Team Aldi sustain Injury but carry on regardless...

During this morning’s practice ride one of the key members of this prestigious team inadvertently held an impromptu meeting with some tarmac but despite sustaining injuries to both elbow and knee the team on his behalf vowed to continue, voicing their determination as one man as it were and refusing to be shaken by this unplanned for happening.

Injured Knee
The accident happened whilst Tachis (see team description below) was setting a red hot pace on one of the practice laps that the team uses before going for coffee and donuts in a local coffee hostelry. Details of the incident are still a bit hazy but it seems that he was proceeding uphill on a 1:3 slope in a Northerly direction whilst trying to avoid a kangaroo at the same time as trying to take a phone call from Fearless Fred the armchair cyclist who was phoning in at the time to check up on team progress. Coping with all 3 tasks at the same time were simply too much for the intrepid member who just came to a complete stop on the tarmac altering the make up on his skin to both elbow and knee in the process.

Location:Mount Annan Botanic Gardens to start with then progressing to Cawdor the centre of Cadence County.

The men present:
  • Rohan Bell (aka Tachis from the Greek word meaning “speed”)
  • Mario Pengue (team manager but aka” the anatomy analyst” )
  • Tony Dodds (now not pursuing a better offer on the M7 )
  • Neil Gabbin (aka Gabbo, promoted after successful negotiation of improved rates and overtime penalty payments)
  • Ian Henderson (hereinafter known as the Scribe)
  • Kenny O’Donnell ( paper delivery improver)

Team Aldi

Those absent or otherwise detained:
  • Fearless Fred Peacock (aka “the armchair cyclist”)
  • William Shakespeare (Resting)
Team Aldi only really came into existence due to an aggressive marketing strategy by the supermarket trader Aldi in the south west of Sydney in March 2010 when they decided to flood the local market with cheap cycling clothing and accessories. Being boys with an eye for a bargain this was seen as a challenge not to be missed and so the team was born, filled by the men proud to fly the flag of the alternative lycra lifestyle and here they are pictured above obviously thrilled to be part of this new fashion/lifestyle adventure.

Having completed the furious pace of the time trials and successfully negotiating the dangers of the Botanic laps , the last three members of the team to complete the circuit are pictured below obviously happy just to have finished the blistering pace of the race…

The Warm-downs

After all the excitement of the time trials and the accident it was time for some post lap warm-downs, this time ably lead by Gabbo who can be seen here demonstrating the latest breakthrough in scientific sporting recovery technology called “Moonwalking”. His team mates are obviously looking on confused at this demonstration of the finer points of the new ground breaking scientific discovery. You will the note the way in which Tachis is trying his absolute level best not to draw attention to his elbow injury sustained earlier in the morning.

After the Moonwalking was completed the team then moved on to a demonstration by the Kenny (the oldest paper delivery boy in the Macarthur region) of what he called “the stretches” but which other members of the team thought were an impression of some primeval mating ritual and/or had them reaching for the spare toilet paper, thankfully this routine was not needed for a great length of time.

Once the warm-downs were complete it was time to adjourn to the coffee shop for some well earned refreshments and for more winding down and planning and strategy for the future.

The second phase of training was then lead by Tachis suitably recovered from his injuries of the early morning and now leading the reduced members of the team consisting of himself, the scribe and Gabbo, on a 35Km haul on the road to Cawdor and beyond, not only had he recovered from the spill but even more worrying he now had air in his tyres which improved his performance and now he really was living up to his name, demonstrated by the photo below in which I am by now so far behind them. A pack of 4 proper riders passed me in the opposite direction and noticed this gap and gave me such a look of withering disdain when they saw the hillbilly hybrid that I was riding that I thought my own tyres were going to deflate.

