In my mind there are four things that go towards making a perfect ride – great weather, great friends, great scenery and a great bike. As we rode along the picturesque Warburton Trail under a perfectly clear Spingtime sky I couldn’t help but feel in good spirits. After all, I guess three out of four is a pass in most people’s language.
With the warm sun on our faces as we cruised down the trail, the only potential dark cloud on the horizon was in the form of a black and white feathered demon with the name Eddie. “I’m not coming unless someone stays with me to protect me from Eddie”, Cheryl demanded at the start of the ride. Now, as we approached the outer suburbs of Woori Yallock, all eyes turned to the skies in fearful trepidation. “I’m still covered in bruises after his last attack”, Cheryl reminded me. “I thought he had broken my arm”.
It was true that, despite his diminutive size, Eddie had sown fear into every walker and cyclist who dared to cross his territory. At the end of the station we could see the prominent warning signs which had been posted to alert the unwary to the danger from the skies. I was vainly trying to recall those words of wisdom about “being alert but not alarmed” as I rode uncertainly into the hot zone. It is so hard to keep control of your bike while, at the same time, yelling, waving your hands over your head and looking in all directions at once.
Maybe it was the warm sunshine or maybe it was our strength of numbers, but for some reason Eddie chose to stay perched up on his lamp post and leave us alone. “Well that was an anti-climax”, I said, as we rode on towards Launching Place.
With yet another peloton of 8 riders I am sure that we are beginning to get noticed along the length of the trail. Bob was also “noticed” by an ill-tempered female horse rider who abused him for riding too fast. He replied that if he had really been riding fast she wouldn’t have seen him. I guess we will be more inclined to show respect to horse riders when we see them collecting the manure their filthy animals drop all over the trail.
After a frantic short sprint up the final bitumen length to Warburton we pulled up with hearts pumping and sweat running. As we settled down to another leisurely lunch in the sunshine we were joined by Garry and Les from the Eastern vets. As I started talking to Les I soon discovered that he is another closet reader of our web-site. “I know all about you, but how can I join up?”, he asked.
I went on to explain that we have exceptionally high standards, and that, apart from John and Warren, all riders have to serve a probationary period and complete a series of prescribed rides. They can then apply for membership and for the privilege of wearing the coveted yellow jersey. (Thats the theory anyway).
“How did that guy join?”, he asked while pointing at John. “His seat’s way too low”. I tried to explain that John is our current visiting “weckweational wider” and was not a real rider like the rest of us. “Is that a bit like being the village idiot?”, Les asked. I tried to change the topic, rather than embarrass John any further.
It was at about this time that I glanced sideways and noticed Maggie come walking up the main street. Apparently she had seen the fantastic weather and made a (secret) decision to come and join us for coffee. (Just as well that we were behaving ourselves).
With the total group now swollen to 10 riders and 1 groupie, Bob looked a little disappointed that his new lady friend from last week had not also made an appearance. We tried to console him by pointing out another likely looking 90 year old lady who was shuffling along the carpark. He did not seem convinced.
As the time ticked by we all knew that we should be making tracks, but it was hard to break the pleasant spell. Eventually I mustered the riders for the return ride and we headed back over the bridge.
I am not sure who won the return sprint (it wasn’t me).
Eddie again failed to attack in spite of our best efforts to provoke him. I suspect he is now a spent force.
No one suffered a puncture or crash.
The weather stayed perfect.
We wished that the ride would not have to end, but all to soon we were back at the cars. All of us were in high spirits after such a good afternoon. This had been one the best afternoon rides of the year. Yippee.