With only a couple of days to go until the big Around the Bay in a Day Ride it was important not to have too hard a ride this week. After all, the last thing we need at this last stage would be to sustain an injury through too much effort. With an overcast sky looming overhead and the threat of late showers I was also a little apprehensive about the weather.
I decided that I would reduce my effort to one of Seamonsion proportions by starting at Woori Yallock and then enjoying a gentle ride to Warburton and back. When I arrived at the station it brought back some fond memories. It was at Woori Yallock that our rides first started about two and a half years ago. In the beginning it had been just John and me to tackle the great unknown Warburton Trail.
In those early days our rides were regularly interrupted with cries of “slow down”, “it’s a big hill”, “head wind” or “why do we do this?” (all coming from John). Every 3 km or so there would be a mandatory stop for a rest and a drink.
Since those humble beginnings we have now grown to 16 members (plus numerous guests) and have gone on to successfully tackle such Herculean feats as the Great Traverse, Donna Buang Summit, Bellarine Circuit, Poowong Criterium and the Toolangi Hill climb. The only disturbing note to this fond recollection was the fact that John has actually made no progress at all – his rides still start at Woori Yallock and his utterances and drink stops are still just as frequent.
I panned my eyes about looking for Eddie, but he was nowhere to be seen. Could it be that someone has taken the law into their own hands and that Eddie is now happily perched in some far away celestial nest? It was (almost) with a twinge of sadness that I contemplated a future on the trail without our feathered nemesis.
Lex and Bob were already at the station and the three of us headed of at an unusually slow pace. Even John would have been able to keep up, but he had decided to stay home and rest lest he run the risk the risk of actually getting too fit. I had been informed that Peter, JCL and Brendan (henceforth to be known as “Cracker”) were approaching us from Wandin. A quick look behind indicated that they were still nowhere in sight.
The outward sprint was again narrowly won by Bob, but at least I timed it a little better than my last few efforts. In spite of our slow overall pace we managed to arrive at the coffee shop before the other half of the peloton, although they did pull in about 10 minutes later. In spite of my earlier fears, the weather had held off and the afternoon was actually quite pleasant for riding.
While we enjoyed our lunch, Bob went off to do a couple of laps up to Warburton East and back. The rest of us savoured a leisurely chat and the weak sunshine struggling to break through the clouds.
The return ride was undertaken at a slightly brisker pace and the sprint was hotly contested. I was determined not to break too early and held back until the finish line was almost upon us. A short burst saw me cross just in front of Bob, although I suspect he was holding back.
Back at Woori Yallock with the speedo indicating a ride distance of only 37 km, I could not help but feel that this had been only half a real ride, but at the same time it had been achieved without mishap or injury. The real test will come this Sunday. Think of us gathered in the predawn chill at Docklands at 5 am, while you are still snug and warm under your doonas.