Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Clearing the Decks - Part 2

Hello again, my fellow bike fiends. To kick things off, here is a picture of my drawers.

Inside my drawers is a large and specialised tool, which I like to pull out and play with from time to time.

 Now I've run out of stupid and pointless double entendre, here is the finished product parked outside Havana Coffee Works. This machine's somewhat unprepossessing appearance belies it's solid Italian cyclo-cross heritage, and my sponsor Geoff's Bianchi is once more restored to full function after a repaint and extensive mechanical service. I took advantage of dropping it off to partake of the best coffee in all of Wellingtown...

To change it up to the modern era, Brian's Trek Speed Concept needed some new tri-bars and a few other little tweaks.

One weekend recently some cool cats organised a Super-D event on Mt Victoria. I had a small window of spectating between dropping sons off and picking them up again, so I hastened to the locale stat to catch the vibe. It was great to (briefly) catch up with some of my favourite bikey-type folks, although it was not so great to not catch up with others. The event had a good turnout as can't be seen here due to the multiple shuttles carrying the bulk of the riders to the summit.

I got to actually see my man Mike racing his venerable Bianchi Super GL!

And nice to see local legend Rod Bardsley throwing down with his usual inimitable style on the drop that he created and that bears his name..

Here's Jonty Ritchie powering up one of the pinch climbs that pepper this tough course on his way to a win in the Masters 2 field, and a great 8th overall. The rest of the results and photos are here.

Inspired by these feats of derring-do, but not enough to actually drag out my MTB and get dirty, I set out on my road bike to hit the hills. Of course my camera ran out of batteries the first time I tried to take a shot of what was for me an epic hill ride that included scaling Mt Albert, Mt Crawford, Mt Victoria and Te Ahumairangi before grovelling home a jelly-legged mess. Accordingly, I have just one grainy phone-shot to remind me of those fun times - fun times that included coming the closest to death I've been on a bike in many years. Suffice it to say, I survived becoming a hood ornament on a Wellington bus on a tight and rapidly closing corner by a combination of  cool calm, good brakes, the mountainbiking instinct of riding it out instead of binning it, my Beggar's Canyon T-16 skills and sheer dumb luck. One second the bright yellow front of the bus was filling the road from rough gutter to badly-parked car, the next I was past and clear - unable, however, to fully enjoy the great descent that should have followed as my mind replayed the whole incident again and again...

 Thanks again to my Generous Benefactors for more kindness, this time in the form of this great Sean Kelly poster, as well as a Pedro Delgado one I forgot to take a photo of! Cheers, Henry and Vitas!

Simon is building up his dream bike for the 2014 Kiwi Brevet, and he got me to build him up these fine Hope/Arch wheels.

And Paul wanted his old Dura-Ace hubs rebuilt into some nice new Mavic Open Pro rims for training on.

The headtube of Eric's lovely old early-90s Breezer...

...and the down-tube. More on this later.

Yet more generosity lavished upon me by my friends. I may joke about it but it's because I am honestly humbled by the kindness and the presents I am given by my mates. I really don't know what I do to deserve it, but nonetheless I'm truly grateful - I love you guys! Fyxomatosis is my favourite non-forum cycling website, and I have lusted after one of the jerseys for ages - somehow, and without a single hint from me ever, WO Larkin sensed this and sprung into action. Chur, bro!

The decals look super sick on my fork legs.

At the first available opportunity I put the new jersey to a torture test. Well more of an enjoy the crisp autumn day test, actually.

I headed up Onslow Road with heavy legs, but heavy legs are just photo opportunities calling my name.

I love Wellington's capricious climate and try not to buy too much into the cliches that abound, but even I have to admit it's rare for the clouds to be reflected on the harbour in the late afternoon when the temperature is warm - it's usually a chilly morning phenomenon.

Ngauranga Gorge seems so peaceful from up here.

Looking back over my shoulder towards the Eastern Hutt Hills.

What a beautiful city I'm blessed to live in.

Hey, it's random riding along foot photo time!



It's not my fault, my Bianchi told me to take the shot...

I got no excuse for this one.

Talking about my friends, as I was earlier, my old compadre from Bicycle Village and Cycle Services days Henry has been keeping his hand in the bike game by knocking up a couple of cool retroesque projects. Here's his sweet Guerciotti/Alan...

...and his latest ride, a lovely DeRosa.

The DeRosa heart is almost as iconic as the Colnago club or the Bianchi eagle in terms of Italian iconography.

I'm honoured that Henry has my decal on his machine, even though I did nothing to help the guy who taught me much of what I know build this stunning steed.

I've been playing with some old wheels lately too. These awesome Ambrosio Crono wheels needed a bit of truing here and there.

I fitted some bad-arse piratical disc rotors to some wheel for a bike that Bill will hopefully get me to build some day.

Karapoti isn't just the lead-up; as well as ensuring your bike is up to scratch prior to this arduous and bike-hurty race, it's also vital to check it over stem to stern after the event. This is John Randal's rear hub, although to be fair he's been thrashing it for a lot longer than just one puny Karapoti.

Sadly Steve's nearly new Tallboy needed a drivetrain replacement after Karapoti and the training that went into it, and this after the not inconsiderable pre-ride spend-up. It's purring once more after throwing lots more money and time at it.

And I'll finish this small drop in the large ocean of my potential bloggage with yet another ride in this most amiable autumn.

One of my favourite ascents of Mt Vic is via Roseneath Terrace.

I took this one from Robieson Street, scene of one of my more nefarious youthful indiscretions once upon a time.

The city side of Alexandra Road is a superb power climb and a wicked descent...

But, like this long and winding blog, I was out of time and almost out of road, so opted for a (very) quick fang down the southern side of Alexandra to Newtown and home.

Until next time, thanks for indulging me. Chur, Oli

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