Sunday, May 3, 2009
Trailer Park Thrash!
The recession seems to be biting the New Zealand bicycle industry hard right now, with the sad news of good shops closing down occurring on an almost weekly basis. I feel very fortunate indeed to have found a wee niche for myself where I won't get rich but seem to always survive, but my heart goes out to those friends and their families affected by these harsh times...
As well as the recession, the big news of the moment is the so-called "swine flu", which oddly makes me visualise Inspector Clouseau cursing his fireplace. The friend of mine who owns the Condor I showed last week has been hard at work at the swinish coal face in his professional capacity, but is now winging his way to Europe to ride some of France's magnificent Cols and hopefully catch a bit of the Giro d'Italia. My first job of the week was to box up his precious steed for the long flight(s) to his base in Morzine. At the same time Mike picked up his reserved Roadworks kit - the last of the current stock. I'm looking forward to some pics of him wearing my kit while riding on the roads I've dreamed of riding since I was a boy - one day, Roger Fitz, one day!
I'd just finished this off and was back at home doing some orders on the computer when I had a great visit from my mate Stephen Taylor and his friend Marty. Stephen is the manager of the Ultimo Cycling Team, which grew out of the Delmaine Team of 2008. I was supposed to be a part of the Delmaine team at last year's Day/Night Thriller but family circumstances conspired to keep me away, but Stephen was kind enough to bring me in the jersey I was supposed to have worn in that event. Cheers Stephen, and all the best for the season with Ultimo!
Talking of jerseys, I am going to have to make some room in the Wall of Fame not only for my Delmaine one, but also a very cool Australian National Champion's jersey winging it's way across the Tasman Sea. Bridie O'Donnell is a legend in Aussie cycling, with many, many prestigious race wins in her palmares. She was the 08 Aussie Time Trial Champion, is the current Oceania Champ, and recently demolished the opposition in the UCI Time Trial that preceded the Tour of Chongming Island.
I'm not really sure I deserve to have my name on this jersey, as it was my friend and co-conspirator Paul Larkin who was the one working his arse off for the MB Cycles Team she was riding for at Chongming, not me! However, I'm very honoured that he and Bridie seem to consider me enough of a part in their success to include me on the jersey. Thanks, guys!
And here's a shot of Paul's well set up Roadworks Service Course in the underground car park of the Tian He Hotel in Nanmen. I too worked in this basement when I was there in '08, but only lasted one night as the oppressive dark, freezing cold, and pervasive smell of excrement pushed me out and into the comfort of my hotel room to service my bikes. Looks like the lighting had been sorted for this year, but no word on the pong.
After wasting time dreaming of international racing and the smell of pooze, I next built a pair of wheels for Blair. A 1750 gram set of go anywhere hard out XC wheels should hold him in good stead, as well as lightening up his bike a bit. I'll be tubelessing them when I fit them to his bike next week.
Next I had to sort some troublesome gears for Matt. His derailleur hanger had been bent, so it was out with my lovely Campagnolo derailleur hanger alignment tool...sorted!
While I'm on the subject of Campagnolo tools, I finally bit the gold-plated bullet and stumped up for the new UT-CN300 11 speed chain tool - not cheap, especially when added to the two almost as expensive versions of the 10 speed tool I've had to purchase in recent years! I always swore I would hold off getting this tool until I was doing my first build with Campy 11 speed, and the time is finally nigh...in the next couple of weeks I will be building a Colnago C50 using this cool tool, so keep your eyes peeled for that project. The tool is the usual faultless quality that Campagnolo are renowned for and I'm looking forward to using it!
I gave Daryl's cool Kuota Khan a tune-up. Nothing major required, just a bit of love.
The Colnago Technos project is coming along, although not complete as I hoped. We're still waiting for some parts to arrive, but while I am waiting I rebuilt the rear wheel. As I mentioned last week, it's a classic Mavic GEL280 rim built up onto a Campagnolo 9/10sp Record hub. I rebuilt it 2 cross using DT Competition spokes, rather than the lighter gauge ones used previously - this will have added a few grams, but will hopefully hold together better. As it is, it's still a super-light 780 grams! In my youth, 28 hole wheels were purely the preserve of the time triallers or the very lightest climbers - the low spoke count rim technology of the 80s simply wasn't up to par for the bigger, more powerful riders, and 32 or even 36 hole rims were de riguer. It will be interesting to see if this rebuild holds up okay for Dan, but we have a heavier GP4 to fall back on if the worst comes to the worst.
