ride the length of the trail.
People will watch in awe as we ride past in formation.
All dressed alike in lycra – champions one and all.
I was rudely awaken from my dream by the traditional Settlement Rd sprint. Waiting until the last moment I managed to get a temporary lead until Bob crossed the line by my side. I suspected he was not really trying.
At the coffee shop it was decided that next week would be the Reverse Polarity Ride so that Warren could enjoy his favourite cream bun at the Mt Evelyn coffee shop. He has been insisting that the Warburton shop does not have enough fresh cakes, so I guess next week we will find out if the other mans cakes really are greener after all. It will also be interesting to see how John and Warren tackle the climb up to Mt Evelyn.
The return ride was held at a more sensible speed with Bob winning the sprint by about 20 metres. Eddie again failed to put in an appearance at Woori Yallock and I enjoyed a leisurely ride back to Wandin in the late afternoon, letting the undisciplined rabble soon disappear in the distance. Somehow I was not even slightly tempted to give chase. After all, I have a dream……