Conquering Razorback

Those Present:

  • Mario – team anatomist
  • Tachis – aka Rohan Bell
  • Neil – eBay bike watcher
  • Ian – “Let’s stick together”
  • Kenny – energy snack provider
  • Eugene – the voice of reason and common sense
Those Not Present:
Too numerous to mention.

Glorious Jeans Mount Annan – Camden- Razorback- Picton- Hume Highway-Home (60Kms).
(click to view)


nearly 1

There is something magnetically soothing, unique and magical when you ride in a pack with other riders close together in tight formation with no words needed or given and just the rhythmical click-click whir being the only thing you can hear as chains pass through derailleur’s driven by feet on pedals, there is nothing quite like it. The rhythm of the road and synchronicity of purpose takes the rider into another zone where all other competing voices are silenced and all that matters is the road ahead. Such were the thoughts going through my head after the chaos and pain of riding over Razorback the long way, were far behind us and some semblance of order was now finding it’s way into our riding experience on the Hume Highway as we dodged the glass shrapnel, debris and general roadway detritus as we rode along in skein like formation.

It has to be said that Australia is many things but not it seems a cycling utopia where other road users take into consideration even the most basic needs of the cyclists who share (or try to) the roads with vehicular users. During the course of a 50Km ride as well as trying to avoid slicing your tyres on roadside glass the typical common riding experience includes being shouted at, spat on, cut off the tarmac and even getting a soaking from the wash/wipers of passing lorries!
But I am racing ahead so to speak as all of this occurred in the second half of the ride.

The first 15 Kms were spent in warming up on the Camden by-pass and the approaches to the infamous Razorback and just the mere mention of this name among the cycling fraternity has been enough to make grown men collapse in a whimpering heap crying on the floor, but not Team Aldi, - Not Us - we contemptuously pour ice cubes down the vest of fear!

Alpacas doubling as cheerleaders helping us
conquer our inner fears and get over Razorback

The first lesson learned that day was just at the start of Razorback when Neil told me that he wanted to give up just as we were getting into it, I told him that giving up just wasn’t an option and so we stayed together up the rest of the hill,  not that I could have gone any faster on my “Hillbilly Hybrid” anyway  but by sticking with each other we both made it instead of one giving up along the way. This kind of led into the second lesson as I was keeping myself company at the back  due to my inability to physically keep up with the riders on road bikes I descended into frustration and despair, “right that’s it” I declared, “I don’t need them and I certainly don’t want to keep eating their dust- I’ll ride to Melbourne on my own!” I suspect that the next road user ran over the dummy that I had just spat out.

My lonesome scenario suddenly ended when I saw them all waiting for me by the roadside before the Hume Highway turnoff and a friendly hand thrust a bag of energy snacks my way and the pain of Razorback was already diminishing. The benefits of being with a group already mentioned at the top of this blog were in full swing when suddenly on the Hume Highway I felt the front wheel pull violently to the left and found myself shouting out “flat tyre, man down” as I ran over some glass that a passing motorist had kindly left by the side of the road for me. Immediately this happened the team sprung into action and to my assistance, one holding the tyre levers, one checking the tyre for damage, one fending off the traffic, one pumping the tyre up and still yet another feeding me emergency bananas!

After it was all over and we were riding safely back in formation again it got me thinking, “what if I had been riding to Melbourne on my own then I would have been doing all of the above on my own without the encouragement and support of others showing me kindness” my thoughts were suddenly broken into as Mario suddenly went down with a puncture and the team sprang into action again with a  repeat of the  same scenario.  As well as “bearing one another’s burdens” I thought that I could hear the refrain from the song made famous by an Irish rock group “we’ve got to carry each other” in the distance as I reflected upon some lessons for life learned on the road whilst wearing lycra!

Mario's puncture just about fixed.

New Bikes and New Faces

Like a hungry caterpillar the appearance and make up of Team Aldi is in a state of change, growth and flux. This week’s excitement was caused by our very own improving paper boy Kenny O’Donnell who in the twinkling of an eye emerged from the toilets of the local shopping centre looking not unlike a caterpillar himself in the treasured and coveted colours of the bright bottle green Hillbrick Lycra, a move designed to raise the bar up several notches over his Aldi-clad companions and frankly it raised the bar to an almost impossible height to overcome that all the team could do was bask in the shade of the new Hillbrick bike and uniform. Kenny was also was very reluctant to admit that he frequents the same bicycling emporium as favoured by our nations politicians at which news the bar went up a few more notches.

He is pictured here with a bagful of shoes deciding which colour to chose which might best compliment his loud volume racing greens.

The team was also pleased to welcome a new face to the team but not to the world of cycling- Craig Trautsch aka “Trouchy” or the “human trampoline” on account of the fact that this man is invincible and will bounce back from anything. Feeling sorry for the rest of the team he did the ride on some old no frills mountain bike that he dug up from the depths of his garage so as not to embarrass anyone in the team with the breathtaking speed and pace that he set up for the rest of the team to follow.

He is seen pictured here patiently advising Kenny about fashion tips for his riding livery even though he is not a slave to fashion himself.

There were many impressive things about the new Hillbrick bike for the team to take stock of and members were given a thorough introduction into the wide ranging capabilities of this new tarmac treader by Kenny before the ride was able to get under way. Here he is pictured programming the new bike before using it via the marvel of modern technology with the hand held “spectron transponder” which automatically removes it from the back of the car and prepares it for use by the rider.

Today’s ride got under way to a very respectable pace through Camden and Cawdor County but on the approaches to the Camden by pass a loud clunking noise was heard by all those in close proximity to the Hillbrick, the mystery was soon solved by the team “speedster” Tachis Bell pictured here cradling the offending bit of surplus suspension of the new Hillbrick and overseen by the worried looking owner. However, moments later he was relieved to learn that the suspension was an optional extra and strictly speaking not really required so in our usual time honoured fashion we carried on regardless.

Readers must not be misled into thinking that this weeks episode is all about and dominated by the arrival of the new Hillbrick but until I can think about something else to write about, it will have to do for now. See you in the next exciting instalment of the adventures of the Hillbrick Heroes.

Best wishes for now
From The Scribe