I want to begin this post by saying how humbled and awed Jacq and I are by the amazing outpouring of support and affirmation for our future plans that so very many of you have kindly taken time to relate - it means a lot to Jacq and I that this crazy swerve in the road we've taken is being perceived as a positive change of direction by the people we care about, so thanks so much and cheers to you all...
Thanks to Bridie for the lovely Guatemalan pirate rum and glasses!
But Gol-DANG, announcing my "retirement" wasn't exactly the way to lessen the pressure. It's been pretty full on here as I finish off the last few weeks of work at Roadworks and I've been pulling down more than a few long days trying to fit everything in. I won't bore you by relating every job I've done, but here are a few of the tasks that have filled the time since last I wrote.
As always, there are wheels to build. I love building wheels - it's very satisfying work turning the separate components into a coherent whole that will carry someone safely and reliably through many rides and adventures for many years over many roads and trails.
Selwyn wanted a new wheel for his 29er so he chose a Mavic TM719 Disc rim on an XT hub with DT stainless butted spokes.
I built a pair of rear wheels for Tor's two bikes; Tor is a big, powerful rider so for his Surly singlespeed we built up a 36 hole White Industries ENO hub with a Salsa Delgado Cross rim.
And for Tor's new geared bike he wanted a bombproof wheel, so with the idea and help of Jonty from Revolution Bicycles Tor specced a Hope Trials hub on another TM719 rim to create a super strong dishless wheel that will end up running a 6 speed "cassette".
Mark's Specialized Allez needed a jolly good going over - aluminium bikes are prone to various creaks and groans over time so I basically stripped and rebuilt it, as well as replacing the cables and tuning everything...
My good buddy Mike's bike needed similar treatment after many months of hard use. I also had to set the race wheels up so that swapping from his training wheels wouldn't affect the gears - in the end this was easily done with the aid of a simple 1mm spacer behind the cassette of the race wheels.
Dave from Bike Fixation also needed his well-used Litespeed Siena's cables replaced. I also pulled out the b/b and serviced the hubs and headset - obviously Dave likes riding in the rain!
Dan needed his cranks removed and I couldn't resist snapping a pic of his very cool BMC SLC01 while it was up in the stand - the pic doesn't do justice to the funky green trim.
Tim Wilding is readying himself for the upcoming Coppermine Epic MTB race and while he'll race his carbon Blur much of his training is done on his play bike, an Ibis Mojo. This needed a fork service, a DU bushing replaced in his rear shock, a broken spoke replaced, new cables, brake pads, headset bearings, chain, cassette, etc., etc...it's purring now after a major cash and time injection.
This upcoming weekend sees the awesome new Simon Kennett created Kiwi Brevet event begin in Blenheim. I've been helping John Randal with preparing his Giant 69er, so it was great to hear late yesterday afternoon that John and Simon had conquered the Akatarawa Attack 8 hour orienteering event for a third time in what was their most dominating performance over the years - this bodes well for their form for the Brevet, so the very best of luck to them both.
As well as my pre-Brevet work with John I've been lucky enough to be a part of Bill Brierley's assault on this gruelling challenge. Here is Bill's Brevet Bike after it's final check over. Note the cleverly Bill-crafted carbon rear bag fairing and framebag...
And his equally clever carbon reinforced hydration solution. Best of luck to Bill also in the Brevet.
As anyone who has lived in Wellington will be aware, the summer of 09/10 has been the worst in living memory, and I've lived for quite some time! After my shortlived affair with a carbon wench I rekindled my love affair with my steel baby on a few rides, most of which were less than pleasant slogs in foul windy grey days. One of the four or five genuinely fine days we have had though was one of the best that this beknighted climate ever offer us, with 25 degree warmth, almost zero wind and the pleasing sights of golden beaches covered in bikini-clad bathing beauties - just the stuff to wash away the cares of the world.
As I have mentioned before, on my meandering way home I often love to partake of the calm oasis in a sea of manic traffic that is the Basin Reserve - the sound of leather on willow is almost soporifically soothing and it isn't hard to imagine the dulcet tones of the commentators...
"The batsman's Holding, the bowler's Willey!"
I cycled happily home through Newtown feeling relaxed and happy, whereupon my sweet Celeste leaned languidly by the door of my workshop in a sensual promise of the summer rides still to come...
January is a big month in the Brooke-White household with Bodhi's 7th birthday (an awesome Jacq designed secret agents party)...
...and Kester's 16th birthday too.
With all the focus on them it behooved me to take time out to spend some quality time with my poor deprived middle son, so Harry and I went urban for a cool ride one arvo.
After a manic Friday readying the last jobs for the weekend I skived off early (3pm) to meet my good friend Alex for a ride on the third of what would prove to be the only four consecutive days of true summer so far - as we loaded up the Sex Wagon and headed up to Karori the skies were clear and still and the temperature was edging close to 30 degrees. We parked up and headed up Parkvale Road and onto the steep and winding warm-up climb that leads onto Skyline where we took a well-earned drinks break.
