If the Fluffer is the girl you take out for coffee and a chat, the Flutter — the real deal, Clutter’s Flutter — is the woman you’d buy champagne for. Good stuff. French. The Getalong, on the other hand is the pierced and tattooed chick who lines up rows of tequila slammers on the bar. She makes you lie on your back and pours vodka and lime juice down your throat, straight out of the bottle. When you wake up the next morning, you feel sore and horrible, and wonder what the hell you were thinking…
Satellite Navigation got the party started by smashing everyone around the head with a gold brick, wrapped in a slice of lemon. He was suffering mechanicals even before he arrived: couldn’t get the front mech off the big ring (doesn’t matter, he doesn’t use the little one anyway), couldn’t get the rear mech onto the big cogs on the rear cluster (also doesn’t matter, he doesn’t use them either), but he couldn’t find the two little cogs on the back either and, well, that was just annoying. Didn’t seem to slow him down any: the pace out of the blocks was mildly terrifying. The first round of drinks had gone down before the last glass was poured and he was already ordering the second.
Seven ER’s in all — Sat Nav, Flash, Wilson, Pidgeon (pending), The Lemming, this B1, and our honorary ER Graeme Weatherill (of distinguished Thredbo training camp standing) — present and accounted for at 4:00 AM (yes, Half, it is madness. But it’s a glorious kind of madness and, you know, that tequila slammer chick is hot. Actually, she was cool: it was 7°C when we rolled out in arm warmers and gilets.)
The descents to Brooklyn and Mooney Mooney Creek were fast: a clean, dry track, and the kind of cold air you get just before dawn, ripping through pockets of mist. Thousands of bike-light lumens projected huge sillhouettes of riders into the white air in front and we chased those ghostly giants into the depths.
By Kariong, the sun was up and the drop into the right-hand Woy was a blur. Soon after rolling over the top, the roar in my helmet blotted out everything else. I stopped looking over my shoulder when the apexes flashed up surprisingly fast — bang, bang, bang — one after the other. But I had Graeme in my ear, calling when the cars were back and so I could forget about the traffic, relax into the line and drop through the corners in clean, solid arcs. Fast arcs. We rolled out the bottom, both of us, wearing bug-eating grins from ear to ear.
Amazingly, all still accounted for at Ettalong (we nearly lost Flash at the Kariong turn-off, and The Lemming on the little hill before the lookout) but nary a mechanical worth mentioning, 32 km/h average on the clock for the first 80 km sector, and plenty of time for breakfast. Even so, the help managed to look very flustered when we all rolled in. Everyone except YHC was served coffee, which was enjoyed on the chilly trip across Broken Bay and Pittwater.
The remainder, for this B1, was grim survival: Pittwater Road TT, BBCD, The Spit, Parriwi — nothing left for anything but a slow grind to the summit. I tried getting my act together for the last dash to the bridge, but it was already that part of the night when you realise you’ve had too much too drink. And there she is, offering you another one. Hell, you’re out. It doesn’t happen that often. What else are you going to do?