Saturday, April 19, 2008

Winter on the way...

I sit here on this cold and wet day wondering how it can be that last weekend we were basking in 20 degree sun while today we are contemplating dragging out all the heaters and huddling around them! I shouldn't complain - it's been such a fantastic summer, it had to end some time...

I made the most of it last weekend, with a lovely ride around the Bays and a few hills, culminating with a sift around the Waterfront. The Greenpeace boat Rainbow Warrior 2 was in port, and I got accosted by one of the Warriors to join an online photo petition.

I'm really enjoying riding right now- I am feeling more and more glimpses of what it's like to be fit again! I am even slowly chipping away at the blubber...Fitting riding in regularly means being a bit selfish with my time, but I figure I'm much more motivated to work on bikes when I feel like riding them too. I'm really going to keep riding as an important priority over winter.

Then on the Sunday I had a very cool day. I went up to Karori Park to watch the inaugural Wellington Short Track Series. Much hilarity in these lactic spew-fest races, none of which lasted much longer that 10 minutes. There was also a granny-gear lap and a big-gear lap to keep things honest. The big-gear lap was the scene of the funniest incident of the day, when a certain rider tried a tricky cyclo-cross dismount and remount, only to miss his handlebars and uncomfortably land on his back wheel - somehow, he managed to avoid crashing and actually went on to win! I'm quite sure the swelling will have died down by now.

Burkes rider Ricky Pincott won the main race(c)RowanG

This event was the first in a series designed to help raise funds to get local pro-elite rider Lisa Morgan overseas to race her MTB. Check out her blog for more info...

After this I went home for lunch with the family, then we all set off into town and went for a ride on the Crocodile bikes around Oriental Bay. This was great fun, but I think the people taking advantage of the gorgeous day on the promenade could probably have done without having an out-of-control Crocodile wildly swerving around with five maniacs cackling like loons on board! Trying to keep control with two burly teenagers mutinying constantly made this ride as difficult as any I have done recently - I got off sweating profusely and with aching knees! We then wandered around and went on a fascinating (if slightly too preachy!) tour of the Rainbow Warrior, then home for pizza and a movie.

Rainbow Warrior 2

In other more important news, my good friend Tim Wilding (Santa Cruz-Pearl Izumi-Roadworks-Maxxis) defended his New Zealand XTerra title with a fine 4th place behind winner Terrenzo Bozzone. Tim's old Aunt Betty's teammate and MTB legend Mark "Cabin" Leishman took a fantastic second place, just in front of Scott Thorne. Tim had a less than ideal build-up with a niggling IT band injury that basically prevented him from doing any run training in the lead-up, but he had a great race, coming out of the swim just behind the leaders and smoking on the bike run on the Santa Cruz Blur I built up for him to lead heading into the run. It took the leaders a full lap of the run to reel Timmy in, but he hung tough and finished only four minutes down on Bozzone. I know Tim will be a bit disappointed he couldn't retain his title, but I also know that he is (or should be!) proud to have shown that he can still mix it up with the elite of the sport even after a bad preparation phase - he'll take this title again, no doubt! I'm very proud to be associated with this fine athlete.

Tim charging! (c)Kim Harwood

Not much else to report, sorry. The shop has definitely slowed down a bit so I'm not feeling swamped by work any more. I've been building heaps of wheels lately though, which suits me fine. I find wheelbuilding and new bike building to be my two favourite tasks, and there's nothing more relaxing to me than lacing up a new wheel.

Although I sometimes wish I was building wheels and bikes in this workshop...thanks to for the wicked pic.

Vecchio's - Boulder, Colorado

This will most likely be my last post before I head to China to the tour of Chongming Island, so I will take my camera and do my best to capture some of the images and atmosphere of this adventure I'm going on.


Here is some brief info on the trip courtesy of the Jazz Apples website.

The Tour Of Chongming Island: Shanghai China

Jazz Apple will have four athletes for the Tour of Chongming Island. The team quartet is a synergy of youth and experience, led and mentored by Susy. Jazz Apple’s composition also includes new recruit, Australian Ruth Corset and young neo-pros, Lauren Ellis and Malindi Maclean.

The squad is expecting the tour to be a baptism of fire to kick-off of their International 2008 season but are keenly looking forward to the challenge of racing in China.

The five-day event incorporates a 2-for-1 UCI race amalgamation, with an individual time trial followed by a four- day tour.

Ruth Corset - Townsville Australia
Lauren Ellis - Ashburton NZ
Malindi Maclean - Auckland NZ
Susy Pryde - Auckland NZ


Time Trial
25 - 20km Individual TT

Stage Race
26 - Stage 1: 65km City Criterium 4.1

27 - Stage 2: 71km Road Race

28 - Stage 3: 100km

29 - Stage 4: 73km

I'll see you when I get back! CU, Oli

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wahine Day

What a contrast between today's gorgeous weather from the awful weather on that terrible day 40 years ago...I still have several memories of the Wahine Storm, but the most powerful are the memories of Pencarrow Beach, as a friend and I watched our Eastbourne volunteer firemen fathers drag survivors and bodies out of the surf while we sheltered safe in the back of Dad's Holden stationwagon. I remember the blowing surf and the wind-driven rain parting every now and then to give us sporadic glimpses of the Wahine as she rolled inexorably over onto her side. A terrible day indeed.

