On Sunday my son Bodhi and I joined many others in attending Simon Kennett's post Great Divide Race slideshow and auction. We sat down up the back of the Rongotai College theatre and absorbed all of Simon's fascinating anecdotes about his incredible exploits, then laughed at the antics of the bidders in the auction. Good to see that he raised some money, but several items went unsold so check out his blog for details on bidding for the remainder...
Terrible quality pic of Simon's slideshow
The week didn't work very smoothly as far as work went, with a myriad of other things such as a root canal keeping me occupied and out of the shop, but I did get to work on my friend Grant's Trek in readiness for the upcoming final Balfour Pennington series road race run by my club PNP. To give Grant every possible advantage we replaced the drivetrain and gave it a good clean and service - the clean alone gave Grant a clear 20% more performance. ;)
Talking about clean bikes, I confiscated John Randal's Specialized Roubaix from him to give it some love. John is a machine as a rider but maintenance is low on his list of priorities with his busy work life and solo dad duties, so his bike gets thrashed race after race and ridden in all weathers without getting much attention. I gave the bike a full-on pro clean and service so that he could really throw down in the Balfour Pennington, as he was sitting reasonably high in the series overall and this was to be his first outing as a scratch rider after working his way back up the handicaps following a lengthy recovery from a nasty crash descending Hawkins Hill in May...
Wednesday dawned fine for what seemed like the first time in several months, so I took advantage of a morning cancellation to take up on John's kind offer of taking his Roubaix for a proper ride.
I am very lucky that many of my customers offer me the opportunity to take their bikes for a ride, but it's rare that any of them are actually big enough for me to ride more than a few hundred metres without killing my knees! Despite being only 183cm tall I have very long legs and I take a 61cm frame in standard geometry, where it seems the average size of my client's bikes would be around 56-58cm or smaller...
Anyway, I whacked the seat up a few centimetres and chucked my Campagnolo Pro-Fit pedals on and trundled around the Bays on this lovely, still winters day. The Roubaix was interesting to ride, especially in light of my recent experience with the similar concept of the Avanti Cadent. The Roubaix was a very nice ride, although I have to say that the Cadent definitely suited me better.
I've done this sort of photo series before, but I never tire of the Bays and I figure John's bike makes a bit of a difference...
A quick stop at the Havana Boatshed
On Saturday I was a marshal for the afore-mentioned PNP Balfour Pennington race 4, which was three circuits of the Miramar Peninsular, followed by an ascent of Maupuia Road towards the Wellington Prison to the finish. The weather forecast wasn't great, but the day turned out sunny and warm so I rode my Casati to Miramar wharf to get my safety vest and to catch up with the riders before they set off. Great to see a few old faces from my own racing days, although I couldn't help noticing that they all seemed a lot less hefty that I am these days - maybe now my kids are older and more self-sufficient I'll have the time and inclination to do the odd race again!
I got given what I thought would be a quiet corner to look after, but it seemed like the entire population of Miramar was doing laps in their SUVs, which made for some three-way confusion at times! Luckily I was joined by my good mate Henry, who rode his bike down from his home on the finishing climb to hang out and help control the chaos.
My corner (poor phone pic)
The race was hard fought, with the handicap gaps quite small causing the bunches to come together quite quickly. After the riders had all passed on their third and final lap, I said CU to Henry and rode my bike to watch them start the climb (as I knew I'd never be able to muscle my singlespeed up the hill!), but I was fortunate to get a lift to the finish with Simon Kennett in plenty of time to watch Roadworks rider John Randal finish a fine 5th over the line, for a great 3rd place in the prestigious Balfour Pennington series...
John and I post-race finish
A quick blast down the hill with the racers returning to the start at Miramar wharf, then I scooted home around the Bays just before the rain came in to complete a week with an almost unprecedented four days of riding! As I alluded to earlier, watching the race helped me remember that I used to really love the road scene no matter where I finished, so I am hoping to turn this small beginning into an imminent return to racing. I'll just have to get myself into a position where I can ride for more than an hour without being reduced to a crumbling ruin! I'm working on it... :D
I thought I'd finish up with a photo series of my workshop for those of you who haven't been in to czech it out. As you may know I'm not there any regular hours to speak of, but am always glad to show people around so feel free to contact me to bowl in and say hi. Even if I'm busy with a client or a repair there are magazines dating from today back to the late 70s to read, as well as lots of memorabilia to suss at your leisure.
The series goes around the whole shop in a clockwise direction
My young Padawan Bodhi gives the workshop the Big Thumb of Approval
With that I'll sign off for today. Cheers for reading, Oli