Picture courtesy of Helen Brumby
Saturday 25th April 2009 - ANZAC Day. After a solemn Day of Remembrance for our Fallen, followed by the required school holiday movie with Jacq and the boys (Monsters Vs Aliens FYI), I was stoked to get this text from Tim Wilding:
Bro i won single speed champs - i have to get a f***ing tattoo! Bike was magic. Thanks for doing such a primo job
That's right, T-Rex negotiated costume-clad freaks, raging roadies, forced beer consumption, and some class competition to win the Famed Rotorua Single Speed National Championships in the Whakarewarewa Forest yesterday! This makes him eligible for the Singlespeed World Champs in Portland, Oregon this November - hopefully Tim will be able to fit the race into his already packed schedule!
Tim crossing the line!
Picture courtesy of Helen Brumby
A stolen picture of Tim showing the world his new body art.
And here is the Badge of Honour!
Also reprazenting in Rotorua was my man Paul Larkin, who was backing up from an epic Tour of Chongming only hours after making it home from China.
And here he is involved in a bit of good natured argy-bargy with another of my good friends, Head Like A Hole bassist Andrew "Tallbeast" Durno. I believe Paul's lower centre of gravity helped him win this battle for beer.
Talking of Champions, last week I showed you the wheels I built up for my favourite adventure racer Dave Hicks. On Monday I fitted the wheels to his Kona King - along with a recent Fox fork and shock upgrade his bike has lost over 2kg, bringing it down to an impressive 27lb (to mix measures!)...hopefully his KEEN Adventure Race is going well in Australia.
I gave Mike's lovely Condor a service this week. It needed a new chain and some brake pads before heading off on it's imminent big OE to Italy.
I made a start on Mark's cool RIH track bike. After the sad loss of Ross Bee Mark had to cast around for a different frame painter, so the frame had just been painted by Auckland's Walter Thorburn. As the first example of Walter's work I had seen, I was very impressed. A very tidy job indeed.
I cleaned up the parts as best as possible...
But decided the Campagnolo track hubs are the only part of the wheels worth saving - the spokes were all corroded and the rims not in good shape. Here is an Araya Aero 1 rim - these super-light 280(!) gram rims were highly sought after in their day, but sadly this one was cracking around all the nipple eyelets and couldn't be re-used.
Due to the rough and mismatched state of the two Super Champion Arc En Ciel rims left over we'll suss out some new tubular rim options over the next week or so, but here it is so far minus the bars and stem I fitted after the picture was taken.
My friend Jono is a top bloke who'll do anything for his mates. He's helped me out with advice and tools on several occasions, so when he asked to use my workshop to build up his new bike I said he could. Luckily for me I did as he surprisingly sweetened the deal with a bottle of RUM! Those of you planning on asking your bicycle mechanic a favour at some point should consider taking a leaf out of Jono's book, as the gift of alcohol definitely goes a long way towards getting what you want with most wrenches I know. ;)
Jono had been debating which trail bike to buy for some time, and several demo rides on various machines had led him inexorably towards the fine Turner 5 Spot DW Link from one of New Zealand's finest wholesalers, Wide Open, via one of NZ's best bike shops Burkes.
Jono had specced a no holds barred set of components, including Marzocchi 55ATA forks, Shimano XTR gruppo, Hope brakes and finishing kit from Thomson, Maxxis and Chris King. I was asked to build him some wheels using Hope Pro2 hubs in blinging gold ano finish, on Mavic 717D rims also supplied by Burkes so I started this while he built the 5 Spot up.
Unfortunately I had failed to check my stocks of DT spokes and was short. This meant I wasn't able to finish the front wheel this day, but luckily for me the wrong brake adaptor had been sent for the front brake, so it wasn't entirely my fault Jono didn't get to ride his new bike on his Wednesday night ride...
In between building his wheels and pottering around doing other jobs I helped Jono with the build by facing his bottom bracket.
Here it is after Jono and I had done all the work we could do without the brake adaptor and the front wheel...
With a detail of the very sweet Hope brakes.
And here is Jono on Friday completing his Turner build by fitting said adaptor once I'd built the front wheel.
Between Jono's fine workmanship and my help with the wheels it turned out very nice indeed. Here it is all complete and shiny before Jono took it out and dirtied it up on Mt Lowry this Sunday...
If (God forbid!) anything ever happens to my Commençal I think a Turner might possibly be my next bike. Many people whose opinion I trust think very highly of Turner and I really dig the ethos, the ride and the quality of these cool frames.
Which moves the blog nicely onto another sweet frame I got to work on this week, Dan's wicked mid 90s Colnago Technos.
It has been sitting around unridden for a while and Dan decided to make it usable by fitting a bunch of Campagnolo 8 speed parts to it, along with a set of Mavic GEL280 wheels he has.
The rear wheel has broken a spoke necessitating a rebuild which I ran out of time to do, so here is the Technos as I left it on Friday arvo...I'm looking forward to finishing the job off next week when I'll give a better rundown of both the wheel and the build.
Due to how extraordinarily busy I've been I hadn't been able to spend a single day with my boys over the school holidays and, with the hols finishing this weekend, I was determined to take some time out for them. So, once the Friday carnage was all cleared up and the bikes collected I zoomed home and got the boys revved up for a mission.
Since the boys were very little riding together has been part of our weekend fun. Here's a shot of two year old Kester (now 15 years old) accompanying me on a fateful winter ride that ended up scaring him off riding for the next three months - apparently, wet muddy descending in a cold southerly isn't as fun for the passenger with the pilot's fat arse jammed in his face as it is for the pilot!?
