In Which Roger Earns His Jersey (Well Almost)

It is not without a lot of serious thought that we consider changing the date of a prearranged ride, but with the weather wallas predicting a downpour for most of Thursday and a fine suny day for Wednesday, it seemed like the only decision we could make. After a frantic series of e-mails and phone calls I finally managed to get the word circulated to all those who normally attend. Fortunately it seemed that most were quite happy with the prospect of having yet another sunny ride. It did mean that Diana’s first ride with the Warbies along the Warburton Trail would have to be postponed till another time.

I had decided to start from Wandin and ride back to Mt Evelyn to meet the rest of the peloton. When I arrived at the car park I found Lex, Roger already there Gary preparing to start. Also present were two riders from the Souther Vets – Gary and Mal, who we have ridden with on many previous occasions. After a brief chat we headed back down the trail to meet with Cheryl at Wandin. I noticed that Roger seemed to be excited about something but was being rather cagey about what it was.

Sometime after passing through Wandin we were overtaken on the Trail by Peter who apparently had brought along a secret parcel for Roger. When Roger eagerly ripped it open it turned out to be his new “official coveted yellow jersey”. Roger quickly threw aside his old jersey and pulled the new jeresy on over his head. Peter took one look and pronounced that “it looked pretty good”. The rest of us were not so sure. AFter all, it barely covered his navel. It is not such a good look to be riding along in a peloton with 6 inches of hairy belly showing from underneath your jersey.

In spite of Peter’s reassurances, we eventually persuaded Roger that it would probably be best if he opted for a larger size. Peter looked crestfallen as his opportunity for another quick sale went out the window. We had no option but to continue on our way.

We did not exactly set a cracking pace but eventually arrived at Woori Yallock to find that Hooters and the Spanner had already headed off towards Warburton some time earlier. We raised the speed a little and headed off in pursuit, only managing to catch up with them on Settlement Rd. Without Bob in the peloton I realised that I might have a chance at getting a placing in the sprint, but only if I timed my attack to perfection.

I managed to hold the peloton back to a reasonable pace until the finish line was in range, then planted the foot. It was a nice feeling to be able to hold off a strong challenge from Lex and actually cross the line first for a rare win. I was then able to relaxe for the remainder of the ride to Warburton, at least until I heard something flying off my bike while on the final bitumen section of the trail. I looked behind but could not see anything. The bike seemed OK, so I continued on my way.

A few moments later something else flew off into the bushes with a metallic twang. This was becoming a worry, but strangely enough, everything on the bike seemed to be working fine. I decided to wait until we stopped at Warburton before investigating the problem.

At the coffee shop I soon discovered the problem. My saddle bag had developed a split and the metallic noises I had heard were the regular dropping of coins along the trail. So much for my lunch money! At least the bike was OK. I hastly improvised repairs for the return trip.

It was a nice feeling to be able to rest in the sun and enjoy our coffee. (I had a drink of water because I had no money). Since this was the day that Mal had headed off on his solo bike trip across the High Country, we were pleased to receive a mobile call from him detailing how his ride had gone so far. I suspect we were all envious of him, but were wondering how he would go crossing Mt Hotham tomorrow when the weather was predicted to go pear shaped.

The return ride went without mishap and I even managed to complete the double by taking the return sprint points. Even with the last minute change of time we had still managed a peloton of 7 riders. It was not so long ago that we would have thought 7 riders was a real crowd, but now anything less that 10 or a dozen seems small. Hopefully next week Mal will be able to fill us in on all the details of his epic achievement, and hopefully Peter might be able to produce a jersey in the correct size for Roger to wear.