Wednesday, August 10, 2011

With Spring not that far away and for myself, another year older and certainly wiser, I thought a recap of my own “World Cup of Cycling” was in order.

With some of those highly paid sports stars only showing their faces in a few events this year, I feel somewhat smug in the fact I turn up to work reasonably regularly, support a family, find time to shave once a week and spin the wheels:

Here we go, mostly in the right order.
Summer 2011:
Round Lake Dunstan fun road ride; 92 KM, January
The Wilier performed flawlessly, if only I could say the same for myself.
My brother borrowed my Serotta with 8 speed Dura Ace, his baggy shorts were certainly sneared at as he hung with the front bunch comfortably….
Scotty Rainsford smeared himself all over the road on the uphill after the red bridge, apparently the road could not contain his awesome power and something had to give.
The family came out to Lugatte to watch us sail past.
Neither of us got any spot prizes.
Can’t find the results, but it was a great day out – last year I did 3.01 – I would think I did about the same this year, and I think Trevor was about 15 mins quicker than me.

Over summer a couple of new bike were greeted in the stable.

I got an Intense Spider 29er (mtb for you heathens) which is way cool.

I trialled a Commencal Super 4 ( marathon XC bike) which wasn’t bad, but really only 4 inches of travel on 26” wheels. Come on. Gave it back.

Keighley got a round town ladies bike in the old but fashionably new frocks on bikes style. Ok it’s an old dunger in great condition that’s been pimped out:
Ultegra rear derailleur, Mary bars, my old cyclocross wheels and tires, XT thumbie shifter, full mudguards.

A new to me Panasonic Raleigh road frame to add to the collection; one day it might have full Dura Ace all over it.

And lastly for riding to work, a Schwinn touring bike that got stripped down and now sports Honjo hammered fenders, moustache bars, 700C wheels etc.

Going backwards a little to the end of 2010, there was the Otago/Southland singlespeed champs in Naseby.
Lets say it was bang on target for a typically debauched one gear race.
Stinking hot, start with a beer, a beer each lap, cooked legs, under geared on the flats, over geared on the hills, it was brilliant.
I’m not going to mention the fancy dress.

The Naseby 12 hour teams race has already had an honorable mention, but does get another event in May.

More on that later, because the next event was a 4hr solo effort in Hamner Springs.
Pre entered, along Peter Page from Doctor bike I was ready for anything.
Except the cats and dogs that fell from the sky.
Pete thought he might do two laps because the weather was so shite.
All I had to organize was food for the race.
No time to nip into town, so off to the food caravan waving a $50 note which the dutch proprietor swiftly grabbed and handed me back lolly cake, a coffee, apple strudel and something else I can’t remember and a bit of change.
“Never show a Dutchman all your money’ he said. How true.
After the first lap to sort of learn the way around it was just a mud bath.
My tire choice of Maxxis Ardents was ideal as it was the only pair I had and owned, so perfect really.
Actually they were great.
My family arrived – Keighley was sure I’d be all dog and having a less than fun time.
Ah ha ! Just the opposite I was having a ball.
I think my lap times were about 40-45 mins and I can’t find the results for that one either.
Lets say the winner on the days was the bikeshops that fixed up everyone’s rooted bikes thereafter.
I replaced all the bearings and the brakes pads. Most folks would have been up for a whole drive train as well.
The race organizer decided to shorten the 8 hr race to about 5.5 hrs – that’s how wet it was.
Pete hung in there for the 4 hrs, but his single pivot was no match for the VPP of the Intense.

For additional entertainment over the weekend, there was another earthquake in Christchurch leaving us without power for a few hours back at Pete’s place.
No damage, just frazzled nerves again.
The highlight for the kids was seeing The Wiggles live in concert – holy hell, a bike race and the Wiggles in one weekend. Something for everyone.

Next up in May was the Naseby six hour which was a fund raiser for the Christchurch earthquake.
Something that was unusual in the fact that I had the kids with me, instead of leaving them at home or off loading them to Keighley while I rode around like a hamster in a wheel.
Keighley was doing her first rogaine race with team Milf, so I had the kids and a willing team mate (Marc again) to look after them on alternate laps.
A completely different course to the 12 hour and what a ripper it was.
Marc’s bit of fluff; Hannah did the 6 hrs solo and made it with 10 seconds to spare
We on the other hand, toughed things out all day both on course and entertaining and keeping the wheels on the fun bus for the kids.
Oh, we had 10 minutes up our sleeve upon completion of the 6 hour mark.
Home and hosed you could say.
A clean sweep by Team Redwood Racing.
Then it was off to Dunedin after a gourmet dinner of roadside fish and chips in Ranfurly.
The kids did an awesome job – it was a HUGE day for them as we left Wanaka at about 6.30 am and arrived in Dunners about 9pm
The next day we did the museum and the swimming pools before driving home.

