Saturday, February 14, 2009

Yesterday, today, tomorrow


Sticker by Martin Emond

As you may have gathered from my numerous mentions, I'm honoured to be heading away next week to begin my brief Tour of Duty with Susy Pryde and Chris Drake's mighty Jazz Apples Cycling Team. Many of you have been inquiring whereabouts in the world I'm off to so I thought I'd better tell you that it's the glamorous international destination of Auckland! I head up to do some bike assembly for the Team, as well as help out at a training camp and attend the official Team launch function.

It will be great to catch up with the Team members I've worked with already - Chris and Susy, Malindi Maclean, Ruth Corset, Lauren Ellis and Rosara Joseph - as well as meeting new Team personnel, Dotsie Bausch (USA) and Canada's Steph Roorda.

I'm looking forward also to fettling the Team's Sram Red and Control Tech equipped Fuji Team bikes as well as the Fuji TT rigs, and helping the women get comfortable and fast on their ProTour level (Fuji-Servetto) bikes in preparation for what should be a long and successful season for the JA in New Zealand and abroad.

After the week in the Big Smoke I head back home for a day or two before rendezvousing with the Team again for the slightly erroneously named Tour of New Zealand, which this year is being held entirely in the Wairarapa. We will be looking to dominate the race this year with the awesome depth of talent we are fielding, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Ruth finish the Tour with the Yellow Jersey on her back. A day off is followed by a UCI 1.1 race (i.e. World ranking points), also in the Wairarapa. This was initially to be held around the Miramar Circuit we used in last years Tour, but has been shifted to the country to make the race organiser's life a bit easier.

I'm hoping that I am able to get a clear run at the Tour this year - no medical emergencies please kids!!! In case you didn't already pick this, I'm also super-psyched to be diving back into the world of Elite women's road racing, as well as the sheer pleasure of working with my beloved JA...no doubt I'll have a story or two to tell afterwards.

Meanwhile, back in the Batcave!



First cab off the rank this week was this Scott CR1 belonging to Coast to Coast competitor Blair. Due to some salt sea air induced corrosion one of his brake cable stops tore clear off his frame as he was blasting down the very steep Ohiro Road! Luckily he managed to come to a halt after a heart-stopping nose wheely moment or two, but less than a week before his Biggest Day he was wondering what he could do to get his bike back on the go...



The rivet that holds the stop onto the frame had simply corroded away, then under braking the glue that reinforces it had failed.



I didn't want to start drilling into his frame, and wasn't sure my gluing skills would make it reliable enough to make it through such a big event, so with no margin of error I figured a full length cable housing was the solution. I decided the best and safest thing to do was to add a cable joiner and an extra length of housing to the brake cable.



Then wrapped electrical tape around the join to protect the frame.



And finally ran the cable along the top tube using zip-ties and electrical tape to hold it into place. Not very elegant, but safe as houses and almost as functional as the original cable routing. I then tuned his bike one more time before the race, so hopefully Blair had a good time and went well at C2C. Good luck also to fellow competitor and Team Roadworks athlete Dave Livesey, whose Cervelo R3 featured last week...



Talking of big events, the inaugural Alpine Epic 4 day stage race is imminent so before I head away with the JA Pete wanted to bring his lovely Rocky Mountain Blizzard steel hardtail in for a thorough going over. I built him some Stans Olympic wheels a few months ago, and I was delighted to see that several laps of Karapoti along with many kilometres of hard-core riding later the wheels had held up perfectly. For how light and flimsy they feel, the Stans rims are proving to be among the most durable I've ever built with - I'm beginning to think it's the fact that they are so light they flex and give rather than go out of true. I'm a big fan.



Here's Pete's bike post-service. Best of luck to Pete at the AE...



Also, best of luck to my official Team Roadworks at this tough event - go hard Mark and Richard!

