In Which we Welcome a Ghost from the North

The prospect of welcoming a new potential Ghost Rider is always exciting, even more so when the new recruit has come half way round the world to ride with us. When Peter rang me to let me know that he would be bringing a new rider along I did not fully grasp the significance of the occasion.

Although the weather was grey we had made the decision to proceed with the ride, regardless of the conditions. After all, if we are going to cancel every time the sky clouds over, we will not get very many Winter rides at all. As it turned out I had a heavy morning load and had no chance of making it to Mt Evelyn by 1 pm. I had to resign myself to completing a much shortened ride (one of Seamanion proportions), and start from Woori Yallock instead.

A real rider from our Northern Chapter

I was soon to discover that all the other riders had also decided to start from the same location, including our “mystery rider”.

Peter proudly introduced us to Denise, who turned out to look like a real cyclist – even decked out in lycra and cleats, and riding a real road bike. Her club jersey proudly stated that she had come all the way from Vancouver in Canada.

As we started to talk she shared an amazing true story. When she knew she would be coming to Australia for 8 weeks she searched the Internet for information about riding clubs in Melbourne and discovered our magnificent web site!

When she started reading the true stories of our adventures (and saw our pictures) she knew that she would just HAVE to ride with us. She even arranged to have her bike freighted across from Vancouver so that she could audition for the Warbys. John (Hooters) puffed out his chest with pride as he started to recount some of his riding exploits. Denise looked at his black leggings and his baggy shorts and made some sort of cryptic comment about him looking like a character out of Disney on Ice. I informed her that John was really just a weckweational wider, whereas the rest of us were real cyclists (just like her).

Besides Denise, the rest of our peloton consisted of John, Peter, Warren and myself. Lex was on his way to the Whitsunday Islands, Bob was home in bed, JCL (Johnny Come Lately) and Cheryl were absent and LJ (Little John) was at work in his new job. The smallness of the group was more than offset by Peter and John’s attempts to impress our new rider.

Peter even went as far to steal a victory in the outward sprint by taking a short cut up the main road. He then spent the rest of the outward ride explaining to Denise how he achieved the “perfect 10″ with his legs. I am not sure she was impressed.

At the coffee shop Denise was able to tell us more about her cycling experiences in Vancouver. I was able to tell her more about the Ghost Riders and how she could qualify to wear the coveted yellow jersey before she had to return home. She could even become our first overseas member and maybe start a Canadian Chapter. We agreed that she had already completed one ride – all she needed was another 3 qualifying rides to join the club.

John tried to tell her how much he had improved over the past 2 years but noticed that Denise’s eyes were looking at his bike rather strangely.”Have you been riding long? Your seat looks a bit low”, she stated with conviction. “Have you ever done any real riding?” she asked. John looked a little taken aback at her forthrightness, but the rest of us could not stop laughing.

Denise meets Dennis and some of the other Ghosts

It was at about this time that another unique event took place, one that could ONLY occur in Warburton. A young mother came walking up the main street pushing a stroller with her toddler in. In her other hand was a lead attached to the collar of a BABY LAMB. The lamb was walking alongside, obviously happy to be out and about. As we stared on in open mouthed disbelief, the trio passed by as if it was the most natural thing in the world to take your sheep out to town for its daily walk.

Since we had a little time to spare we decided to take our Canadian visitor on a scenic tour of the Yarra River. With the recent rains the river was running high and fast, although probably not quite as impressive as the rivers she would have seen in the Canadian mountains.

On the return ride an ominous grinding sound indicated that Warren’s bike was in need of some running repairs. Looks like more money for Peter!

Back at the car park John puffed out his chest and pulled in his stomach. “We usually ride much further than this. Today was a short ride”, he said to Denise. For some reason I almost choked with surprise, but decided to say nothing.

Another interesting day in the saddle……