The two Curses of Cycling are crashes and punctures, both of which most cyclists will have experienced at some point. Today it was our turn, with poor Jacq hitting the deck hard and me suffering two punctures on our respective rides...Jacq is battered but okay so before I tell this tale of woe I'll try and quickly get up to speed with the shop stuff - better put on a pot of coffee, 'cause this is a long one!
Last week began with a veritable avalanche of work. David needed his trusty Avanti Black Thunder serviced...
Then my good mate Tony wanted me to turn this:
Into a decent hardtail for a mission on the Queen Charlotte Walkway last weekend, using the best parts off both rigs...
Next up was my good buddy Dave's Commençal Meta 5.5, which after much hard riding had developed an annoying creak. After some stripping and rebuilding of the rear triangle, followed by more of the same several times over, the noise disappeared once the ten litres of grease I used had finally infiltrated every millimetre of the pivots - at least I hope it's disappeared! I think you all know how much I love these cool bikes, but I certainly don't love hunting for mystery noises...
In my role as contract wheelbuilder for Revolution Bicycles, I built a wicked pair of 29er wheels for Tor to put on his new Surly Karate Monkey. Mavic 719 rims, XT spline disc hubs laced up with my favourite spokes in the world, DT Competition, should be light enough, yet will still be uber-burly.
I also built a couple of wheels for my Belgian beer drinking bro, esteemed NZ MTB legend and Revolution's owner, Jonty Ritchie. He wanted a new wheel for his CX bike, so he supplied me with a Salsa Delgado rim and an XT hub which I pulled together with more Comps.
He also wanted a new Stans Arch built up for his MTB, so more Comps (they really are awesome!) and another of the ubiquitous XT hubs and voila!
Next project was Chris's lovely old RIH that I built for him a few months back. Chris wanted to try some better bars, so I ordered him in some cool Soma Moustache bars. I also dug him up a more appropriate stem out of my spares to match them.
I'd never fitted these before so it was a bit of trial and error as to how to set them up, but some advice from Chris and some experimentation and it turned out very nicely...
Another view. Chris reckons they are super comfortable, and his exact words were, "there's no going back!"
Kerry had been dabbling with the ancient art of testing at the summer Liverton Road Time Trials, and has decided he quite likes the discipline. He was racing on a standard road bike and rightly feeling he was losing out to better equipped riders, so before he invests in a full on TT rig he wanted to test the aero waters (?) with some tri-bars on his Cannondale. I suggested some Vision TT Clip-Ons, as they fitted his bars without further adaptation, yet can be upgraded with a base bar, aero levers and bar-end shifters if Kerry decides to go further. Affordable and well made, I'm a big fan of the Vision kit.
I gave this superb Colnago Dream Lux a drivetrain transplant, as well as a good going over. Very sexy bike, and the usual stunning finish from Ernesto.
So that's most of the work out of the way, but here's a cool picture of my Roadworks Rotorua agent Paul Larkin's awesome Soulcraft Holy Roller, casually parked on one of Vegas' iconic MTB trails, Split Enz. If you look closely you'll see the Roadworks stickers on the wheels I built for him...
Dave Hicks sent me a photo last week of a bike he spotted in Panama St. A vintage racer like this is very rare, and Dave and I were both intrigued by it, so I thought I'd hit up one of NZ's founts of all cycling knowledge, the revered Doctor David Benson. Of course David knew the bike, the vintage gear system and, most importantly, the owner of this beautiful NZ made Leader Special.
It turns out the owner (whose name I'll respectfully omit) has exhibited this bike and others, and has a blog called THE FLYING WHEEL where he shows this and others with some beautiful pictures. Check it out.
I've been promising news of the Jazz Apples for some time now, but the vagaries of time and interweb connections has made this difficult. Rather than ramble on myself I'll let the Team do the talking...
Training in Kutztown
The Jazz Apple girls have further broadened their cultural awareness this week in the pastoral surrounds of Pennsylvania’s Amish community. The latest Jazz Apple base is within two hours of the Big Apple itself, but the surrounds of Kutztown couldn’t be more different to the hub of New York City. The town here is familiar to years of cyclist traffic, which share the quiet roads with the Amish horse-drawn cart’s and old yellow school buses. Training rides feel like a history tour as we find ourselves waving to girls in long dresses and bonnets working in the fields. While chatting about the irony of a society living without technology so close to the metropolis of New York, like any true bike fanatics we realized the significance of the bicycle as a unifying feature of such different cultures. Although the high-tech bike couriers whizzing around NYC are vastly different from the old Amish man we passed rocking side to side on his Dandyhorse utility bike, the efficient transfer of human energy to movement is a universal novelty. The perfect machine in so many ways, we were eternally grateful of the technology invested in our super light Fuji bikes ten minutes later as we started our grueling hill repeats under Chris’s watchful eye.