In 2002 I was priveleged to be given the job of building a beautiful bike. Andy had been browsing in the Pinarello shop that abuts their Treviso factory, when Andrea Pinarello (son of company founder Giovanni) wandered out and engaged Andy in conversation. Next thing Andy knew he'd signed up to buy a custom steel Pinarello Opera. He returned to NZ and before long a box containing his lovely new frame and a swag of Campagnolo parts arrived, which he duly brought to me to assemble. I loved doing it and marveled at the clean lines and expert construction of the frame, then gasped at the responsive ride as I took it up and down Holloway Road for what seemed like hours. Anyway, after 7 years of hard riding with only tyre replacements and minor tune-ups it was time for a major overhaul, so I replaced the chain, cassette, small chainring, bottom bracket, brake shoes, cables and gave it a full strip-down and rebuild, including the hubs and headset and a couple of paint touch-ups. Not a cheap fix, but the bike is as new again, ready for another 7 years of action...



I built Tim a wheel for his cool RIH fixie (December 08), and when Tim brought the bike around to grab it he asked me if there was anything I could do about his bike being unstable when riding no hands. I had a quick squizz and noticed that the forks appeared to be biased slightly over to the left, so figured maybe they'd been crashed at some point. I dropped the forks out of the frame then I chucked them into my VAR fork alignment checking tool which confirmed that they were about 6mm offset to the left. Next I coldset (bent using brute force!) the forks until they were aligned correctly...



The headset crown race had been sitting quite loosely on the fork steerer, so I pulled out my punch and peened a bunch of detents around the circumference of the crown to provide an interference fit for the race.



I reinstalled the forks then checked the dropout alignment. Again, Bicycle Village VAR tools to the rescue...



Tim picked the bike up that evening and later sent me a text saying that he was now able to ride no-hands with impunity, which was great to hear.

While on the subject of tools, I took advantage of Worralls latest specials list to get my hands on a new Campagnolo Derailleur Hanger Alignment tool - my old one has had hard shop use for over 15 years and is still going fine, so I thought I'd add it to my permanent race tool set and get a new one for the workshop. I love getting new tools, especially when they are Campy ones!



When Konrad brought me his Cannondale R800 before Christmas we started to discuss the merits of some hand built wheels to replace the stock Gipiemme's it came with to lighten up the bike and improve the ride somewhat, as well as preventing a simple broken spoke being a complete disaster!



A nice pair of Mavic Open Pro rims built onto Shimano Ultegra hubs using a mix of Sapim Race and DT Revolution spokes was what we decided was the best fit of spec level and budget, and they built into a 1700 gram set of lovely training/race use wheels.



Also tidying up the lines of his bike, in my opinion - I do love the look of a pair of classic 3 cross wheels...



I built up this lovely Lynskey TT/tri bike for Bike Fixation's demo fleet. Dave will be fitting the tyres and saddle himself.



Last week, Ben brought his Giant bike (he's a very large man!) in for me to attempt to locate an annoying creak. As I have said before, finding mystery noises is always a bit of a mission, but my well-honed detective skills nailed the source as soon as I listened to Ben ride up my path. I put the bike up in the stand and put a zip-tie around every spoke crossover on his well thrashed Crossmax wheels - voila, problem solved. Not quite tying and soldering, but I'm proud of this effort.



He brought the bike back in this week for me to do a fork service, unfortunately a bit too late. The wiper seals had worn, admitting water, mud and grit into the left-hand fork leg...



...meaning that sadly the stanchion had sustained some wear.



Despite the wear we decided that the forks should still work perfectly and probably not get any worse if we keep up a program of normal ongoing maintenance, so I whacked in some new wipers and oiled her up ready for Ben to thrash around the new Miramar Track Project.

Note the "Reknown" in the background of the shot - some time ago I entered into an email exchange with Mark regarding the possible history of this frame, which he then sent to the late Ross Bee for painting. Ross passing away meant that we had to cast around for a new painter, and Mark found Walter Thorburn in Auckland so I packaged the frame up (once Martin had got it back from the Bee family) and sent it off. I'll give you the full rundown when it returns to me for building, but I'm looking forward to another wicked project in a month or two...



Then (after a bit of a lengthy hub saga!) I rebuilt Craig's old Mavic 819 onto a Hope Pro 2 hub, so he can convert it to 20mm at will. The rim had had a hard life and required a few of the spoke beds drilled out, but once all that was sorted it built up perfectly to end up a great all-mountain wheel, which I sent back up to him in Mt Maunganui.



