The day dawned bright and sunny but the man inside the radio said that the afternoon was going to turn wet and rainy. I therefore had an inspired idea – why not change the time of the ride from the afternoon to the morning ? I knew that John gets up every morning at 5.30 am (at least that what he tells us) so I picked up the phone to give him a call at about 8.30 am. A sleepy voice answers “Who’s that?” I had obviously woken Rip Van Winkle from a deep 100 year sleep. Within about 20 minutes he had gathered enough of his wits to give a coherent answer to my suggestion about the day’s ride.
I then dialled Bob, only to find him also lost in the mythical “Land of Nod”, but nevertheless keen for a morning ride. By the time I called Mal I was expecting him to be asleep also, but I was relieved to find that he had already done his 20 km early morning run and his 500 pushups and was ready for some more serious exertion. So the decision was made and off we headed for a rendezvous at Mt Evelyn.
Mal and I arrived at the meeting point on time, and were soon joined by Bob who unveiled his new secret weapon. The wizard from Wellington had been spending all his spare time building up his new IRON MAIDEN, a fearful beast of a bike made from old leftover galvanised iron water pipes, fencing wire and rubbish bin lids. No more fancy pants plastic fantastic for him – he now had a REAL bike like the rest of us. We were all on a level playing field at last.
We headed off down the hill under blue skies and laughing kookaburras. This sure beats working for a living. While Bob was learning to control the guidance system on his new wheels (which by this time was christened the BISMARK), Mal and I concentrated on avoiding collisions with numerous dogs and piles of horse manure.
John eventually got out of his teddy bear pyjamas and met us at Woori Yallock where the final peloton took shape. By this time the sunshine was warming our bones and we were all his high spirits as we pedalled along without a care in the world. It was, however, just as well that the lead rider was paying attention for we were soon confronted with a runaway calf.
We all dropped our bikes and spent a few minutes trying to reason with the wayward beast, but it refused to go where it was supposed to go. We then noticed that Mal, dressed in his fluorescent yellow jersey, was standing right in the middle of the gate where the calf was trying to get through. No wonder the little fellow was so scared. (The calf was a little scared as well). After we moved Mal out the way the calf rejoined the herd and we continued our ride.
We reached Warburton at about 11.30 am and enjoyed a lazy few minutes relaxing in the warm sunshine. It really felt like springtime had arrived early. Then down to the coffee shop for some food, some quick repairs to Bob’s rapidly disintegrating Bismark and back to the park to eat in the sun. About this time an amazing fact came to light….
Dennis says “Did you know that Lance Armstrong cannot move this finger ?” (indicating the pointing finger on his right hand)
Bob looks up and says “Why is that ?”
Dennis replies “Because it’s mine !”
Bob and John then spend several minutes doubled up in laughter (it doesn’t take much to make a cyclist laugh), and decide to try the same joke out on Mal when he returns with his cream puffs. Sure enough Mal falls for the same joke – hook, line and sinker.
John also informed us that his wife Joy had broken her hand. Apparently she was holding onto to the family purse so tightly that the only way John could get his lunch money was to hit her with the his bike pump. Or maybe it was just her excuse to not begin riding this summer.
By this time we could see some ominous dark clouds starting to appear in the west so we decided to head back before the storm reached us. It is always a great feeling to set off down the hill with a full tummy, with the sun shining and no wind. That is the way that all cycling should be.
Halfway back to Woori we begin to hear a familiar chorus of “why do we do this ?” – it’s only John singing his familiar theme song. I guess that always indicates that another ride is drawing to a close.
After dropping John it is Bob and Mal’s chance to punish me by upping the speed. It’s OK for those little whippets but I am built like a real man. Nevertheless I did set a new PB for myself on the hill up to Wandin, so I guess we are all getting a little stronger each week. I suppose that’s one of the reasons that makes this sport so darned addictive…..
Now when’s the next ride scheduled????