Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bikes and wheels and stuff...

As Le Tour meanders it's way gently around the bucolic reaches of France in summer, we beaver away in the gritty wintry urbs of Wellington keeping Aotearoa rolling...

Some people are rolling on these:

I built these wheels for a customer in Auckland. Wes supplied the Mavic CXP33 rims and beautiful Chris King hubs and I built them up using DT Swiss Competition spokes in a 3x pattern. Lovely wheelset that will ride beautifully and will roll for many, many years.

Earle had me build him some wheels in about 1998 when I was at Cycle Services, but after years of hard thrashing on harsh Wairarapa roads his much loved Ambrosio rim had finally given up the ghost by cracking around the eyelet. He scoured the web and eventually found a replacement in the UK, so I rebuilt his Campagnolo Record hub into it.

Then it was time to build this lovely Litespeed Sewanee. A full XT build kit, including wheelset, and finishing kit from Thomson, Ritchey, Fizik and Maxxis makes for a stunning 25lb fully.

I built up this wheel for a custy just today. A DT EX5.1d rim on a Chris King bolt-on hub, using black DT Comp spokes and aluminium nipples. Burly, but not too bad weight wise...

Next up were these wheels. My friend Alex has just bought a very cool Salsa La Cruz cyclocross frame, which he has lovingly assembled.

It was completed by this pair of spline-disc compatible XT hubs laced into Mavic Open Pro rims just in time for Alex to schralve his rig bigtime yo.

Then I was fortunate enough to be let loose on this fruity triathlon bike. Quintana Roo are a well-respected and long serving name in tri circles, but this is the first one I've ever built. Mainly Dura-Ace equipped it was beautifully specced and professionally finished...

I'm not sure if these wheels will be the race wheels for the QR, but I thought I'd post them as they're not too common in New Zealand. They are called Topolino wheels and are manufactured out of carbon fibre with kevlar spokes.

Now for the latest from the Jazz Apples. Every time I get one of these updates a little piece of me dies - I SHOULD BE THERE DAMMAT!! Seriously, it's just so cool to be treated as part of the Team still, and cooler still to see how awesomely they are racing! Yep, the Team successfully defended the Tour de Delta yellow jersey. Great job, Ruth!

Despite a skirmish or two in stage two of the Tour de Delta, the Jazz Apple Team forced a late break in the Ladner criterium to maintain their hold on the yellow fleece on Saturday. Thanks to someone's unrestrained paw on the prime bell, lap after lap prime chimes inflicted the sting of single-file concentration upon the herd of riders. In timely, ever-present fashion, Lauren Ellis marshalled all moves at the front managing to contain any serious threats. That was until tour leader Ruth bounced onto the deck in the major melee of the race. Ruffled but largely unhurt, both Ruth and Malindi gathered themselves in the pit, before Malindi took Ruth back to the front of the action within the lap. In the dying laps, Susy and Lauren bolted down the crowd-lined home stretch, piercing the group in several places. Ruth who was waiting with her boosters glowing and at the ready, launched down the long, fast back stretch with one and half to go. Only Cheerwine responded with Sarah Bamburger chasing on behalf of their on-form electric ladyland-like sprinter, Kelly Banjamin. The two caught Ruth in the last lap but were unable to respond with a counter, and Ruth sprinted home only to be taken by Benjamin in the latter stage of the sprint. Ruth conceeded 4 seconds to Benjamin in the time bonus but maintained the overall lead heading into day three's road race.

Tsawwassen Road Race

In the extreme South western corner of British Columbia, Tsawwassen's slopes lay home to a fishing village on Boundary Bay separating the States from Canada.

The Tour still only separated by small time margins, the 11 lap hilly circuit was reckoned by many as the single clear and present danger to shuffling the overall standings. Weighing anchor, the field drove straight into the day's first QOM within 1km. With amazonian strength in place of stature, Ruth advanced over the climb with the field akin to entrails in her wake. Reeling Ruth back after 3km, the field slowly chewed on the acerbic pill of facing Ruth's speed on the approaching ten QOM climbs.

As the Tsawwassen breeze strengthened, so did Jazz Apple's spirit. While Malindi slipped into any small breaks on the flat, on lap 7 Lauren and Susy struck into the climb, stringing out the field before Ruth flew by like a freshly released arrow from it's bow. Only Cheerwine's Sarah Bamburger was able to dangle on Ruth's velocity but refused to work forcing Ruth to drive ahead.

Unluckily, Giant's team of eight worked hard to bring her back and any counters made by Lauren and Susy only continued to minimize the group but all of whom worked together on the long gradual downhill and flat absorbing them and their efforts into the final stages of the race.

Although facing possible combat in a sprint against Benjamin, Pryde and Ellis continued to attack with Ellis then single-handedly managing to place Ruth at the forefront of the gallop. Turning into the final 300m-long windy finish stretch, Ruth drove it early, realizing it had to be a long difficult sprint or all would be lost against Benjamin's jump. Benjamin was caught off-guard being placed 8 places back in the fold of the group jumping to attention as the Jazz Apple jersey flew off the front. Thrashing down the finish stretch, Benjamin just clipped Ruth on the line in a brilliant duel of wills.

Second in the stage but arresting the QOM title as well as the overall win for the Tour de Delta (accompanied by a sensation or three of champagne) was reward enough for the Jazz Apple quartet, who now head to Vancouver's Gastown for the celebrated 'Gastown Grand Prix 'event on Wednesday evening.

Back to the workshop now - I gave this fine steed a fettle for Sepp the other day. Some new cables and a bit of a tickle up, as well as a check over of the PowerTap wheels I built some months ago. The Colnago Dream is an aluminium/carbon frame, naturally built up with Italy's finest components in Campagnolo Record. Gorgeous.

Lastly, my good friend Wheels brought me this wheel whose hub he was repacking. I built it on the 11th of July 1997. The braking surface on the rim is all but gone, the hub virtually ruined, yet despite obviously having been very well used for 11 years the wheel is still in perfect true and tension.

Forgive me this big-headed self aggrandisement, but I'm always stoked to see one of my wheels or bikes come back to me years down the track still in good shape. It's always been my ethos - to build with care and love, and to invest as much of my experience as I possibly can into every job.

Thanks for riding, Oli

1 comment:

ktm882 said...

The Topolino wheels are awesome, I recently came into a pair and they ride like velvet sheets on the often irregular roads of NYC. The inventor is the same guy who invented the original Spinergy RevX wheels. I know, I went to hight school with him. :-)