The Spring racing season has begun.  An English horse called All the Good came galloping in ahead of the rest of the pack at the Caufield Cup on Saturday.  To say it was an upset is a bit of an understatement.  The odds were fifty to one.  The horse is owned by a company called Godolphin, based in the United Arab Emirates.  I’m sure the Sheik can use the money.

I am ashamed to say that I have yet to attend one of these horsey events, not even the Melbourne Cup, the race that “stops the nation.” I did make an effort to expand my horizons when we lived in Hong Kong, but that occasion was prompted by an invitation.  Still, I did the whole thing, getting the form and placing bets (on horses I liked the names of), promptly losing whatever winnings came my way.  I just couldn’t see the point.  Perhaps if I rode a horse, I might be more interested, but I doubt it.  I ride a bike and I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch a cycling race unless the riders were all naked….or wearing burqas.

The summer cycling season has begun.  It was kicked off yesterday by the big event of the year– “Around the Bay in a Day.”  16,450 riders turned out.  I was not one of them.  I do have some good memories, like the sunrise over the Yarra, but I was very nervous among riders who were all attempting to go at different speeds.  Negotiating a safe space among cyclists, cars and ‘utes’ (pick up trucks) is quite demanding for those of us whose vision and reflexes are, shall we say, a little rusty.

Cyclists can be as boorish and unpleasant as motorists when they get obsessed with speed.  Last year, the day of the ride turned quite hot and the wind was in my face much of the way.  I was overdressed for the weather and glad to see the city come into view.  This year, the warm front broke early Sunday morning, so the temperature was cool.  Wind is another matter.  It seems like there is always wind.

Two members of our recumbent cycling group headed out before dawn to take on the challenge.  Last year I chose the wimpy 100 km option, from the town of Sorrento back into the city of Melbourne.  The full ride requires a ferry ride across the mouth of the bay from Portsea to Queenscliff.  It is 210 kms (130 miles).  Bike Victoria offers an optional detour of another forty kms for those riders who just can’t get enough time in the saddle.  That makes it a tidy 250 kms.

Each of my fellow recumbent riders took off well before five in the morning and headed in opposite directions around Port Philip Bay.  They are both strong riders, well able to keep up and even pass some of the hot, young lycra-clad cyclists who barrel down the coast road every Sunday morning.  Steve passed an entire peloton of riders wearing BMW T-shirts.  John R, who was worried about his knees, averaged 27 kms an hour (riding time) over the 250 km distance.  Not too shabby.

John had an early lunch while he waited for the ferry.  By this point, the chocolate icing on his dessert had melted, so he had a chocolate chicken sandwich. Nice touch, John.  I almost wish I’d been there.  The picture below is from a previous event.  John K, the guy in the middle, is far too sensible to do this kind of thing.

Steve on the left, John R on the right with their high-tech, home built recumbents.  John K in the middle with his one-of-a kind special.