The journey back to civilisation was only marred by being overtaken by another pack of proper riders who cruised by us without any effort but doing twice the speed and also by an attack of cramp sustained by one of the team which left the other 2 team members administering emergency massage to the limbs of the injured party whilst lying on the island of a set of traffic lights which must have caused a bit of a sideshow for passers by but didn’t carry any concern for the men, and undeterred by any unwarranted attention this was causing the remainder of Team Aldi carried on regardless.

Well that’s about all the news from this week’s round up.

Best wishes for now
Until the next up date
From the Scribe

Another day, another ride.

I think that we can safely break today's ride down into 2 category of rider; i.e. the night shift (those who arrived at the agreed time of 6.30am) and the day shift (those who subsequently came along to join in during the daylight hours)

Location: Mount Annan Botanic Gardens (bicycle nursery section)

Those present:

  • Rohan Bell (svelte-like leader from the front)
  • Mario Pengue (team manager but aka "the anatomy analyst")
  • Neil Gabin(Grade 1 improving rider)
  • Ian Henderson (hanger on but only just)
  • Fred Peacock(aka "Fearless Fred" yellow jersey contender)
  • Kenny O'Donnell (no longer sleeping it off / catering manager)

Svelte-like expedition leader

Those absent:
  • Tony Dodds (pursuing a better offer on the M7 )
  • Lance Armstrong (frankly has got better things to do)

This week we managed to avoid the customary surly interrogation from the Rangers demanding to "see our papers" but were instead waved on with a cheery gesture which was just as well as some members of the group are still resolutely flouting the law when it comes to "having the correct paperwork in order". It seems that there are more weighty matters on rider's minds than complying with the mere details of placating the requirements of officialdom and no doubt these issues will be addressed at some point in the future.

Generally the standard of equipment and fitness are improving and I couldn't help noticing that riders are starting to "customise" their appearance taking the opportunity of bringing their own individual form and style of expression to this elitist art form. The team manager seems to have started sporting what on first appearance appears to be a monocle or extended eye patch but on closer inspection is some kind of self- help dentistry tool, but it actually turns out that it is nothing more sinister than a mirror so that he can check that his appearance is in order whilst riding so that passers by can get the full benefit.
Manager demonstrating his mirror whilst praying about the journey

The catering manager meanwhile was resplendent in short longs and "bee hive" helmet with matching ear muffs which he claims is to keep the flies out of his ears but which I suspect is really so that he can block out the whinging of the Hanger On as he fails to keep up with the other riders on the circuits of Gardens and bemoaning yet another late arrival at the coffee shop for well deserved refreshments. The pick-me-up break at the regular watering hole was sponsored today courtesy of the catering manager who has set the entry level bar forthe refreshment of coffee and Easter Buns. I think that this "soft start approach" is a build up for the greater culinary delights that lie ahead of us on this unfolding adventure that will eventually see us cross the border into what can only be regarded as the foreign country of Victoria, we shall see.

Svelte-like leader (left), Catering Manager (center) & Fearless Fred (right)

After refreshments were over the expedition leader ably backed up by Fearless Fred and the Hanger On decided that they hadn't had enough pain for the dayand wanted to add another 25Kms to the already growing tally of road miles. Half way round on the Camden by pass we were trundling along minding our own business when momentarily we got mistaken for cyclists who knew what they were doing as we were briefly swallowed up by a pack of about 30 what you would call,"proper riders " but this myth was soon dispelled when they noticed Fred's black socks and the Hanger On ,who, barely able to contain his excitement nearly lost his balance and carved up his team leader narrowly avoiding wearing more tarmac. This excitement also gave Fred his second wind and it was at this point that he stormed into the lead and claimed the yellow jersey as his own, nailing the home leg of the Narellan road, leaving the Hanger On once again to "make his own arrangements".

Note disappearing pack in background- e.g., they've gone!

Novice rider Grade 1 refusing to go any further without renegotiating terms & conditions

Well that's about enough excitement for one week. Best wishes for now. Until the next up date

From the Hanger On

The answer to your question (sort of)

We had a good ride this morning and did 3 laps of the track and managed to fend off a challenge successfully from  the Rangers to 3 of our party who didn’t have garden passes! You see I am now associating with law breakers and criminals.