You may notice the criss-cross scratches on the rim surface - I painstakingly etched these in with a sharp screwdriver to provide a rough surface to help the tubular glue adhere. I glued the tyre using two coats on the rim that I let fully dry, then added a last tacky layer before rolling the tub back on. I also fitted the 9 speed cassette adapted to 8 speed by removing the biggest cog and using Campagnolo's own spacer kit.
My friend Dave dropped me off some very cool Pegoretti catalogues he'd been sent. If bikes can be said to generate porn, then these are the stickiest porno mags you could possibly find. Cheers, bro!
My highlight job of the week though was this beautiful Serotta TiMax 29er. Colin picked it up for a Highland song with bag-pipe accompaniment in bonnie Scotland recently and has been thrashing it around relentlessly ever since, so it was in dire need of a full service.
I revived the Fox F29 forks with new wiper seals, o-rings and oil, stripped and serviced the headset, bottom bracket and hubs, adjusted the brakes and topped up the brake fluid, replaced worn gear housings and tuned the gears, as well as fettling anything else I could find. Once it was purring in the stand I chucked my helmet on and took it for a good ride around the 'hood. 29ers amaze me with with their innate ability to roll - the good ones just feel like they want to go fast, and the Serotta felt faster than most! The spring and snap of the titanium frame felt awesome, and I just wish the seatpost had been a bit longer so I could have taken up Colin's kind invitation to take it into the hills for a proper ride...
The beautifully machined and welded bottom bracket.
The head area, featuring the cool ti Moots handlebars.
The complete bike in all it's glory. Very nice indeed, and it should serve Colin superbly well in all the adventure races he competes in.
I'll finish up with a quick description of my only ride this week. A week of foul weather, combined with a busy shop, the onset of family sports, household chores and the usual chaos of life hadn't allowed me the time to slip out even once, so when Sunday dawned a sunny, still day me and the Three Amigos saddled up the Sex Wagon and moseyed on up to Makara Peak.
We arrived to find the Carpark full, so we parked nearby and unloaded the bikes. A quick safety briefing (not THAT kind - these are my kids I'm talking about!) then we set off up Koru for Bodhi's first time up there since I took him up there in the baby seat when he was only just three.
On that occasion after a lovely ride we foolishly decided to exit the Park by riding across the old Koru Wet Feet (Wetteh, as Bo calls it...), which ended up with me stalling, my foot slipping on the wet stones, and toppling us both over sideways and dunking Bodhi briefly! This time we were all able to safely take advantage of the swell new bridge the MPS and the WCC have built...
Bodhi was surprisingly easy to tow along - in fact his surges of power were instrumental in us getting around some of the hairpins. We had to stop several times to let riders go by, but we needed the breaks anyway!
The trailer bike concept is so cool for being able to chatter away at each other. It's really nice to be able to share time with the boys at any time, but even nicer when you're moving through beautiful regenerating native bush, surrounded by ferns and lush vegetation and listening to the sounds of tui and other birds.
At one of our brief stops a call of nature resulted in a close-up view of one of the cuter (though less welcome) representatives of nature, as a cheeky rabbit eyeballed us from a metre away. Yes, there IS a rabbit in this shot...swine cellphone cam.
We reached the Skills Area without problem, but we didn't have time to go much further so we decided to head off down Lazy Fern.
Harry took point, as his confidence and desire had been re-ignited by our Mt Albert mission last weekend and he was ready to shred. Me and Bodhi followed, with Kester sweeping. Harry was gone in seconds - keeping up with him wasn't an issue as the care I have to take of Bodhi precludes any sort of real speed, but we were quite content to meander down this beautiful trail anyway as he recited Winnie the Pooh songs and asked me lots of questions.
We got to the car feeling tired and happy, recharged for the week ahead. Kester is loving the riding so much he is talking about doing the Makara Rally Peak to Creek with me as a Team! How cool would that be?