Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wahine Day

What a contrast between today's gorgeous weather from the awful weather on that terrible day 40 years ago...I still have several memories of the Wahine Storm, but the most powerful are the memories of Pencarrow Beach, as a friend and I watched our Eastbourne volunteer firemen fathers drag survivors and bodies out of the surf while we sheltered safe in the back of Dad's Holden stationwagon. I remember the blowing surf and the wind-driven rain parting every now and then to give us sporadic glimpses of the Wahine as she rolled inexorably over onto her side. A terrible day indeed.

The Wahine Sinks: 10th April 1968

After a morning spent building wheels, I shut the shop and rode around the Bays. Of course I found myself riding past Barrett's Reef, where the Wahine initially hit the rocks - it looks a bit different today, and the almost non-existent wind is a marked contrast to the 270kph wind gusts recorded 40 years ago.

Barrett's Reef looking towards Pencarrow

I kept riding until I got to the Wahine Memorial Park. There were many people there attending the commemorative services, but I took a lone moment to reflect...

Steeple Rock - the Wahine's final resting place

I then punted around the rest of the Bays, the Waterfront, then up the Kemmelberg to the top of the Cable Car.

Photo Op

I then rode to Northland to see my good friend Jonty Ritchie at my favourite bike shop, Revolution Bicycles. Jonty made me a beautiful coffee and then he, his redoubtable offsider Alex and I chatted about Friere winning Ghent-Wevelghem, who will win Paris-Roubaix, and all the crap that makes us the major bike-geeks we are.

Revolution Bicycles - Northland Road

Then a quick blast down Glenmore Street and home again via the Short Bays (cut through Kilbirnie) and Island Bay to drink yet another coffee and get back into work.

Where are the press motos? I can't take pics of myself riding, dammit!

Dave Hicks' new wheel

I finished off the above cool wheel for Roadworks rider and last weekend's victor of the vet's section of the Porirua Traverse multisport race, Dave Hicks. A Surly s/s hub on a Mavic Xm819 UST rim, laced 3 cross with DT Competition spokes, and with a 16t freewheel on one side and an 18t on the other. Using only one of the freewheels this wheel is going to be thrashed hard-out at the 1st Rotorua Singlespeed Nationals on ANZAC weekend, as I fully expect Dave to be right up at the sharp end of the race. I was supposed to be riding this new and much-anticipated event, but of course I will be in China with the Jazz Apples. I'm quite sure Dave will have a couple of the well-deserved beers for me!

The last job for the day was to begin to de-rust as many of the moving parts of this cool bike made in India...

with the invaluable assistance of the now almost fully healed Harry in a gangsta lean.

Lstly, I'll finish off with a cool series of pics I got sent today by my friend and fellow NZ team wrench Kris Withington, who has now landed the prestigious and much deserved role as one of the mechanics for US pro team Slipstream-Chipotle. These pics are of the bikes that Slipstream will use in the Queen of the Classics, Paris-Roubaix, which is raced over incredibly rough and unruly sections of mud and cobbles on Napoleonic era "roads", so is an epic of bike destruction and hardman riding...

Getting the bikes ready to train on the cobbles

Close-ratio 46-53 chainrings

Extra mud clearance built in to the carbon Felt frameset

Mud clearance and long-reach brake calipers

Special 27mm wide tyres

2004 Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt's rig

NZ Road Champion Julian Dean's P-R bike

Grom's Slipstream nametags

Cheers, Oli

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