Monday, February 28, 2011

Ten Hours



The routines of the year are at last easing back in place after the seemingly endless school holiday juggling act. With the way things work around here, if I schedule things right and jobs and/or people go to plan, I am fortunate enough to be able to factor in the odd ride during the day, and Bodhi's first week back at school gave me both the time and the weather to get out for an astounding (for me) ten hours of varied riding.

The week began with a mountain bike ride on the Sunday afternoon. I met up with Alex, Matt and Nick for a cruisy ride - Nick is just easing into the sport so we wanted to show him some fun but technically undemanding local trails. We headed parallel to Buckley Road along the swooping Sinclair Park track, then up to Mt Albert (where the photo that leads this blog entry was taken). Down the hill and onto Melrose Park for a quick chat with the baboons, then up to Karitane, warp speed down through the trees and down the unsealed road above the Workingmen's Bowling Club into Newtown, then on the road to the skills area on Mt Victoria where we all did a few laps and Alex impressed us all with his cool see-saw jumps.



We then followed the Mt Vic easy trails past the Velodrome and up to the saddle on Alexandra Road.

Matt cruises.



Nick was doing a great job of keeping up, although he did have a wee OTB on some roots later on - we think he was rattled by the surprising and only partially explained sight of Simon Kennett leaping out at us wearing lycra with a shirt and tie...



The hot, dry conditions meant that by the time we had made it safely back up the hill to HQ...



...we had definitely earned an ice-cold beer or two.





MTB: 90 minutes

After spending most of Monday with my head down dealing with the mundanities of daily life, I managed to slip out for a quick ride on my CX bike in the evening. I headed through Island Bay, up Happy Valley Road, and did a quick loop of the Frobisher trails, stopping only to listen to the deafening cacophony of the cicadas - odd that they are almost impossible to hear on this bit of film...

video

CX: 60 minutes

Tuesday dawned hot and sunny with a stiff southerly. I did my morning chores then suited up for a quick ride on the Bianchi before I had to pick up Bo from school. I moseyed on down the waterfront, then to Parliament.



I headed up Glenmore Street, then got watery eyes blasting down Bolton Street. More promenading around the wharves, then I pedalled up Carlton Gore...



...The Crescent...



...and Palliser Road...



...to the top of Mt Victoria to take yet another picture of "the most photographed bicycle in the world".



I then zoomed down Alexandra Road at what passes for top speed these days, recalling many fun roadie downhill battles on this descent with my old buddies back in the day.



Road: 60 minutes Waveback Index = -10

Wednesday was sunny again but this time hot and delightfully wind free, so I raced home from morning drop-off and hit the road once more. Yesterday I had felt decidedly average and it seemed today wasn't much better, so I eased my way around the Bays instead of my initial plan of doing the Makara loop...



What's that? The Bianchi isn't very clear? Sorry about that!



Caught short after one too many espressos, and without a lock, I was grateful for the city council's thoughtful provision of facilities roomy enough to safely park my machine while I performed my ablutions...



Unburdened and unfettered, I flew around the coastline feeling better all the time.



A friend recently commented on one of my Facebook posts that I should be able to ride around the Bays blindfolded by now, to which I retorted why would I even want to when it's so damned beautiful? The views and aspects are as ever-changing as the Wellington weather or the shadows of the clouds on the Eastern Hills and, even after over thirty years of riding around and around the Bays, I never tire of them.



Like glass, it was...



Steeple Rock, where the Wahine eventually came to rest.



Looking out from Princess Bay towards Tapu Te Ranga Island, Red Rocks and, in the far distance, the South Island's Kaikoura Mountains.



Road: 75 minutes WI = +20

I woke on Thursday feeling great so I got out as soon as I could, opting this time for my trusty CX bike. I headed along Aotea Quay past two cruise ships disgorging vast throngs of tourists all looking slightly bemused by the thought of having to walk into town past siding yards and piles of logged timber.



Up Ngaio Gorge on the road.



And through Crofton Downs then up Chartwell Drive.



Through the gates...



...then a fun and drifty descent took me down into the Valley Of The Horses.



One of the natives tried to give me the eye but I've faced down vicious moo-cows before, so no mere equine would affect my equanimity.



Up the next climb...



Before whooping it up on another short drop down into the next valley.



After what had been a grim grovel up the hills so far, the climb up onto Skyline seemed to somehow pass easily beneath my wheels. It wasn't long at all before I was marvelling at the stunning views from the stile by the entrance to the Kohekohe walking track.

Looking roughly SW out towards Makara and the windfarm.



And back east the way I'd come towards Matiu/Somes Island and the Eastern Bays.



I then trundled along Skyline, being infernally jolted by the concrete-hard cattle-chopped dirt road before hitting the wicked fun smooth tracks of the Cemetery Trail which, for the first time ever I've ridden it, was utterly dry the whole way.



