Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dear Diary!

Sunday October 18th 2009:

Foul day, freezing southerlies and rain. Took Kester, Harry and Bodhi out for drive and hilarious bikeless Time Trials around the very cool Mt Victoria Skills Area.

Monday October 19th 2009:

First sign of sun in what seems like months despite a biting cold NE wind. After the usual morning chaos/chores, and before I had to attack the pile of work awaiting me in the workshop, I swapped wheels on Bianchi to "race wheels".

And set off for Eastbourne. The traffic was heavy and seemed more belligerent than usual, causing an increasing feeling of dread as I rode along the Hutt Road while trucks hurtled by giving me considerably less than 1.5 metres at times. In Petone an articulated lorry passed particularly close, and I broke my self-imposed rule about not responding. As I passed him at the next lights I smiled and indicated with a thumb and forefinger how close he'd come to collecting me, only to be met with a violent blast of his horn and some apoplectic cursing and gesticulations. As he passed me further down the road I decided the footpath was safer, only to be proved right as he passed within millimetres of the curb where I would have been. I filed a Roadwatch report as soon as I got home, for what little that's worth...

Once I'd passed through Seaview the ride became considerably more pleasant so I began to relax and enjoy the sunlight and almost-impression of warmth.

I turned around at the Eastbourne bus sheds and cruised along the promenade...

...passing the house my cousins used to live in many years ago and reminiscing happily, as is my wont.

Before heading back through my childhood home of Days Bay.

Then heading back into town. I didn't feel like pushing it today, so no TT. Was pleasantly surprised to find I had climbed Rintoul St seated and without effort in my 53 x 19 - nice to be feeling stronger every ride.

Tuesday October 20th 2009:

After spending the morning paying the bills I opened my inbox to read an email from Paul in Perth, WA who I've been corresponding with over recent weeks regarding his cool Raleigh Rapide TI Raleigh Team replica. I won't bore with all the to-ing and fro-ing of our email exchanges but here are some shots of his lovely bike. You'll note the parts aren't original - the Colnago pantographing is a clue as the origin of them...

Tim Wilding needed his lovely Santa Cruz Blur XC carbon fettled after his previous weekend's win in the Motu Challenge and before a photo shoot for SPOKE Magazine. A brake bleed, gear tweak, a front wheel true and a good going over and his machine is once again ready to conquer. Sorry I forgot your helmet, bro!

And another view of his funky Ritchey flat bars...

Wednesday October 21st 2009:

Another freezing cold NWer blowing with spots of rain. Was slated to do some hills today, but despite dressing in as many clothes as I would in June I felt too cold on the flat and knew I'd over heat on the climbs, as the showers alternated with sun. Didn't have my head on today so got as far as Sar St and pulled the pin feeling very sorry for myself. No point in riding if it ain't fun, I figure.

Headed into shop and attacked work with unaccustomed gusto. A pile of rims and hubs awaited my keen attention.

First was a wheel for a client of Jonty's at Revolution Bicycles. A used but serviceable Mavic F219 mtb rim on an XT spline disc hub was first up.

Then a pair of wheels I've been looking forward to building, but not as much as I'm looking forward to building the bike they're going on - Dave is about to jet to Sydney in the next week or so to collect the Pegoretti frame he has had custom built, and a classic pair of Mavic Open Pro CD/Campagnolo Record hub wheels will be just the ticket for this awesome machine when it arrives.

Done and awaiting their new home...

David from Bike Fixation swung by to collect the Litespeed Archon I built, and brought along a visitor. Simon Hollander is the organiser of the iconic Le Race as well as the upcoming Armstrong Prestige Festival Of Cycling and he was in Wellington to check out the new Litespeed Icon frame he was getting through Dave. Very cool to meet him, and I was surprised and delighted to get a gift from Simon through the mail later on. Cheers for the Rouleur mate!

Once the fun socialising was done the Blue Racer needed his cool BMC SLC01 Pro Machine fettled in advance of his assault on the epic 204km Gwaloop road race, followed two weeks later by the arguably more epic K2. I did my very best to fasterise this premium bicycle to give the Blue Racer every possible advantage...

Thursday October 22nd 2009:

...began with a very welcome visit from my friend Alex Chronis, Legend of MTB and rep for Sram distributor Worralls. He was helping me out by kindly dropping me off an XO rear derailleur to finally complete a large order of parts for Pete's upcoming Soulcraft Holy Roller build, being enacted by Roadworks Rotorua operative Warrant Officer Paul Larkin.

Next up was another wheel for Jonty. A Salsa Delgado 700c rim on an XT spline disc hub to provide a wheel suitable for cyclo-cross, touring or road training use.

I replaced the broken left-hand crank on John Randal's commuter weapon, but more about John later...

