Bonjour Mesdames et Messieurs’s,
2014, and we are are still all here.... however the major topic of conversation over dinner seemed to be the provision of medical care and resuscitation equipment for 2015.
Number Eleven Edition for Il Pantani, which makes it by my calculations, 2003 when the first ride was organised by Robbo Senior. Back there there was a motley crue of around half a dozen riders, it's now grown to be almost 25.
We had three new riders this year, Simon, Jeremy, and the Silver Tsunami.
Driving was shared in those days, but now we have two drivers and the luxury of support vehicles for the entire ride.
A big thank you this year to Carolyn and Wayne for their tireless efforts following us up hills at what must have been unbearable speed.
It was great to see all the familiar faces back again for the 11th edition, especially John Urie,(Foundation Member), although I don't think he did much riding. Apart from me everyone still looks younger than ever, fitter than ever, and, as usual, speeding off up the hills without me. My so-called friends.
In-spite of the dire weather reports I think we got pretty lucky.
A great breakfast at a new venue, Cafe Velo, where they had a bike on display almost as old as Steve's.
As usual myself, Silver and Robbo languished at the rear on the Falls climb, although I noted a PB on Strava, which doesn't say much for previous years.
The usual glacially slow service at Bazaar at Falls, I think the waiter is Basil Fawlty's twin brother, serious humour failure.
A stupendous race across the high plains from Falls down to WTF corner, after, at least, an attempt to hold the Peleton together for a few minutes. The usual suspects, D Beale, Frank the Pom, Moi, Cycling Bob, Hardman, Beaver, and Autumn Leaves, powered away to get down in 1 hr 15 mins. Michael Kent tried to fall over so we decided not to wait.
This was shown to be beneficial as the laggards got wet =-O
Another great night at the Duc Blau, someone discovered that the Pub had Pizzini Sangiovese, so we drank it all.
Those without table manners were banished outside for the evening, so we missed the Count's instructions on the start time on Saturday.
Another great day, weather as good as it gets, and, although the climb up Hotham is pretty tough it rewards the slower rider with a fabulous view. A big thank you to Beaver who kept me company for a few hours.
Those that didn't drink all Rundell's Prosecco at lunch went for a recovery ride in the afternoon. Not sure this was really wise, but the beer at the Big D OK.
Sunday saw us arise to typical shite Mt Hotham weather.
Although, IMNSHO, there is no such think as 'Subject to Weather', in this case an exception could have been made.
However with the exception of Hardman, we all got down safely, Steve, perhaps unwisely, chased a car down the mountain. Fortunately he didn't hit any wombats as he sailed into the undergrowth, although his bike will no longer be ridden in anger.
Nice warm showers back at Bright then off home again for another year.
All too quickly over.
A special mention to the lady riders who are improving at approximately the same rate as most of the male riders are getting worse.
A big thank once again to our drivers, and also the Count who did such a great job this year.