After our freezing deluge on the return ride last Thursday the last thing I needed was another rainy day. The change of ride day from Thursday to Tuesday had already prevented a few riders from being able to attend, and I knew if the weather was not favourable, that would probably keep the rest of the Warbies at home under cover.
The blue dots that I saw on the weather radar were not sunspots, but promises of further showers to follow. Although I could have been daunted by such forebodings of doom, I decided to lash the rattler to the car and head off regardless. After all, if three years of riding the trailshould have taught us by now, it that sometimes you just have to demonstrate strength of character.
About 60 minutes later I was waiting at Mt Evelyn for someone else to join me on the trail. In spite of the fact that the weather had now improved significantly, I found myself the only person who had turned up for the ride. As my spirits were sinking I was passed by Hooters and the Spanner, tooting and waving. At least I knew I would have some company from Millgrove through to Warburton.
Having no alternative, other than to head off by myself, I mounted the bike and started the long solo ride down the trail. After the recent storm the trail was liberally covered with lots of small branches and other debris, resulting in my needing a fair degree of concentration to avoid becoming an accident statistic. As I dodged and weaved down the hill I progressively started to get more excited about the ride ahead.
Even though I was by myself, it really wasn’t a bad afternoon. The temperature was mild, the wind gentle, the birds were serenading me with their songs and the bike was rolling freely. Why would I want to be anywhere else? I even noticed another yellow jerseyed rider approaching from the opposite direction. It turned out to be Johnny Magoo, thus ensuring that I would have some company on the ride after all.
I was even more surprised when we were joined by Crasher Lewis. After his unfortunate episode with the rain washing off his spray on tan last week, I had expected that he would not emerge on any day when there wasn’t a 100% guarantee that he would be staying dry. Yet here he was, burning up the track behind us with a grin on his face.
The three of us continued to Woori Yallock where we were met by Hooters, Spanner and Cheryl. Six riders would once have been considered a big peloton, but is less than half of what we have been averaging lately. Because of the smaller group (or maybe because of the now fine afternoon), everone seemed content to just roll along at a moderate pace. We even managed to stay together for most of the way.
Johnny started an early attck on Settlement Rd, but was easily overtaken by Crasher within sight of the finish. I watched on from a safe distance behind them both.
By the time we arrived at Warburton the clouds had cleared and the warm sun helped us quickly achieve a mellow and relaxed state. In fact it was positively balmy feeling the warmth of the sun while we stuffed ourselves with pies and cakes. (Next Thursday we really must get back to the sandwiches). Bob spent some time demonstrating how to flex his leg muscles while JCL watched in awe. It looked like two chickens comparing drumsticks to me.
On the return ride Hooters got on his bike and quickly pedalled ahead of the peloton. Could it be that he has finally started to demonstrate some competitive backbone ? He was soon out of sight, and by the time I crossed the road near Millgrove I looked ahead down the long straight track but there was no sign of him. This was a surprisingly turn of events, but it was certainly a refreshing change. Last week we passed a turtle making its way across the trail and we reckon it was moving faster than we had ever seen Hooters move on his bike. Now Hooters had become a bolter.
It was only later that I discovered that real cause of Hooters’ apparent show of testosterone, was in fact a mad dash to the toilet at Millgrove. Apparently he had fallen victim to a bad pie and needed to avail himself of a public convenience before he made a public disgrace of himself in the Main St of Warburton. Much later in the ride he wobbled up to us from behind. He appeared to be feeling much better by that stage.
After bidding farewell to most of our riders at Woori Yallock, only Bob and I were left to make the remainder of the ride back to our cars. It was great to be able to roll along at a moderate speed and enjoy a chat and the peaceful late afternoon. What a pleasant ride it had turned out to be.
For once, Murphy had stayed at home.
Now with our Annual East Gippsland weekend coming up in a few days, we are all hoping that the weather will be kind to us.