After the hot ride of last week it was encouraging to see that the weather was going to be a little gentler. With a top temperature somewhere in the low 20s it looked like a perfect day for cycling. Not so encouraging were the buses and trailers parked in the carpark at Mt Evelyn – it appeared as someone had unleashed hordes of unwashed teenagers on the Trail ahead of us.
My initial fears were confirmed when I soon started to encounter groups of students on bikes straddling the trail, stopping to chat and generally causing mayhem. I tried to remember my sternest schoolteacher voice from a past life and yell a loud “excuse me” whenever another group materialised in front of me.
I suspect that they had no idea that I was trying to secure a clear passage through the trail, but probably went away with the impression that some old guy was asking to be excused for breaking wind or something. By the time I joined John at Wandin I at least had the added assistance of his penetrating 80 db siren to help scatter the loiterers in front of us.
Eventually we managed to break through the last of the kids and enter into “clear trail”. (Obviously the youngsters were not as fit as us and therefore unable to keep up with the cracking pace that we were setting at this stage.
Mal had previously indicated that he would meet us at Woori Yallock, but unfortunately failed (again) to appear. We assumed that he must have some pressing business (or maybe he overslept again) and pushed on to Warburton without him. Although Mal was only a pale shadow of the rider he used to be, we would be surprised if he failed to even complete part of the ride.
After several more drinks stops we eventually made the coffe shop and waited for Mal to appear (and waited, and waited). Four cappucinos later we realised that it was going to be yet another “not finished” (or even started) ride for Mal. We tried to recollect the last ride that Mal had actually completed, but our minds could not go back that far.
Reluctantly we climbed back in the saddles and headed off again. We did take the scenic route back and discovered some more potential picnic spots and a great suspension bridge.
We managed to complete the return ride without incidents or punctures and looked forward to visiting our erstwhile riding member “Old Bob Crasher Lewis”. Since I had further to ride we separated at Seville and I completed the solo ride back up to Mt Evelyn.
Later that afternoon John and I met at Bob’s place to give him a hard time and watch him hop around the room on his new “plastic fantastic” (his new synthetic leg – NOT his bike).