In Which We Embrace Winter

After last week’s debacle (and the fact that my legs are atrophying in front of my own eyes) I was really keen to get in at least some sort of ride today. It seems that I have only been able to average about 300 metres of riding each week since getting back from Nepal. It’s no wonder that even getting on the bike really seems like such a big effort.

Somehow I managed to ignore the ever ringing phone, throw the bike on the back of the car (trying hard to ignore the rusty chain and filthy frame), put up the “CLOSED” sign on the office window and make a dash before another customer arrived. A glance at the watch indicated that I should have enough time to make it to the starting point on time and a glance at the sky indicated that we might even have a reasonable chance of not getting wet.

When I arrived at Woori Yallock the collection of empty cars showed me that I had already missed the peloton but I decided to try to ride towards COGS rather than follow my first instincts and just drive up to the coffee shop instead. Within a few metres I was puffing heavily as I tried to crank the speed up over the elusive 10 kph mark. I tried to justify my sorry state by telling myself that it was because of the 1 kph head wind blowing right in my face.

Setting an all time record for the slowest speed from Woori to COGS I arrived just in time to catch the rest of the group preparing to leave. Before I could catch my breath they were already off and racing and were soon out of sight on their way back to Woori Yallock. Assuming that Glenda was behind me I decided not to chase the mad mob and wait for her to catch up. It turned out that Glenda was, in fact, part of the rapidly disappearing peloton and that I was the tail end Charlie. I never saw them again until we all stopped at Woori Yallock. A little voice tried to tell me that I should end the ride there and retreat back to my car, but somehow I persevered and wobbled on all the way to Milgrove and the welcome refuge and consolation provided by a hot coffee and cheese pie.

While I was trying to replace my lost calories, Michael was busy lamenting his decision to settle for a “chicken and corn” pie, rather than the traditional meat variety. As he sadly ploughed his way through the yellow gelatinous contents I let him know that at least my pie was quite tasty.

One thing that was encouraging was the weather. The rain had stayed away allowing the trail to dry out nicely. We were even blessed with short bursts of sunshine from time to time. With the shortest day only a couple of weeks away we were all conscious of just how early the sun sets at this time of year. From about 4 o’clock onwards the day starts to darken and the wintry chill descends on the Yarra Valley. The balmy days of summer seem a long way off.

On the return leg the peloton seemed to split into a thousand fragments as riders all did what was right in their own eyes. I was reminded at just how “Bolter Doswell” earned his knickname as I saw him disappear into the distance, dragging a couple of panting pedallers in his wake.

Back at Woori I was glad to be off the bike and vowed at least to try to get in some more riding in the coming weeks.