after what seems to have been an eternity of hot and humid conditions inducing nightmare visions of living in queensland and being required under police order to wear white shoes that are not cycling-related, an appalling situation that could only be relieved somewhat by at least having the opportunity to ride up mount coot-tha with manning in his new northern visage, this morning dawned a little cooler and the air didn't seem to be as fuggy and the conditions started suggesting the forming of a relevant question: could this mean an opportunity to eschew, for the morning at least, the summer base-layer and short sleeved light jersey, and to ride in something that might impart a comforting hug.
fortunately the answer to that question was a "yes", and with very slight shiver of expectation i donned some upper body clothing comprised in significant proportion of *gasp* wool, sprung up onto the bike and ventured out into a dimly remembered environment of slight chill.
upon arrival at aa i could see some who clearly had had similar responses as me to the opportunities of the weather but there were others- not mentioning names marckhor- who found themselves lacking a little insulation. but the warmth of the group soon made up for their lack of personal warmth as the passage of time inexorably clicked over to 6.00 and we commenced mrr#1167.
an appropriate pace was set by those up front, allowing us to maximise our enjoyment of the conditions by not wasting them on charges up hills, or on brutal accelerations after lights, or on exhausting pace elsewhere. rather, it was a pace that embraced difference and fomented comradeship. splits were welcomed as they provided an opportunity to demonstrate a coming together again, and buses became an opportunity to stop and rejoin rather than employing the more prosaic technique of rolling the group around.
it may have been that along middleborough we captured and incorporated a small group of fast riders who may have been sheltering riders who were not as strong. it may also have been that those less strong riders were then dropped from the pace, but i cannot say as i could only catch snatches of a conversation.
an orderly regroup at westfield saw a cohesive group roll down elgar, where a peloton that had become slightly drawn out was re-compressed by the red light at the bottom. ascending belmore shortly after, and watching most riders stream past me up that hill, i decided that it would be chivalrous of me to wait for mr outlook and accompany him over the rise and, in a small procession, we could announce at the regroup that we were, in fact, the last riders to succeed in our ascent, and we would now take over the lead for the final run to the cafe. it seemed, however, that there were not sufficient riders in the group who understood the status and aura of outlook, because as we drew into sight of the waiting riders, they spilled out into the road and started up the hill towards greythorn.
quickly deciding that outlook was now more a liability than an asset i accelerated hard up the hill and, timing my run to perfection- of course- i flew around the outside of the group waiting at the greythorn red light as it swung to green and proceeded to stay well ahead of the group- albeit not the leader, for that epithet was being worn proudly by lian- as we arced through the kov and swept up the hill.
a newbie rider on a bmc time machine cruised past, and we proceeded down in single file towards the start of the steep hill up to whitehorse road. it seems to me that there was the faintest hope of catching the green light and so i accelerated past mr newbie but, of course, the light went red and so i subsided into a pretend-casual pose that clearly said that it was only a bit of fun, i wasn't really trying for the lights at all. gitane rode up alongside me, and asked me how many times i had done the mrr, and hadn't i yet learned when and when not i could expect to catch the green light? in response i merely pointed to the newbie on the bmc and said "i figured it was the only opportunity i would ever get to overtake him."
green light and up fintona, down to canty, turn left on the green and race the newbie to the cafe. wak wins the sprint, but i win the turn and so i am first bike back. with the exception of team ness.
quick coffee orders- a great recent innovation- and settle in for some fine conversation. so it was a really excellent end to the week, although tjs did come up behind me on my commute to work and ask in a loud voice- so that anyone could have heard- how on earth i could even think of combining an orange long-sleeved jersey with a green backpack? do others have to put up with distractions like that?
getting older but still enjoying cycling