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.