Monday, 2 June 2008

Of Fog and Leeches

Sunday was a long ride down Beach Rd with Mr Univac and Mr Legs. Mr Legs left before me, opting to start his ride from his folks’ place so he could finish there and do some work in their shed afterwards. As he left, I was still in bed, and he called out that it was foggy. Yeah so what? I thought… About 10 minutes after I left, I realised what he meant: not only was it foggy, it was very wet. Great! I was going to get rather damp and very cold.

The original forecast was for fog then sunshine, max of 16. Sometimes, it just doesn’t happen, with an official, achieved max of 13.7 shown on the nightly news. We had a reasonable roll down Springvale Rd into Mordialloc, pumping out a goodly speed once my legs had unstiffened and the blood start to flow. I was struggling a bit until I hammered out a small 500m sprint at Keysborough, which woke the legs up and gave our first leech of the day something to think about. After that the legs felt ok, I was on form, and the leech disappeared shortly after.

On Beach Rd, we quickly gathered 2 more leeches early on, who were not keen to do any work. After about 10km of giving these guys a tow, I blasted off the front, hoping Mr U and Mr L would come along, and to test the keenness and capacity of our 2 passengers. They stuck with us, keeping an impolite distance (ie too close but not close enough to be truly wheel sucking). I attacked a few more times up hill over the remainder of Beach Rd, and finally got rid of one just before Brighton, and the other just after. I broke away again, and Mr Legs towed him back up to me, at which point I very purposefully moved over right to let him through, and when he didn’t take the opportunity, I slammed on the brakes and forced him past. He finally got the message. I don’t mind if people come along for the ride, are competent and do some work. I won’t tolerate wheelsucking dayglo riders who are not so skilled, won’t work, and put myself and my little group at risk. At least they gave me an opportunity to test out my legs on a couple of the bumps on Beach Rd.

By the time we hit our regular refuel stop, my legs were beginning to suffer from the hill attacks, and it still hadn’t warmed up. I was dreaming of a very large latte, as opposed to my usual glass, and of a warm jacket and beanie. Once there, I had a quick warm up under the hand blower in the Ladies’. Over coffee, I was worried about smashing my legs further on the hills heading home, after yesterday’s efforts, and suggested taking the train part way home. Thankfully, I wasn’t laughed down. Mr Legs decided to finish his ride to Bulleen via the bike path, and Mr Univac and I caught the train to Ringwood. The fog still hadn’t lifted, and Ringwood felt colder at midday than it had at 8 am. At least it had dried out, which made the final 10km home pleasant enough. I‘ve never opted out of a long ride by taking the train home, but strangely, I felt no guilt taking 20km off the final tally this time! In fact, I’m glad I did, with the cold and muscle fatigue I was feeling. June 1 and I think I am over winter already.

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