Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Darkness...

...are a crap band, but the darkness is great for riding Makara in.
So Marty, Josh and James from Crankworks (where Josh has decided to take up a job) did the ride to the top for the views and the buzz back down. Anzac Day we were going to go to Mt Vic, but beer got in the way, then Thursday night we were kitted up ready to go but the precipitation prevailed.

I love free stuff. My boss has offered me a bonus for some extra hours while he is away in May, either a Langster or a set of XTR cranks. Probably take the cranks. They're sweet.Testing this Fox Flux helmet for Mountain Biking Australia, and Tim Vincent from Tineli sent me thisjersey and some knicks as well. I'm off to put em through their paces now...adios.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Weapon of choice

I lurve this bike. Climbs, bombs down, handles and light! That's 26.6 lb to you, buddy...
Did I mention the sweet new XTR discs? Drool...
Perfect bike for NZ, coz you gotta earn your downhills!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Things that make me go "aaaaaaaarrrrrggggh"

I've always held the belief that people are f#*ked. No matter where you go in the world, you you will always encounter people who need to get some Viagra eyedrops and take a long, hard look at themselves.
*White Rastas: is there a more pathetic creature? Usually middle class, public school educated, pot smoking reggae-listening wankers who pay $200 to get dreadlocks.
*Ipod owners: the next one of these tossers who steps out in front of me, either when I'm on my bike or in my car, gets run over. I love music, but I can't see the need to be listening to it ALL THE TIME! Walking to a bus, on a bus, there's just no need.
*Mobile phone users. Yes, I use one, but if I'm being served in a shop I refuse to answer it. I will walk away from the next arsehole who does this when I'm serving them, then when they finish I'll start dialling my own phone. Even worse are the ridiculous ring tones that these morons think are 'cute' or 'hip'.
*Vespas: Or any underpowered, overpriced piece-of-shit scooter that is ridden on any public road. Get the F*#K off there or get a bike that will do more more than 35kmh fully wound out. Usually ridden by Ipod wearing, mobile phone answering white goddamn rastas. Or...
*Emos: Kids have been dressing in black forever, it's not new or different. They used to be called Goths, before that Mods, so giving a new label to looking like death-warmed-up doesn't make it cool, just sad. Which is what they're about, I suppose.
**Cars with flower stickers on the back window. K man reminded me of these idiots. Usually young women, some older. Somewhere someone stuck these on their window and someone else thought that it looked cool, and so on and so on. The Oakley sticker of the 00's.

It's not all bad though.

*Chicks in short skirts and long boots: there seems to be a plethora of them in Wellington. Maybe they are 'Wellington boots'.
Cats (and dogs): much better than people, softer, fluffier and no opposable thumbs to operate Ipods, phones or scooters.
Bike riders: yeah, most of them are weirdos, but there are some good ones out there. I'm going riding with a few of them now. Not a dreadlock in sight.
Coffee: Ross got me hooked on it, the shop guys have kept me there.
Beer: better than coffee, see below.


I realised the other day that I have neglected to keep my "Beer of the Week" posts going since arriving in NZ, although my love of the liquid gold remains strong. And there are some good drops brewed here in the land of the long cold pint. Some glasses of beer pictured earlier today.

One of my favourite NZ brewers is Macs and in particular the Sassy Red bitter and Hop Rocker pilsener. The Hop Rocker was the beer Rad Ross took a liking to the night we met in Nelson, downing pints like a man possessed. We downed a few Sassys in Taupo too with the best Indian food ever. Hard to find it on tap in Wellington though, so the tipple of choice to accompany our attempts at playing pool at Murphy's Irish Bar is usually
Monteith's Original Ale. Their Pilsener isn't bad from the bottle either, but nowhere near as good as a James Squire. For a cheap case of drinkable stuff I go for Export Premium Dry, it says on the label it was judged "World's Best" but I don't really see how... maybe they had no taste buds or were very, very drunk.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Be my guest...blogger

After a bout of whining from Josh ("when are ya gonna blog it?", "where's the photos?") I decided to hand the reins over to him just to shut him up, and so I didn't have to tell you how I was smashed up a climb by a vegetarian midget. So it's with great trepidation and some small pleasure that I present to you our Special Guest Blogger...

After a bout of whining from Brett-o, here I am guest blogging for him. For some reason he thinks that this will be a quality way to spend my brief lunch hour at work... he's just come back over the computer to prompt me to try to sum up the "Brett experience", should I choose to. Exciting stuff...

Sunday's weather was perfect for a ride, calm weather with a slight southerly chill. Makara has been done to death lately so i figured it was time to show Brett some new trails. After meeting up at work we rode over the Brooklyn hill and down Happy Valley Road to the start of the infamous Tip Track, a Wellington classic. For the unacquainted, this is a nasty, lung burning, unreasonably steep 3km of 4wd track that begins at sea level and stops just below the summit of Hawkin's Hill. It's a popular training ride for enthusiasts pre-Karapoti; it gets largely left out of most people's riding schedules the remainder of the year on account of how shit it is.

