In Which More Riders Clutch at Straws

Over the past few weeks we have seen ample evidence that the early onset of Spring time has played havoc with the hormone levels of Eddy the Malevolent Magpie. Each time we approach Woori Yallock it is with a combination of fear and loathing. Although it is always fun to watch him attacking other unsuspecting travelers on the Warby Trail, it is certainly NOT fun when it is your head in his wicked avian sights.

As our riders were assembling at Woori Yallock for our weekly ride I could not help but be amazed at the lengths our members had gone to in an attempt to protect themselves from Eddy’s evil beak and flapping feathers. I could understand the reasoning behind the eyes that boldly adorned the helmets of Bob, Cheryl and Peter, but when Warren presented himself with a Lego plane on his head, I suspected that maybe he had already been bitten once too often.

Whether it was due to the new helmet decorations, or whether it was just that Eddy was intimidated by the size of our peloton, it was a relief to all that he did not come close as we prepared to ride. One thing we could all agree on was that it was another perfect day for riding. With the end of winter almost at hand the sunshine actually had a definite warmth in its strengthening rays.

The other thing which has been strengthening recently has been the size of our peloton. It was pleasing to see our most recent prospect (Brendan the paramedic) had again turned out and had even lengthened his ride to start from Wandin, along with Peter, Denise, Cheryl and myself. Lex had already started his own peloton at Mt Evelyn and Bob joined in along the way. With the joining of John and Warren at Woori Yallock we already had 9 riders and had been told to expect yet another new candidate further down the track.

Following the magpie’s non appearance we all headed off in high spirits. I think that for every degree the temperature rises our morale increases by 10%, and it was certainly nice not to have to contend with that perpetual winter menace – the runny nose. It seemed all too soon that we were happily sitting outside the coffee shop looking out for our latest recruit.

We scanned the road back and forth but there was no sign of either Peter or the recruit. We ordered our coffees. Still no sign. Time passed. No sign. The sun sank lower in the sky. Finally we noticed two riders riding unsteadily up the main road towards us. When they finally dismounted Peter introduced to his latest “catch”. This one looked like he had been through the wringer – his legs were shaking, his face was ashen, his mouth ajar, a terrifying look on his countenance and his hair was standing straight upright. He had apparently had a hard time on his first transit of the trail. It was only later that we discovered he always looks like that.

Alan Ward – our new recruit. Equine Growth Hormone made him the man he is today!

When Peter announced that this guy was Dr Alan Ward (the local vet) Bob immediately paid attention. Apparently he thought that his future supply of equine growth hormone would now be guaranteed (and at the traditional 90% discount available to all club members).

After a few minutes Alan’s heart rate dropped back below the red zone and he settled in to enjoying some fellowship and fun in the sunshine. On the return ride we even had a few more attempts at the infamous El Capitan and we were impressed when Brendan made it all the way to the summit (not the summit of El Capitan itself but it’s smaller cousin – “El Mini Capitan”)

I am not sure of what type of report Denise will be sending back to her Vancouver Bike Club members but it has been good to have her company at our recent rides and we can now inform her that she has now earned her own “yellow jersey” to take back to Canada with her. (I guess now we will have hordes of Canadians wanting to follow in her footsteps).

Back at Woori Yallock we decided to test the effectiveness of Warren’s new helmet adornment and so allowed him to ride solo into Eddy’s domain. I will no go into the shocking details but I can only say that a Lego plane does NOT provide magpie deterrent and Warren is now undergoing intensive trauma counseling.

The remainder of the ride went smoothly although by the time we got back to Wandin Brendan was realising that the trail does actually have a few upward gradients after all. Standing in the sunshine I don’t think that any of us could have thought of a better way to pass a winter’s afternoon.