Melbourne's amazing run of balmy Autumn weather finally came to an end with a change late yesterday and overnight rain. This wasn't enough to perturb the unflappable and hardened Peak Bike Hub riders this morning, however Paul and Xavier did present with their weekday warrior commuter bikes. I'd like to think they were expressing some sympathy for my plight in having to pedal the "alloy anvil" up hill and down dale for a few weeks whilst my CR1 hangs in the bike shop, awaiting word from the kind
folk at Scott to approve my warranty claim.
Did I mention how my brother and niece bought a CR1 off the back of my recommendation?
Our departure was somewhat delayed as Nicko presented with a deflating front tyre. If this was a clincher tyre it would have been a quick tube change but no...in the pursuit of lightness Nicko runs tubular tyres, so it was a whole lot of fluffing around with one of those pressurised sealant cans to stem the leak. Well the front of the shop looked more like a Year 12 break-up, there was foam everywhere except in the now completely flat tubular tyre!
Xavier was despatched home to get the front wheel off his Oppy that he'd meticulously cleaned during the week, whilst Nicko went across the road to Rocket cafe to drop off his foam covered wheel....God knows what they thought when they saw it. Meanwhile Dan was doing hill repeats up Burgundy St to keep his legs warm, Troy was adjusting his saddle, John was recovering from beng sprayed with foam, Vic and Paul were looking on in histerics and I was trying to keep up appearances with new rider Manuel who joined us for the first time....we're normally a really organised and professional bunch....honest
Finally....we got going and I made sure Manuel was keeping on the pace. He was doing OK given the early climbs but I decided to stay back and chaperon him whilst the other guys went ahead. My legs had had their biggest week since my ITB dramas and I'm sure they appreciated a more moderate pace. The northerly headwind was tough at times but we forged ahead.
Through Diamond Creek shops I saw Nicko parked up on the footpath. Turns out his day that started bad got worse! He broke a rear spoke in the lighter-than-light tubular rear wheel
. Did I mentioned he told me he'd put on a couple of kilos over Easter?
His day was to get worser still, as he had to ring his missus to get a lift back home....ouch!
We regrouped at the servo outside Diamond Creek and rode on to Hurstbridge, at which point I decided to take the shortcut to Panton Hill with Manuel whilst the rest of the group went on to St Andrews. I'd never ridden this road before, it's really quite scenic with several short 7% climbs and pops you out 4km later on the main road back to Eltham. Manuel's gears were starting to miss here and there so we pushed on at a moderate pace. I heard a raptuous "YEE HAA" from him as we descended past Eltham College at 60kph however this was countered with an agonising "oh f@#k" as we rode up the Bolton St pinch climb....well I rode whilst Manuel had to get off halfway and walk courtesy of a stuck front derailleur!
We rolled into Heidelberg at about 9am and the rest of the bunch followed within 10 minutes. That little shortcut, though hilly, cut about 10km off the ride and is a good option for newer riders so we can finish at about the same time. Given the smattering of weekday warrior bikes there weren't any sprints contested, though Dan applied some hurt on the group from what I heard.
As a postscript to the ride, Xavier had an off on his way home from the cafe (all of 500m maybe) courtesy of breaking his chain and losing his balance. The bar tape (and perhaps some pride?) were the only victims!