Those present:
  • Rohan Bell (expedition leader)
  • Tony Dodds ( team coach)
  • Marion Pengue (team manager)
  • Neil Gabbin  (novice rider)
  • Ian Henderson (hanger on)

Those absent
  •  Fred Peacock  (on parade at 6.00am and went home early)
  •  Kenny O’Donnell ( sleeping it off)
  •  Kevin Rudd ( answering questions in the House about insulation programme)
It seems that we can’t  even get out of the starting blocks in the gardens without attracting some drama or the other. Neil the novice was borrowing his sons bike in lieu of one actually made in the 21st century but to be fair it has been used in a triathlon (once).

Before the ride started the team coach was offering to pump up peoples tyres which seemed like a good idea at the time and so the novice’s tyres were duly inflated to 120 psi and mine weren’t (this observation will have later significance). We had only just got through the gate when there was the sound of a minor explosion/gunshot going off and I immediately put this down to over enthusiastic rangers exceeding the boundaries of their jurisdiction  in warding off would be entrants who didn’t carry the correct authorised  paperwork. It was nothing more sinister than Neil’s tyre succumbing to the constraints of old age and it went off with a bang nearly dislodging the Manager’s spectacles in the process who was just right behind him at the time and complained about “a sudden rush of wind”. We believe in sharing the pain around in this group and so the novice  did not miss out on his share and the expedition leader felt it to be his duty to lend him his bike which was a cunning way of being able to try out the Manager’s bike for comparison with his own trusty steed which came with complimentary ill fitting shoes. As I mentioned before this is all about ”making pain your friend”.

With everyone that much fitter than the last time we rode and with a range of different bikes on parade I thought that this would be a good time to carry out some research of comparison of the hybrid versus the road bike. Well do you think I could keep up with them? My little legs were pumping for all they were worth and I couldn’t even get anywhere near the money or keep up with them for that matter and I felt a bit like an elephant on a clothes line beside these dashing and svelte like riders. I even tried keeping my knees together abandoning my much preferred “butcher’s style of riding” but I couldn’t get the bike above the 31Km/hr range- I was still at the traffic lights on Narellan Road when the 2 premier riders (expedition leader and Manager ) were on their second coffee in Gloria Jeans. This did not bode well I thought and if I am to make any progress at all  towards getting to Melbourne I am either going to have fuel up with 10,000 calories per day or get an engine fitted (to the bike as well ) or even worse than that, actually get fit.

So I deduced that the hybrid bike is hyper-challenged in the efficiency department when it comes to comparison with the road bikes but… you will recall that I did not take up the offer of having my tyres pumped up before we set off and so for curiosity decided to check them with the Coaches’ pump only to discover that there was a pitiful 40 psi pressure in them instead of the required 100 psi! So this kind of answers the question why I was struggling to keep up and I noticed that the ride back home felt infinitely easier and it sort of answers the question about the different efficiency of the 2 bike styles but not completely, the ongoing question still remains by how much is the gap between them? Oh well I suppose it means another expedition to find out!

You were sorely missed this morning and I hope that you have managed to catch up on your sleep.  2 other things that came out of the post race mission- debriefing were that we have earmarked the 10 April starting at 6.00am for a full assault on the M7 (42Kms each way). The second is that you were voted in to the position of team cook and please note that Mario prefers smoked salmon baguettes spread with Philadelphia cream cheese and sweet chilli sauce on one side, dusted off with red onions and cracked pepper with a bit of olive oil drizzled on top. Anyway there is still plenty of time left to master these techniques and I can help if required as we will need something to occupy ourselves in the evenings.

Hope you will forgive my blarney it must be the result of the post race endorphins  kicking in which is making me Delirious. I look forward to giving you the full run down tomorrow over morning tea.

Best wishes
From the hanger on