Thursday, November 4, 2010

Come in Christchurch; The Redwoods are here

Tomorrow is little Chuckies last day of radiation therapy, so Emily and I left Wanaka and flew to Christchurch to be with the rest of our nearest and dearest.

Leaving them to "re-connect" I took off to run some errands.

Beckenham Cycles where I got to sit in the back of Matt's new van - formerly owned by Cam Cole.

There was an ice cream stain on the back seat, but I hear he's dairy free ?

Anyways, then it was onto Around Again Cycles where I had a shock to deliver.

If you have ever had the opportunity to visit Adventure Cycles in Auckland (aka the gimp pit) then this place is next level.

Words cannot do it justice.

If you wanted to rebuild your Morrison Monark with every period correct piece of componentry etc.

then this is the place.

Kids trike -yep no problem; which year sir?

Raleigh Sports with cool curvy top top and 24" wheels - brand new frame on the wall.

Speaking of 24" wheels if you need a new front wheel for that death sled time trial rig from the Olympics in LA circa 1984 - they have them on the hook too.

If ever there is a shortage of Arabesque - these guys have it covered.

I could have bought DB 3-4 frames in his size that he would have been fizzing over...

GB stems - sure thing.

It really was like I'd put Frodo's ring on my finger and knew I shouldn't have.

I think I was lucky to get out of there with only a pair of 32 hole FIR tubular rims that I probably didn't need.

Resuming normal transmission now I headed to Harringtons Brewery which is similar in the fact that they have, I'd say maybe, 20 beers on tap to fill your own....

"Just a 2 litre of your darkest thanks love"

Only the 3rd time I'd been in there and she remembered Charlie from an earlier visit and was so pleased that it was all working out well thus far.

No surprises I go back there or buy in bottles from our local capitalist supermarket.

Across the road to Cycleways to introduce myself as we've often spoken on the phone - now I can put a face to that Australian voice down the phone....

Phil - their mechanic was regailling us of the time he was in Gordy Macauly's bunch and they were smashing it in a local club race....I thought quite highly of him at that point until he said it was 2 years ago.

I should have said I was riding with John Tomac just last year in Roto Vegas but the moment had passed.

Back home in rush hour traffic which was heavy compared to Wanaka but light for a big little city.

After tea we took the kids for a run around the park opposite the hospital so they're nice and tuckered out for a good nights kip.

Nice one Christchurch - for a strange twist of fate in us being here, you have looked after us well.

Oh this mornings coffee in CHCH was appauling, so we'll be looking for major redemption on that one tomorrow..but their clever marketing was my undoing - a medium was coffee was in fact conjoured by the devil himself and upon delivery was in fact a large cup, with a single shot and cooked milk.

Pah ! i say.

Just wait till tomorrow.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Another Round Lake Dunstan "Fun" Ride

If you have been a follower of my sporadic blogging; last January I rode around Lake Dunstan - which is north from Cromwell and a circuit is 92km.

Today I repeated this journey as part of a fund raiser the local Rotary club (not barp barp barp) put on for three reasons:

- The date is 10/10/10

- It's World Mental Health Awareness day and today you'd be well included for riding in that weather

- They donate some funds to the local yoof to make them better individuals and less likely to smash car windows and the like.

Not surprisingly I did ride another bike from last time - welcome the Wilier Cento to the stable.

I finished putting it together at about 8.30 last night.

It's a bitsa of Trade Me purchases and was in better shape than I was after riding 30kms in a tail wind, 20km in a cross wind and 42km into a head wind.

The only major flaw in my last minute approach was the new 10 speed cassette - um I only did the lock ring up finger tight and as it wasn't on my to do list; well it didn't get done.

So it rattled the whole way around.

I did however finish off the brake cables Friday night, wrapped the bar tape yesterday, installed a new old Ultegra rear derailleur ($26) fitted cleats to my new old Sidi shoes that arrived Thursday ($90) realigned the rear brake caliper which sits on the piss in the frame cause Francesco had Chianti for lunch before he installed the brake bridge - but a tapered washer fixed that problem; then after much deliberation (Oli please stop reading you're about to have a cow)

I swapped out the 39/53 chainrings on the Ultegra cranks ($125) for an old Suntour Superbe Pro 42 and a Shimano 52 of unknown prodigy because I figured if I was in the little ring I could just roll a 42 along and spin a 52 in the tailwind...

And it worked sweet - the teeth measure the same width from 7 speed to 10 speed - go figure.

