I find myself at times somewhat non-plussed by the balance between work, home duties and play, with play sadly usually the loser if it come down to a "choice". Sometimes this balance gets pretty freaking tricky, and the non-plussitude can turn rapidly into stress and agitation, especially if I haven't been able to squeeze in a ride. My sincere apologies to those of you who may recently have borne the brunt of any of my inconvenience, irritation and/or ire. I certainly can't please everyone, but I can try and do a better job of being pleasant.
This is some of the work I've been doing since returning to the spanners after a bit of a summer flu induced delay to the start of the working year...
For Christmas my lovely sis-in-law gave me a matching pair of 'Bici in Italia' knick-knack holders, one of which is in use at home while the other has been utilised in the workshop.
My friend Kath was off to a tri in Wanaka so I gave her Quintana Roo a race service.
Long-time Roadworker Udo has moved on his old Giant TCR and replaced it with a new bike...
...this lovely BMC Roadracer SL01.
Beijing Olympian, Rabobank XC pro and ex-Jazz Apples teammate Rosara Joseph had a quick emergency brake repair needing doing before she headed down to the Dunedin Nationals round.
I sorted the brake but, in the course of giving the gears a quick check (force of habit!), I was stoked to find two disintegrating chain links before they pulled apart potentially mid-race. She went on to finish a fine second despite this being her off-season.
It must be the season for new rigs, as Konrad also has a flash upgrade.
On the other hand, my generous sponsor Geoff from Havana is getting his old Bianchi cyclo-cross bike repainted in the correct Celeste. I stripped it down for him to take to his paint guy.
It's in a bad way after being stored outside in the Houghton Bay salt repository, but hopefully it's not beyond redemption...
Cool lug action.
When Geoff originally got the bike it was built up by Henry at the late, lamented Cycle Services, which was right next to Geoff and Tim's ground-breaking Midnight Espresso coffee house.
While at work one day I spent an hour or so catching up with my old friend and racing buddy Chris, when he dropped off the cool Campagnolo gear bag I scored off him on Trade Me.
Another cool score was this mean calendar sent to me by my man Dr Pete in Dunedin - cheers, bro!
Udo's teenage son Jonas is already a seasoned ride, having done Round Taupo several times and given his Dad plenty of grief on the climbs. Having outgrown his old bike, his Dad stumped up for a great deal in this fine Argon 18 to help Jonas further his cycling ambitions.
Neil's Salsa needed some love in the drivetrain department. He got a Veloce cassette, Record chain and entire Centaur chainset with rings in from the UK for me to swap for his worn ones.
William's classic Merlin Extralight was equipped with some slightly tired old Dura-Ace 9sp kit...
...which made way...
For a new Ultegra 6700 10sp gruppo. This stuff is light, cheap and strong while shifting and braking like a dream.
Two high-priority jobs helped kick the year off. First was legendary endurance mountainbiker Megan Dimozantos' Ninja build. John Randal had asked me last year if I could build his teammate Megan's new ABSA Cape Epic weapon so, on her behalf, Yeti's storied NZ head honcho Kashi Leuchs sent me up a rather lovely piece of kit.
Which I slowly built up...
...resulting in this fine Yeti ARS-5c bicycle.
I was feeling bad that due to my flu and an array of other baffling timing issues I couldn't make Megan's hoped deadline for the Tour de Whaka in Rotorua, but she put my mind at ease when we finally met to hand the bike over a week later. She's a patient and lovely woman to whom I wish every success, and I'm sure her and John will have a fantastic time in South Africa! Just this weekend the Dynamic Duo have been racing at Kashi's invitation in the St James Epic, in which Megan finished 2nd woman and John 3rd man.
The last one is a special one. During our long association stretching back over the last seven or eight years, my friend Tim Wilding has been winner of lots of big races including (among others) Karapoti, NZ Marathon Championships, Xterra Championships, NZ Singlespeed Championships, Australian Singlespeed Championships, NZ Hillclimb Championships, etc., etc. It's always an honour to build Tim up his bikes and/or wheels, and this latest project has been plotted for some months now.