The Wahine Sinks: 10th April 1968

After a morning spent building wheels, I shut the shop and rode around the Bays. Of course I found myself riding past Barrett's Reef, where the Wahine initially hit the rocks - it looks a bit different today, and the almost non-existent wind is a marked contrast to the 270kph wind gusts recorded 40 years ago.

Barrett's Reef looking towards Pencarrow

I kept riding until I got to the Wahine Memorial Park. There were many people there attending the commemorative services, but I took a lone moment to reflect...

Steeple Rock - the Wahine's final resting place

I then punted around the rest of the Bays, the Waterfront, then up the Kemmelberg to the top of the Cable Car.

Photo Op

I then rode to Northland to see my good friend Jonty Ritchie at my favourite bike shop, Revolution Bicycles. Jonty made me a beautiful coffee and then he, his redoubtable offsider Alex and I chatted about Friere winning Ghent-Wevelghem, who will win Paris-Roubaix, and all the crap that makes us the major bike-geeks we are.

Revolution Bicycles - Northland Road

Then a quick blast down Glenmore Street and home again via the Short Bays (cut through Kilbirnie) and Island Bay to drink yet another coffee and get back into work.

Where are the press motos? I can't take pics of myself riding, dammit!

Dave Hicks' new wheel

I finished off the above cool wheel for Roadworks rider and last weekend's victor of the vet's section of the Porirua Traverse multisport race, Dave Hicks. A Surly s/s hub on a Mavic Xm819 UST rim, laced 3 cross with DT Competition spokes, and with a 16t freewheel on one side and an 18t on the other. Using only one of the freewheels this wheel is going to be thrashed hard-out at the 1st Rotorua Singlespeed Nationals on ANZAC weekend, as I fully expect Dave to be right up at the sharp end of the race. I was supposed to be riding this new and much-anticipated event, but of course I will be in China with the Jazz Apples. I'm quite sure Dave will have a couple of the well-deserved beers for me!

The last job for the day was to begin to de-rust as many of the moving parts of this cool bike made in India...

with the invaluable assistance of the now almost fully healed Harry in a gangsta lean.

Lstly, I'll finish off with a cool series of pics I got sent today by my friend and fellow NZ team wrench Kris Withington, who has now landed the prestigious and much deserved role as one of the mechanics for US pro team Slipstream-Chipotle. These pics are of the bikes that Slipstream will use in the Queen of the Classics, Paris-Roubaix, which is raced over incredibly rough and unruly sections of mud and cobbles on Napoleonic era "roads", so is an epic of bike destruction and hardman riding...

Getting the bikes ready to train on the cobbles

Close-ratio 46-53 chainrings

Extra mud clearance built in to the carbon Felt frameset

Mud clearance and long-reach brake calipers

Special 27mm wide tyres

2004 Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt's rig

NZ Road Champion Julian Dean's P-R bike

Grom's Slipstream nametags

Cheers, Oli

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Verdict

I just got a call from Ayla's father - the jury was hung, so a retrial has been ordered in around 6 months time. I feel for her family - the wait to get some closure on this tragedy must seem interminable...

Sunday, April 6, 2008

This and that...

A quite diverse week this week. It started normally enough with a bunch of repairs to do, but then on Tuesday I found myself having to take the day off work to spend it in court giving testimony.

In December 2006 a young girl and aspiring triathlete called Ayla was hit and killed while riding her bike in Whiteman's Valley. Her parents brought me the bike shortly afterwards to assess it's pre-crash mechanical condition, as well as to try and give my opinion on how the impact might have occurred. I wrote an in-depth report and thought that would be the end of it as far as I was concerned, so I didn't really expect an out-of-the-blue phonecall from the Upper Hutt police telling me I had to give evidence in only 5 days!

As a defended hearing, this was quite different to my previous "expert witness" experience in front of the coroner when my friend Sam Raphael's inquest was held. On that occasion there was no jury to deal with, although I was cross-examined much more closely than this time. For Sam's sake, I was very proud to have been a part of that critical process, so I hope that my testimony this time around will have been some tiny help in resolving the whole sorry tale of this needless death of a young girl who had her whole life before her...

Sam Raphael doing what he loved - racing his bike

That same night I was supposed to be going on a Vorb ride on my mountainbike into the Rimutaka Forest Park, where DOC had allowed 60 riders to ride a normally banned to MTBs walking track. Unfortunately, I think my mind was still in court, as I found while halfway there that I had forgotten my Camelbak with all my tools, food and water in, and also my lights - kind of vital equipment for this sort of mission! Instead I rode a few local trails before the evening sun set below the hills. First time on one of my MTBs since my aborted (due to the Chongming Tour) singlespeed training regime began, and it was great fun. Because my first love is really the road I often default to my roadbikes as my automatic ride option, but I do love the dirt so much I am definitely going to be hitting the trails more often...