Or my chain will shatter into sideplate oblivion next ride.

Oh, swapped out the stem yesterday too.

Oh and a few weeks back I figured out that I could run Enduro MTB bearing in the external BB cups instead of faffing around with the plastic top hats and they spin pretty good for a modern set up.

Enduro Bearings take no responsibilty for that set up BTW.

Did I mention it was cold ? I even added a long sleeve merino layer under my short sleeve merino layer, then a vest with fluffy collar, a Buff and a riding jersey.

3/4 knicks and I would have murdered a pair off booties today, strange to think they are voted item I'm most likely to purchase next.

+ winter gloves...and a cotton cap of course.

Me and 2 or 3 girls and another guy rolled around the lake in 3.5 hrs and then got hailed on when putting the bike away.

We were all on a first name basis before too long.

Folks a little slower got a southerly and hail out on the course.

2 bottles of water, 2 bananas, 2 muesli bars.

I finally got a spot prize -a little spongy massage ball, not exactly entry fee back, but nice all the same.

Thawing out was in the local swimming pool spa - add one frozen bike rider and gently simmer until the feeling has returned to extremities.

Pictures of today are here

I might stop looking for more fun rides until the weather hits the late 30's which should be xmas.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Naseby 12 Hour Mountain Bike Race April 16th 2010

This year’s event was showing a lot of promise – we entered on time and had a reasonable show of talent and scuffers alike – just like last year; but with different people.

Myself, Phil from Henderson Cycles in Alex, a friend of his; Craig Wight (pronounced White) and the love of my life – Keighley.

Recent events transpired to send it all pear shaped - read previous blog entry if you need updating.

I informed Phil that he might need another couple of riders just in case....he found a couple of local ladies thru the bike shop.

Then I re-invited myself back into the team as Keighley and Chuck were under control in Christchurch Hospital and no longer requiring my 24/7 bedside attention.

A small glitch the day before when my boss promised his pop up tent to two teams, but that was resolved thanks to Phil who had a spare one...

Jeff was there again, but with a far more palatial camp set up this time. He’d sent a text at 1.02 PM advising he was set up and good to weren’t allowed onsite until 1pm and Jeff was first in the gate at 12.40....Legendary.

There was Cam riding solo again and another 3 teams sharing our digs, but plenty of room for all and sundry - even these guys:

I arrived much later and we quickly added the pop up to the mix thus completing the set up phase.

Next was the roll call phase – The girls were coming up on Saturday Phil said.

I asked where was Craig – our anchor man, the guy we’re hoping to string together endless sub 30 min laps while we drank beer and heckled the solo riders...

He’s in Taupo was the reply.

12 hours to go and he’s driving a truck down from Auckland that broke down, so had to go back to Hamilton to get a waterpump, back to Taupo fit the water pump and then keep going....

But at 10pm that night just as we’d found Phil’s bottle of Old Masters Port; Craig was on the Ferry across Cook Strait – a mere days drive away. Sweet as.

Aaron from RR Sport Dunners had ponied up with amazing accommodation via a family connection so we headed off there and giggled away like a couple of schoolgirls till the wee small hours until we faded away in a boozy haze......awakening in the same boozy haze wishing we didn’t have to go racing.

That’s right; he had his race face on and was out to prove the naysayers very, very wrong – McGrother can smash it all day in the dog people – look out.

I sent Phil out for the first lap as my knee was bung and I did the first lap last year anyways.

Once again the weather was great – warmer this year though and the course was mint.

I learnt the last bit of downhill single track to the finish was called “The cat puncher” for some strange reason that only Aaron knows...even though some guy broke his collarbone and thereafter the race radio referred to it as ....wait for it....collarbone alley.

How they came up with that one I’ll never know. I like Cat Puncher.

I know you’re wondering how I rode a year on from last year – I’d moved my cleats to a much more powerful shoe/pedal position and could really deal it out know. My cranks and bottom bracket probably need replacing I dare say.

New tyres were on the 29er complementing the wash and wax it had lovingly received prior.

And new FOX (there’s the plug) forks now with 15mm axle. Oh yeah baby.

I sucked as usual with times around 31.5 mins or slower which makes me think maybe I exaggerated my lap times from last year. Certainly there was no chance of knocking Ryan Cull from CSI (best prize for a wanky acronym) off his 24.09 min perch.

