Monday, September 28, 2009

I've Got The Spirit, But Lose The Feeling

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec for Dave Hicks, the only one to get my appalling title pun last week...

Well, this week didn't really go to plan as far as riding goes. It certainly started out well enough with a cool ride to pick up Bodhi from school on World Car Free Day - he didn't know I was coming so was stoked when I turned up on the trailer bike with his helmet and gloves.

We had a wicked fang down Clarence Street (or Cut Corners, as Bo dubbed it) then down through Central Park (massive brake pump in the forearms!) and onto Karo Drive, then down through the Basin Reserve and onto Adelaide Road, where we picked up a huge sliver of aluminium and a swift puncture. Perfect time for Bo to have his lunch while Papa plied his trade.

While I was sorting the new tube, Bo decided it was time for a badly posed shot of the two of us, then I chucked the wheel back in the Cove and it was off again to beat the afternoon rush home. Even with the pung it was great fun - hard workout too, dragging the trailerbike up Farnham St, and Bo everywhere else!

Tuesday night was a long one, as I watched the World Championships Women's TT online. Great to see many of my friends racing and a couple in particular. Perhaps not the results they were quite after, but good stuff indeed and it all bodes well for the future.

Because of my late night, Wednesday morning was screwed for riding so I sculled a couple of coffees, hit the tools...

...and started spannering.

The forks and headset had arrived for Warrick's lovely Cervelo SuperProdigy, so it was out with the old broken ones...

And in with a new pair of aluminium steered Deda Black Force forks, along with a slick new Campagnolo Record 1" threadless headset. Once the rear wheel was trued (one of mine used to set bike up) and the rest of the bike checked and tuned it was out into the sun for a quick snap of this beautiful machine restored to its full glory.

Kerry wanted his Scott Addict tickled up - a couple of wee creaks and groans sorted out and a fettle of the gears and brakes and this impressively light (7.15kg/15.76lb!) machine should be rolling sweetly beneath him again in his upcoming races.

Dan needed his road bike rebuilt after the parts had been temporarily stolen to build up the very cool Narcoti bamboo prototype I showed a few blogs ago...

Now the Narcoti MkI is in the UK being test-ridden on the mean streets of London Town, Dan wants to get back on the road. No problem.

Ironically, in light of poor Warrick's forks, I have been looking for a pair of Columbus Muscle forks in 1" for myself for some time. The reasons are threefold; firstly, I wanted the ability to raise my bars higher than I can currently; secondly, so my man Paul can have his ITM ones back for his own bike! Is two years too long to "borrow" something? Does it become theft after that long? He assures me no, but I remain unsure...and thirdly, they're Columbus for God's sake!

Regardless, long hours searching TradeMe eventually culminated in a ding-dong battle (auction) that I eventually won. After all, money is no object to me - I'm a bike mechanic. Soon I had in my hot little hands a much prized set of of NOS Muscles, so while waiting for the next work to turn up I set about doing what I love most (well, second most...) - working on my own bike.

Grouse. Lighter than the ITMs by over 100 grams too - woohoo!

And the mandatory shot of my Bianchi complete with new forks and good wheels. Hotness. The only downside is that time, weather, work and mountainbiking have conspired to prevent me actually riding it since these shots were taken, dammit.

Next up was the start of what has proved to be one long ass job. Nic has bought a new BMC as a parts donor bike... use to build up this cool Felt Virtue Team.

With it's interesting "Equilink" strut.

I then had to put the build aside, as we waited for some parts to arrive.

Doctor Oli then moved on from one transplant to another as he began to operate on the first Ti patients for a few weeks...I had sitting in front of me one of Dave from Bike Fixation's lovely Litespeed Siena frames, this one a custom job with a 61cm top tube befitting the new owner's 2 metre plus height.

Before the Litespeed could be built, I first had to strip down the donor bicycle, this beautiful Lynskey.

Once the parts were removed from the Lynskey, I unwrapped the Siena and fitted the seatpost/saddle before carefully chucking it up in my trusty workstand (Head by Park Tools, sturdy steel legs by Dave Fitter-Welder, stickers by Kester, Harry and Bodhi) to begin prepping it.

I loved the shaped and worked stays...

And finished. Amazingly, despite my being 7 inches shorter than the intended owner, his seat height is only 10mm higher than mine so I was able to give this beautiful bike a short strop around the 'hood - very nice indeed on first impressions, although more race-oriented wheels would definitely add a lot to the whole ride.

And a view from front on, complete with Acros headset.

That brought me nicely to the end of the working week, which happily meant it was time for my ritual visit to the Shrine of Ritchie.

I had one quick beer in those salubrious surroundings before rendezvousing with other friends for a most anti-salubrious "Death" themed Vinyl Club, which proved not to be for the faint-hearted - i.e. me. I draw a curtain over the rest of the night; suffice to say Saturday was a write-off for me as far as any riding, talking or even being awake was concerned - somewhere I haven't been for years, and hopefully won't go again.

At least someone was out riding on Saturday - here's John Randal's washing line after a hard week repping my colours to the four (?) corners of the Wellington region, culminating in his being my rolling billboard on an Epic Ride of a sort I hope to one day join him on - cheers, bro!

