Saturday, August 30, 2008

You should see the other guy!

I'll start today's blog with the usual pictures of bikes, and I'll finish with a brief description of my ill-advised attempt to ride a trail that has always freaked me out a bit. First the bikes...

I gave this 90s Trek 8500 belonging to my good friend Pip a service. Pip was a successful Cycle Services team rider - adept at both road and MTB races, with a few triathlons thrown in for good measure. Pip also helped design my Roadworks logos, so I owe her a great debt. Of late Pip has been kept busy with her beautiful baby daughter Lauren, but has been making noises about getting out on a bike again so her husband Jimmy Bottles brought her steed in for a bloody good going over...I stripped the bike right down, rebuilt and repacked everything, fitted a whole new drivetrain and some cables and generally tweaked it up for her. Great to hear she got out for a blast out to Pencarrow, though I was sorry to hear she almost immediately got a puncture!



My next job was to strip down this Avanti Pista so Andrew could take the frame away for a Ross Bee custom paintjob. While I have the parts left in the shop I'm rebuilding the stock wheels also, as the old spokes had corroded and begun randomly snapping - you can see some broken spokes in the pic of the Pista in the stand...





Andrew also brought me an old Spinergy carbon road wheel which I converted to a fixed wheel using this cool Surly Fixxer, designed to replace the freehub. Due to the unusual axle configuration of the Spinergy it wasn't quite as simple as just fitting the supplied axle - I had to do some cunning work to get it all to fit. I'll have to wait until the wheel is back from getting it's graphics applied before I take some pics, but here's the Fixxer. Very cool device indeed if you want to convert any Shimano type wheel to a fixed...



Next up was a cool revisit of The 39 Steps. Tom has finally received his correctly sized Colnago Master Saronni, so I was lucky enough to get a second shot at this building one of these delicious bikes...luckily for us all it turned out to fit him perfectly this time! (The seat went down after these shots were taken - I never put a post down until I'm sure it's at the right height just in case it gets garked)

Cheers, Tom!











Tom has another interesting task for me - I'm building a Cycleops Powertap SL 2.4 wireless hub into a Fulcrum R3 rim. As the rim is a 14 spoke drive side/7 spoke non-drive, I got Tom to get a 28 hole hub and I'm going to build it up with aero spokes in the same pattern as the Fulcrum original. The rim hasn't arrived yet, but the hub is very cool.



Next up was this Scott CR1 in for a bit of general maintenance.



Followed up by a new cassette and a bit of love for this T-Mobile edition Giant TCR-Advanced. It's equipped with Shimano 7800 Dura-Ace and, interestingly, Campagnolo Neutron wheels with a Shimano freehub! Udo is set for a great summer riding this wicked bike.



I was able to finish this big week off with another cool build - the first Lynskey Helix in New Zealand. This is going to be the personal ride of Dave from Bike Fixation, as well as a demo tool. Czech out the fascinating torsionally twisted top, down and seatstay tubes. The workmanship that has gone into it is amazing. Built up with 08 Campagnolo Record and Topolino wheels the 1350g 'L' frame built up into a 7.130g/15.71lb complete bike...







Amongst all this fruit and also the other jobs I did this week I was rapt to get a rare visit from my old friend Tallbeast, who was down from Auckland for the week. We decided that Thursday afternoon would be the day for a ride together - something we haven't done since last century! I arranged to meet him and two of my other friends Al and Rod at Makara Peak carpark, so I loaded the GT onto the Roadworks Service Van and set off...



The ride started out innocuously enough, with a huff and a puff up Koru and Sally Alley to the Snakecharmer, where I stopped to have a minor coronary - I'm a couple of kilos over my ideal weight and I'm starting to feel it! ;)



Rod and Tallbeast waiting patiently...



After a suitable time for recovery we rode up the Snakecharmer to the summit of Makara Peak. I actually didn't feel too bad riding up here - slow but steady was my mantra and I made it fine to partake of the splendid views on this spring-like day.

