Saturday, September 29, 2007

It's a dirty job...

But someone's gotta do it! I showed these lovely samples of the Lynskey family's titanium artisanship to a client this arvo...jeepers, what a life.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Paris in the Springtime

I'm still coming down off the race-rush of last weekend, but I had a lovely week hanging with the family, as well as catching up with my man Paul Larkin and my good friend and star Roadworks rider John Randal (pictured above putting the hurt on!). I did a bit of a bike-fit on John on his Specialized Roubaix (long overdue...) and he promptly went out and rode 175km with Simon Kennett the next day! Luckily no deleterious effects reported...

I was also really pleased to get a visit today from another good mate, my old Wholly Bagels DS Karl Kane. He went over to the Tour de France this year to interview NZ National Road Champion Julian Dean, as well as to research his thesis, so it was great to hear some of his cool Tales from the Peloton. I hope to hear more over a quiet rum or two very soon.

Anyway, I was able to fit some work around all the gossip and this Pinarello Paris with Dura-Ace was the week's highlight. Yummy!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Grammar Hammer - Second Hit!

The next day dawned a bit early for this slightly blurry around the edges wrench, but a healthy breakfast was eaten outside on this balmy morn and I was soon refreshed and ready for the day.

We droved up to Fielding for day two's road races, parked up at a school and I set up my workshop outside to deal with the inevitable niggles. Most of the jobs were more about putting the boys' minds at ease than any real necessity, although just as the U20s were warming up I had a mystery gear issue on one of their bikes that I had some difficulty working out, but ended up sorting (I thought) by replacing the rear derailleur housing. I then took the opportunity to go to the neutralised area to watch them roll out, take the opportunity to say gidday to Tom David, Myron Simpson, Andy McNab, Alex McGregor and Alex Cull, who I worked with at Canberra and Mooball earlier in the year, and then cheer on the Grammar Hammer as they set off...

Back to my tools and stand to be ready for other age groups warming up, where I was able to give a few of the younger boys advice on their set-ups. Bizarrely, the only work I had to do now was to check over a few of bikes after some unfortunate and painful looking roller mishaps - no real harm done luckily!

Some time later the U20s finished - no win, but a fine 3rd place for Alex Ray, 5th and 6th were great results behind Junior Worlds reps Myron Simpson and Alex Cull. Team Captain and 5th place finisher Aaron Gate told me though that his gears that I had such trouble with before the race had been pricking him in the finger! It turned out that his gear cable was a fraction away from snapping, and it was one of the strands painfully spearing his finger, though luckily for me the gears still worked well enough to race...

After a working on a few more bits and pieces, and chaffing a nice saussie and onions on bread, I wandered down to the finish straight to join some of the parents cheering on some of the junior groups as they finished. I then meandered back to the "workshop" to tidy up. Once everyone had finished safely and I had established that there were no mechanicals again (apart from Aaron's gear cable breakage), I packed my stuff into Hunno's wagon and we were off.

We drove to Ashurst now, where the Junior Tour of the Manawatu was being held. Hunno put on his selectors hat and a motorbike helmet and jumped on the back of Mike McRedmond's moto to follow around the race, while I blagged a ride with my good friend Ken Bewley, his wife Sue and son Zac to spectate. Ken is a master tactician, coach and UCI commissaire who I first met at the MTB Worlds in Rotorua, where we had a lot of laughs on top of Ngongotaha at Tech 2. Ken and I then worked together on the Oceania/Mooball trip, where he was assistant team manager and expert pool tutor - although I maintain it was actually a very close game.

We drove up to the top of Waterfall Road, the major climb of the stage, so Ken could check the progress of the three athletes he was coaching. Great fun spectating without having to worry if I'd done a good job on the bikes, although a few of the Grammar boys were backing up from the TTT and riding the Tour instead of doing the Fielding event. It was lovely to be in the countryside surrounded by enthusiastic parents, coaches and non-competing riders, and we had a great time cheering on the efforts of the young competitors as they rode the hill at warp speed.

