Monday, November 9, 2009

The Jour Sans Sampler

I've been making notes furiously and had initially screeds to write, but I'm way too wasted from a tough week at the coalface so a brief precis will have to suffice I'm afraid...

Bikes, wheels and general repairs:

Bronson's lovely Colnago C40 needed loving up.

As did Colin's Blur LT after his 55ATAs had been serviced by the fine fellows at Wide Open.

Paul brought me a fun little job. He is doing up this old early 80s Canadian made CCM Targa 10 speed and he needed me to straighten and align the front forks. I also dished the front wheel and spaced the axle out to 100mm.

I really dig working on these old bikes - while they're the antithesis of today's ultra-lightweight carbon/ aluminium 22 speed race bikes, they are so simple in design and so satisfyingly easy to work on. Straightening a bent high-tensile steel fork and knowing the bike will be safe to ride for years is the complete opposite to having the throw away a carbon fork because that rough spot might mean it might be damaged and unsafe...

The forks now perfectly straight and wheel centred - a nice headbadge too.

Even the handlebar plugs are logoed up!

The original Positron gears - note the twin cables that push and pull the indexed derailleur between the five, count 'em five, cogs.

By no means a performance machine but no less lovely for it. I give you the CCM Targa 10.

Slightly more modern, titanium isn't done any better than by the folks at Lynskey. Here is a sweet TT frame.

I laced up this old XT hub that Jonty revived onto a new Salsa Delgado Cross rim for Mike to use in next year's first Kiwi Brevet - it's very cool to watch the guys nutting out their equipment and plans in advance of this epic undertaking.

Morgan's USPS Trek was in for a pre-Taupo check. Naturally, I had to get Lance in the shot...

I built Geoffrey some 29er wheels. Burkes supplied the NoTubes ZTR355 29er rims and Hope Pro2 hubs (front disc, rear trials/singlespeed) which I laced up with DT Competition rear and Revolution front spokes, and alloy nipples. 1800g and a ton of hotness.

And even though I didn't build it I'd better show you the bike they were destined for - Jonty obtained the frame and fork and did a superb job of building up this uber cool Niner One9 that Geoffrey raced in last weekend's Wild Wellington event as part of the Revolution Bicycles team. Without much deliberate concession to weight savings it's still under 24lb as you see it here...

Lorisa's EMC2 FemEquip required a bit of a tickle-up.

After a great year of thrashing, Bodhi's trailerbike is off to a new home with Tor and Freja. Thanks so much to the lovely John Randal for his kind generosity in lending it to us - the times Bo and I spent on it will be cherished memories forever. I gave it a good strop up for the new beneficiaries of John's largesse...

What, I hear you clamour, will Bodhi and I do to keep riding together?? Well, the answer has been with me all along in a Trailgator that I bought several years ago.

In combination with Bo's own bike it's definitely heavier than the Phillips Trailerbike, but the ability to unhitch Bodhi so he can ride solo is going to be worth its weight in gold ano. First chance we get it's going to be off up to the Mt Victoria Skills Area...choice.

It's been absolutely cranking in the workshop, but every now and then I find myself with not quite enough time to start (or finish) a job but time waiting for someone to drop off/collect a bike. In these bits of downtime I like to mess with my own bikes if I can, so I took one of these opportunities to refit the original handlebars to the Raleigh Gran Tour I blogged last week - I'd already swapped the pedals for a pair of original M747 SPDs, as no matter how retro I like to think I might be I just can't go back to toe clips and straps.

The stem and bars are Sakae/SR and the padded leather grips were Titus brand, manufactured by my old friend and boss Roland Hoffe.

I actually built this bicycle from the wheels on up for Mark originally, and it's pretty cool to have it around and virtually as I built it. All I need to do is get some 27" Michelin World Tours and some rubber grips for the brake levers (Cat-Eye cloth ribbon for now!) and it would be as it rolled out of the Bicycle Village in 1982.

Dean just completed the gruelling Kona Ironman on his new race machine I recently built for him, but obviously the low gearing hampered what was already a great effort and he asked me to whip off his puny 53 tooth chainring to add a more appropriate 54 tooth dinner plate.

The weapon cocked and ready to fire.

And his well-earned Ironman number. Good stuff, Deano!

The pile of bikes awaiting me this week...


As well as being a busy old time in the shop, there's been lots of cool things to do after hours too. I did manage to squeeze in a few rides, all on the road this week. One ride wasn't a very long one but it was awesome fun nonetheless. Jonathan Kennett had invited many local and national cycling luminaries, politicos and me along to the launch of a book we've all been waiting for avidly...

As I rode up Molesworth Street I bumped into John Randal and we trundled to the venue together. When we arrived I parked the Gran Tour in the provided bike racks outside the National Library, and we went in. Greetings were made left and right, but my attention was immediately drawn to the sight of a beautiful 1960s Legnano being pedalled on rollers - Adrian of Flying Wheel fame had brought in several period bikes to add some atmosphere, and was riding one alongside similarly mounted local cycling star Brent Backhouse on his state of the art 2009 Wilier Cento Cunego Edition.