Invercargill 4/8 Hr Mid June
No kids this time. Flying solo for the weekend
Without sounding like a teenager, I hooked up the meanest digs for the weekend; above Cycle Surgery.
I even slept in Tom Skullys bed.
With only a few beers under my belt, I felt my form was God Like and I would conquer the 35 minute, pretty much flat course with ease.

Alas, my team mate; Marc (RR Dunners) was circulating two minutes a lap faster, so eating into my valuable recovery time and I fell apart at the 4 hour mark.
I suggested we call it a day as I made it with 10 seconds to spare, Marc replied that he would do a lap and we would discuss things thereafter.
He returned and I was in the same place in the tent as when he left, looking highly unmotivated to carry on riding.
So he did another lap.
Hannah had cleaned up the 4 hr girls solo class, so with that done and dusted, she was free to look after her man.
Or in her case, bugger off and get a free massage courtesy of the local Polytech students.
I was under the mild misapprehension that she might wish to contribute to our winning ways.
Seems I was wrong.
No matter.
After food – did I mention I put away two large pizzas over the course of the day ?
I went for a night lap, as did Marc and then the race finished and as usual, Hannah got a prize (admittedly she did win her grade) and also as usual we did not.
Then they drove home again making that about an 18 hour day, whereas I went back to the shop and drank myself into oblivion at the after ride party.
About 1am I wobbled upstairs and into the shower as I was in my riding gear…nice.
Next day was very slow and I’m pleased to note that I made it back onto solid food by mid afternoon.
After much reflection and discussion of this event, I can only assume that my absolute lack of training was potentially my undoing and that a 2 man team in an 8 hour event is a big ask especially with me and my two pizzas contributing ½ the fire power for the day.

National Cyclocross Champs Queenstown – two weeks after Invercargill.
My recovery phase was just about complete, so this was shaping up to be a good one.
Unfortunately the other 30 riders in front of me had more ambitious plans.
On a more positive note the 20 odd riders behind me need to lift their game.
My first official CX race – how exciting.
Queenstown MTB club put on a cracker of an event:
The course was excellent and up to UCI standards (I downloaded the rule book)
The BBQ was awesome.
Great tunes
Tony Moore on the mike
Once again I did not receive a prize.
Most everyone crashed on the super slippery muddy downhill near the finish – bragging here….I didn’t wish to muddy my very pro looking riding gear kept it upright.
60 mins + a lap = very hard work.

The pictures did not upload to this blog, so I'll do some kind of online Flickr thing or whatnot.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Naseby 12 hr Teams Race 2011

Plans were hatched months ago to be there for the 3rd year in a row.

A 29er team was planned…
Tony broke his ankle; he was out.
Mrs Oliver ended up in hospital therefore Phil was doubtful.
So we ended up with 4 x 29ers and a 26er in our 4 person team.
I know – we may have flouted the “rules” but we weren’t here to race as you will soon see…so it really didn’t matter.

So. We’d entered, we had a team, we had a ring-in from Taupo (Matt as in door) – what could go wrong ?

I bailed from work on Friday at 3pm to drop the tent off at the campsite and have some time to kick back at our Palatial Digs in Ranfurly Holiday Park – Motel unit this time, as nobody had booked any accom up till 5 days beforehand….whoops.

I was abducted by locals in Becks who had run out of gas then wouldn’t let me leave until I’d been fed and watered well beyond what someone wearing a uniform would think of as reasonable.
Let's just say I rolled into the Motel unit quite late and then Matt and myself giggled in our bunks trying not to wake up Pixie who was doing 12 hrs solo the next day…..she had earplugs. Wise move.

Saturday: weather: chilly start but fine.
Camp site; same as usual but not so much sun as the damn trees keep on growing and blocking out the sun…A fellow competitor who didn’t get his 29er ready in time had to move to the South side of pit lane but laughed at us in the shade all day.
We may join him next year.

Matt did not put his hand up for the first lap run around the campground, but got the task anyways as Phil and I have both done previously. This would have been the year to take the challenge as it was only a short run, but he had more running in store – stay tuned.

Phil did one lap then went to pick up his wife, then Craig took over but had to pull double duty for his sons team as one of their grommets couldn’t make it or more than likely was in the Alexandra Police cells….

Pixie hammered out the solo laps with Erin Green hot on her tail.
Marc gave me instructions for the handover: bottle, food, change bikes and don’t touch the Garmin – only Pixie can touch it !
Roger that, off he went for his lap.
Pixie came and went, single handedly I did what I was told and pushed her off up the hill with my left hand never to be washed again after been on her butt.

