The bongos were thumping last night, a steady beat, well below 140, stirring the troops who were primed to march a different route to their usual soft commute, a route only a hobbit would love.
YHC waiting for the alarm to go off in the middle of the night…. the many multitudes of ERs being drawn by bonds of friendship and wistful sadness .and lets face the bloody drums….and then
sparrows farted ( YHC could not be sure it was sparrows )
Rolling out of the garret into a pitch dark night , YHC was mostly solo .. .. Billions of stars overhead + an extra B1.
Surfing off the upper reaches of Monte Colah and down to Turra where a dawn service was due to start.
A cloud free chill, clammy with a hint of anticipation.. ( and the weather was pretty good too )
The ER troops were already on the pedal , rolling up to the launch it was wall to wall egg and tomato, obviously the word had got around, and all the cracks had gathered to the fray..lights flashing, voices hushed and plenty of the usual back slapping and bonhommie. Roll call and Laurie briefing the multitude to fight fair , no kicking or scratching the usual terms and conditions.. everyone after Andrew , Keith and Grant became another ER..and the boys lead us out.
YHC enjoys this part of the ride, a 4 km gentle slope ever downward .. cruising in convoy, into that magical piece of forest Browns water hole.. YHC slips a chain, and without further ado is at the back of the peloton waiving a lanterne rouge..some things never change.
Laurie’s briefing said there would be a regroup at the top.. there was. ( Kind of a new experience for our HMOTN ) Rolling out a group which was now about 50 strong, left plenty of time to regain a little breath and say hello to GottaRide.. only she gotta ride a moped..not too embarrassed to wear the colours though. ( quick plug here, if you are looking to dope your bike.. please opt for an electric one )
The ER traffic jam processed to the LCNP stopping normal traffic and turning just a few heads .. B1 would have enjoyed the irony of filling the park with an ER gridlock. So far the pace was sociable, banter the order of the day, Ravi and Comet in the bunch, moon blue as it was big overhead. Then just when you think all is sweet, you hit the wall, the Fullers Slap. It is vertical, with a little horizontal thrown in, pleasure becomes pain, and all the hobbits laugh as they take the front of the group and dish it out. ( only in their minds as hobbits are generally much too nice to laugh ) Satnav was on the fixie. didn’t seem to miss a beat. YHC coughed up a lung. but discreetly rolled to the front of the regroup ( to take a few pictures ) not going to be dropped with half a ride left. ( Meanwhile Andrew and the boys had peeled off to go back to school )
Chatswoo to the city is well worn OTP territory so how come the hobbits have a windy little track past a grotty little shack on the way to find the top of Tindale, this being YHC’s first hobbits ride navigation was surprisingly complicated. By now of course the ER peloton has swelled past 60 and even blind Freddy could follow the procession. No doubt the devil would take the hindmost, but there would be plenty of company.
It was a swift transfer through Narrem Burn and a traffic disaster at the top of Crow’s Nest, once onto the downhill stretch there were a few very relieved faces until it became the usual coffee sprint, ( Schleckie had his traffic light greener working overtime ) 58 ERs get entangled in the shambles of Miller St, Schleckie is first in the coffee queue ( I made that bit up as I have never seen the tail lights of Schleckie by this stage of the ride some things never change )
Photoshop was not required to fill the space around B&T, it really was wall to wall egg and tomato some faces there that I had not seen for a very long while, and of course some who could not make it. ( Highlander , Flash you know who you are )
Stragglers rolled in and sat on laps, planters, or stood around gassing in the usual ER way. Vic and his happy crew turned out about 100 coffees in double quick time, I was well to the back of the line up and was sipping before I had the breath back.
Coffee and company, connection and caring mates, B1 you would have really enjoyed this ride dammit, we really miss you already.