For the third year running the Omnicycle blokes gathered at Marngrook Oval to begin their 100km sponsored ride in aid of “Movember Men’s Health” – it probably won’t take over from the ‘Tour Down Under’ though it just looks like becoming an annual event in the Melbourne cycling calendar..
8.00am … kilometer zero, seven riders – Ken, Barry, Bill, Joe (a newbie), Bruce, Nick & Lou placed their wheels on the start line with Norm, now official start photographer, and Lyn (also pressed into wielding the camera for a shot or two) to see the peloton off and running …..well…cycling.
The morning was a cool 16*C, with the promise of an extra couple of degrees later on, sunny breaks and a gentle breeze – a perfect cycling day. The ride took the usual route along the Diamond Creek Trail through Eltham and around Barry’s Bend, across the Yarra bridge into Westerfolds Park making the first stop on the top of ‘the’ hill at Km 11. It should be mentioned here that Joe, the newest member of the team, had only been on 3 previous rides, the longest being about 56Km and, sporting his new bike, had bravely decided to join the KPFP.
From there it was along the Main Yarra Trail through the Yarra Valley Parklands, Heidelberg, Bulleen Park, the Burke Road Billabong Reserve with a noisy and bumpy kilometer along the Eastern Freeway bike path.
There was a brief ‘rehydration’ stop over Belford Road at the top of ‘Cardiac Hill’, in order to catch some needed breaths and allow the heart rates to subside. Then, onward to the top of Yarra Boulevard, down the ‘slalom’ run, over the Yarra pipe bridge and a much-anticipated coffee break at the Fairfield Nursery Cafe. 10.30am.
Much refreshed the peloton connected with the Capital City Trail, which wends its way all along the lower reaches of our beloved Yarra River passing Dights Falls, the Collingwood children’s Farm, through Abbotsford, Burnley (sporting it’s salubrious housing on the south bank …. $$$$!) and down onto the Burnley Board Walk and along the north bank. Here the boys turned left, crossing the Morell Bridge, right onto Alexandra Avenue to be greeted with a most welcome sight. 12.00pm. ….and on schedule!
There, to meet them, were the support team of Sir Daryl, Lady Flo, Geoff and Lynda who had gone on ahead to prepare a BBQ lunch of bread rolls, snags, bacon, cole slaw, fresh fruit and cool drinks. The riders were most appreciative of their involvement, assistance and perfect timing. There was at least one of the peloton who really appreciated the purple grapes! A thanks here to Coles for your sponsorship of this important part of the ride.
1.00pm … we were only half way to our goal. So lunch over it was back in the saddle before it became too comfortable and convivial, a wave with grateful thank you s to the lunch team, and it was turn around time for the ride back to our starting point. The return proved to be quite uneventful but maintained a sedate pace with frequent stops (for conversation) and spurred along to the strains of Vivaldi & Mozart.
5.00PM …. after dropping Bruce and Joe off at Eltham, a tired but full crew made it back to the start point at Diamond Creek with 100km (plus) behind them.