After a quick wrestle to get spectator and cyclo-cross novice Alex Culls' massively twisted chain back on his Tarmac properly, we then jumped in the Bewleymobile for a quick fang to the final climb then, after grimacing at the attrition, we drove back to Ashurst to watch the finishes and grab a quick coffee. There was some great sprinting to be seen, but I don't have any results to share sorry, as we were off again back to Palmy!

Once at the motel, I replaced Aaron's gear cable and made sure his bike was ready for the Manfield Points Races the following day, then packed my tools back into the Holden and had a final beer with Hunno and Ken. Dale Johnson gave me a lovely thank you, then I shook hands with as many of the boys and parents I could find and I was off back to Wellington and my family...

This weekend was a fantastic experience for me. I was blown away by the fantastic cycling culture that Auckland Grammar School has created through the great work of the teachers and parents, as well as helpers like Graham Hunn and, of course, the boys themselves. Without fail, the boys were polite and pleasant, and showed so much passion and commitment for the sport it humbled me at times. They are a truly special bunch of kids, that are a great credit to their school, and they gave me hope for the future - both in terms of bike racing and in the wider sense! Quite apart from the two wins and two records we set, the racing was quality throughout and I felt truly proud and privileged to be a part of this team; in fact I have already asked if they'll have me back next year.

The boys competed the following day in points races at the Manfield motoracing track where apparently yet again the Grammar Hammer was dropped bigtime. Hunno tells me he has rarely seen such awesome team racing in his life. It doesn't surprise me a bit. This dominant team effort resulted in an Under 20 win for my man Aaron Gate, which pleases me no end...

Once again, thanks for your time. CU, Oli

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Grammar Hammer!

I rolled into Palmy around noon, dropped the Lynskey 420 off with my client, then rendezvoused with the AGS guys at the motel. Hunno introduced me to Grammar's Master of Cycling, Dale Johnson, and some of the boys and parents and I was straight into it.
I transferred my stand and tools to Graham's car, then we drove out to the course at Koputeroa (7k out of Levin) , where I did my first repair - putting a new Record chain on one of the bikes. A couple more little bits and pieces then we followed one of the squads around the Teams Time Trial course...

At this point, I was starting to get what I was involved in. Auckland Grammar has, through the hard work of some parents and key teachers like Dale, created an amazing cycling culture. Since the event's inception in 1968, Grammar has won the Sir Bernard Fergusson TTT no less than 19 times! The school is defending champion this year, and to compete against about 600 girls and boys from Intermediates and Colleges all over NZ, an incredible 11 Grammar teams have been sent. These are composed of 7 junior teams and 4 senior teams. These teams are populated by kids from all the ages, backgrounds and abilities imaginable, yet all are incredibly supportive of each other, and share a cool and inspiring (there you go!) bond forged in working together towards success.

This is matched by an incredible bunch of parents - both cycling and non-cycling - who do everything from feed the whole crew, to massage, to coach, to driving and many other vital tasks. Graham has had sons go through Grammar but no longer, yet he still is an integral part of the Team and it's associated success, utilising his many years of experience as a rider for New Zealand, his 7 years of coaching the NZ Women's Team, and his prodigious cycling knowledge.

Once we had sussed the TTT course, it was back to the motel for the real work to begin. I set up at a picnic table in the sun, and began working on a long stream of bikes. Many of them needed a fair amount of fettling, but before I knew it it was beer o'clock, followed by a Team meeting, where the A Team were presented and given yellow helmets and booties, then we meandered down to the neighbouring motel for a beautiful meal provided by the AGS parents, who made me feel very welcome and a total part of the Team.

The next day was my favourite day: Race Day. We loaded up and drove out to the course, and set up shop in a classroom of Koputeroa School. I parked up under a kowhai tree and began work on the bikes I hadn't been able to get to last night. It seemed like 50 bikes, but was probably only half that, with no real dramas to speak of luckily. I was stoked my good friend Jazz Apples Team mechanic Paul Larkin arrived from Wellington to support us.

The day was perfect for racing; still and warm, without being too hot. It was hard to keep track of who was racing and how they were doing, but the Team spirit was amazing. Laughter was the way to calm nerves, it seemed...Then we got word that the Junior A Team had won in a new course record! Awesome! And something for the Seniors to really key off, not that they were suffering a lack of motivation!

