It had been a relatively uneventful ride so far. Although the weather was cold and looked threatening, we were somewhat relieved that the skies had not opened up on us. As has been usual for the past few weeks a group of about 6 or 7 riders started from Woori Yallock at 12 noon and had already made the outward leg of the ride to Mt Evelyn where we were gathered for a short rest and chat before the return section of the ride to Milgrove. We had not been there long when our thoughts were disturbed by a passing car loudly tooting its horn. As we turned to look for the source of the commotion it had already passed out of sight, but one of our group exclaimed “That looked like Hooters!”
Way back in the Ghostrider Dreamtime, Hooters had been a regular weekly rider on our Thursday rides. Although he had never ridden the whole trail he was quite disciplined in riding his customary 20 km at 20 kph each week. For some unknown reason he abruptly ceased riding (probably because of a hill or headwind) and we had not seen hide nor hair of him for the past twelve months. Surely it must have just been somone that looked like him passing by? We gave little more thought to the matter and were soon back on the bikes and heading back down the hill with the anticipation of coffee in our minds.
It was not until we reached the outskirts of Woori Yallock that we noticed two riders making their way slowly back the trail towards us. We struggled to get our ageing eyes to focus clearly enough to determine who the unfamiliar riders were. It was not until we were within 20 metres or so that our initial suspicions were confirmed. It was indeed Hooters and “Spanner” Bilson out on the trail for their first ride for 2008.
After the initial shock had worn off we regrouped and rode along together while catching up on what had happened over the previous 12 months since their last ride. It did not take long for it to feel like old times again. John let fly with a few of his favourite exclamations “Why are we going so fast ?”, “Why do we do this?”, “Headwind” and the like. We could almost be excused for feeling like he had never left us.
A short time later we had arrived at the Milgrove Bakery, marking the end of their short ride. Because the sawmill was making a lot of dust we decided to have our lunches in the shelter of the shop while Hooters got to better know some of our new riders.
After lunch we were soon headed back to Woori Yallock, although our peloton became a little elongated along the way. Fortunately the rain held off long enough for me to get safely back to my car. It had been a pleasant surprise to see Hooters and Spanner again after they had been missing for so long. I wonder when they will join us again – maybe sometime in 2009?