The heat was intense - it felt utterly unlike riding in Wellington and more like I'd imagine the Hawke's Bay might feel, having sadly never actually ridden my MTB there. The views were fantastic and the sky much clearer than my sad phone camera would suggest!
One of the very cool things about Skyline that differs from the bulk of Wellitrack is that much of it we could ride side by side chatting. This was very convivial and thoroughly enjoyable as a change of pace, but just once I had to anti-socially scoot ahead to stage a shot.
We rode along Skyline as far as the 4wd road that leads back down to Chartwell Drive, but not before spending lots more time marvelling at the wonderful views.
Hard to see in these grainy images but every evening of this un-Wellington like heat wave a sea mist would roll slowly through the Cook Strait and into the harbour - here it is creeping around the coastline of the South Island heading for the Marlborough Sounds.
We finished with a fun road blast down through Crofton Downs and along Wilton Road before heading back up to Karori and the car. We were both exhausted from the privations of what had turned out to be a surprisingly tough and hilly ride for two unfit blokes, especially in the unaccustomed heat. We both had a ball but at the end of it Alex would get to put his feet up, relax and recover - I still had business to take care of!
After dropping Alex back home, I showered and changed then headed up to Revolution Bicycles to drop off Tor's wheel, quaff an ale and catch up with the goss before meeting my good friends Paul and Bridie for a vino or two at Scopa while John Randal dropped my car off at home for me - I'm very grateful for the valet service! Bridie is in the country to attend a wedding and do a race or two (2nd in the prestigious Takapuna GP) and Paul brought her down to Wellington to train and catch up with friends. Fantastic to see them both...
Bridie racing in Takapuna behind eventual GP winner Emma Petersen
After such a lovely Friday evening Saturday was great fun too, even though I spent most of it inside the cool of the shop instead of basking in the heat of the stunning continuation of the five days of summer - I spent the day building a bike I've been looking forward to building more than any bicycle in recent memory, my friend Dave's custom Pegoretti Marcelo. I want to dedicate an entire blog to this stunning machine but for now I'll just give you a quick taster...
After that was done and Dave had picked up his new charge I headed back home to get my bogan on - Kester and I were lucky enough to have been given free tickets to the second of AC/DC's two Wellington concerts. Harry had also scored one but was heading off with his own friends, so Ket and I headed into town together. We rendezvoused with some other family friends on the Terrace to drink bourbon and coke (obviously Ket wasn't drinking it!) in the sweltering evening heat before we piled into a variety of vehicles and headed off to the Stadium for what was an awesome night of mullets and black t-shirts. Shihad were a good loud start to the night and AC/DC might be getting on in years but it didn't seem to stop the rock one bit. Crunching rock'n'roll and a fantastic night was had by all...
While we threw the goats around and the rock rolled a southerly arrived in town, which overnight turned to rain and dropped the temperature from the high 20s to the low teens - this meant that by Sunday afternoon the weather was bad enough for the Trust House Cycle Classic (formerly the Tour of Wellington) final criterium to be relegated to being an exhibition race instead of the final GC decider. I met up with Bridie and Paul to watch despite the inclement conditions.
Tim and Dave also turned up though admittedly somewhat disgruntled by the less than savoury climate.
I always enjoy being around the bike racing milieu, especially when I get to catch up with old mates like legendary pro race mechanic Benny Devcich, here contemplating the exhorbitant price of getting his nails manicured...
Even though the racing was just for the benefit of the keeners that had braved the wet and was being performed by a depleted field it was no less fast and furious for all that.
New National Champion Jack Bauer decided the best way to avoid crashing on the slippery city streets was to use his prodigious power and well-honed Belgian kermesse skills to clear out and solo to victory.
Despite a torrid and determined chase from Bici Vida's Mike Northey...
...Jack was on a mission, using the kerbs as berms and using every inch of the slick roads.
And slowly the desperately chasing bunch lost ground...
...shelling one rider after another.
Photo courtesy of Colin Bain
Until he ultimately caught the bunch on the last lap and crossed the line victorious.
Photo courtesy of Colin Bain
Great effort by Jack, but also mention must be made of the nice work by Michael Torckler and his John Lee managed Cardno team for winning the Tour proper. Having worked with John before it was no surprise to see his tactical nous pay off so handsomely, and it was great to see one of the unsung riders of NZ be able to show his class on such a big stage.
I was a little bummed to have missed out on working the Tour - I did have some cool offers from various Teams, but I sadly had to turn them down due to work and family commitments. However, I am lucky enough to have been asked to be the spannerman for the BikeNZ Team in the NZCT Women's Tour of New Zealand, and was this time able to accept the job. The Team will be super strong this year and I look forward to proudly assisting them on their attempt to collect the yellow jersey. Hopefully I'll see some of you around the course of this superb International UCI Tour - don't forget to check out the women's iteration of the Wellington crit on the 28th!
Until the upcoming Pegoretti build blog, thanks for reading. Cheers, Oli