Once Tim had decided on another Santa Cruz Tallboy 29er frame (as opposed to another choice from his awesome sponsor Mike Stylianou of Hyperformance Hardware) and some ENVE carbon rims and put in his orders, the brief was to have the new bike built up last week so that I had time to build his new wheels this week in time for the National Championships being raced in Nelson this weekend...the best laid plans of mice and men go often askew.
The frame arrived in plenty of time.
Then while we waited for the new parts to arrive I stripped down his old Tallboy frame and replaced a couple of mildly tired bearings, allowing me to wallow in carbony goodness.
This is where it all went a bit wrong; spokes proved hard to come by, with the local DT distributor out of stock of the sizes we needed. I cast around the other brands available in NZ only to discover that no one could supply all of the three sizes we needed, and I'm loth to mix brands in the one wheel. In the end the interweb came to the rescue again, and Tim ordered some from the UK by four day delivery. The rims turned up from Wide Open exactly as promised months earlier, so great job there thanks guys!
To compound the problems this week was Wellington Anniversary week, meaning that Monday was a public holiday and, hence, no courier deliveries would occur. I picked up the rest of the kit (bar the spokes, which didn't finally arrive until Wednesday - six days after being ordered!) from Tim's place on Tuesday afternoon while Bodhi and I were out shopping for Kester's 18th birthday on Wednesday. As a huge milestone in our family's life, Ket's birthday would of course be the main priority for the day, and no work was able to be done among all the fun. I figured I could build up the bike on Thursday using the old wheels, making a start on the wheels and finishing them off on Friday in time for him to fly down to Nelson. I'm quite sure that Tim had told me he was flying down at 8am, but in all the confusion I still thought I had all day to work...now time really was getting tight!
I got up, made Bodhi's breakfast, grabbed a coffee and headed in to the shop. By (late) lunchtime I was happy to have fully built up the bike with only a few minor complications, none of which were mission critical.
A quick sandwich and an apple and it was back to work. Having built Hamish's 26" ENVE wheels just before Christmas meant at least I had my systems sorted. I greased all the nipples first.
Then about 90 minutes later the first of these beautiful wheels emerged from my trusty truing stand.
Of course this is where I discovered that somehow my spoke calculations were out, and one of the three sizes I'd got Tim to order from the UK was wrong! Luckily he had only been able to order the spokes in lots of 36, meaning that we fortunately had enough of the size I needed to finish the job...phew. Another 90-odd minutes and the pair were done and ready to rock. I'm really enjoying building these wheels - they are incredibly round (not as common as you might think...), light, strong and build up relatively easily, with end results that are incredible.
I swapped the cassette and rotors off the old wheels and onto the carbons, then set the bike up with the new wheels, minus tyres obviously. Using XTR hubs on both wheels meant no adjustments were necessary, which was just as well as I was now out of time!
As soon as I was done I texted Tim, who dropped everything and raced over to collect it. A quick rundown and a hearty handshake and it was done to deadline, despite all the chaos and conniptions.
Luckily Tim was happy to do the tubelessing at home, and by the time I'd made the evening meal and sat down at the computer he had already posted a pic of the finished machine looking hot in the evening sunshine.
As I dealt with slightly less time-constrained repairs on Friday arvo I was delighted to get a text from Tim, now down in Nelson getting ready to race on Saturday,
Well. The legs need all the help they can get right now and the wheels deliver. Acceleration is great as is tracking. All up, the bike feels excellent. Chur bro!
Despite Tim's training not going quite to plan so far this year, I was even more delighted to get this text yesterday afternoon, immediately following the National Champs.
7th bro! Pretty happy with the race. Bike was a dream.With those words all the stress and worry washed away, and I was once more able to bask in the reflected glory of another race success. Cheers, Tim!
Photo courtesy of Mike Stylianou
As ever, thanks so much for reading. Pedal on, Oli