Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sarah Ulmer Retires!

Former World and current Olympic Individual Pursuit Champion Sarah Ulmer today announced her retirement from all cycling, due to the debilitating mystery leg ailment she has been suffering from for the last couple of years. She had been offered surgery but the chance of it helping was only 50% so Sarah decided the risks outweighed the possible benefits and decided to pull the plug on her illustrious cycling career...

I had the incredible privilege of working for/with Sarah on what has turned out to be her last proper race, the Trust House Tour of NZ, when I was mechanic for the NZ Women's Team earlier this year. She is every bit the Champion person as she is a Champion cyclist, so I'd like to thank her for her stellar and magnificent career, as well as being such a cool woman.

Cheers, Sarah! :)

In other news, I haven't had a second to post anything in the last couple of weeks due to the Taupo rush. It's always a busy time and one needs to make hay while the sun shines, so I have been working stupid hours to fit in as many clients bikes as I possibly could. I apologise profusely if you were someone I wasn't able to squeeze in...I have heard back from several of my friends and it seems PBs were the order of the day, so congratulations to all of you brave road warriors for your good work.

I completely missed taking any pix of some of the H.O.T.T.ness I have worked on over the last few weeks - Colnagos, Condors, Kuotas and many, many more, but here is a shot of a very cool Serotta MTB I revived a couple of weeks ago for my good friend Bill. As you can see, it's a late 90s build but a beautiful ride nonetheless...

I had a cool day last Saturday; in between work and a trip to the Stock Cars with my two eldest sons I jumped on my road bike and rode up and down Mt Victoria to spectate at the inaugural Wild Wellington 6/12 hour race. Very cool event based around the Hataitai Velodrome, and some of the cool trails up Mt Vic. I had many friends in this event but no Roadworks team - a situation I plan to rectify next year! Next MTB event up will be the Makara Rally on December the 9th, where I am one of the sponsors, will be helping marshall and will have a team riding. Check out Vorb for details on how to enter this cool event that benefits all of us who ride on the awesome trail network the Makara Peak Supporters have created for us all.

Speaking of Makara Peak, I had one of those completely brilliant rides today, on one of those rare days with both great weather and no schedule for once, so a couple of friends and I met at Makara Peak carpark at 10.30ish.
We hit up Koru at a decent clip, then meandered up the Snake Charmer. A quick pause to take in the view from the Summit, then down Aratihi. I rode point, but the trails were quiet up the top of the Park so had a wicked clear run down to the Pylon.
We began Missing Link and then made the unusual and confused decision to try Nikau the wrong way, despite the sign that said "wrong way".
The ride down into the valley was flowy but tight, with a couple of sketch moments in there to keep us sharp. The climb out, on the other hand...
We persevered to Leaping Lizard where we enthusiastically chose to re-do Nikau the RIGHT way - good call, as all those nasty pitches we'd just portaged up are an extremely fun technical downhill in the XC sense, and we rocked it. The ride out wasn't even that bad.
We exited onto ML where we waited for some good folk to make their way down, before discovering it was some more friends, so we chatted for a while, then they went off to either Aratihi or Leaping Lizard, while we rode up ML, then down Sally Alley, and up into Ridgeline Extension.
Now the flow really came on, as my legs were so poked I had virtually no choice but to coast as much of it as I could, and rely on momentum to float me over the rough stuff. The Trail Pixies have done a great job all over the Park cleaning the tracks up for the Rally, and RE is just perfect! Some decent (for me) air at Picnic Table, and a drifty zoom down onto Big Tom's Wheelie.
Two of us hit what we thought was the start of Lazy Fern , only to get completely confused (despite having worked there only three days prior!), and lose our third guy. We eventually regrouped and slowly edged our way down LF, checking it out as we went, then finished off back at the carpark feeling great...
It was a revelation of a ride; flowy, techy, uppy, downy, with great company (thanks Matt and Alex!), no crashes, ridden in great weather, and I was even pleasantly surprised by my own form for once!
There's nothing like a good ride like this for making you appreciate the beers afterwards! I then fell asleep on the couch watching the Sword in the Stone with Bodhi! :-D

One last thing; if you can you should grab a copy of the latest North and South magazine (December 2007 issue) and have a read of Jim Robinson's excellent article on the current growing popularity of cycling. Jim has even included some quotes from me, along with other much better qualified personages!

Hopefully have less inane banter and more bling-bling for y'all next time...CU, Oli