Saturday, December 12, 2009

Too Much But Not Enough...

It seems I've been somewhat remiss in my blogging duties of late. I prostrate myself before you, offering only the usual lame excuse of being too busy to find the time, effort or even inclination to write. Luckily a severe case of torpor and ennui on the first sunny day all week has allowed me the opportunity to spend a few productive hours in front of my computer...

As it's been several weeks since my last outpouring I have a fair bit of ground to cover, as you might imagine, so without further ado I'll kick off with some of the work I've been doing. Due to the passage of time I can't remember the order of things so I may jump around a bit, and I'm sure this is only about half of what I could have posted.

You may recall my story of the Wild Wellington race included Tim Wilding's tale of woe, where a rare mechanical on his carbon Blur XC forced a DNF - this was sorted the week following (thanks partially to the generosity of Ricky and the Burkes crew lending me some tools).

Broken pivot axles.

The legendary Count Stylie quickly sorted the spares and before long the bike was ready for T-Rex to race the Huka XL the following weekend.

Check out the latest SPOKE magazine for a great interview of Tim conducted by my able Roadworks Rotorua agent, Warrant Officer Paul Larkin...

Speaking of Paul, he recently completed a standout Tour Of Duty working for the Subway Cycling Team at the Tour of Hainan - he was kind enough to collect a couple of very cool mementos for me that went straight to the pool room...cheers, bro!

Andrew's Blue needed a pre-Taupo look over, so I waved some pixie dust over it and sent him on his way.

The Blue had an interesting saddle I've heard about but not yet seen, the Fizik Antares - shorter and slightly wider than my favoured Arione but just as comfortable.

Brian's Giant TCR needed a touch up.

As did his Cannondale Jekyll.

Grant's lovely Cervelo R3 spent some time in the stand before being paraded down Waripori Street for the paparazzi...

John, my co-mechanic in Service 1 behind Julian Dean's 2007 National Road Championships win, wanted me to cable up and fettle his cool carbon BH.

Gabrielle's Trek was suffering from some bad ghost shifting - race tunes are my bag, baby.

Tom just splashed out on a well deserved Ibis Mojo, which he had built up himself - I just performed the finishing touches on this wicked carbon trail bike.

More pre-Taupo action - Richard's TCR in the spiderweb colourway.

Dan needed some cranks swapped from his Orange to his Turner 5 Spot...

...which required some creative use of zip-ties and pipe-assisted leverage to enact.

I had to sort out the wheels and tweak Suzy's venerable old Olmo.

Recently a friend of mine was a victim of that terrible curse of rural road cycling, the magpie attack. Trying to swat off her vicious winged assailant sent poor Tracey into a ditch injuring her, and damaging her precious Trinity tri-bike. Her injuries are healing up well and she's keen to get back on the bike asap - that's where I came in. New Vision TT bars from the boys at Wide Open and a new left-hand bar-end shifter thanks to Rene at Shimano NZ (cheers for the above and beyond service Rene!) and she is back on the road ready to recommence her training for Ironman next March.

Leonard was off to do Taupo also so I gave his sweet Pedalforce a tickle-up. He ended up doing a cracking 4:16, so good work!

Pete needed some madcore hucking wheels so supplied me with some Atomlab rims and Hope Pro2 hubs, which I built up with DT Competition spokes.

Colin's Cotic Soul was in for a fork swap.

My Belgian beer loving neighbour Paul has been forswearing his passion for fine ales to get fit for his fundraising ride through the South Island of behalf of the Heart Foundation - being a Heartracer is no small thing, and it's great that Paul is putting his legs on the line for this great cause. Sadly his previous bike met an untimely end so he has just become the proud owner of this lovely Giant TCR Advanced that will no doubt carry him to his fundraising target in fine style.

Mary's Colnago Dream is off to wage battle for the Queen of the Mountains in the 4th 4050 Tour - she's riding in the same team as Tinman Ian, so I wish them both the very best of luck in this great event I'd definitely like to put on my hitlist at some point.

Despite having the greatest respect for Mary, my favourite Queen of the Mountains is actually the lovely '09 Jazz Apple Ruth Corset, who I was delighted to see collect the 2009 Australian Road Cyclist of the Year award - congratulations on this well deserved prize, Ruth!

No queen, but definitely a King of the Mountains, Jonty Ritchie has added another Oli-built wheel to his collection - this is a Hadley 20mm front disc hub laced into a NoTubes ZTR355 rim...which is nice.