...before giving two more bikes a vital pre-K2 service. Pauline's Specialized Dolce Comp and Rob's Scott RFD Pro both needed some new cables, brake pads and some general love to ensure they get around the testing parcours safely.

Thursday afternoon I skived off to spend some quality father-son time with my 15 year old son Kester. I try to spend some time alone with each of My Three Sons over the week, but it's not always easy, luckily both Harry and Bodhi had plans today...Ket was keen as for a ride so we loaded up the Roadworks wagon and headed up to Makara Peak in cold and wet conditions. We had a lovely ride up Koru with a super fun run down Lazy Fern - I tried to egg Ket on for a bit more but a lack of recent riding on his part, combined with some tough PE during his school day, left him a bit stuffed and unaccustomedly struggling. I didn't hassle him too much - as I said earlier, riding has to be fun or what's the point?

Friday October 23rd 2009:

The mailman has just been and brought me some magazines I won on TradeMe. International Cycle Sport was the first cycling magazine I ever bought so I couldn't resist grabbing them for the princely buy now price of $5. There was two funny things about them; firstly was that I already had a copy of one of them - not sure what the odds are of that out of the hundreds published, as I only have two left from my youth! Secondly, they used belong to the legendary NZ cyclist Craig Adair - second-hand fame! I actually raced against Craig a few times back in my Golden Age, but spent all of my time at the opposite end of the field to this powerhouse rider when I wasn't DNFing.

Bill needed a new chain fitted to his Scott Endorphin singlespeed after his PC1 shat itself badly. I used a burly KMC BMX chain in it's place, and gave the rest of the bike a quick squizz over as well.

As I was passing Bill's work on my way to the bank later in the day I dropped it off for him, only to be generously rewarded the following week with a magnificent bottle of my favourite tipple in the form of a superb Martinique variant - Cheers Bill, and thanks to Odette also for the delicious cupcake that I ate so fast the camera couldn't get near it. Mmmm-mmmmmm....!!

I finished the working week off with a beer at Revolution after picking up vital supplies for the upcoming long weekend. Lest some of you are getting concerned at my alcohol consumption, please note I bought the cycling themed wine without any knowledge of Bill's imminent rhum generosity!

While I was settling in for the night, my friend and Roadworks stalwart John Randal was rousing himself from an evening nap, chowing down and jumping aboard a train to join some other hardouts and begin an incredible 350km road ride through the Wairarapa, the Paihiatua Track, Palmerston North and back down to Wellington via the Akatarawas! He was doing this ride partly as training for next years inaugural Kiwi Brevet event, but also to mark the International Day of Action - a worthy cause, and great way of attracting attention to it. I'll let John tell the story in his own words via his great tale on Vorb, but I'll post the great texts I received at various points of the ride.

Saturday October 24th 2009:

24/10/09 09:10am
Coffee time in Shannon!Feeling good. About 5 hours to go!

24/10/09 12:46pm
Top of the Akas! Mostly downhill from here! About 2 hours to go :)

24/10/09 14:55pm
Success! Am by St John's Bar near lagoon :)

Whereupon I congratulate John and get this lovely reply...

24/10/09 15:28pm
Cheers bro! Bike was perfect! Legs feel remarkably good! 15 hours duration 13 riding :)

Incredible effort and I'm very, very proud of John - good stuff, bro!! Congratulations to John's co-riders Clive, Brian, Dave and Simon Kennett for his cameo too.

Inspired by John's feats, and having completed some vital cross-training by mowing what I reluctantly refer to as my "lawns" while Jacq was having a successful day at Craft 2.0, I set out at about 4pm for a lovely ride around the Bays in what were rare warm and nearly still conditions. I took the camera along for my first opportunity to take shots of the harbour on a nice day for months! Hopefully the ex-pats that read this will enjoy them.

In between the static photo ops I actually charged around fairly hard, so it became a sort of odd interval session with the odd pic taken on the move also. I am feeling stronger and stronger every ride and even did a 53 x 14 Pass of Branda, although I was dying a bit by the top! Very encouraging...

Moa Point looking south.

Moa Point looking across to Te Raikaihau Point.

Offroad on Moa Point looking across my right leg.

Tarakena Bay looking east towards Pencarrow and Baring Head.


Seatoun again, looking north towards the Hutt Valley and the Tararuas.

Worser Bay looking back towards the Heads.

Scorching Bay. The ship looked cool coming around Point Gordon, though I'm not sure the random swerving as I took this shot does it justice...

Scorching Bay looking back SE towards the Heads.

Point Hallswell looking over the harbour towards Mt Kaukau and Skyline, one of my favourite MTB rides.