Clockwise from looking northeast...

















At the top we debated our options for getting back down - on such a great day we ruled out descending Aratihi in case of riders coming up. Zacs/Varleys/Wahine was my choice, but Ridgeline was the final verdict. Despite my well-founded wariness of this difficult trail the allure of Ridgeline Extension and Lazy Fern meant it seemed the logical choice.

If only I had listened to my initial instincts...

Ridgeline begins



After riding most of the first oddly rhythmed sections, including a couple of slippery downs, I had already had one small over the bars incident on a flat bit of trail where my front wheel dropped off the edge. Luckily I ended up in soft bushes and did no damage at all.

Setting off again



Tallbeast



Alex



Just after taking those last few pictures I had somehow ended up in the lead. A rush of blood to what I loosely describe as my "brain" meant that I was feeling like John Kirkaldie as I steamed down the trail, only to be confronted with my limitations in an abrupt and very painful way.

I decided I would try to repeat my earlier OTB, but this time on a steep and rocky hairpin - for the second time today my front wheel dropped off the outside of a left-hand corner, and again I must have grabbed a big handful of front Avid Juicy brake, as the next thing I recall was watching a large and pointy rock arrowing straight towards my eye as I slammed onto the side of the track with considerable force...

As I picked myself up to the mixture of concern and laughter from the boys, I began to realise that I was hurt but lucky to not be hurt worse - the damage was a sore face and wrist, and some minor grazing on my knees and knuckles. My helmet peak was pushed askew, and I had crap all over my shoulder, but my face was the worst off. My old Oakleys had a big scratch across one lens, directly over my eye, and my cheek already felt like I'd gone one on one with Mike Tyson.

After cleaning up - swelling came later!



After several minutes of ascertaining whether or not I was okay I decided that discretion was the better part of valour, so I gingerly walked my bike down the rest of Ridgeline to meet the boys at the head of Ridgeline Extension. I will admit to feeling somewhat discombobulated by this stage, but still keen to enjoy some tracks I know well and am comfortable to shralve.

After Rod and Tallbeast took off I minced my way down RE in a slightly more cautious than usual way, then we rode Magic Carpet to the Skills Area so Rod, Tall and Alex could do some mad hucks and shit. I sat on a log and chatted to another spectator while the boys went big, as witnessed in this superb Spoke quality picture I took of Rod jumping...



After a while the thrill of sitting watching got too much for me, and I was feeling much less rattled, so we saddled up for a blast back down Lazy Fern. While not technical at all (it's the DH part of the beginners loop of the MTB Park) LF is a great track to ride fast, as it has superb flow and bermed corners that just beg to be railed at speed, as long as exit visibility is clear. At last a bit of track that I know and love - what little mojo I possess was back so I took the lead and blasted down in the lead of the group...an awesome run!

Al exits Lazy Fern



Back to the carpark to use the superb bike washing facilities, then we dispersed to meet later on for a curry and a lager...Nice to have the afternoon clear to hang with some old friends, and despite my nasty slam this was a very cool day indeed.

I sit here typing this blog on another lovely Wellington day, but am not allowed to take a bike out as I have ended up with a light concussion, a very sore face and hand. The desire to ride again as soon as possible is strong though - maybe just not Ridgeline!

And to finish off, here's my great mate Henry with Olympic BMX Champion Anne-Caroline Chausson at MTB Worlds in Cairns, 1996. Henry was my boss at Cycle Services and was the first of us all to represent NZ as a mechanic. He met Anne-Caroline as she was on an upward trajectory that would lead to 17 World Championship titles in Downhill before retiring only to reappear as France's main BMX contender - rightly as it happened! I just thought it was very cool that he was clairvoyant enough to have his photo taken with her for just this sort of event...



Until next time, thanks for reading. Keep the rubber side down, Oli

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

yo now that's what i'm talking about...

i knew you could whip rod's arse