Well, it's pissing down outside on Saturday afternoon so what better time to chill out and rest after the last day of work for the year. I'm looking forward to doing lots of riding and family stuff over the break, and I've already been out today for an hour in the rain aboard my Casati, wearing my brand new Roadworks kit which arrived on Thursday. Lovely.
Thanks heaps to Ultimo for providing some awesome service - from my initial contact to delivery was only three weeks, so I am very impressed. I can also say that I love the quality of the gear, as a wet ride will certainly show up any bad traits of shorts in particular! John Randal likes his new jersey and first ever pair of matching shorts so much he wore them on his drive home from picking them up from me, then out to dinner and even the supermarket on his way home! Bless him for his love and loyalty to The Brand.
Despite all my bleating about being stressed recently, this week was actually great fun with some interesting stuff to do and lots of visitors and social times...I even snuck a ride in, but more on that later.
James is restoring a 1980 TI Raleigh, which turned out to be one of the late and much missed Ross Bee's final jobs before his tragic passing. I haven't seen the work yet but understand I'm to build it up once all the correct parts are assembled. If anyone has a Campagnolo Super Record headset in good condition, or a period chain please let me know and I'll put you in touch with James, as these will be the final pieces in the puzzle.
I was charged with building some clincher wheels for this project, as running tubulars was deemed impractical.
As the hub flanges had suffered some minor damage from the old spokes pulling on the aluminium, I decided to use some reinforcing brass nipples under the spoke heads to distribute the stresses better.
For some old-schoolish looking rims we decided upon Mavic Open Sports, laced up with Sapim Race spokes and nipples. Here are the finished wheels. We'll be running some Veloflex Pave tyres to give them a really classic look...
Talking of Ross Bee, I'm going to assemble as many pictures of his paintjobs as I can find with a view for a future blog, so if you have any examples of his fine work please feel free to pass them on to me for inclusion. In the meantime, I got a lovely message from my friend Tony after I initially wrote of the sad news, which included some pictures of his stunning Chesini that Ross painted recently, and that Tony is kindly allowing me to show in tribute to this talented man.
I had the pleasure last week of catching up with my friend Karina, who raced for Karl Kane and Nicola Johnson's cool Wholly Bagels team that I loved wrenching for in the 2006 Women's Tour and Wellington World Cup round. Karina is a great talent who had a racing sabbatical to have two children, but has made a comeback to MTB racing in the last few months. Great to see her again and I gave her XTR Avanti Competitor a good clean and service.
By Thursday morning I'd cleaned up the bulk of my work for the year - I just had a few jobs waiting for parts to deal with, and the parts wouldn't arrive until the afternoon courier. Clearly this was a rare opportunity for a mid-week ride, so I bolted down some breakfast with my boy Kester and we drove up to Makara MTB Park for a quick hoon.
Ket raring to go.
Beginning Koru. It's not easy to take photos behind you when you're trying to keep ahead of a charging teenager!
Koru. I think I've almost broken him, he's not looking so damn happy now!
Scheisse! I misjudged his tenacity and pace - here he is overtaking me in a blur...
Obligatory bike posing. Any chance I get.
Ket hits up Lazy Fern.
Kester bridging back up...
Apart from the sheer enjoyment of riding for itself, my rides with my sons are some of the most enjoyable times I've ever had on a bike.
Here is a gratuitous shot of some of the minimal mud the well designed trails of Makara Peak left on my Meta.
We rushed back to the workshop, stopping only to have a quick coffee at Revolution - Jonty and Alex are always the very epitome of good hosting, and the coffee is always second to none.
Once back in front of my stand I finished up Mark's Giant TCR. Mark and I are childhood friends, and it's always great to see him and it was good to give his trusty bike a bit of a birthday with a new drivetrain.
Richard is a fierce competitor in age-group triathlons, and I gave his Cannondale a similar birthday in advance of his competing in the Tauranga Half-Ironman and other summer races.
Speaking of triathlon, my only Pro-Elite sponsored athlete Tim Wilding (Ibis Cycles/Pearl Izumi/Roadworks/Maxxis) is building up for his attempt to reclaim his New Zealand XTerra title. He is firmly on track with some great results already, such as winning the inaugural HukaXL MTB classic recently, and last weekend he got a fine 8th overall in a time of 4h32m in the Pearl Izumi Taupo Half Ironman. Great stuff, bro!
Here's Timmy in full flight.
Next up was giving this newly built 08 Turner a quick check-over so Aaron could make the most of his Christmas present to himself. Cheers to Wide Open for hooking him up with this cool rig.
Then Friday dawned. I took a quick trip into town in the morning to do some banking and shopping, and most importantly to drop off some kit to Roadworks latest Team member Joel Healy. Great to have you reprazent, my man! Joel will be showing off his colours in selected A-grade road races, and I'm sure he and John Randal will combine well whenever they race together.
After that I went back to work to meet custy's as they picked up their last few bikes, as well as to distribute some more clothing, and to complete my final job of the year.
These cool NJS track parts were going on Tim's beautiful RIH road-going track frame to replace some more average parts and especially to replace a blown cheapie rear hub.
Tim's rebuilt Mavic MA3 - DT Swiss Competition spokes and 15 tooth Dura-Ace cog in full effect...
...on these beautiful sealed bearing satin finish Gran Compe track hubs. Apologies for the crap blurry pic that really doesn't do them justice.
After removing the old Suntour Superbe road cranks and Shimano sealed bottom bracket I chased and faced the bottom bracket then installed this stunning old school NJS Sugino cup and ball bottom bracket. Nice to pull out my old Sugino bottom bracket tools and rediscover the art of adjusting this format of bearings that we all used to take for granted back in the day...
I then carefully installed these gorgeous forged Sugino 75 track cranks, with their 44 tooth 1/8 gear cut chainwheel.
A burly nickel-plated Miche chain went on next...
...all pulled tight with these trick NJS chain tugs...
All these parts helped Tim's RIH end up with a perfect chainline, as well as helping it to be a virtually bomb-proof fixie capable of handling anything his arduous commute from and to the hills of Melrose can chuck at it...this beautiful bike is Seriously Hot and was a fine way to wrap up the year.
All that remained was to give the shop a good tidy up, turn out the lights, and close the door on the shop and on an eventful 2008 that has seen me fixing more bikes than ever, and included many events, challenges, road trips, and even a trip to China with my beloved Jazz Apples.
Thanks very much to all my awesome friends and clients for what has been a great year. Cheers, and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!