The day unfolded like a cheap Bali knock off watch – slick handovers or arriving to find no one on our team in the tent – real hit and miss stuff. Classic.

Craig arrived about 2pm and promptly knocked out our fastest lap on a bike I wouldn’t have ridden if was paid to; no suspension, vee brakes, 26 inch wheels, hardtail.

There that should get some discussion going at least....

From our excellent pit set up we watched a lot of Solo riders go past – many on singlespeeds and most with a wretched look on their faces as they ground uphill into the campground.

I may have quietly and politely said “bugger that” because it didn’t look like as much fun as we were having in the cheap seats handing out informal prizes for “most outstanding nipples” and “best cleavage”. I wouldn’t call myself sexist – more of an observational roll is how I’d describe it.

At one stage we were in tenth place in the mixed vets grade – then with the blink of an eye 6th place, just like that. Must have been that 6 seconds I pulled back one time....

Hannah has taken on the moniker of skate/sifty chick while recovering from a busted ankle so I didn’t have to arrange any impromptu catering this year. Marc may have busted a night lap in a fairly smart time, but that hasn’t been confirmed by the commissaries panel as yet.

My night lap was marred by lack of familiarity with the night time riding environment even though I had a new light set up which bang for your buck (again, there’s the plug) is awesome.

Or was it the total lack of training or recent blip in the game plan ?

All three I’d say – I was done.

Fortunately Craig wasn’t and he bought us home inside the time limit to chalk another lap up for team

While we all dipped out at a very well represented prize giving (riders and goodies) Craig did get an honourable mention for most determined effort to get there and some booze to boot. Nice.

Marc was in charge of post event fluid repatriation and thanks to Emmerson’s Brewery, dehydration wasn’t a factor.

Sunday dawned with the frost from Hell – wait that doesn’t make sense, because Hell didn’t actually freeze over, it was just very cold.

The Cafe was shut on (potentially) the most lucrative day of the year, but the girls had the coffee cart cranking again which was a smart move on their behalf.

We were packed up and ready to roll surprisingly early for us – well me anyway.

No trip away would be complete without a few distractions – the private museum in Naseby was a tremendous tribute to the past and his neighbour gets a special mention for his enthusiasm to motorsport; he was racing motorbikes at Porirua when I was in a pram !

Hayes Engineering in Oterehua was impressive for another dose of yesteryear.

And the chow and cuppa at the Cafe in Omakau was very pleasant.

Different to last year, but just as enjoyable for a bunch of different reasons.

Cheers Naseby.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

6th of March was supposed to go like this..

A lot happened that day.....

I'd entered the Alpine Classic - here was the words from the Otago Daily times newspaper 2 days later:

On a warm and sunny Saturday morning, about 100 cyclists took off on the tough 135km bike ride, from Queenstown to Wanaka over the Crown Range and back again, in the Outside Sports Alpine Classic Cycle Race 2010.
The field of 67 individual starters and 16 teams took off from Guilty Bar in central Queenstown, and were back in Queenstown in record times, with no accidents along the way.
Organiser Bill Godsall said the race had been attended by cyclists from all over the South Island, and he was very happy with this year's large and strong field.

A friend; Carl Boomsma did the first leg and I rode back to Queenstown - my wife & kids were going to be at the top of the Crown Range to cheer me on - I'd missed the bunch at the changeover so sent them a message I was on my way - Keighley replied that Charlie really wasn't well and they wouldn't make it.
I rode most of the 66km by myself and to make it brief; I suffered like a dog up the climb, descended like a grandma, but only got caught by one person and that was about 6 kms from the finish - he was 4th in the teams, we were 5th. Overall we got 29th from the 67 starters.
I was stoked to do so well.

I'd got a text when descending off the hill and checked my phone - two messages; one from Jess saying that when I got the message from Keighley that I wasn't to panic and it was all under control - the other message said that Charlie my 2 year old son, Keighley and Jess were driving to Dunedin Hospital (3.5hrs away) to get Charlie checked out as he had been wobbly on his feet and not the best for a few weeks....

Next day he had an MRI scan which showed a golfball size "mass" inside his head which was applying pressure to his brain causing him to be unwell.
Later that day he was on the air ambulance to Starship (kids) Hospital in Auckland, 5 days later he endured the longest surgery in the world (well it was 8am-7.30pm before we got him back) and then another 5 days later he was up and about again.

Go figure.
Talk about an emotional roller coaster ride. Phew - words can't do it justice.

