Monday, December 15, 2008

Rally around, boys and girls!

The onset of the Silly Season has rendered me way too busy to write any blog updates, but here's a quick (not really!) catch up of the past couple of weeks...

Last weekend the great Makara Rally was held. A repeat of the stunningly hot and still conditions of 2007 meant that whichever event people were participating in was even more tough and demanding than the terrain makes it, and there were some great battles throughout the day. I won't bore you with the results, but here are a few snapshots of this great day.

John Randal raring to go.

The Revolution Bicycles Team are somewhat paparazzi shy - I don't know why, they're a as fine a looking bunch of men as you'd find anywhere. Jonty (centre) won his opening leg of the Peak to Creek and he and Nick (left) ended up 2nd overall.

Ben Wilde holds the race briefing together despite some major heckling.

Team Roadworks hold a tactical meeting prior to the off - Matt left and Alex right.

A Le Mans start meant the road loop of previous years was abolished in favour of a 200 metre run which made for much spectator hilarity - cyclists running in cleated shoes is always good for a few lulz!

And they're off!

Matt hits Koru.

Matt climbing near Sally Alley. (photo courtesy Malcolm Gunn)

Ben Wilde finishes his lap as his alter-ego Dr Surly Thomson hits out for the second.

Alex takes over from Matt for lap 2 of the P2C.

Al climbing the Snake Charmer. (photo courtesy Malcolm Gunn)

Here's another great shot of Alex climbing. (photo courtesy of Alastair Smith)

After the last of the Peak to Creek riders had set off it was time for the rec/beginner class race, which was a Koru/Lazy Fern lap to avoid heading right up to the summit. A few adults dipped their toes in the water, but it was the kids race that I enjoyed. Three brave children set off for the loop escorted by a couple of kindly parents.

John Randal helped supervise the little monkeys.

John's lovely daughter Kaitlyn finishes her first solo race, putting into practice all she has learned as John's stoker in many events...

Alex finishes his race, completing another good P2C for Team Roadworks - cheers, lads.

After a break for some of Zac's awesome saussies and hash browns, the marquee event kicked off. The Tour de Peak demands riders ride all the trails in the Park in any order they see fit. I was due to man one of the checkpoints, so I was introduced to my partner in crime Ashley from the WCC and we set off up the hill. Due to some sort of macho brain-fade I started the climb with a hiss and a roar, but soon imploded after severely underestimating both my fitness and the ease of gradient of Lazy Fern uphill, causing me to lean on a bank suffering a minor coronary while Ashley and Jono passed me with pitying shakes of the head.

I made it to checkpoint 5 in time to recover my wits before the first riders headed up Lazy Fern towards us...

A rider crosses the clearing on the way through our possie.

I was blessed to have great company for the long afternoon and the conversation flowed easily. Here is Al, who was forced out of the race with a mechanical, and Ashley.

The obligatory shot of my lovely Commen├žal bike leaning on the ground...

After deciding we had counted all the riders through Ashley and I rolled down LF to the prizegiving.

Wilde boys, Wilde boys! 75% of the male Wilde population in full effect as Bryn and Owen assist Ben with doling out the huge amount of swag.

The Tour was won by the always impressive Josh Barley, who is the first rider to defend his title here. Josh is a great rider but also a great guy with a down-to-earth attitude and a natural humbleness. Not many Pro-Elite riders will stick around after an event to help pack up and, despite his exertions in the race, Josh was there right to the end doing whatever it took. A class act for sure. Honourable mentions must go to Bicycle's Lisa Morgan who rode the entire Open race, making her only the second woman ever after Olympian Robyn Wong to even start this arduous undertaking. Team Roadworks legend John Randal rode very well, including riding his nemesis Trickle Falls, until fading slightly at the end of the day due to his exertions keeping up with Katy in the morning...Cheers, bro.

Before I took off I took an opportunity to sabotage one of the other sponsors product placements - sorry Jamis! :D

The week following was a blur of bikes. I can tell it's time for a holiday as I have been unintentionally yet unavoidably rude and surly to almost everyone I've been dealing with, sincere apologies to all I have snapped at...

The problem with being a one-man band is that when it is busy in the shop I have no one to help me with the workload (or even answer the phone when my hands are full!), and it only takes a couple of jobs to go bad before I am majorly behind the 8 ball. This week seemed to be full of those jobs and I was very stressed indeed. A couple of minor mistakes I had made (again, a sign I'm perhaps a bit burned out), combined with some heinously filthy jobs, then added to some complex nightmare work made for some very late nights and hardly a minute with my family, yet the phone kept ringing and the requests kept rolling in. Unfortunately there's only one of me and I just can't keep up the pace of the last few months...I'm sure a good break should see me right for next year but for now I don't want to even look at another bike repair!

Anyway, enough of the "poor me" shit - here's some of the work that was keeping me so manic, starting with a shot of how full my workshop has been for most of the last ten weeks...

This Avanti Carbonio was in to get some AlphaQ forks retro-fitted. Matthew saved 250g over his stock forks to bring his bike down to a hair over 7kg.

I had a bit of a mission getting Warrick's lovely old Raleigh frame into fixie mode, but reverse dishing the road wheel and a new bottom bracket/chainset combo sorted it out in the end.

I had to fit some new TT bars to Jason's TCR time trial bike.

Blair is training for next year's Speights Coast to Coast and his Scott CR1 needed some love.

Doug's old cracked Guerciotti has been waiting for a frame transplant, and he finally turned one up so I turned this:

Into this:

For Steve I did a fork swap - I took the stock 120mm travel Float RL forks off his Giant Reign X1 and fitted some lovely 140mm RLCs instead. The RLs got moved over onto his XTC hardtail as a replacement for the Judy TTs it came with...

Towards the end of the week I was tasked with lightening up Katy Randal's little bike. The great irony of most kid's bikes is that they are usually heavy and very high-geared. Kaitlyn's weighed nearly 28lb, which is the weight of an adult's full suspension bike! There wasn't much I could really do, but fitting some aluminium handlebars shaved off 200g and removing all the Spokey-Dokey's, reflectors and trimming the ridiculously long cables took off another 116g. I had to add some weight back on though, as John and I decided to add a much lower gear for her. Seeing the weight-savings were minimal a 34 tooth cog and a long cage derailleur should make all the difference next time she has to climb any gradient steeper than a kerb...

Also in the shop was John's trusty commuter bike. His Giant CRX1 has been used for all kinds of riding, from daily thrashing on his commute to racing with distinction in a 2 day road tour! It needed a whole new drivetrain, and his wet weather rides from Karori had taken their toll on the sidewalls of his rims, so it needed some new wheels as well. Ready for another couple of years of hard thrashing!

Lastly for this entry, I wanted to mark the sad death of legendary framepainter Ross Bee. Ross was involved in a bad road-racing accident a couple of weeks ago and suffered severe injuries which led to him passing away last Thursday the 10th of December. I have known and worked with Ross for many, many years and will miss his larger-than-life presence a lot. Ross had a great passion for bicycles, and this passion showed through in his riding and in his many canvasses around New Zealand which are being ridden every day by people who appreciated his artisanship...I would also like to pay my respects to Lynda, Peter and Richard and the rest of Ross's family. Pedal on, Ross.

Many great Ross Bee paintjobs have appeared in this blog, including Malcolm's lovely Raleigh just a week ago, as well as Doug's old Guerciotti above.

Thanks for reading, Oli

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