In Which we Meet the Oldest Person in the Race

Since it had been several weeks since I had ridden the full length of the trail from Mt Evelyn to Warburton I made the special effort to start a little earlier. After our triumphant victory last Sunday in the Round the Bay ride I was keen to get a few km of lower speed riding back into my legs again.

When I arrived at the car park there was no sign of any other riders. After waiting for 10 minutes I decided to head off slowly and let any other latecomers catch up. I had not ridden more than a few hundred metres when I noticed an amazing sight coming along the trail towards me. There on the trail ahead was a tall, slender rider coming towards me wearing a thong!!! The very thought made my heart pound wildly as I approached for a better look.

Unfortunately as I got closer I discovered that it was not Elle Macpherson in her underwear, but only Johnny Come Lately wearing, not one, but a pair of beach thongs on his feet. I tried to inform him that the Ghost Riders do have a dress code for our cycling events and wearing thongs does NOT really do justice to the coveted yellow jersey. He did not seem concerned, but instead raced away at a significantly higher speed than I had planned.

A few minutes later we were met by Peter and Lex and the peloton started to take shape. As we looked to the skies for Eddie he was nowhere to be seen. I am beginning to suspect that some angry cyclist has despatched him to the big Rail Trail in the sky.

Peter insisted that John had already left Woori so the peloton kept riding to Launching Place to meet up with Warren. Bob also caught up to us here. It was at this point we received a plaintive call from John informing us that he had just arrived at Woori Yallock. This would mean that John would have to ride really fast to catch up to the rest of us (about as likely as Bob enjoying a weckweational wide).

After waiting for a few minutes we decided to ride off without him. We did keep the speed down to a moderate level and arrived at the coffee shop only a few minutes before he did. It was a welcome chance to share some more memories of last Sunday’s big ride. Obviously we had all pulled up well and felt pleased that we had tackled the challenge.

Bob informed us that he also had a challenge that he was about to face. At first I though he was talking about his imminent 80th Birthday or something similar, but he went on to tell us that he had entered for some cycling event in Tasmania in a couple of weeks.

“Apparently I’m the oldest person in the race”, he proudly announced. “The Human Race?”, I asked. He indignantly added that it was some sort of “national title”, so I guess it must be important. I suspect it must have something to do with the Combined Pensioners and Nursing Home Residents Games. I just hope all the participants survive the weekend.

The return ride was accomplished without incident, however some of the attractive young female walkers we passed on the trail were enough to send elderly testosterone levels into overdrive. No wonder we all tried to pull our stomachs in and demonstrate precision cycling techniques as we passed.

On the final hill up to Mt Evelyn we were joined by an enthusiastic young rider on a mountain bike. He seemed determined to show the oldies how it was done, however he apparently ran out of puff about 50m into the climb. Funny about that.