Bumble Hill & Cottage Point Conquered
Siggy celebrates his 50th

"BUMBLE HILL CONQUERED” on Eric’s and Wolfgang’s Audax training ride - Sunday 22 Dec 1996

Eleven hours after departing the team’s now familiar Turra’ carpark rendezvous, and with a near full moon high in the evening sky, Wolfgang and only a few hardy troops, hung on to clock-up 192.2kms of tough climbs, including the infamous Yarramalong Valley escarpment, Bumble Hill.  It was surely the hottest day’s riding since Adam was a nipper in short pants.  Five riders had started early that morning [Eric, Mark, Silvia, Phil and Wolfgang].  We picked up Bruce along the way, but only four determined souls slogged it through “Eric’s Audax Training Ride”.  During his horrendous almost  Audax 200 of zeniths and nadirs training session, Wolfgang was:

¨    Aided by a new fuel-injected, overhead cam, “don’t tell Jane how much I paid for it at Clarence Street!”, ultra-light Trek 2100!

¨    Initially abetted by the ambience of a typically Sydney in December cloudless summer’s morning, but blunted by its searing afternoon heat, where riders spent all their dosh on remaining hydrated!

¨    Buttressed by Eric’s unrelenting mantra “Wolfgang and I have to cycle 200 kilometres today.”....  Wolfgang and I are both training for the Audax Alpine Classic!  I’ve done the Audax twice and come last twice.  I’m not coming last again.  Wolfgang,  If we don’t train hard, we won’t complete the Audax!”

Hitherto, Wolfgang had been an infrequent attendee of our Sunday cycling fraternity. Riders will recall that flimsy excuse “I must tile my new bathroom”, when Wolfgang was too lazy to get out of bed with Jack Frost still hovering.  But on the crew’s final Sunday ride before Christmas Wolfgang showed his metal in the desiccating heat which evidenced two riders take refuge mid-afternoon by grabbing the train from Gosford.  The day started with Phil J in a flap and it was all Silvia’s fault.  Accustomed to batting her baby browns to get menfolk to do her squaw chores, Silvia had asked Phil to check her tyres.  Phil retorted, “What did your last black fella die from?”  To which Silvia responded, “Disobedience!”  It proved a dumb play, ‘cause Phil thought that Silvia’s tyres had more pressure than his tyres.  In subsequently pumping up his own tubes, he ruptured not one but two tubes, ‘cause the nozzle on his pump was too tight to release the tube valve.  Fortunately Mark Walters [from Macarthur Cycle Club and occasional visitor from Siggy’s neck of the woods] identified the fault in Phil’s pump or Phil might have gone thru every tube our crew had.  Bruce had slept in and caught us in his green jeep machine at the base of Bobbin Head.  We waited at our regular post climb pit stop, “Karkari Reserve”, at the crest of Bobbin Head.  Bruce argued that we would clock 260 plus clicks if we took Eric’s convoluted “find every hill with in cooee” route to/from Wyong.  We opted for Bruce’s “straight as the crow fly’s” short cut to Wyong via, Bumble Hill.  Cognisant of Eric’s not infrequent catch-crys about the bloody Audax, the first stop was not until the pie shop just prior to Mooney Mooney.  Whilst Phil gobbled down a maggot sack [Big Ben], Wolfgang frightened Phil unnecessarily when Wolfgang commented to one bikie, amidst a big bunch of leather clad bikers who had pulled-in to the pie shop, that “Your bikes blew up dust in my face when you zoomed past me back there!”  Fortunately it was Christmas or perhaps they couldn’t understand our German friend’s accent.  More navigational arguments ensued amongst our intrepid crew at Yarramalong Valley restaurant.  The route was re-routed, as we would now skip Wyong and climb directly up Bumble.  Wolfgang didn’t inspire confidence about the pending accent when he walked his bike up the drive way from the restaurant, “Because it was too steep!”  Phil trailed Mark and Silvia as they chatted their way to the top.  Five minutes rest at the crest of Bumble and still Eric, Bruce or Wolfgang weren’t to be sighted off Nobbies.  Three cars then proceeded to pull up and explain that a rotund chap who came by the name of Eric , had managed a flat at the bottom of Bumble.  Ten minutes later, hope against hope, still no sight of Eric.  The prospect of retreating back down Bumble to find the wreathed chap loomed larger.  Eventually, Mark and Phil slipped back down the rolling plain to find Eric near the nadir.  New tube fitted, but somehow Eric had flicked two of his tyre levers over the cliff and couldn’t get his tyre back on.  At least that is what Eric contended.  Mark proved Siggy’s match as the crew’s mechanic and Bumble was painstakingly capped once again.  Occasionally during the tormented day’s ride, Phil J taunted Eric with: “Eric.  You seem to be guilty of using the royal plural when you continually refer to Wolfgang and I must do 200kms today ....Surely Wolfgang can answer for himself.”  To which Phil and the rest of the crew would look towards Wolfgang to proffer his own opinion on whether he was up to slogging out 200 clicks on a stinker of a day.  Invariably, Wolfgang sat there stunned, flummoxed and mesmerised by Eric’s dogmatic orders.  Wolfgang restricted his response to “I’m too tired to speak.”  Little wonder Wolfgang was poleaxed.  Eric seemed hell bent on either making Wolfgang an Audax Finisher or killing the poor chap trying to.  Bruce and Phil bailed-out mid-arvo at Gosford, preferring the train home to the old Pacific Highway route.  Silvia, Eric, Mark and Wolfgang ascended Bobbin Head around 8:30pm, with Silvia doing a Cher, Moonstruck by an almost full moon staring her square in the face as she climbed the wooded surrounds around Bobbin Head.