2009/6/6 Lauren Ellis
Steph and Dotsie head out.
On a stunning day in downtown Philadelphia, the Jazz Apple team put together a classic team effort to deliver Ruth to the multiple Queen of the Mountain (QOM) lines in first place today. Marina was instrumental in Ruth's early point collection, driving it into Lemon Hill where Ruth was able to successfully contest against Team HighRoad's climbing phenom, Mara Abbot, Team Webcors Kathryn Currie and the powerful Nurnberger team.
In an incredible support role, Lauren Ellis and Dotsie Bausch were on hand for all eight QOM sprints, either leading out or usurping valuable points from Ruth's would be contenders. The final time up the Manyunk Wall, the fast pace split the race and a group of 11 escaped, including Ruth. The breakaway survived, and upon taking the final double points on Lemon Hill, Ruth clinched the title. In the sprint, Team HighRoad's Ina Teutenberg delivered a scorching sprint to win, followed by Tibco's Jo Kiesanowski and ProMan's Shelley Olds. Ruth finished 8th and proudly took to the stage as the crowning Queen of the Hill.
Malindi and Steph had pleasing support rides, finishing in the surviving group of a largey decimated field.
Ruth and her hill-conquering Fuji.
From the left: Dotsie Bausch, Lauren Ellis, Marina Duvnyak, Ruth Corset, Steph Roorda and Malindi Maclean.
And some more good news in the very latest update from yesterday in the Nature Valley Grand Prix...
Dotsie had a brilliant ride today to finish second in the Mankato road stage over 91 miles. Dotsie was a part of a six member break that survived ahead of the peloton. The six member group disintegrated on the four finishing loops, which included a brutal 18% climb every lap. The stage was won by Webcor's Alexis Rhodes.
Ruth finished in the lead group behind, with Marina, Lauren, Steph and Malindi finishing shortly thereafter.
The Jazz Apple girls
Best of luck to the Team for the rest of their gruelling USA sojourn...
Now back to me!
On Saturday morning my eldest son Kester and I were supposed to head over to the Wairarapa so he could play football against Rathkeale College, but as he had spent the bulk of the week with the swine flu (he's the swine, not the flu...) we had to pull the pin. Typically he was actually lots better on Saturday, but ironically the game was canned anyway due to the weather. In any case, a week within four walls had driven him batty so we decided an easy ride on Sunday would be just the cure. As Harry and Bodhi were both busy, the two of us loaded up the wagon and headed up to Makara Peak, picking up my bro Alex on the way.
Poor Ket struggled up Koru - a climb he has started to own me on of late, but we don't talk about that...a few stops on the way though and he was fine.
Ket and Al head up Koru.
A bit of post-flu fatigue sent the poor lad flying off the track and into some gorse on the cool downhill bit of Koru, providing me with a worrying few moments before he turned up safely...
After barging past him to show who is boss, we regrouped again at the end of Koru. Ket clearly impressed with my elbows-out passing style.
As he was feeling it a bit, we decided that a quick blast down the lovely Lazy Fern was about as much as he should handle. Ahead Warp Factor 5!
Al is the Shralve-Master!
But Ket was pushing him hard...
It goes without saying that my peerless descending skills meant I was having to wait for these two chumps long and often - either that or I was being really annoying by making them ride past me for the pics then forcing them to stop so I could re-pass them. I'll leave it up to you to decide.
Ket in his element.
My two bros going hard near the end of this beautiful trail...
Ket in the carpark. He is a very cool cat and his passion for riding is growing daily, along with his mad skills!
When I last blogged I talked about how the South Coast fills my soul; well Makara Peak does also. Unfortunately today it mainly filled my sole - with dogshit. I'm going to have a rant about the disgusting and unhygienic morons who let their dogs shit all over the place without cleaning up. Unnoticed by me when we parked, there were several huge rokies lying around just where someone would stand getting into or out of their vehicle, as well as one particularly unsavoury deposit draped fetchingly all over a nearby flax. This is on top of the increasing number of turds ranged along the lower trails, not to mention the other trails, streets and parks of Wellington. For goodness sake, why can't these inconsiderate wankers just think about other people for a minute?
Alex was definitely not impressed either.
