Sunday, August 3, 2008

What's going on?

This interminable spell of vile weather we're going through at the moment has certainly slowed things down a bit, but I'm still lucky enough to be getting a couple of cool projects a week to augment the bread-and-butter work that keeps the family in the style to which they've become accustomed...

I did a full service on this beautiful Kuota Kredo belonging to my Delmaine Taupo Day/Nighter teammate Andrew. By full service, I mean I replaced the brake blocks, lubed the cables, checked the hubs and stripped, cleaned and greased the bottom bracket and headset...

Then there is this hot looking Litespeed Archon I got to build. This is my first chance to fit a Sram Red gruppo, although I've worked on a couple. The world's first sub-2kg groupset, along with the Topolino wheels, helped this titanium framed beauty to a 10 gram hair over the UCI imposed weight limit of 6.8kg without pedals. It surprised me that a ti framed rig could be so light, but yet feel so solid. As I say, hot.

My previous post's inquiries after some origins of the Reknown frame paid dividends, with some great information coming from a Vorb post I made about it. The discussion and some great photos are here.

Here are a couple of gratuitous pics of Rotorua Roadworks representative Paul Larkin's new singlespeed project, a Ventana frame built using some of the parts of his now sold Commencal Meta4. While I had nothing to do with either the sale or build of this bike, I love the look of it and Paul is flying the flag superbly as he always does, bless him!

Next week seems to be full up with wheel projects, along with some other bits and pieces. I really need to start putting in some good miles on the bike (any miles really!) in preparation for the Taupo Day/Nighter, so will be trying to drag myself out despite the rain. I've just bought some lights specially for this event, as my old home-made one just doesn't cut it any more. I got myself a NiteFlux Halogen/Photon 19 set off one of my wholesalers, that has an LED helmet light and a halogen handlebar mounted light. I'm testing it out this Wednesday on a nightride up Makara Peak with my good mate Alex, so I'm really looking forward to that...

On Friday night I went up to Revolution Bicycles to celebrate the birthday of my fellow IBD (Independent Bicycle Dealer), Jonty Ritchie. While Jonty was the star of the evening, I was also really glad to finally catch up with recently returned Great Divide Race legend, Simon Kennett. It was very cool to hear some of his tales from that extraordinary exploit, but he had to take off to do an interview on National Radio with Bryan Crump. In between beers and pizza, we turned on Jonty's radio and huddled around and listened to more entertaining anecdotes. For a podcast of it go here - you won't be sorry.

This is his latest blog entry:
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Five FAQs (and some answers)
1 - Did you enjoy it?

At times, very much. Overall, yes. But...the further into the race I got, the greater it seemed to be an emotional roller coaster. After about halfway it seemed to take 2-3 hours to warm up in the mornings. This could be very discouraging. Eventually, most days, the sun would come out, a fun descent would present itself, and maybe I'd have an enjoyable encounter with a rider or local person or some wildlife. Often the scenery was uplifting, as was my MP3 player and phone calls to Sarah. On the first day the ratio of fun to grind was about 10:1. By the last day it was 1:10. There is a correlation between those ratios and the amount of time I spent with fellow racers.

2 - Would you do it again?

If I had my time over - absolutely!

Will I do it again? No - once was enough. But I wouldn't rule out a similar challenge elsewhere.

3 - What happened to Rainer?

Rainer took a short-cut off Togwatee Pass (taking a fast stretch of highway rather than a 1hr+ hike in the snow). Just hours earlier, he indicated his intention to take that shortcut to a fellow racer (due to the pain he would experience pushing his bike, having broken his collar-bone 5 weeks earlier). At the end of the day he claimed to have been prevented from following the official route by a State Trooper. No other racers saw a State Trooper at this point.

The previous day he was seen missing a turn (and not returning there for at least 10 minutes). He then appeared to arrive at the next town before riders who had been in front of him on the official route.

It seems that Rainer may have been unaware of the importance of sticking to the official route. If he goes back next year, I expect he'll win.

4 - How did you and your bike handle the abuse?

I got very tired and experienced numbness in all points of contact with the bike. My lower back became numb where the backpack sat. My disgestive system became very cantankerous and I lost 11 hours to a stomach bug in Wyoming. My throat was often dry and sore. Various leg muscles seized up temporarily and my quads became very fatigued. My lips cracked. My brain became very tired. My weight went from 69kg to 67kg.

Now, 3 weeks later, my legs and fingers are still a bit weak, and my physical energy levels below average. My weight is 70kg.
[Too give this some perspective, Carl Hutchings ran a half marathon last week and Jenn Hopkins is currently cycle touring from Portland to San Francisco]

My bike was fine. Three bolts fell out of the granny chainring - that's all. Not a single puncture! I'll do a gear review shortly.

5 - Are you writing an article or book about it?

I'll do an article for SPOKE magazine, and a diary-style account here. There will also be the odd slideshow, including a big one at Rongatai College (where my gear will be auctioned off). This Friday I'll be interviewed at 8:10pm on Radio New Zealand National. There will be the odd extra article here and there, but no book - you'd all be bored to tears!
If you're in Wellington and want to hear more, sooner rather than later, come along to the tree planting at Makara Peak MTB Park this Sunday at 10am.

Bonus question: Where those Diamond Back shorts really 17 years old?

No, of course not. They were only 11 years old. I wore them over my Ground Effect shorts for a little extra padding in the mornings for a few days. [The Sams Bike Shop shorts I wore on day one were 17 years old]

Anyway, not much else to yak about this week sorry so I'll CU round like a Campagnolo disc wheel.

Cheers, Oli

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