The Black Dog ride provides awareness for depression and mental health and raises money to support integral services such as Lifeline. No more worthy a cause to pull on the boots, stuff my head into a helmet and throw a leg over the Ape......game on.
Like years in the past - I am riding as a corner maker to assist in the marshalling of the main bunch - this means the day starts early.
By the time I hit the road the sun is just up, the low-level fog is refusing to shift. The roads are damp. The tyres are cold. It's 9c and I have nearly an hour slab at free-way speed. Great!
The solution - base layers, thermal layers, wind-stopper layers and heated grips cranked. Slab done and done.
We meet at the official start point in Pakenham - standard affair, corner marker briefing, then main bunch briefing, then go.
The corner markers head off, hitting the black stuff - most of the riders manage to follow most of the marshals, most of the time - most being the operative word.....
I'm dropped on a corner as we head into Yarra Glen - a marker-mate is dropped on the entry corner and I am on the exit. We're going to be here a while.
Ample time for me to remove my base layers and wind-stopper.
I get busy on the side of the road redressing myself.
I also take the opportunity to let some air out of the tyres - I'd been a little too generous with my set-up adding too much air when cold. The Ape was chattering around from both the front end and the rear - taking some air out, adds more give to the hoops, making her nice and compliant.
Done and done....
My marker-mate standing stoically - waiting for riders to marshal. The seriousness of it all is overwhelming. :))
And here comes a component of the main bunch - it did get quite spaced out this year......
We continue into Yarra Glen for a mid-ride regroup allowing any stragglers to catch up. A quick "splash and dash" for bikes with limited range and we're off again.
We point the bikes towards Toolangi then King Lake. Beautiful roads out this way - up the front, in the corner marker bunch we get a clear run through some pearler roads.
I'm dropped on another corner or two before the ride finishes up back in Pakenham - the local Lions club putting on a BBQ lunch with many hungry and deserving riders to feed.
All in all, another great run for a great cause.
See you all next year.
--getting redressed by the side of a road, marking his corner.