Luckily, the start of the school holidays had meant that the Boys were away for the weekend and Jacq was taking advantage of the clear decks to get on with her own life, so at least my self-inflicted suffering was only solo suffering. This also meant that, despite starting somewhat confusingly with daylight saving coming in, Sunday was free and clear for a rare leisurely start over a big breakfast and gallons of coffee, followed by an afternoon of just following front wheels on a ride with the Fabulous Mr X.

The day was cold (where oh where has the spring warmth of August gone?!?) and blowing a strong NWer that was driving low clouds and the odd shower in front of it, but Alex and I were fizzing to ride, so we met at the shop for a quick tune up of his bike, before setting off up through Macalister Park to Mornington, down Cut Corners, then up Todman St and onto Sawmill.

We scuttled up the short bit of the Rollercoaster before ducking back off and onto Carparts, for our first ever try of riding it uphill, despite many runs in the downhill direction. Even though I felt I was climbing strongly, I struggled a few times with the steep uphill pitches - traction and technical mongishness being the issues rather than strength. Both aspects improved dramatically when I realised most of the way I still had my forks locked out and my ProPedal full on. Durr.

Al, however, had no such problems and consequently climbed with aplomb.

At the same time as we began our maiden voyage (in either direction!) up the new Carparts Extension, my bloody phone decided it's memory was full. This meant that sadly for you I couldn't take any more grainy cellphone pictures to document the magnificence of any of this absolutely beautiful bit of flowing singletrack. I can't believe I haven't ridden Carparts Extension before now, it seems wrong even though it's still relatively new. To say Al and I enjoyed this trail is to do it a disservice; we were enraptured and can't wait to ride it again and again. Good stuff all you Legends of Local Trailbuilding for creating this incredible network of awesome tracky goodness for us to shralve. Sincerely, thanks.

Anyway, we managed to drag ourselves away and headed off down Fenceline, and up to Wrights Hill. Once we recovered from the brutal climb up from Pine Needle Clearing we had a super smooth run down Salvation (again, I didn't dare enter the moist and malevolent maw of Deliverance...) before deciding time was getting tight enough to forgo a lower loop of the Park. We washed our bikes off at the Makara Peak carpark facilities, then sifted siftily through the darkest depths of the K-Ghetto and through town to home to complete what was for us another long ride with plenty of climbing, to go along with the superb Welli-track.

This had proved to be only my second ride all week, but it was long and hard enough to at least partially assuage my feelings of missing out, and had the side-effect of hurting my muscles enough for them to give me pleasant reminders all evening of the work they'd been doing...I do like that feeling.

Sunday night I would have liked to have watched the Pro Men's Road Worlds, but sensibly (for once) my tired legs and I decided sleep was more important...

So I woke to a wet and cold Monday. The positive thing about the rain was that at least I could focus on beginning the working week without feeling I was missing out on a ride. I drank my morning coffee as I read the news that Australia had its first ever Pro Mens Road World Champion in the slightly surprising form of Cadel "Cuddles" Evans!

This win was great for next year's Worlds venue Australia, but also of course for the embattled Evans himself after quite a few no doubt frustrating years of almost but not quite. In Mendrisio he won a hard race very well, so bloody good on him.

Some of you may not know that Evans started out as a talented young XC MTB racer, bursting into the international scene at the 1996 Cairns MTB Worlds. And our fair city Wellington went down in history as the scene of the Wunderkind's first ever World Cup round win back in 1997. Winning several more rounds over the next few seasons meant that Cadel went on to win two consecutive World Cup competitions overall, despite unfortunately never being able to claim the MTB World Champions rainbow jersey.

His career since has been littered with close results both off and onroad, but the Welli WC was the first big win for him on the International stage. Here he is atop the podium in the Hataitai Velodrome, flanked by (from left) 4th place Ludovic Dubau, 2nd place Christophe Dupouay, the 1996 World Champion Jerome Chiotti (who eventually voluntarily confessed to EPO use and presented his ill-gotten jersey to Thomas Frishknecht) and (obscured) 5th place Kirk Molday.

Once I had digested this startling result, I shambled up to the shop to ease into the week. As I slowly cleaned and lubed the chain on my Commencal several bikes were dropped off, and so it began. Among other bits and pieces I spent part of the day tinkering with Nic's Felt, but I was having some compatibility issues so couldn't quite nail the whole job. At least I managed to find enough time to build her some nice wheels - Mavic XM819s on XTR hubs with black DT spokes.

Nic was clearly sensing my building frustration, so what better way for her to head the aggro off at the pass? You guessed it, beer. Thanks Nic! It wasn't just any beer either - to be precise it was a delicious bottle of Epic Armageddon I.P.A. with the appropriate slogan - "The Answer To Everything"

Tonight, it certainly was. Cheers, Oli

1 comment:

Allen said...

Watching Cadel do the business live here was great. I was just pleased that for once he didn't f**k his career up and did a really gutsy ride, that last lap was a scorcher with Sporticus doing amazing scary things and everyone else watching him. So good on Evans. I think he could have won the TdF but what with him being a dork and not changing teams he has botched it. Maybe next year he will get some riders who can help him against the Schlecks and get back on the podium. He might be a touchy Aussie but I like seeing any colonials taking it to the Euros!

Keep up the spring riding, I am chasing down Autumn here and have foolishly entered some CX races... my legs burn already.