I made my way to the table laden with copies of the book we were there to launch and grabbed a copy, then was promptly thrust by CAN man Patricio towards a solidly built man with piercing ice-blue eyes to get introduced to the man we were there to honour. Tino Tabak grabbed my hand and shook it firmly, and I was simultaneously delighted and embarrassed that he knew my name already! A thread on Vorb that initially named him as a cheat had led him to note my avatar - a photoshopped image of his old friend and sparring partner, the great Roger de Vlaeminck - nice that my insane interweb addiction can connect me in odd ways to such Legends of Cycling!

After chattting a while to Tino and getting my book signed, Pat took our photo. Tino's name was one of the first I ever heard in regard to bike racing, when my Mum's friend Derek related tales of his feats to me while I got to grips with my first "racing" bike in 1976. It was neat to finally get to meet him and hear some of his tales first-hand.

After more mingling, I sidled with my beer over to stand with the Revolution boys to hear some of his fascinating stories, as well as to listen to his answers to some questions from the floor. Great to hear that Tino himself was a cycling fan (of Jacques Anquetil) and shared my habit of creating imaginary road racing exploits - of course we differ in our application of those fantasies, but let's not quibble over petty details...

I also got the author of Tino's book to sign my copy - Jonathan did a great job with what was at times a very difficult task to fulfill, and I thoroughly enjoyed every word he wrote.

After this it seemed only natural for John, Jonty, Alex, Mike and I to head off to the local watering hole to digest what we'd been listening to over a couple of quiet ales - the irony of walking into a quiz night where the first question we heard related to cyclist and fellow book launcher MP Trevor Mallard's recent contretemps with an irate motorist wasn't lost on any of us!

Following this august gathering I had a great (if ever-so slightly tipsy) ride home through town which reminded me how cool it can be to ride at night in the city. All the cars are gone and the streets are quiet, allowing me to swoop like a mildly lubed up ninja past the diners and drinkers along the Golden Mile...what a great evening.

The next event of note was the third Wild Wellington 12/6 hour event on a stunning Saturday. For three years running the weather has turned it on for this event after weeks of hideousness - the organisers must have good klimate karma.

Yet again, I didn't have my shit sufficiently together to actually organise anything for myself, but I made sure I supported as many friends and Roadworks riders as I could. John Randal, Dave Hicks and Dave Livesey were riding the 12 hour on various different teams, and my Napier friends Pete and Tilly were riding in another. Tim Wilding was wearing my jersey in the 6 hour solo division too, much to my delight and great honour.

I arrived on my Meta just after midday to find the event well under way - most of my friends had already knocked out a lap or two since the 10am start. I sifted around and tried to catch up with as many folk as I could.

The Revolution camp, with John Randal and Geoffrey Notman limbering up.

I caught up with Pete and Tilly just before Tilly headed out - here Pete affixes the transponder...

Pete has started making his own very cool cycling casquettes and I was stoked to be given this beautiful one that I wore with pride all day long (I'm actually still wearing it!) - I look forward to stocking them once Pete puts them into full production.

Dave Hicks relaxing before heading out again for his team.

I was busy gas-bagging so missed my man Dave Livesey passing by...almost.

Then he zig-zagged through the tent city and sped out of the velodrome on another hot lap, doing the Roadworks colours and Commencal brand proud.

I milled around until it was Pete's turn for another lap, then once he set off so did I...

I scooted home for lunch and some time with the kids, then we jumped in the wagon and drove to Constable St, parked up and wandered down past the roadblocks and marshalls to the Skills Area where the boys chucked a ball and goofed off as I cheered the punters on and took bad photos.

The first rider to appear that I recognised was Mike whose Salsa wheel I mentioned earlier - he was hauling...

Followed by one of the famed Bushlovers, Tony the Tiger, looking fetching in his favourite tu-tu.

Talking of the most excellent Bushlove crew, they were kindly hosting Timmah in their palatial tent complex. I blatantly ripped this image from their fine blog which shows T-Rex preparing for his 6 hour solo ride submerged in the powerful inspiration of Davo's sartorial flair and energetic warm-up techniques.

Timmy flew past me so fast he didn't even have time to stick to the trail - the fear of tight lycra disguised as denim clearly had him running scared.

Tilly passed by still laughing seven hours into this long day.

For many the day is a chance to let their hair down and take the racing less than seriously by dressing up - there were pirates...

...and legendary racer and trailbuilder Craig Starnes decided to wear some flowers to set his two-person team apart from the rest. Despite doing at least half the 12 hour race he was speeding around faster than most of the competitors in five person teams!

As I wrangled the kids and tried to find the by now lost tennis ball Dave L sped by - fate had conspired once again to prevent me being in the right place at the right time to take a decent shot of him racing...sorry bro!

We headed up onto the road for a different vantage point or three...Colin (of Blur LT fame) passed by looking pretty good and relaxed, let alone for a guy coming back from a nasty knee injury.

My good friend Andrew was down from Auckland for the event - a snafu by his intended team meant he was homeless, but he took the best offer and ended up riding some singlespeed laps for Tryphan's Flôe team. Lovely to see him as always.

