Has anyone seen Graham?A bunch of members decided to spice things up on Saturday morning and forgo Coast to Toast and Cruisers and instead headed south to Waterfall and the return leg through the National Park. One rider liked it that much I don’t know if he has made it home yet.
The group met at the Harbour Bridge steps and a number of riders were already soaking wet having got drenched on the ride over from Manly even though it was nice and dry at the meeting point – rain probably can’t afford to fall around Kirribilli. A couple of riders returned to bed, advising me of their pull out due to the downfall in Manly, before I had even gotten out of bed – oh the joys of a ride starting close to home.
It was a quick trip through the city and the lycra clad got an eye opener along Oxford Street, before the trip through the airport tunnel – a first for many, with Oli and Lucas doing a big turn at the front early on. So far the heavens had been kind, however the first bit of rain trickled down around Sutherland, however it didn’t last long. It was a fairly dry ride along the rest of the route out to Waterfall and the riders were soon descending down into the National Park.
There was then the first climb out of the park, Oli Dharma-Ratne dropped not only the group but also a few jaws with his acceleration on the first climb, Garett Paton attempted to go with him – however realising Garett was on his wheel, Oli just kept winding it up until he heard a pop. Carl Frauenstein was also climbing strongly as the group got to enjoy the first 4 or so kilometre climb.
The last known photo of Graham
It was a regroup at the top for the group and then a speedy trip across the ridge, with a number of riders just tucking in and enjoying the pull along as they saved their legs for the later climb and the trip home. The group was pretty much sticking together, however while Lucas Gamble felt like he was riding somewhere in Tasmania, Graham decided that he might take a bit of a detour and somewhere along the ridge came detached from the group.
It was a fast descent down the Audley Weir, with Lynne taking it easy while her partner Pete didn’t have to break with his mountain bike shorts acting as a parachute compared to some slim line bibs – maybe one day, Lynne will convince him to take the plunge.
The climb out of the Weir split the group, with a number of riders starting to wonder how much further did they have to go. It was a brief regroup at the top where all were present and accounted for – except unknown to the rider leader – Graham was still out there. The group then rolled into Sutherland for a quick coke and water bottle refill.
It was here that it become clear that not only was Graham not here, he wasn’t appearing on the horizon anytime soon. Just like a scene from Black Hawk Down, it was decided that we could leave no man behind. We would send back a Matt Hayman style uber domestique to get Graham and pull him home, while the rest of the group would set off home. I thought that uber domestique would be Oli, instead it was me.
Hoping that Graham appears out of no where….
So while the rest of the group pulled out of Sutherland, I u-turned back and headed back towads Audley to find Graham. I went back into the National Park but after a bit of riding and waiting, couldn’t see Graham riding along – it appeared to be like some sort of X-File. I then turned back towards home, realising that we must have missed him while we waited at Sutherland. However on the ride home, I realised that for the uninitiated, there were numerous routes he could have taken. I arrived back in North Sydney, without Graham – in a search similar to the one for Osama Bin Laden, we will be sending out some drones to scan the area in the coming days – ET phone home….
Martinette rode strong all day
The rest of the group were enjoying a speedy trip home thanks to Oli and Garett setting the pace. Most riders made it home, just before the main 30 minute downfall of the day. I hope all riders enjoyed the alternate route for a Saturday, there will be more options and rides coming up, keep an eye on the calendar and the club newsletter.
Graham has now been listed as inactive within the clubs membership database.
Thanks to Gabriel for his phots from the day.