After sorting the final B and A team bikes, I grabbed a pair of wheels and followed Hunno down to the start area past about 8 billion dollars worth of bikes; Pinarellos were everywhere, but there were Serottas, Look 595s, Colnagos, De Rosas and many, many others. I was taking in the huge atmosphere when I realised one of the boys had a problem - he had been fitting a wheel and somehow dislodged a brake shoe. The problem was he only had a couple of minutes until the start! I whipped off the pad and sorted it while he went through the rollout check, then whacked the fixed pad back on in time for him to get to the start for the 15 second count and go. Phew!

Then we waited for the Teams at the sharp end to go. Westlake Boys looked great as they started - smooth and focussed. St Kentigerns were hot favourites, with NZ reps Myron Simpson and Tom David featuring, but their chances were dealt a serious blow with one rider dropping his chain metres from the start and being unable to fix it fast enough to get back on. Then Grammar A took off to a huge roar. We waited. Westlake appeared, but were ever so slightly hindered by some inane driving by a local in a ute, who seemed to find it amusing to endanger children on bicycles. Somehow noone was hurt, and they thundered off towards the (hidden to us) finish. Next came the St Kents boys looking pretty good considering they were a man down, although they were down on Westlake. A small wait and here they were! The A Team appeared looking like a ProTour team pedalling in one sharp line in their yellow helmets and booties. Hunno on the stopwatch gave us a split as they blasted past to another massive roar; 8 seconds up! Could they hold it?

Parents were texting and calling the supporters at the finish, but noone could raise an answer. Word came over the grapevine that we had won by 5 seconds, and in another course record, but we couldn't confirm this at all! Then, suddenly, a buzz started around us as from down the road in the distance appeared a huge blue AGS banner being carried by two Old Boys and members of the winning '06 Team, Blair and Roman. These hard case legends had spent their first year of University coaching their successors, and had spent hours making up the banners that were slowly approaching us, as we realised that both the A and B Teams were riding along behind it, accompanied by all the other supporters. We cheered wildly assuming this display of ostentatious braggadio meant we had definitely won, only to have the boys all asking if they had! As Hunno put it, it was lucky we had or we would have looked like real idiots!

After that we basked in the glow of our success for a good long time, as we all slowly made our way back to the classroom and the eventual presentation ceremonies. I was rapt to hear that we had had no mechanicals, although we did have a crash in one of the junior teams. Luckily, he was okay, and I sorted his bike no problems. A few small post-race cassette swaps and then I packed up. The medals ceremony began with AGS banners strung up in every available part of the courts they were being held in, although I was forced to disgrace myself in the Team's eyes by cutting down one of the huge banners, as parents from the other schools didn't seem to want AGS in all the photos! Go figure...I was honoured to get a hard time from Aaron Gate, the A Team Captain, in his speech as he let me know my work had been appreciated by them.

After collecting "Bernie" (the trophy), we packed up and drove back to the motel for a quick shower, a couple of celebratory ales, then we went along to the Palmy Convention Centre for the Grammar function. Good food, speeches (including by NZ Junior Track Coach, Mike McRedmond), Monkey Rolls and more than a few beers, it was on to the pub to see the night out...I'll draw a curtain on the evening there, and relate the Sunday's road races in my next post.

Cheers, and thanks for reading...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I'm off!

Well the tools are all sorted, the stand is packed and I have TWO trackpumps (don't ask!) ready to load in the Holden tomorrow morning. Then, after dropping Bodhi at kindy, I am driving up to Palmy to drop off the completed Lynskey HB420R I built over the weekend, and then on to rendezvous with my man Hunno to begin working as the Auckland Grammar Cycling Team mechanic at the Secondary School Nationals, as mentioned in the post below.

I'm really looking forward to another bike related road trip - the last time I loaded up the car for this purpose was as a BikeNZ mechanic for the Trust House Women's Tour of NZ in March, which was a continuation of the cool trip I did to Geelong (read about it at Roadworks Archive). That time I had the great honour of working for established champions like Sarah Ulmer, Jo Keisanowski, Meshy Holt and Toni Bradshaw, but this trip will be great to work with some of the champions of the future...Ace!