I was in the mood to watch the old-timer suffer so it seemed the perfect choice. At the summit Brett declared that he had no intention to revisit it in a hurry; fair enough too. The views from up there are great; looking back down the hill you get a good impression of how steep it is.

Next up was Carparts (the side of the track is littered with bits of old cars), a cool little MTB-only track that begins at the wind turbine further down the hill. This was another gem that Brett hadn't yet ridden and needed to be introduced to; tight, flowing singletrack which absolutely roosts in dry conditions, which we're still fortunate to have. On the way down to the turbine Brett ("I love animals and they love me back") met some freaky new friends.

Carparts was in great shape and is a great intro to Backdoor, which it's linked to by a short stretch of 4wd track following the fenceline. More singletrack descent, which in this case you're not technically supposed to ride down (but everyone does). We encountered another rider halfway down which increased our posse to three. We only had to slow up for a bunch of tourists near the bottom; they all had cameras out by the time Brett rode past so hopefully he was looking stylish for his appearance in their future holiday snapshot albums.

This all finished back in Aro Valley where I live. We stopped at my house briefly so Brett-O could sniff my cats. I'm not going to try to start understanding why he gets off on that... anyway, cheers to Brett for the great ride and talking me into sacrificing my lunchbreak for his blog.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Back to Belmont....

...Wellington version, not Newcastle. My day off is usually spent at Makara, but this time I thought something different was in order, so it was up to Belmont Regional park, the Dry Creek loop to be precise.

I'd ridden it a few years ago, not the most exciting trail, but I kept on climbing up to the top of Boulder Hill for some great views back over Lower Hutt, and the harbour.
The Tasman was visible on the other side, and I wondered what was happening back home at that time...probably not fencing. There are some more exciting trails up there apparently, and I'll be checking them out in the weeks to come.
Last night I got a call from Marty for a night ride at Makara, so after belting home on the commuter we met up and had a blast... I'd forgotten how much fun night riding is. The view from the peak at night is amazing as well, and the stars were out, no wind, and a great ride back down Ridgeline.
More of that is in order for sure.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Welcome to the Jungle

Got out of the Makara zone yesterday for a ride/slog/bushwhack with a few guys from Vorb, led by Colin, who me and Christian met last year but never got to ride with due to bad weather. I met up with Col and Tama at J'ville and loaded myself and Stumpy into/onto his V5 Golf and launched it up the coast to the Three Sisters. It's a ride on the other side of the Akatarawas where Karapoti is held. The ride was a going away jaunt for Owen, who is moving to Auckland (for love, not money).
The other guys were Dave, Antony, Daniel who is a customer of the shop and [geez sorry mate I've forgotton your name.] In typical NZ fashion it was straight into a fireroad climb for 40 miutes or so, with a few stopss to re-group. we did some of the Karapoti course in revers (climbing) trhen peeled off a sidetrack and into the undergrowth. Ankle deep slop had me having flashbacks.
The first bit was pretty much unrideable, but we tried anyway, Tama and Col both coming unstuck early on. It was tight, slippery and kinda technical, and then it got steep.... down. This section was either use your brakes and end up on your ass, or let it all hang out and hope you don't end up on your ass. I got down using the latter technique, then went back up to photograph the others conming down.
Col nailed it in style.

Antony got it sideways but held it and escaped nicely.

Tama was like a lead balloon screaming "get out of the fuckin waaaaay" as he barrelled past.. I thought he must've had blurred vision (like my pic!)or in big trouble because I wasn't in the way, unless he planned to go bush any minute. From there it got a lot easier to ride, not flowy, but still I had a good grin on my dial for the whole ride. At the end Owen (and Daniel) did a few runs over this drop, maybe trying to prolong his time in Welly by breaking something. Pizza and beer on the way home was a great end to a nice way to send off the big O.


I nearly fell off my chair when I saw this

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Out-of-towner takes out-of-towner out of town

Vaguely organised bike rides. That's what Vorb is all about. When it comes to organising bike rides, vaguely, I'm right up there. So when I saw a post last week from a rider wanting to ride some Welly trails, I thought my services could be of some use. Jackie is a lovely American lass living /studying in Auckland, and was keen for some singletrack. We met up at the shop and basically I tried to re-trace the ride Josh and I did last Friday. Not knowing the fitness and skill levels of riders you've just met is always a tricky prospect, so I threw her in the deep end. Jackie swam.
Deliverance can be a cruel mistress, with it's slippery roots and rocks and drops and stony creek crossings, but it was taken in stride, with the declaration of "awesome" at the end. Then it was on up through the singletrack of Makara, all the way to the top of the peak, where the winds they were a'howlin.
Ridgeline was way, way out of the question, so we took the fireroad back down towards the extension track. Waiting for Jackie after a steep section, the wait became a little too long, and I thought that blood may have been spilled on the rutted, loose shaley surface. It had.
Now, Jackie's studying medicine, but I tell ya, my improvisational surgical skills are second to none. A patch thingy that Rad Ross had left behind, held on her leg by my headband (unused, luckily, though the sweat might have been a good steriliser) and we were away again, Jackie opting to take the original planned route back still, not wussing out at all. Biking chicks are cool.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Something about Sundays...