My dear friend John Randal is gearing up for the inaugural 2010 Kiwi Brevet event, and a vital part of this is, of course, the bicycle. John's original weapon of choice developed a fatal crack and his warranty frame eventually turned up from the NZ Giant distributors, along with some cunningly selected carbon rigid forks designed to turn a 26" carbon hardtail...

...into a lightweight 69er Epic Mission Weapon.

As the original wheel off John's Raleigh XXIX weighed about 2 kilograms Simon Kennett ordered me to build John a respectably light replacement as befits such a weight-weenie machine, so I used DT Revolution spokes and aluminium nipples to meld a 29er ZTR355 rim with a Hope Pro2 hub into a coherent 760 gram "hoop" to be fitted next week just in time for Christmas.

My old friend Grant has returned from a lengthy stay in the USA and asked me if I could give his much beloved DeRosa Diamante a jolly good going over after several century rides and much associated training in the States. What a beautiful bike, and apart from the handlebar stem as original as Grant bought it in Italy in the mid-90s.

From carbon to the other exotic frame material, I'm blessed to have Dave from Bike Fixation keep giving me lovely titanium bikes to build - last week it was this sweet Litespeed Xicon...

...and next week it'll be the turn of this Pisgah to be built up for Mandy.

More Titanium in the form of this classic Merlin, which is the weapon of choice for my old Boss at Cycle Services Henry to use on his debut attempt at a triathlon. He's in Taupo as I write recovering from his efforts at the Half Ironman which he's been training furiously for...I'll let you know how he gets on as soon as I hear!

It was great to have Hen hanging out, and I was doubly pleased to also be joined by one of the other Head Honchos from CS days, Wheels. In the words of one friend it was like having the three surviving Beatles back together, although the analogy collapses when you remember George Harrison is dead too.

The last job of the last few weeks that I can show is Joel's latest project, which will be given it's maiden voyage in next weekend's gruelling Rice Mountain Classic. Joel's old Trek 5200 frame is making way for a lighter and stiffer Trek Madone, and the Ultegra crankset for a Sram Force complete with ceramic bearings to eke out every last erg...

Joel racing with the front bunch in October's Martinborough Fun Ride where he finished a fine 12th behind winner and multiple NZ MTB and Road Champion Craig Lawn...

It turned out superbly, and at a hair over 7kg should be exactly what Joel needs to smash the daunting climbs of the Rice race. My short test ride had me drooling at the ride of this modern classic - responsive and so quick to accelerate, and if I say it was stiff yet vertically compliant I think you'll know exactly what I mean!

So, among all this fruit and the other less delectable work I have been dealing with, what else has been happening in the Wonderful World Of Oli? The answer is not much, to be honest. The Quest For Fitness has become more of a Quest for Fatness, as things conspire to keep me off my bicycles and to suck my will to ride from the very marrow of my weighty bones.

From riding five time a week most weeks and feeling great I've sadly been forced back to only averaging a ride a week for the last six or seven weeks - not ideal training for my two big goals of the year, Taupo and the Creek to Peak Relay, and definitely not good for the soul.

I only rode once in the week leading up to the Oceanias, a nice loop in Makara Peak on the Commencal which turned out to be the last MTB ride until the Makara Rally last weekend.

I always like to have a ride on the day I fly out on a trip, so that I at least don't have that regret among my last thoughts as the plane smashes into a mountain or plummets into the ocean.

The late spring/early summer weather hasn't helped either, but when I can find some time I just put on my jacket and make the most of my few chances. Here are me and a few friends riding on one of the better days in Wellington of late...

In the week after my safe return from the risky flight out of Invercargill I had a chance one afternoon to slip out with Harry and Bodhi. Harry and his mate Matt wanted to hit up Karori BMX track...

So while they were doing that Bodhi and I headed for Karori Park and did some laps, meeting up with the dirt jumpers later. (Yes, that tiny dot is Bodhi in the distance...)

All three boys are so enthusiastic about riding at the moment, it's hard to prise them off their bikes!

Despite my grumbling I was actually lucky to have managed one or two fangs around the Bays, and even a particularly good ride out to Eastbourne one windy morning - a very rapid for me 70km in 2.10!

So, here we are almost up to date. All that remains is for me to return anon and asap with lengthy Taupo and Creek to Peak blog/s, but for now I leave you with a metaphorical empty shop..

Thanks for your great support and patience and, as always, thanks for reading. Cheers, Oli


The Former and Current Self said...

Jeebus, I only noticed now that the Hainan is spelt wring on that banner.

Anonymous said...

more photos please !! :)