Into the Valley of Death rode the Ghost Riders
Eddy to the right of them
Eddy to the left of them
Eddy in front of them
Swooping and snapping
With feathered wings a flapping
Boldly they rode and well
Into the beaks of death
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the Ghost Riders
With apologies to Lord Tenneyson and to the original members of the Light Brigade, I think that running the gauntlet through Woori Yallock station is rapidly becoming something of a death wish. We could only stand and watch aghast as Eddy sent Peter sprawling to the gravel yet again. It was something of a shock to lose a rider so early in the transit. Was this the once proud rider whose legs were, at one time, revered from one end of the trail to the other, now reduced to a quivering mess on the ground before us? And all because of a demented little black and white bird ?
As Peter tried to regain some of his lost dignity, the rest of us could only be glad that it had not happened to the rest of us. I was even more concerned that some of our legion of fans might have witnessed Peter’s sad debacle. After all, the pride of the Ghost Riders was at stake. I looked to the skies and barked loudly to help keep Eddy away while pedalling furiously through the remaining enemy territory. That blasted bird is becoming more psychotic with every passing week.
Once through the dreaded section we tried to regroup and plan strategies for the return ride. It is true that a cyclist’s lot is not an easy one, but with the all too familiar combination of freezing weather and magpie attacks I am almost starting to echo John’s familiar refrain of “Why do we Do THIS ????”.
At least we had a good sized peloton with Bob, Johns (x3), Lex, Peter, Cheryl and myself, so we were able to enjoy a good conversation while we rode. I suppose the other positive thing to note is that the trail is slowly becoming harder each week, with the loose stones gradually being washed away (or stolen by locals wanting to add them to their gardens).
When we arrived at Warburton we descended upon the Water Wheel Coffee Shop. We had decided that it was time to try out some other shops to see what sort of service they offered. I asked the smiling assistant if she could make a sandwich. “Sorry”, was the not very encouraging reply. I asked for a pie – she pointed to a rather motley assortment of leftovers languishing in the food warmer. I wondered how long these pastries had been suffering in this tropical environment but opted to try a sausage roll. The cake selection was rather “minimalist” to say the least.
By the time the other riders had ordered their coffees we sat down outside to wait. And wait. And wait. Time passed. More time passed. Eventually the coffees arrived but I suspect that we will be looking at another of the other alternatives next time. The waitress had a lovely smile but you need a little more than that to satisfy the hunger of elite athletes like us.
While we were waiting for our coffees a much more exciting fare arrived. We had heard that the fame of the Warbies had been recognised by the press and that we had made it into the local papers. John soon returned with an armful of papers, all proudly carrying our FULL COLOUR photo and story on the FRONT PAGE. They had even officially acknowledged our name for the malevolent magpie of Woori Yallock. Now henceforth everyone will be able to call Eddy by his true name.
It was at about this time that Bob took the first of many mobile phone calls. “You’re joking”, he says to the caller on the other end. We could tell it was bad news of the worst degree. Apparently all his frenetic calls and puts on the Stock Market had gone pear shaped and his ill gotten fortune had been squandered in one horrible trade. Bob looked distressed. I suppose he could remember well when this happened to him once before (in the 1930s Great Depression). Now Bob was immersed in a Great Depression all of his own.
We tried to console him. “I told you it was all Fool’s Gold”, I said. “All that trading on the Stock Market is like trying to build a house out of smoke – one puff and it’s all gone”. Another phone call soon revealed that the true extent of his losses was even greater than he first thought. (Maybe that call was from his old mate Rene Rivkin, perhaps Rene will join us on the Warby Trail one day, perhaps Bob will get a real job sometime, perhaps John will break his hooters, perhaps one day I will enjoy riding UP hills..perhaps this coffee is too strong and I am hallucinating..time to start riding again)
The return ride was much warmer than the outward ride because we all had local newspapers stuffed inside our jerseys. Back at Woori Yallock Eddy was more aggressive than ever and staged some his most impressive head high attacks we have seen so far. I suspect his hormone levels have gone off the planet. Soon it was Cheryl’s turn to take a dive when Eddy attacked her while she was busy navigating around the chicane.
I was disappointed to find that my own special barking routine also no longer worked as Eddy decided to vent some spleen on me also. Maybe it’s time we formed a vigilante group and really went out after him. At this rate we will have so many injured riders we will soon not be able to form a peloton.
It was at about this time we decided that next week we will try a different trail for a change. Will the Dandenong Creek Trail harbour its own special predators ? I guess we will know in 7 days time.