In Which Spring Fails to Appear

The last time Peter “serviced” the red rattler my chain flew off the derailleur in the middle of a serious sprint, leaving me sprawled helplessly on the side of Settlement Rd. It was therefore with a certain degree of trepidation that I loaded up the faithful beast for our first Springtime ride of 2004. After it’s visit to Peter’s bike shop I was not sure which parts would start to fall off first.

Still wary of the condition of the trail between Mt Evelyn and Wandin I again decided to reduce my ride to begin at Wandin. I was soon joined by Bob, Lex and Johnny Come Lately and we set off in search of a peloton. We had not ridden far when I realised that all was not well. Although the bike was OK, the all too familiar nose drip told me that the temperature had not kept pace with the calendar. Although this was meant to be be Springtime the weather was distinctly mid winter in character.

A short time time later Cheryl met us on the trail and by the time we reached Woori Yallock John was there waiting to join in. At least we would have a peloton of 6 riders – not quite the 10 or more we had been achieving lately, but a peloton nonetheless.

We will miss Denise on our rides but she is now on her way back to Canada, after having come 12000 km just to earn a Ghost Riders jersey. I suppose now the precedent has been set, we will soon be overun with dozens of other riders from the frozen North seeking sun and adventure on the world famous Warby Trail. It would be interesting to see how much a Ghost Riders Jersey would sell for on Ebay (but then who would ever want to part with something that had been so hard to earn in the first place?

Peter had decided to ride his bike from Emerald to Leongatha instead of joining us for today’s ride. He always prefers riding alone so that he can enjoy the company of his true friends.

Although JCL set a cracking pace on the ride to Launching Place, the red rattler managed to hold together on the rough surface. Perhaps Peter had actually managed to put it back together correctly this time after all. It was a pity that my bike was not the only thing that was running freely – damn this cold weather!

At Warburton we all huddled in the warmth inside the coffee shop and enjoyed our coffee. It was a great opportunity to rubbish those members who were absent. While we were so engaged my mobile phone rang. It turned out to be from Peter who had made it as far as Korumburra. “What’s the weather like there?”, he asked. “It’s great”, I lied. “We are all outside sitting in the sun getting a little sunburnt.”

“Well it’s been pouring rain in Gippsland all afternoon”, he lamented. “I’m soaked through”. We all laughed out loud in sympathy with him. It was great to be able to delight in his misery, after all it served him right for not joining his fellow Ghost Riders.

After lunch we braced ourselves again for the cold and headed back along the familar trail. It would have been so good to get some sunshine, but at least it wasn’t raining. After hearing of Peter’s sad plight, maybe we weren’t so badly off after all. At Woori Yallock, Eddy threatened to attack but was soon scared off by my impersonation of a rabid pit bull terrier.

When I finally arrived back at Wandin I was relieved that the rattler had survived the transit but I am hoping that next week might see us riding in 25C and sunshine. Now that would be a thought to cling to through a busy week.