If only the next changeover went as well….

Marc and I were both down the back of the pits area getting things ready when unbeknownst to us Pixie came in, saw no one, grabbed a bottle off Erin’s mum -next door and carried on…
I went out on my next lap which I only think is fair to mention involved the first of a few shoddy changeovers….
Matt made his eyes bleed and pulled a 31 minute lap. He arrived, I was still dressed for snow conditions sitting in the shade drinking ½ a can of Monster Energy…crap. Off I went and man did I pay for it.
Somehow got my riding top off while riding and donned the Rambo sleeveless look and busted out my fastest time all day…33 minutes something I believe.

Pixie evidently came in and shared a few choice words with her crew chief/mechanic/life partner Marc.

Is it too early to mention my observation of possibly the same ladies cleavage as last year ?
A low slung tee shirt, two globes with their own independent orbits and a tattoo as well….
” Great cleavage” I muttered in a low tone – the surrounding tents uttered a collective gasp to which the girl raised her hand in a thank you salute and carried on her way.

I’m not 100 % sure of the next sequence of events but it went something like Marc was up for a lap, but not ready so was fussing around getting sorted when Craig appeared out of nowhere and got the wristband instead so took off….

Marc may have also shared a few choice words and did most definitely drop his bike and left the area and “go to Hell” or thereabouts.

Meanwhile I’m sure the other teams where dining out on our lack of commitment and disorganization, but hey, we had Monster Energy, a crack team or a team on crack (whichever) and 3 x 29ers & a Matt.

A quick check showed us in 13th place in the open mens category. Later on we were 17th. On completion 15th. I’d like to say true grit and determination got us there, but it was really Craig and Matt with their fast lap times.

Hey, lets have a little round up on the technology side of things.

Last year I couldn’t believe how many single speeds there were – this year it’s bloody 29ers.
I can say that as I own 2 of them.
Nice Segue to my own bike of choice: the Intense Spider 29er (dualie) which was awesome.
The only thing I changed for Naseby was my pedals, new seat and a new brand of chain oil. Which for me is an all time record when you consider what I normally get up to.

-Hottest guy would have been the guy wearing fuller upper body armour and a full face.
-Coolest guy would have been Tom from The Surgery Dunedin sporting just a pair hot pants.
-Nicest girl: (well my wife obviously, but in lieu of her not been present) I say the blondie dressed as Mini Mouse – a very good rider; I had to go up 2 gears to hang behind her on the hills…

I’m sure that if someone wanted to make a reality TV show we could have starred in it, but as with most weekends away; you had to be there.
The laughs and laps just kept on coming, so did Pixie and the bloody bike changes.

You could have heard a pin drop as she saw the lights mounted on the Superlight meaning Pixie would have maybe another 4 hrs stuck on the one bike, the one bike she isn’t completely Zen with, then she forgot to swap the GPS over and bumped her lights off the bars while sliding GPS into the bracket, my consoling words were met with anything but thanks. Then to make it worse Matt was trying to ace my turn at giving Pixie’s butt the much needed starting push ! I think not young man, step aside – I am a trained professional and you a mere helicopter pilot. Once again the other teams nearby hid behind their baked potatoes and cuppa soups.

Dusk settles upon us, the laps kept coming thick and fast; the A team of myself and Matt kept the wheels on the solo bus – it was probably Marc in reality but we enjoyed ourselves anyways – Matt sprinted around the campground with another bike and food on a couple of occasions – if it was me I would have disqualified myself for a bike change outside my own pits.

Ce la Vie.

I was offered beer but said I had to do a night lap first, so with that out the way and a calculation of time versus riders I had a beer and a shower and endured the unfruitful prizegiving.
Just so we're clear this picture is not the prize giving but a wee snack that Jeff: our camp commander whipped up...

Matt got the last spot prize; a case of Monster and a 6 pack of Speights (Good on ya mate) for making the journey from Taupo.
Pixie licked all the other girls in the solo class.
Anja Mcdonald smashed all the boys in the solo singlespeed class and won it overall.

Corbett; (Matt to his mum) did not disintegrate on his first foray into the potentially dark world of 12 hrs solo as predicted.
And it transpires that a major motivation for Pixie going at it all day like a 70 old with 7 Viagras onboard was that the boys had a bet on that Corbett could knock out more laps than her…..who would have even thought it ?

We have a whole year to convince Pixie that she should be our support crew and we do it solo next year, but so far this idea has not been met warmly.
Maybe publishing the photos of both me and Matt spooning her as she lay in a
lactic-acid-induced-semi-conscious-state later that night may do the trick ? Who really knows.

PS the longer course this year added 2 minutes to Ryan Cull’s once again fastest lap of the day.