My GT I-Drive

Among my other repair jobs this week was assessing a TradeMe bike for a friend of a friend - Tony Morgan (one of my co-mechanics at Rotorua MTB Worlds) had put his friend from Christchurch onto me to box up a bike he'd bought online and send it down to him, as long as the size was right. As it turned out it wasn't big enough for him, as well as not actually being the Italian Wilier-Triestina he thought it was. It was a brand called a Willer, but I'm at a loss to know where it originated despite the flag on it's headtube badge - perhaps someone can help? Email me if you can, as I'm curious...


Freaky handlebars!

Head tube badge

As a way of rewarding myself for my recent burst of regular riding, I splashed out this week on a rare bit of bike bling for myself.

This is my lovely Columbus EL tubed custom built fillet-brazed Paul Hillbrick in it's latest incarnation, with Team High Road supplied Schwalbe Ultremo tyres and my lovely new Campagnolo 50-34 carbon Ultra-Torque chainset courtesy of my friends at NZ Campagnolo importers W.H. Worrall and Co Ltd.

I dropped the best part of a pound by replacing my old Athena square-taper cranks and b/b! Not that I am some sort of weight-weenie or anything... :D It's down to just over 20lb now - not bad for a 59cm steel bike with Ksyrium Elites.

My Hillbrick in climbing trim

Mmmmmmm, Centaur carbon...

I had a guest in my shop this week. My friend Rochie brought in Stephen Taylor from the Delmaine Foods Cycling Team to meet me and get some work done for one of his riders. We hit it off and he has asked me to work for the Team at the Tour of Southland this year, so another cool project to look forward to.

Delmaine are a new sponsor to cycling, but a toe in the water at the Tour of Wellington has led to a longer term investment with some class riders, including NZ U23 Criterium Champion Mark Langlands, NZ Team member Ash Whitehead, top talent Joseph Chapman and up-and-comer Michael Vink, among other classy athletes. Also riding under Delmaine colours, though not really on the road, is talented MTBer and XTerra athlete, Mark "Cabin" Leishman.

I've always wanted to work Southland so am pleased to be heading down to this iconic road event, though am dreading the fierce weather it seems to attract!

A couple of congratulations are in order this week. Firstly, I'd like to give mad props to Josh Barley (Santa Cruz) who has been selected for the New Zealand MTB Team for the World Championships in Italy this year. He is off to Colorado next weekend to train, then will join the NZ team in Europe later on. I've been privileged to have helped Josh out a bit over the last year, so am stoked to see him achieve this important goal. Best of luck, Josh!

Josh at National Champs

Secondly, in my short guest appearance for Tabak Team International at the men's Tour of Wellington I was fortunate enough to work with Team Captain Hayden Godfrey (usually Subway), who last week won a World Championship Gold at the Track Worlds in the omnium. This event is won through consistency over five events - a 200m time trial, a scratch race, an individual pursuit, a points race and a 1000m TT. To win his Rainbow Jersey Hayden won the scratch race and finished 9 points clear of silver medalist, Australia's Leigh Howard and 16 points clear of Aliaksandr Lisouski (Belarus) in the bronze position. Fantastic result for a very cool guy who has achieved so much for NZ cycling already, so I'm looking forward to having a beer with him at some stage and listening to his no doubt entertaining Tales of Victory...

Riding the IP

In the Rainbow Jersey - NZ's latest World Champion!

Lastly, I have finally joined the Technology Superhighway, and arguably the 21st century as well, by investing in broadband internet access. This means my old Paradise email address is no longer in action, so please use oli.brookewhite[a] from now on...

Pedal on, Oli

BREAKING NEWS! Team Roadworks stalwart Dave Hicks wins Vets class of the Porirua Traverse multi-sport race. A great ride, a slightly problematic run, followed by a good paddle got him the victory. Hopefully pics to follow...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Mad Props!

I was stoked to get this lovely mention on the Jazz Apples website.

Oli Brooke-White to mechanic for the Jazz Apple Team in the Tour of Chongming Island, China: April 25- 30.

The Jazz Apple Team are delighted that the Olster, mechanic extraordinaire will be the Jazz Apple Team’s mechanic for the upcoming UCI 2.2 Tour of Chongming Island in April. The event starts with a UCI 1.2 20km TT on April 25, which Ruth and Lauren will contest, followed by a five day tour around the sustainable island in the Yangtze River. Susy and Malindi will bolster athlete numbers for the five day tour.
Chongming Island

Photo above from Oli’s website,, a site that is linked to his very cool and highly recommended bike service course, ‘Roadworks’ in Wellington.

As this cool trip draws closer and closer I am getting more and more excited!

Cheers, Oli