I will be back at the shop at around noon on Monday the 24th - hopefully after an inspiring weekend with no drama!

Above is another cool bike I worked on this week - a Chorus BMC SLC-01 in Astana livery...

As ever, thanks for reading. Cheers, Oli

Monday, September 17, 2007

Away this Friday!

I'm posting to let everyone know that I will be away from the shop this Friday the 21st of September. I am going to be working as a mechanic for defending champions Auckland Grammar School (!) at the 2007 Scottwood Trust National Secondary Schools Road Cycling Championships and Sir Bernard Fergusson Teams Time Trial in Levin, so won't be back in town until late on Sunday.

I'm really looking forward to watching the best school-age riders in the country compete, and I'll be taking note of who will be our next Ulmers, Deans, Prydes and Hendersons...

this means if you want anything done this week you'd better get in very fast!

Just because I haven't built another nice bike since Saturday, here's a gratuitous shot of my own bike. This Bianchi TSX-UL is a beautiful ride, despite it's 9.65kg weight. The frame is circa 1996, equipped with Campagnolo Record components, Ambrosio Giro d'Italia rims with Veloflex Pave tyres, ITM Krystal Ti stem and Millennium 'bars, and Celeste Fizik Arione saddle.

Hope you like!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Lynskey building...

Well Friday was a bit busier than I anticipated and I wasn't able to do much on the new '08 HB420R Lynskey, but I thought I'd take advantage of a kid-free day to build it today (Saturday). It needed a tiny bit of thread chasing in the bottom bracket but apart from that it fell together. What a pleasure and a treat it is to build up Campagnolo equipped titanium road bikes! I'm very lucky...

Anyway, it isn't quite finished yet. The client is supplying his saddle and pedals then we'll do a fitting to ensure it's as dialled in to his morphology as possible, and then during the week I'll finish cutting down the Alpha Q steerer and sort the cable housing lengths to complete this stunning machine.

That's put me in a good mood for the day, so it's off up to Northland to visit Jonty and Selwyn at Revolution Bicycles now...have a great weekend! CU, Oli

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Patience is a virtue

I can't wait for Friday...

Pegoretti Duende

Just thought I'd show you a picture of a really beautiful Italian steel road machine that I worked on today. My friend Richard got me to order this Pegoretti frameset in and built it for him a few years ago but, and because it was in today getting the new handlebars, stem and tape sorted I thought I'd take the opportunity to take some pictures of it.

Dario Pegoretti is a genius framebuilder, and this Duende is a stunning example of his work. It is mainly Campagnolo Chorus equipped, with Mavic Open Pro/Chris King wheels I built, Reynolds carbon fork, Thomson seatpost and stem, and Deda classic bars...mmmmmm...

Saturday, September 8, 2007

What's goin' on...

Hey there.

I thought a blog might be a good way for me to let you know what I'm up to in a slightly more up to date fashion than my website may allow, so I'll be posting news on my current work status, BikeNZ work, absence from work :blush: , cool projects or just any random news I feel like you should know.

After the quietest winter I think I've ever experienced, things have gone ballistic over the last month or so, and as well as the usual things I do I have been fortunate enough to be building some very fruity machines for clients, one of which was John Kirkaldie's new 08 Turner DHR (above) in conjunction with Matt from Wide Open Distributors. I have also had a great time putting together three very hot Lynskey titanium road machines courtesy of Bike Fixation, one of which you'll see at the very bottom of this blog. At the bottom of this post is John Kingston's lovely Intense 6.6 completed on his birthday last week. Also keep an eye out for some more of the beautiful bikes I'll be building which will being posted here...

I don't have much more to say right now(rare for me I know!), but I'll be updating this blog at least once a week so check me out every now and then. As ever, please email or ring me to make a booking - at the moment and into summer I am usually taking bookings a week in advance of being able to do the work, but I can sometimes squeeze in the odd urgent job too...

Pedal on, Oli

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Beginner Blog

Hi folks,
Just saying hi in advance of actually putting up a meaningful post.

Here's a lovely Lynskey to ogle in the meantime...

CU soon, Oli