Next up was my old mate John's Intense 6.6. I built this up for him back in September 2007 (when my blog entries were ever so slightly shorter!) and it needed a bloody good going over - I serviced all the pivot bearings, as well as swapping an old Wide Open brake for a newer model one. The Mudzy built camo rim wheel that matches the Declan built camo wheel are cool new touches since we originally built it up.





The final job of my week prior to a couple of quick cameo jobs up at Revolution Bicycles over an ale or two was a labour of love. My best man Jim's son Max has been putting together his own road singlespeed for months based around an old Avanti Sprint, which he brought to me to rejoin the chain after it had snapped. I figured the best thing to do was to pull all the parts off the too small Sprint and chuck them on an old 61cm Raleigh Competition frame that I've had earmarked for Max for months. A bit of lube in the cables and a new Sram PC-1 chain were all it needed to end up a sweet riding scenester machine for Max to rock...



Before I hit the workshop on Friday afternoon though, I cunningly combined several missions to give me a quick ride up Makara Peak in the morning, as I hadn't had a chance to get out all week. First I had to drop two of my sons at their respective schools (NOT a euphemism!), followed by dropping a pair of wheels off in Karori (actual wheels wtf!), so this left me about an hour spare before I had to hit the bank and the hardware store on the way back to meeting a client at the shop at midday. Before I left home I chucked my bike on the back of the Sex Wagon and made my way eventually to the MTB Park.

Now, as all Real Mountainbikers will tell you, a clean bike is a non-ridden bike, so after a few days of solid rain in Wellington I was desperately hoping for a decent bit of mud to liberally splatter my too clean bike with cred...

Pre-ride pathetically minimal amount of dust.


As I made my way up Koru I was extremely disappointed to discover that Wellington's legion of trail pixies have done far too good a job of weather-proofing these tracks - the drainage and well thought out use of the terrain meant that my bike was actually getting cleaner from the rain!

In the mist and total lack of wind I made my way up the Snakecharmer to Ridgeline Extension and had a superb and error-free run down (big air by the picnic table) and onto Big Tom's Wheelie, before scorching down Lazy Fern popping off every little rise I could. I'm really feeling more and more at home on the Meta every ride, and I think going to 140mm forks has made a really positive change to the handling of what was already a great handling bicycle - they also help me safely negotiate every puddle I can see, to assist in the splattering of mud.



I ended back up in the carpark after only about 40 minutes, so took some time to take a picture or two of what little filth I had managed to collect on the way down in this ridiculous attempt to curry favour with the Real Mountainbiker fraternity. But after this poor effort I'm really starting to think my bike won't look dirty no matter what I do - as my friend Paul might put it, it's still as white as Jesus' robes.



Then I blew it - a complete brain explosion made me totally forgot my whole reason for even riding my bike today, and undid all of the hard yards I'd put towards dirty bike Nirvana - I stupidly used the superb bike wash facilities built into the Makara Peak carpark to clean my bike. When I realised what I had done I almost wept with the sheer horror of it all! I really think I'm doomed to be forever thought of as the buff ex-roadie with the way too bling for him Oriental Bay cruiser MTB...



Depressed as hell at my appalling lapse in judgement, I flagellated myself further when I got back to my workshop by going against everything Real Mountainbikers believe and actually fully cleaning and servicing my bike. The unfortunate and tragic consequences of this are a bike that gleams and shines and won't suffer any mechanical failures, but of course also won't lend me the acceptance I so longingly crave...maybe one day I'll finally get it right and be worthy of being called a Real Mountainbiker.



I'll be back in a few weeks, so until then thanks for reading. Cheers, Oli

4 comments:

Mark said...

If it's a dirty, uncared for, look you're after, I could sell you the old hard tail. As I'm sure you'll agree it looks thoroughly dented - despite all your best effort to resuscitate it over the years.

Oli Brooke-White said...

Haha! You and your bike definitely pass the Real Mountainbiker test. I'm not worthy...

Simon Kennett said...

Give me five minutes alone with your pearly white bike, a can of brown undercoat spray paint, and a coarse wire brush and you too can have the Real Mountain biker's bike look. It needn't effect the bikes performance (although the odd catasrophic gear failure certainly ups the cred, so I'll my file and club hammer, too).

When will you be riding at Makara Peak next?

Oli Brooke-White said...

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Soon, I hope. I'm putting in a few road miles in preparation.