Luckily everyone rallied and was super supportive to help us all through it.
Charlie is now based in Christchurch for at least the next 4 months while he starts his year long course of chemo therapy to hopefully show any left over cancerous cells that he's the boss and they just aren't welcome !

There have been numerous articles in the local papers about a fundraiser the neighbours have put on to help raise money; so I can look after Emily in Wanaka (i.e less time for work), also so we can fly Emily up to see Mum and Charlie (her flights are not paid for) and lastly - Keighley had to pull out of her studies to become an Early Childhood Teacher and only got 1/2 her fees back - hopefully she can resume next year.
You can read about us here, here and here.

One of our friends in England suggested putting a Paypal logo up on this blog which works for our Internationals who have flown the coup -
thanks Amy - I'd never have thought of that myself.

Everyone's support and generosity is overwhelming, but will really help us get through this time in our lives in much better shape -

A huge thank you to you all.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Holidays, Rails & New Trails

This post is bought to you by myself dating Mid February 2010 back to our family vacation in December 2009.

The Upper Clutha Tracks Trust have been putting time, money and resources into some great new trails alongside Lake Wanaka, Hawea River and the Clutha River.

I'm sure there is a lot more they contribute to but today we're talking about the new trail from Albert Town (where we live - 5 kms from Lake Wanaka) to Luggate (another 12kms by car) that follows the Clutha River.
It's so cool I've done it twice in 4 days..

Did I mention the Luggate Hotel has 8 beers on tap and a glass jug sets you back about 10 bucks?

There, just did.

Saturday was with Callum on the yellow terror rigid single speed and this avo with Paul Smith (formerly of Essence Bicycle) on his Singular single speed 29er.

Other recent bike rides feature my dad on my Karate Monkey and my son Charlie riding on the back of Gary Fisher with me in the pilot seat.

Last year UCTT finished another trail alongside the Hawea River right up to Lake Hawea (about 10km from home, one way)

We did 1/2 of it on Sunday stopping for peanut butter sandwiches...

Other rides of note was from my brothers place in Petone up Wainuiomata Hill - yep, you did read corectly I did indeed ride up it this time - no shuttling and then South along the ridgeline and down into Wainuiomata.

This is one of Caleb's best ever tracks and his video does more justice than me telling you all about it.

Karangahake Gorge near Waihi on the Corromandel was another great day out with Tom & Owen.
Mmmmmmmmm can you say Native trail goodness ?

On holiday in Nelson over Xmas I was crook as dog who just got kicked in the guts, so it was pretty low key taking the kids on the back to the shop sort of stuff........

And there was a brewery round the corner from the motorcamp we stayed at in Mapua.

Riding it was none the less.

Oh me and Flossy got to bomb down the South side of Takaka Hill on borrowed bikes which was pretty cool, but also shows how inefficient baggy shorts and a casual button front shirt are for sneaking through the wind at warp factor 40km/h.

Only good for about 38 and who wants to get in a tuck wearing flip flops ?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Another perspective on the weekend's ride

This just in from our newest contributor - yeah, the guy about to whack it into the hammer....

"Attached a photo from the weekend if you need a contribution to the wettest story of the year - this what the front looked like 15 seconds before it went single file gutter."
Thanks Scotty.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

92km of yeah well, you know.....well "fun"

I think it only fair to say for starters I'm not really one for setting long term goals and whatnot - imagine the disappointment if you got run over tomorrow and you hadn't ticked them all off.

But I did say late last year that I'd (like) to do the "fun ride" round Lake Dunstan and then I promptly ended up on death's door before Christmas with a head cold/sinus thing that would have laid up even swine flu itself.....

So I kind of said yeah nah.

Right up till yesterday infact - even after I'd installed the new (wider) handlebars (check it out man, I'm riding a 31.8mm stem now.....), changed the seat, cleaned the bike, fiddled with the seat height a few times, took it for a test ride in the new kit and still, I was to coin a DB phrase - ambivalent about forking out $35 + 10 bucks late fee to ride round a lake that is only 30 minutes away and I could ride round it anytime I like!

So, fast forward to this morning: woke to rain - oh goody I can sleep in.....

Still looking for inspiration.........................................................

Found this on the interweb last night and after that I thought :

"If Andrew Meo can still lay the smack down at 47, I can bluff my way through a 92km fun rideat 40"

Rain stopped: bugger might have to go and do it - plenty of time to make it - yeah lets go.

Coffee x 2- check.

