In Which we all Make a Backward Move

I know that the weather wallahs all keep insisting that we in the midst of a hundred year drought or similar, however I am not so sure that it applies to the region between Lilydale and Warburton. Having seen the steady increase in surface water lying on both sides of the Bike Trail over the past few weeks, I can only imagine what the situation would look like if the drought ever actually breaks. Maybe we should start learning to ride “pedal-o-boats” instead.

When the Bureau released yet another forecast of “torrential rain” for Thursday, we decided to take the coward’s approach by switching our riding day to Wednesday instead. This decision seemed vindicated when it turned out that Wednesday was the only fine day of the entire week. In fact, it was not only fine but close to perfect.

Things turned out even better for me when I found out that I had a computer job in Warburton on Wednesday morning. There did not seem to much sense in driving all the way back to Emerald, so I decided to put the bike on the back of the car and include a change of clothes so that I could get an early start to the afternoon’s ride.

By 12 noon I had finished the job and was at Launching Place ready to start. In case you are wondering why I was starting at Launching Place, it was NOT because I had decided to have a Lilliputian ride (like John Seamons) but because we had decided that today we have a reverse ride on the trail. By starting at Launching Place we could ride back to Mt Evelyn and try out the brand new coffee shop at Mt Evelyn station.

Since I had an hour to kill before the scheduled start I headed off towards Warburton. With the blue sky and warm temperature it was impossible not to feel in high spirits as I pedalled along. With no other riders on the trail, I easily managed to win the traditional Settlement Rd sprints. Just past Millgrove I turned back and enjoyed some extra road riding around some of the back roads near Yarra Junction.

When I arrived back at Launching Place I was met by Lex and Peter. Soon we were also joined by Bob and Hooters. While I was distracted, Hooters played a mean trick on me by pretending to have parked his car right on top of my bike! When my heart rate dropped back below 200 I discovered that the incident had been carefully staged and that my precious red rattler was still OK.

By the time JCL arrived we were ready to head off. It seemed rather strange heading off in the wrong direction, although I am pleased to say that we did manage to maintain a good semblance of pelotonic discipline as we rode towards Woori Yallock. We were soon joined by Warren and Cheryl and, with 8 riders in formation, posed an impressive sight as we powered along.

With no-one bolting into the distance I could almost start to believe that my dream of a united peloton could actually come true. In fact it was only when we reached the climb to Wandin that the group started to separate. Obviously no-one wanted to stop 5 times with Hooters while he did his trackside calisthenics. Even Warren powered into the distance and arrived at Mt Evelyn before anyone else.

We did all eventually reach the coffee shop and had much fun loudly clambering up the metal stairs in our cleated shoes. The coffee and sandwiches were OK, but a little more expensive than we were used to. The choice of cakes was also not extensive. In spite of this the surroundings were good and gave us a welcome opportunity to chatter in the sunshine on the elevated deck.

Because all the hard work had already been done, the return ride was largely downhill. I was also pleased to see that the group generally managed to stay together for most of the return ride.

Back at the Woori Yallock car park several people expressed a desire for more variations in our weekly rides. We will probably schedule at least 1 ride a month for an “alternate ride” – such as the Dandenong Creek Trail. We are even planning to have a couple of road rides so that we can enjoy some bitumen for a change.

All in all, it had been a very enjoyable ride. Great weather, good sized peloton and lost of fun. Our next major event is the Bairnsdale Trip. Can we all hope for a fine weekend?