And here is a clearly enthusiastic Harry (now 13) on the back of my old Marin Pine Mountain on a somewhat more sedate excursion one sunny day on Welli's waterfront.
Now I have my Cove Handjob (whut?) set up as my tow bike I was confident of being able to truly ride off-road, so we saddled up and headed out for the first proper MTB ride with all three boys. It was with great glee and gusto we all set out for the exotic riding locale of the famed Mt Albert. We rode up behind the hockey stadium as far as we could, then walked the steepest pitch.
Kester and Bodhi head the field.
While a slightly less than thrilled at the exertion Harry dragged his heels a bit...it's tough being a fanatic skater with a fanatic biker Dad.
Before long we regrouped where the Mt Albert downhill drops down towards Melrose Park and the Zoo. Bodhi took some time to ponder some of life's many mysteries.
While Ket just chilled...
Once everyone had recovered from the first leg of the climb, we set off for the summit. The 4WD track that sidles around Mt Albert isn't too much of a gradient, but the extra weight of Bodhi and the trailer bike didn't make it any easier for an old fat boy. Bodhi did a great job pedaling though, and I could feel little surges from his input. Here is a shot I attempted to take of him as we wobbled up the climb...
And a better one. "Come on, Papa! Pedal HARDER!"
Bodhi and I puffed our way up, followed closely by Harry who by now had got well into his rhythm.
'Laxing out atop Mt Albert.
The thought of the downhill had Harry and Kester positively salivating so, after the usual talk about safety and not going crazy blah blah blah, we set off. Bodhi was told to hang on to the handlebars NO MATTER WHAT...
...which was freaking lucky, as Kester later told me Bo was bouncing clear out of his saddle and off the pedals over every large bump! Despite riding what I thought was a sedate pace I have to go slower over the rough stuff, as the thought of Bodhi firing off the saddle and auguring in fills me with dread and horror! Not that he was worried in the slightest - his laughs and whoops were happy music to my ears when I was still ignorant of the danger I was placing him in!
After a quick "hello!" to the baboons behind the fence at Melrose Park Harry asked if we could ride Karitane, a ride he's always loved. Here's another (terrible) shot of Bo and I swerving wildly through the trees at Karitane with the big boys having punched the hyperdrive and scrammed.
After zooming down the grass slopes between the Newtown Bowling Club and the Zoo, we rode up through Newtown Park where the boys veered off to ride the roots alongside Russell Tce while Bodhi and I opted for the speed rush of Herald Street. It was quite disconcerting to be going faster than I usually do down there despite having the brakes on!
The end of the ride was marked by much wooting and victory salutes from all three boys.
Harry in his element now...
And Kester cool as ever.
We'd all enjoyed this ride immensely and debriefed for hours. Harry had come to terms with the fact that uphills aren't much fun when you're not fit, but that the suffering is always paid back in spades by the downhill that follows - a philosophy that I am continually forced to recognise. Kester and Bodhi just had a ball the whole time, and I finished the ride deeply satisfied that years of having to leave Bodhi behind when the big boys and I ride have officially come to an end. Great fun, and we all can't wait until we hit Koru and Lazy Fern next weekend...
Speaking of which, Sunday dawned to steady rain. After hanging out with the boys until 1pm while Jacq was out and about I tried to wrangle them to help out at a scheduled dig party at Karori Park after perhaps having a quick ride up Koru. However, an unforeseen (durr!) lack of any decent wet weather gear for Bo meant I decided to pull his pin - it was fully unwise to let him get wet and cold the day before he went back to school. In a selfless gesture Kester and Harry decided they would rather hang out with their little brother than ride in the rain, so after some prevarication and just one more Havana I chucked the Commençal on the back of the car and headed up into the rain and clouds towards Makara Peak.
I figured it was best to ride first and dig later, as 30 minutes of digging would probably leave me incapacitated and unlikely to brave the trails. I parked the car by Karori Park and warmed up by riding down South Karori Road and getting air off all the judder bars, before veering into the Carpark then zoomed for my first time ever over the new Koru Bridge.
I set off up Koru at a decent clip, then had a hilarious ride down SWIGG/Starfish - the heavy rain after weeks of dry weather made for a layer of slippery slurry on top of the trails and some inadvertent skids resulted, as did some slightly less than orthodox lines. It was a good run though with no barrel rolls and I felt like riding more, so I ambled up Koru again and this time shralved Lazy Fern in a BMX-ey steez. More traction this time, but equally as many grins as I popped and pedaled this trail I love to rail.
I got to the bottom soaked and covered head to foot in mud and clay, and with the adrenalin we all seek coursing through my veins. The rush kept out the cold and gave me that warm inner glow that a good ride brings.
So then I sifted off towards Karori Park and the Pump Track to hopefully join the workers labouring away. Of course my mucking around and solo riding meant that when I finally got there at 2.45 everyone had gone! I had a quick nosy around and tried ineptly to ride the loop a couple of times, failing utterly to manage any semblance of style whatsoever and nearly axing myself on a Bodhi-scale double.
I then meandered down the cool zig-zaggy bermed trail that leads back down to the Park, admiring all the work that the many volunteers have put in so far...
Before heading for home it was time for a lovely visit and a quick coffee with the erstwhile leader of the dig party, my dear friend John Randal. Of course once I did get home it turned out that Kester had spent the whole time I was away regretting not coming! Next time I'll insist. ;)
One last thing, I've been asked to write an occasional blog for BikeNZ's website Ridestrong so here's a link to my first effort.
Pedal on, Oli