With such rapid swings in the weather this summer, it is essential that we watch out for the best days and grab them when we can. Although there was a somewhat vague prediction along the lines of “possibility of some showers later”, the main part of the forecast predicted a temperature of 26C. I figured that 26C sounded just about right and made the executive decision to go ahead with the ride regardless.
As usual Peter rang in to say that nothing short of a major earthquake wouls keep him from riding. John sounded a little less committed but assured me that he would be joining us “somewhere” along the track. Since Bob had just been crowned the new King of the Warby Trail I assumed that he would also be determined to complete his maiden royal ride in style.
As usual I was the first to arrive at Mt Evelyn, but was soon joined by Peter’s familiar blue van. After waiting for some time for Bob to appear I decided to ring him to see how far off he was. I soon discovered that our new King had feet of clay after all. Apparently his Royal Crasherness was still ensconced in the Royal Throneroom, reading the Shares Guide. He said that he would not be able to join his subjects today, as he was busy attending to “other business”.
Within a couple of minutes I received a call from John saying that he saw a drop of rain fall in his backyard and could not risk riding under such conditions since it makes his moustache go curly (and rinses the dye out of his hair). I once stated that it would be easier to train 30 turtles to dance Disney on Ice, than it is to organise the senile members of the Warby Riders, and nothing has happened since to make me reconsider the veracity of that statement.
I guess the only consolation we had was that, with only Peter and I to complete the ride, we knew that we had our two strongest riders on the job. We therefore set off down the trail under overcast skies at a respectable speed. Unfortunately I had not travlled far before the steadily deteriorating track managed to shake my drink bottle right out of its carrier. I had no alternative but to stop and walk back up the trail to retrieve it.
A couple of minutes later I had to repeat the process when it again bounced out as a result of a large bump. By this time Peter was well ahead and I had to work hard to make up the leeway. After rejoining we settled into a good rhythm and were maintaining an average speed of about 30 kph along the flat section towards Woori Yallock. Apart from a horse and a couple of other riders, the trail was almost deserted on the outward ride.
After a quick stop at the Launching Place Pub for a drink we were soon heading along the bitumen straight for the first sprint. Peter cannily let me hold the lead until about 150m from the finish and then burst past for the final onslaught. I missed the gear change and when I looked up he had gained a break of about 20m and was pedaling strongly. Although I just managed to catch him before the line it took an enormous amount of energy and the for the remainder of the ride to Warburton I was riding mainly by memory.
We pulled into Warburton in a time of about 1:15, not quite as fast as last week, but still a respectable time all the same. As we started to settle down for our lunch we noticed the first signs of rain starting to spot the concrete drive. This was starting to look as if history might repeat itself, although the rain was not as heavy as it had been a couple of weeks ago.
My mobile phone rang. It was John. I answered it and heard the sound of hysterical laughter on the other end. “It’s pouring down here”, John happily informed me. “You should see the weather radar – it’s blue all over!”, he happily added. “Thanks John”, I said, before hanging up.
Since we were in no particular hurry we decided to enjoy a long leisurely lunch and read of the daily paper while we waited for signs of improvement. By 3 pm the rain had settled down to a steady mist and we decided that it was time to make a bolt for home. Taking the shorter route down the highway to Milgrove saved a few minutes and we were soon high tailing it past Wesburn station.
Although the drizzle looked like it was there to stay, it was not heavy enough to really wet the track, and hence we did not get to put our famous MUD MEN costumes back on again. On the return sprint Peter decided to put the screws in by leading out very early and I decided to give him the win, rather than waste what little energy I had remaining.
The remainder of the return ride was completed under similar conditions and, although damp, it really was not that unpleasant. At least it was still quite warm and the trail was firm under wheel. When we rolled into Mt Evelyn at about 4.15pm we could not help but notice that somehow we were about 45 minutes ahead of the normal schedule. Now that we know it is is Bob that slows us down each week, we will obviously have to encourage him to put in a little more effort in future.