They always start out so... ordinary. A bit cloudy. A threat of rain. Washing to do. The ever-present thoughts of what-to-do-next in my head. My bike in a state of filthiness and in need of maintenance, so a trip into the shop and a couple of hours later the rear end rebuilt, wheels trued, and a wipe over. 3 o'clock already? Brilliant sunshine. Ok, bike's already in the car, throw on some riding gear and hit Makara.

Ridgeline...Photo by Simon Kennett

Singletrack salvation. Again. Climbed up Koru and Salley Alley in tandem with a guy on a Scott Genius. Got talking to him after Missing Link. Marty. Not the dog. Climbed together up Aratihi, checked out the magnificent view of a great city (and no wind at all on top, amazingly) then busted it out down Ridgeline, SWIGG and Starfish. Hard to keep the smiles off our faces after those trails, a great way to end a day which promised so little, but delivered much more.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

I wish I had my road bike...

This time of year always gets the road blood pumping... Spring Classics time! Tomorrow is Flanders, okily dokily. I reckon Boonen can do it again, but he'll be watched closely, and with Bettini and Van Petegem on his team, maybe one of them will benefit. Damn, where's my Tarmac....

Friday, April 06, 2007

Not a Bad Friday

Didn't eat any eggs, but hopped on the bike (pardon the easter punny). Josh and I met up at work, where our bikes live sometimes, and after I forgot my shoes again, we finally headed out, up up up the road through Aro Valley to the Karori Sanctuary fenceline track. Steep, wide and not very exciting, but friggin hard on the legs. I had to get off and push on one section, no traction in the granny, while Josh tractored up pushing the big gears. Got to the wind turbine and checked out the views and caught the breath... it was another nice, sunny day with not too much wind, and a little bite in the air.
As we climbed a little more to get to the top of Wright's Hill, Josh mentioned how it sucks going this way to get to Deliverance and Makara, and I suggested we never do it again. Agreed. It's hard to avoid hills here, but some are just worse than others. At the top of Deliverance it was seats down (QR back where it belongs!) and my mission was to clean the whole trail, after a dab or two the last time I was here last week. It looked unlikely right away as I hit a baby-head rock near the top, made slippier than usual by some rain during the week, but I was determined not to dab and stayed clipped in while I used a tree for support...but I kept going, and nailed that sucker...despite Josh trying to put me off my game halfway down by checking out the fauna again. The plan was to ride Makara, but after a short stop it was decided to climb back up Salvation... Josh was wanting to rest up as he's going to Auckland for the weekend to catch up with a lady friend, and he needs all his energy! Down the other side of Wright's, we rode a sweet singletrack downhill that I'd never been on before, with tight switchbacks and fast straights linking them up, right down into a creek then out onto the road in Kelburn. It was all fast tar back to the shop, and only nearly got hit by a car once! There have been worse Fridays for sure...

Monday, April 02, 2007

Deano does Dargle...

One of the sickest men I know, and one of the best riders. Is there a correlation between the two? Probably, because Deano has put in another solid ride, this time at the 100km race at the Sydney 24 hour at Dargle. Now, I don't know what the concept there was, a shorter race running concurrently with the 24hr? All I know is The Slug (Col) left a message on this here blog saying Deano finished second to Matt Fleming, six years Deano's junior and nowhere near as twisted. Doesn't look as good with his knicks wedged up his crack, either....not that I've ever seen Fleming in that pose.

A fine example of manhood...and Scotty too. Still bewildered by his cameltoe...

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Stepping Up

Rad Ross started his full factory ride with a good result in the first Norba race of the year,netting 3rd place in the time trial.

Good to see ya back on the dually too bro. Think you need to drop the seat though. And turn up for the presentation, you're a Pro now!

From Velo News..."Schnell and Craig missed the podium presentation because they were out riding McDowell's trails. While Craig is a mainstay on the national-series podium, Schnell's appearance would have been just his third. "We went for a ride to try to get in shape for tomorrow and we definitely missed it," said Schnell, who this winter was promoted from Trek's regional program to the factory squad; he joked that his absence would probably get him fired. "

He backed up with a 5th in the short track, but the XC didn't go so well. Here's his explanation, somewhat valid.
"Hey dude, thanks. Short track went decent too, finished on the box. Pipped Treefarm on the last lap. Largest ever short track field, a hundred something guys. Wish the XC went as well, forgot to bring my A-game and rode like a small child. Just felt like my tank was empty from the start. Guess I should have drank more beer, I only had one the night before..."

See kiddies, beer = success!