Bin full of stuff - check

Bike - check

Shoes - had to stop 10 km down the road: to....... - check.

Forked over the money, much relieved that they did this:

-instead of pin holes thru the new jersey.

Got changed, went for a roll to suss out the finish - like I'd be featuring, but at least I'd know when to slow down...and then the wind changed to a Southerly and it rained.


Money down, must ride now.

It's been a while since I've turned up at a "fun ride" seems that the guy who invented carbon must be laughing all the way to his big fat bank.

Even in the deep south, the fashion setters make an appearance:

Then we lined up, started rolling and it rained.

Riding, riding - it rained heavier.

Riding riding then it really rained a lot and we weren't even out the neutral zone.

I knew we were out the neutral zone because Scotty from Outside Sports got things going in the tailwind at 60km.....

My grupetto was a little more sedate, but the big ring it was in and before I knew what was happening I was bridging a gap and moving through the field and feeling ok - well I wasn't puking at least.

Thanks tail wind - you rock.

And no one was in toeclips !

A couple of old steeel frames, but I was on my new to me but 5 year old carbon Trek, so no time to mix and mingle discusing friction shifters buddy - I've moved to nine, yes nine of the finest on the bars !

Cross wind section from Taras to Maori Point Road; I was the man and pulled the bunch on through - I thought I was just riding on the front, but some guy said "nice work there" and he looked like he'd conservatively done about a million km's in his day - same Sidi shoes as me too.

I commented of course that I thought I had the oldest shoes, but no, we had matching it seems.

"Got them in '94" he said.

I replied that mine had been riding with Johan Museew when Smile Upton owned them.

Anyways, Luggate came and went 50 km's from the start in 1hr 20 mins...........pretty good.

Then it was head wind to home (42km) and rain and a bunch that couldn't really organise a piss up in a brewery.

So I sat in, had lunch and then it rained - a lot.

Like if you were driving in your car, you would have slowed down to 60km/h and put your lights on too.

It was the most wet I'd ever been riding my bike.

Then we had thunder and lightening as well. Wicked.

At least I didn't have a mortgage payment of carbon wheels out there in the deluge.

I was pretty glad I had my knee and arm warmers on...and my vest on under my jersey, and a merino 1st layer - ah, I can hear Andrew Meo's words now "always wear a woolly layer even in summer - can't go wrong"

This was true as it was indeed summer and fortunately the sheep have become softer and market themselves better these days.

Andrew was also reknowned for issuing red cards for infringements over incorrect sock length, missing a turn on the front, letting a gap open up.........once when the boys were racing in the Top of the South Tour, we spent a whole afternoon driving around Blenheim looking for a good coffee.

We'd do a drive by then send in a scout on recon, filter machines earning a "no way in hell" and a dirty machine a similar response.

But I digress - do check out Slims blog tho, he had quite the day today.

Somehow I ended up last wheel in a beautiful echelon of five riders spread across the road past the Cherry farms - it was a thing of greatness as everyone else was strung off my wheel unable to organise another line.

Ah, it was the sort of thing even the Ariostia team time trial would have been proud of.

Shame my sodden gloves and hands couldn't feel the bars or that my ankles were part of my body at this point....

We even collected up another small bunch - life was good.

The finish line was looming after a left hander in the industrial area, 4 guys jumped, I didn't.

Well until two bloody school girls who had wheel sucked their way around the whole way tried to roll me on the line - I don't think so.

"Stop riding like a pussy" was all I could hear from Slim at that point, so I fed it to them and finished 4th in our bunch of maybe 30 riders.


Race distance 92km,

My time 3hr 1 minute.

Winning time 2hr 20 minutes by the young junior who won 3 golds at the Track Worlds in Russia last year.

I finished 29th overall in the 35-44 year old age group and 79th overall out of 243 riders, so just squeaked into the top 3rd off the field.

I ate 2 bananas, 1 muesli bar and drank 1.5 bottles of water from my bottles and must have swallowed another 16 gallons of wheel spray.

1 cup (more or less) of dirty water emptied out of the frame when I got home.

90 psi in the Conti 700 x 28 tires made the big chip that much more comfortable - poo poo the nay sayers.

At prize givinh I picked up a flyer for another race in 2 months time from Queenstown to Wanaka and return over the Crown Range and thought yeah that wouldn't be so bad....

Which is good as I've finished other "fun" rides previously and wanted to sell the bike.

Didn't get a spot prize, but never mind that's racing.