A quick jaunt on the road led me up to Highbury and I thought I'd further explore the tricky Predator trail I'd stumbled upon on an earlier CX ride.



It looks pretty innocuous in the photo, but it's steepish, sinuous and tight, with wasps to boot. I imagine it would be a complete nightmare in the wet!



Soon enough I was spat out at the Sanctuary Fenceline...



...which I followed along to Hi Bro...



...then I raced down Transient, feeling at one with my bike as I zipped along this neat trail.



I hit Aro Street realising it was five to twelve and I was supposed to be meeting a client at noon at the workshop! I sprinted home feeling amazingly good until the very final part of the climb up Rintoul Street, arriving at my shop door at five past in an anaerobic lather but feeling invigorated and very happy I'd even been capable of making the effort.



Luckily, the client hadn't turned up at midday on the dot so while I waited I took the chance to quickly clean the drive, tune up my bike and take some unwarranted detail snaps with my NEW CAMERA. Did I mention I have a NEW CAMERA?

XT cranks.



"Modified" XTR rear derailleur.



Sram PG990 cassette.



Head tube logo.



Chris King headset.



Columbus Nio-bium steel tubes.



Cove Bike Shop decal.



Dirty crotch shot.



Rear wheel.



CX: 150 minutes

Friday I changed things around so I could work in the morning, meet my clients for weekend pick-ups at lunchtime, then go for a ride in the afternoon with my truant friends Alex and Matt. With time at a premium after my last appointment I got Jacq to drop me up at Al's, then we basically duplicated our ride from the previous Sunday. Instead of the road behind the bowling club though, we headed down the sketchy Water Tower descent to the tennis club on Crawford Road. To my embarrassment this totally vibed me out and I snowploughed my way down it as best as possible while Al and Matt made it look a doddle. We rode along the easy Mt Vic trails but, whether it was due to my exertions of the past few days or just bad timing, my hernia was acting up badly so I left the boys at Gobbler's Knob and soloed home feeling pretty rugged and considerably sorry for myself.

MTB: 60 minutes

Saturday I spent off the bike; partly for recovery reasons, but also to work a couple of hours in the shop, catch up on the chores I'd avoided earlier in the week and spend some time with Bodhi. Sunday was another fine day in Paradise, so Jacq, Bo and I went for a lovely walk around Newtown in the morning, before I got out on the Bianchi in the arvo. In complete contrast to Friday I felt fantastic, and I did a few hills then smashed around the Bays feeling almost like a bike racer and revelling in what was for me a rare "float day".



The street I lived in for most of my teenage formative bike racer years, Hay Street in Oriental Bay. Always a brutally steep finish to a hard ride.



The Carter fountain.



Looking out from the Freyberg Jetty towards the Overseas Terminal and town. The Overseas Terminal was where I first set foot in New Zealand after emigrating from the UK on the Northern Star in 1967. I still remember fragments of the voyage that took us from Southampton to the Canary Islands, Capetown, Durban, Perth, Sydney and, after six weeks at sea, eventually to Wellington. My little sister learned to walk on the Northern Star, and I had my 4th birthday two days before we sailed into Wellington Harbour on a still winter's day with the tops of the hills chopped off by clinging clouds...



The Basin Reserve. Very pleasant to ride through while a game of cricket was going on.



Because I am obsessed with my bikes, and I think most who bother to read these battological blogs most likely enjoy them too, I see no good reason why I shouldn't bless you with yet more random detail pics, my Dear Reader.

Campagnolo Chorus brake caliper.



Campagnolo Record 9 speed rear derailleur - to my eye the finest blend of carbon, steel and aluminium ever fabricated.



Campagnolo seat bolt.



Head tube logo, the Bianchi eagle.



Columbus TSX Ultralight tubes help make this one of the nicest riding bikes I've ever known.



The pantographed b/b shell, and my carbon Centaur cranks pimped out with Super Record cups.



The rear hub of my Campag Neutron wheelset.



Record carbon seat post.



Record 1" threadless headset and FSA OS 99 stem.



Road: 105 minutes WI = +60

I'm cheating by counting two Sundays, but it's my blog so there, and this brought me to seven rides in a week and a total of ten hours of riding. Nice, and even though the subsequent week didn't match it long may it continue. I do know that the recent cessation of hernia hostilities and some associated improvements in my diet have resulted in my weight dipping back below 100kg for the first time in quite a while, so motivation is high to keep on the way I'm going. I just wish the op was done and dusted so I could really ramp things up...

But my troubles pale into pathetic insignificance when I think of the poor folk in Christchurch. The terrible earthquake that has so badly hurt the city and killed so many good people has touched the rest of New Zealand, and I send my fervent wishes for the shaking to end and for a quick return to something approaching normality for everyone involved. Kia kaha.