A post-ride caramel milkshake eased the emotional trauma of cleaning up the canine crap, then we headed back home before picking up Harry and going to see Terminator Salvation. We followed this with Malaysian takeaways which helped put a fine cap on a great week, shoe-poo aside...
This week started off with promise also. Another dead calm and bright sunny day dawned, so after despatching my morning pile of emails, dishes and laundry I saddled up my trusty Bianchi and sallied forth into the day.
After a quick zap through Island Bay I was greeted by this glorious vista...
I then perambulated west around to Owhiro Bay - the opposite direction to the one I usually would take. I'm very glad I did.
The steady grade up Happy Valley Road has broken many a rider over the years with it's deceptive toughness, especially when the northerly is blowing hard. Today it wasn't and I was relaxed and rode it in a good tempo, feeling great. I hit the top and decided to take the high-speed option of Brooklyn Hill, rather than the more techy Ohiro Road choice. Again, I'm glad I did. I waited until the cars had passed and sprinted hard down the hill until I could tuck - the sweepers are always a matter of holding your nerve, staying off your brakes and trusting in your tyres. I had an amazing run...
Before I blitzed the descent.
I then rode up Aro Street with a view to having a quick coffee with Jonty at Revolution Bicycles before heading off to work, but this is where it all started to come unstuck. Feeling good as I hit the first corner of the Raroa Road climb I heard a weird noise from the rear wheel - I thought at first it was just the road surface, but then the sideways slide I took towards a drain told me it was a damn puncture. I stopped and was just trying to figure out what the hell had caused it...
When who should turn up but Jonty himself! I was glad to see him not just because we're good friends, but because if I hadn't flatted he wouldn't have been at his shop when I got there to make me a coffee! Great to see him anyway, and he kindly gave me some pointers on puncture fixing.
Unfortunately, I'm a lot quicker at chucking spare wheels into race bikes than I am at roadside puncture repairs, so by now I was running too short of time to follow Jonty up the hill. We said our farewells and I headed off down the hill, stopping only to put on my gloves, then again two or three times to check I hadn't left anything else behind! I headed for the waterfront with the idea of heading around the Bays as far as Evans Bay, then zipping over Constable Street and home...
...only to realise Jonty was right and my puncture fixing abilities are actually utter shite as my tyre started to soften again. I decided to head straight home hoping the tyre would hold up, but only made it as far as the Basin Reserve before I was faced with having to stop again to attempt to fix it. I sat in the sun on the steps of this historic cricket ground cursing and swearing and having the cyclist's eternal struggle with the tube of cement that has dried up since it was last used. Eventually I had fixed it well enough to risk pumping it up, so I gingerly rode home thanking my lucky stars these tyre issues hadn't arisen as I raced down Brooklyn Hill at 70kph...
I had got home and changed for work and was just about to head up to the workshop with a long overdue coffee when my lovely wife Jacq walked up the street pushing her bike. I thought she must have had a puncture too, and was just about to wonder about the odds on us both getting one when I realised she was looking very shaky and had the tell-tale signs of an off, with dirt and dust on her shoulder and a skew-wyf helmet.
It turned out that, like me, she had decided to forgo some chores to take advantage of the lovely day to do another training ride for her attempt on Taupo later in the year. She had had a great 20km ride and was fizzing after smashing a local climb - she hit our street very fast, before over-enthusiastically braking just as she rode over a patch of wet leaves. Her front wheel went out from under her and she catapaulted over the bars with her bike cartwheeling end over end.
Once I had helped her into the house and checked to see if she had broken anything, it became apparent that she was "lucky" and had escaped with "only" some bad grazing on her cheek and chin, some road rash on the knee, as well as a sore wrist and hands. Her helmet had sustained a decent whack though, so I'll be disposing of that and getting her a new one.
After some tender ministrations I strapped up her wrist, parked her up on the couch with pain relief, water and the remote, then headed up to the shop to meet my client taking her bike with me to assess the damage when I had the chance.
It turned out that her forks were bent (bye-bye lovely old Bomber Z1 Long Travels! *sob*), but other than that it was just the bell, the left hand gear indicator and the bar-ends had been badly roughed up. I sanded them smooth, removed the superfluous bung indicator, and fitted an old pair of RST Mojo Pro W forks I used to cherish back in the day. That sorted her old Gary Fisher out until her choice new road bike is ready, but more about that another time...
Once I'd picked up Bodhi from school Jacq was in good hands. He decided my poor effort of bandaging her wrist need augmenting, especially once he realised she had sustained a blow to the head - he really is a lovely caring boy!
Until next time, take care and keep the rubber side down. Cheers, Oli