In early Spring a general convention seemed to receive concurrence amongst Sunday crew members that we would get out early during the summer months and finish by noon in order to beat the heat - the day-long rides being restricted to the cooler months.   On the last Sunday before Xmas, that game plan was eschewed by.

¨    two Germans.  [One belligerent and uncompromising - the other insouciant but determined.]

¨    occasional visitor, Mark, who twice escalated Bumble Hill, seated both climbs crunching the bottom combo of his racing cluster 42/23.

¨    Silvia M who while climbing Bumble merrily chatted with Mark as though on a stroll to the corner store -Silvia wouldn’t have blown out a candle when she reached the “KOM” vertex.

¨    Phil J who was forever thankful that Siggy had set him up with a 39/28 combination which saw him through the Bumble experience, even though Phil spent most of the climb out of the saddle and attempting to keep in sight of Mark and Silvia.

¨    Bruce who appeared at the top of Bumble cradling his helmet in his arm as he rode, ‘cause it was too hot to wear it. 

3.         Brenda’s account of Boxing Day’s toughest day’s ride ever  

Hills  Galore and 222 Clicks the Score” - 

Late Final Extra as at 8:35pm, Thurs, 2 Jan, Brenda reckons that -

¨    the killer ride on Boxing Day was a fitting way to finish off the crew’s ‘96 efforts and establish a hallmark for ‘97; and

¨   all the recent hullabaloo from Eric about training, isn’t about “not coming last again in the Audax, it is Eric’s secret game plan to win the dam Audax!

4.         Another tough 85km slog on Saturday 28 December

Silvia, her pal from Melbourne [David Seaton], Eric, Phil and Sig climbed back in the saddle at Turra’ and headed for Mona Vale around 6:45am.  Brenda linked-up around Tumble Down Dick Hill.  The game plan was Church Point, McCarr’s Creek, West Head/Akuna Bay/Cottage Point.  However, Eric, Silvia and David woossed-out of that delightful 8km sojourn to Cottage Point and back.  Brenda wanted to know what Phil was doing, zig-zagging his way up the steepest sections, to which Phil retorted, “Trying to stay upright the best way I can!  After surviving that sortie into the unknown, Sig/Brenda/Phil voted C. P. tougher than Bumble.

Phil Johnston 2 Jan ‘97   h:\winword\sport\cycling\botham2..doc