Six time National MTB Champion Stu Houltham was moving deceptively fast in that relaxed and smooth style he has.

Mat from the new Chocolate Fish cafe is also recovering from a serious ailment but was riding very well indeed, making him ponder opting for a pro cycling career over his successful restaurant one...

Ex-Europe road pro and top NZ cyclist Fraser McMaster was riding for Cat-Eye on a team that also included his equally talented brother Ewan. I tripped and almost toppled into his path just after I took this shot of Fraser.

Some of the costumes were more disturbing than others. This guys black Speedos came off for the last few laps, as did those of his teammates - it all added to the atmosphere I guess!

Promising NZ team roadie and Le Race winner Ed Crossling has made a superb job of switching over to the dirt - here he's smashing out a lap for the eventual winning team R+R Sport.

Alex Revell too is making a big impression on the MTB scene and I fully expect him to take the Revolution Bicycles jersey to the top step of the podium in a big race soon.

But Alex's hugely experienced boss Jonty doesn't seem to be slowing down at all either since his days as National Junior Champion back at the dawn of NZ mountainbike history.

But of course Roadworks has it's own multiple National Champ in 2008 Hillclimb Champion and 2007 Xterra Champion Mr Tim Wilding. He was scorching the trail, but the unusual noises his Blur was making as he came past every time had me worried, although not as worried as Tim obviously...

By now it was 6pm and my patient boys were getting hungry, so we left the racers to it and headed home via the local Scottish restaurant.

A quick scoff with the family then I stuffed half a dozen Tigers in my Roadworks musette, jumped on the Raleigh and sped back to the velodrome as the light started to fade and the lights were fired up.

I found Jonty doing some grand battements to keep limber between laps. By now the boys were a bit tired but spirits were high and banter was rife.

Despite my total lack of exertion I must have been a bit tired myself, as I started to hallucinate famous road cyclists from the past.

But I snapped out of it and realised it was actually just my good buddies and Roadworks stalwarts Pete and John looming out of the gloom.

T-Rex came in well ahead of all his competitors in the 6 hour solo field, only for us to discover that the strange noise Tim had been experiencing was actually a broken pivot that sadly meant he couldn't continue - borrowed bikes were offered but gratefully declined, as Tim decided he'd already got in a good 4 hours of training for the upcoming defence of his Huka XL title. Cheers heaps for representing bro.

Here he catches up with Dave who has just completed his final lap of the very long day. Nice work also, Dave!

The temperature was plummeting but the action was only getting hotter. The R+R team were a lock on first place in the 12 hour teams, but Revolution Bicycles and Searletech were dicing for second with Revolution holding a slight edge. Jonty whacked out a quick lap using my lights, then Alex set off doing a double lap that took time out of Searletech despite Alex having a mechanical and being passed for a time! When he came in Revolution had a minute and it was up to yet another multiple NZ Champion/NZ MTB Legend Simon Kennett to pull the final lap and hold onto the second place...

My camera batteries chose this exact moment to die so I can't record the suspense as we waited, or the elation as we realised he'd done it! Great stuff indeed, and great fun to be a part of.


I was hoping to write about two rides but the cold air at the velodrome put the final touches on a nasty sore throat I'd been fighting off since Friday. This meant I wasn't able to go on a ride I've been wanting to do for a long time, the Kiriwhakapa, so I slept like a baby all morning instead.

The ride I went on in the end turned out to be another road ride, but by far the stand out one of the week. I've talked before about my wife Jacq training for her leg of the Taupo relay, but believe it or not we haven't managed to coordinate one ride together the whole time!

Once I eventually woke up my throat felt well enough to dare rugging up and accompanying Jacq on her first ride longer than 20km, so we set off south through Island Bay, rolled up Happy Valley Road with Jacq setting the pace, down Brooklyn Hill through town, around Oriental Bay, Shelly Bay, Seatoun, Lyall Bay and back to Island Bay and home - 44km in less than two hours I thought was a fantastic ride on Jacq's part, and now she knows without a doubt she's up for her part of the relay. She rode with great aplomb, handling her Eddy Merckx like a pro. It was super to ride with her, and hopefully it will get a few people off my back when they realise I can't even find any time to ride with the woman I love! :D

I suppose we'll see how I go in Taupo too, as I'm doing the first two legs before sending Jacq off for leg 3 and Tina gets the Hatepe/glorious finale. I'm feeling pretty good, sore throats aside, and am looking forward to the occasion. While the girls ride I'll be recovering and hanging with My Three Sons and Tina's family, hopefully all rendezvousing at the Domain for prizegiving. We're all really looking forward to it and no doubt you'll hear some version of it - if I can't remember how it went I'll make something up...

Finally this week, I am very proud to announce that on Thursday I'm heading down to the 2009 Oceania Cycling Championships in Invercargill to work for my friend and two-time defending Oceania Time Trial Champion Bridie O'Donnell (Australia). I'm really looking forward to taking the show on the road again and super-psyched to have been asked to help Bridie so I really just can't wait - you may hear a word or two about this as well.

Until next time (Eddy help us all!) - Ciao, Oli

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