Little yarn about last weekend. “You should try and get your money back on this weather, mate.” Yes, well. Still dripping from the trip to the meeting point at Lilydale, and an ominous looking bank of cumulo-nimbus coming in close behind. Ah well. This is what happens sometimes when you plan four months in advance. But we are not easily dissuaded. It’s a small group of five for this first tour of the season and it will go ahead, come what may. And come it does, hitting us just after Powelltown like a fire hydrant. Now I like riding in the rain, I really do. More than the rest of the group apparently, because I have to slow a bit to keep them together. My 7yo calls it ‘God missing the bowl’ when it’s like this. He knows all about that stuff. It’s our turn at Noojee and we then decide to roll on just so we don’t have to struggle in and out of soaked gear. Turning down Willow Grove Road, and what have we here? How appropriate – a rain forest. But then the sun appears, curls of vapour rising around the tendrils of fern as we disturb the peace. Climbing out of the valley there is our first clear view of the lands spread out to the south. And the weather - stretches of bright sun between the towering mountains of white-topped, indigo-based cloud trailing skirts of rain. The sun favours us through the arcadian farmlands from Hill End to Tanjil South. It strikes me that there is an uncommon balance here in the southern shadow of the mountains. Man makes peace with nature. There’s also a charming communion of rubber and bitumen as there roads and tyres warm up at last. Then shadowy curves through the wooded foothills to the cafe at Erica and the first proper stop. I don’t know about you but it chafes me when a 15 minute coffee break turns into an early lunch for those who just can’t wait for the next stop, and then keep on jawboning. So we are well behind schedule by the time the next rainstorm of the day hits us. “Could have stayed ahead of that all day”, it is noted later but it’s going to beat us up a few more times today before we’re done. Next stop Glengarry.