A poor effort at a self-pic as I head back towards Evans Bay and the Miramar Wharves. BTW, those aren't moobs they're powerful pecs. Also note my lovely new DeFeet wool/lycra armwarmers...mmmm, toasty.

Past my sponsor's boatshed, scene of some of my greatest poker successes as well as much rum-soaked Vinyl Sluts depravity.

I swerved wildy through Kio Bay...

And motored into and through Oriental Bay, even avoiding my usual curbside crawl in deference to the billions of deprived Wellington sun-seekers promenading in the spring sunlight.

To end up at home after exactly what I needed, a strong ride in (relatively) warm conditions without even one close call with moronic motorists - in fact, everyone seemed to be in such a good mood I'm sure the drivers were giving me extra room! Choice ride.

Sunday October 25th 2009:

Got out late in the afternoon for a quick blast with my friend Alex. Neither of us were in the mood for much so we decided to do some cheeky shuttles. First up we drove up to the windmill and had a great ride up and down Carparts Extension, finishing off with a mad scramble down a very slippery Carparts itself then a slow amble back up the road to the car. The next plan was to park up at the Havana boatshed for a ride around Cobham Drive and up Maupuia to the new Miramar trail network - unfortunately my first ever tubeless malfunction left me with a rapidly losing air rear tyre that meant we had to turn back at the wharves and head back to the car. I could have pulled the tyre off and fitted a tube, but I really couldn't be arsed with all the jizz...

Monday October 26th 2009:

Raining all day. Wrote Archon blog and sifted with the kids, as well as going and doing a metric crapload of shopping for my beautiful wife's imminent birthday. A family dinner with cake and ice cream and some presents for Jacq finished the day off nicely.

Tuesday October 27th 2009:

Jacq's Birthday! Bundled the kids off to school then both got some work out of the way before heading off to La Cloche for a delicious lunch of Croque-Monsieur et frites avec salade. A spot of shopping at the Casino and home. More cake followed a nice Indian takeaway meal, augmented by the rest of Jacq's pressies and a toast or two. Lovely, and I'm pretty sure Jacq had the kind of birthday she so richly deserves...

Painting by Paul Baylis

Wednesday October 28th 2009:

John Randal's birthday! Due to a convergence of extraneous factors I was sadly unable to join him on a beautiful morning for a loop of the Bays, much as I would have loved to.

With the planned activities of the day unexpectedly cancelled at the last moment, I had a day of no bookings and minimal work to do so I took the chance in the afternoon to slip out for a road ride. I rode through town and up Ngaio Gorge, through Johnsonville and around the Makara Loop, passing Roadworks Team Rider Joel Healy heading the opposite way just after Rifle Range Road.

I was feeling slightly flat - not bad but not good, but I decided to have another crack at my PB up the Makara Hill. The last time I did this back in August I was lots more unfit and didn't really know how to judge my effort, but this time I had a better idea of what I expected from myself. This must have worked because instead of nearly throwing up at the top I nearly threw up all the way up! Despite feeling like absolute death the whole way I stopped the clock with a time of 10:47, 1:11 off my last attempt. Knowing how I am improving all the time (and accounting for not actually feeling that good on this ride) I can still see time coming off that, so it will be great to see how much I can lop off it over summer.

Thursday October 29th 2009:

The courier turned up with a big box.

David from local Pashley Cycles importer Cycle Supplies had asked if I could do final assembly for him on a Pashley Princess on behalf of a Wellington client.

Beautiful spec and construction, but not really my style of bicycle. HOWEVER, the Clubman...

..and the Guv'nor both hold great appeal.

Not that I need another bike, but I'm still writing them on my list for Father Christmas! In the meantime, to satisfy my need for retro British steel I'll have to settle for my recently revived 531 Raleigh Gran Tour. I was contemplating selling this but the previous owner has begged me not to so I might just have to hang onto it for commuter duties - I can just see Friday night drinks being expedited with the aid of this sterling machine.

Friday October 30th 2009:

Glyn wanted his lovely Litespeed Classic loved up, so I loved it real good. New brake pads, cables throughout, handlebar tape and a full service had it humming as good as a new one. Very cool to see a more old school Litespeed after working on the more recent titanium and carbon models. Lovely craftsmanship.

The aforementioned Joel Healy (Roadworks-Trek) wanted his race weapon checked out and re-taped. His new wheels needed installing and the tyres checked for secure gluing too. For a big bike it's very light at 7.4kg...after my strop-up it too has been fasterised to the MAXX.

After the rest of the work was done and the bikes collected it was up to Revolution again for drinks for returning hero Hamish, just back from a stint on the Russian island of Sakhalin. Beer was quaffed and bullshit talked before the door was shut fully on the week.

Saturday October 31st 2009:

Wrote blog LOL!

Cheers for reading, Oli