Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Great Divide!

Last night I had the privilege of attending Simon Kennett's Great Divide Race fundraising evening at Rongotai College. John Randal had organised it to help Simon get a leg up on his quest to raise money for his epic attempt on this astounding event. See the sidebar for more info on how you can help if you are able. It was a fascinating evening, where Simon did a slideshow of GDRs of the past, talked about his equipment, hope and fears, and answered many questions. He had his bike there for people to examine, and we also watched an amazing dvd called 24 Solo that both inspired and terrified us all as to the limits of human suffering in the name of sport...

It was a great night with a great turnout of supporters, who mingled and ate from a table groaning with delicious snacks. Sadly, I couldn't partake of any of the delicious fare having just been to the dentist, dammit. John's dad ran an auction of a Giro helmet provided by Active Kiwi and two NZ Team jackets from BikeNZ, and a draw of 5 Karapoti entries courtesy of Michael Jacques was held. Ground Effect also provided vouchers.

Simon shows us the route

A large crowd hangs off every word

Simon and his carefully plotted machine

Simon departs next Tuesday for a few weeks in the US acclimatising and doing some altitude work, so I'd like to take this opportunity to wish him all the very best on this extraordinary undertaking. Pedal on, Simon!

Alison Shanks (Jazz Apples) on the podium at Mt Hood

Just after my last post was published I got a great email from Susy Pryde, who is in the midst of the Jazz Apples Cycling Team three month road racing odyssey through the United States and Canada, and she had much better news regarding their racing results...

The Jazz Apples concerned are Susy Pryde, Ali Shanks, Lauren Ellis and Emma Petersen of New Zealand, together with Ruth Corset and Belinda Goss of Australia.

A quick update from the weekend's action: Ruth won the prestigious and very challenging Mt Hamilton road race on Sunday. The course always calls for the best climbing legs you can muster, and nothing short of a nifty pair will suffice with the 35km hill. It's enough to cause leg cramps thinking about it! Ruth shot early from the group, which had suffered damage over the preceding 9km hill, and took the QOM by a minute and a half. Ruth was caught by a group of eight after the 20 minute descent, which included Ali Shanks. Left shortly behind was myself and Lauren, and unfortunately we couldn't regain contact. However Ali executed a polished lead-out for Ruth on the uphill sprint and Ruth won by over two bike lengths!

Today (Memorial Day) in San Jose, we dodged the smoke screen from the San Jose fires and delivered another win, this time from Belinda. Susy lead out Belinda for two primes, which she secured, and Emma for one, which she also secured. Ruth had a couple of good nudges off the front but was chased down. The course was difficult to be alone due to the wind and the fact that the corners were very wide and very gentle (almost non-existent) making for fast cornering in a big pack. Emma and I lead out Belinda for the finish, which she also won in an exciting finish.

Everyone but Ruth leaves Thursday for the 'Tulsa Tough'. Ruth leaves for Montreal tomorrow for the World Cup next weekend, where she is riding for Australia.

A few pics from Mt Hood:

Susy and Ruth in the bunch

Time Trialing

Susy helps push the pace

Susy and Ruth in the thick of it

Susy warms down (or up?)

I am looking forward to hearing how the Tulsa Tough goes for the JA, as well as hearing how Ruth goes at the Montreal World Cup race, held on the famous Mont Royal course where Eddy Merckx won his final World Championship in 1974. Ruth will be racing alongside what is effectively Australia's Olympic team, so that bodes very well for her future career.

Due to the rather aggressive onset of winter the shop has gone dead at the moment (hence blogging during the day rather than the middle of the night!), but I've had a couple of interesting jobs to get on with. Retro bike enthusiast Dan has moved to Wellington with his cool collection of aged beauties, including a Hetchins, Raleigh, Mercian and a Roberts TT bike. He has just got Bob Jackson to repaint this lovely A.S. Gillott frame and fork, but unfortunately the airline didn't take the care of it they should have, so it arrived in NZ with a badly bent drop-out. Dan heard that I have some experience with this type of work so came to see me. It was a bit of a job to get it straight, but turned out sweet in the end.

A.S. Gillott

I also had time to chuck my track bike back together in the vain thought that one warm summers day I might feel like hurtling around the velodrome once more...It's an old Chas King Prendero with a mish-mash of bits on it. I keep thinking I'll get it repainted, but I'm of the Beausage school of thought - Beauty Through Usage - so I quite dig the battered but loved look of it. It rides like it was built for me too...

Chas King

Lastly, I got out for a great ride last weekend. Despite some foul weather my two elder sons and I rendezvoused with my friend Alex up at Makara Peak for a skid in the mud...

It's actually been a few months since I was able to persuade the boys to come for a blat, but as soon as I suggested it this time they were buzzing. In deference to their lack of recent riding, we didn't ride far - just up Koru, around the Lack of Skills Area and back down Lazy Fern - but the grins were wide and lasted all evening afterwards.

I guess it's only natural that as my boys become absorbed in the wide world of being teens that we'll spend less and less time together, but I really hope we can keep connecting in this way. They have suggested it go back to being a regular weekly outing, so we'll try and make that work. We've just got to get my wife and 5 year old Bodhi up to speed, but I'm working on that...

Sorry for the appalling quality of these photos - I didn't want to take the good camera out in the vile conditions so they are taken with my $100 phone!

Alex and the boys

The Brooke-White Boys

Cheers, Oli


ben said...

Oli - nice sticker on the wall behind that repaired frame!

Oli Brooke-White said...

Haha! Some of my favourite stuff I own (bags, caps, fleecy tops) is Cactus stuff - we go way back! :D