Thursday, November 29, 2007

The 'yeah na race'..

A flyer which may or may not have landed in my inbox a couple of days ago may or may not have purported to a 'race' that probably didn't happen yesterday at somewhere which wasn't the Wind Turbine. As I am not writing an article for SPOKE, I won't post any pictures or commentary on here. Please DO NOT VIEW these photos, and be sure not to read the next issue of that magazine I didn't mention. None of the identities of these 'participants' have been changed because technically, they do not exist.

Some guy doesn't point to where the course doesn't go.

Not the start area. Not a wind turbine either.

Caleb didn't show up.

Car Parts wasn't used in the course.

Not from Germany.

Aidan wasn't even thought of by anyone.

Hadley didn't set the fastest time.

Josh didn't look stylish... no, seriously.

There were no big Canadians in attendance.

No dreadlocks allowed either.

This guy had nothing to do with 'organising' the 'race'.

No beer was consumed in the street where the 'race' finished.

Timekeeping? Results? You've got to be joking...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Flight of the Stumpjumpers

A gaggle of geese, a herd of elephants, a flock of seagulls, a stack of Stumpys? That's what we formed on Sunday when Josh, his brother Paul, Markus/Magnus the German and myself got together for an on/off-road jaunt. There rests Magnus and my 07 Experts, Paul's 08 Pro and Josh's heavily tricked out 08 Comp at the summit of Makara Peak.

We met at Josh's place and climbed up through Aro Valley on the tar to the end of the old gold mine trail, and climbed the steep, tight switchbacks. Normally we'd come down this trail, but for some reason Josh thought it'd be a good idea to rip our legs off early. Actually it was a better option than the Rollercoaster which climbs up beside the Karori Sanctuary fenceline.

After taking this snap of the awesome view, the guys sped off down the singletrack, and by the time I got mobile I was left at a trail junction not knowing which way to go. Of course I went the wrong way, which then turned out to be the right way when I realised that I'd gone the wrong way a second time. Eventually I caught up to them at the top of Wright's Hill and the start of the magical Deliverance trail.

Deliverance was the driest I've ever seen it, and made for a fast, technical descent, and I nailed the sections which usually give me trouble.

Magnus decided that he wasn't keen on pitching himself over the bars, and took the foot option.

Paul hurled his 95kg frame down as if he was still riding his DH bike.

Josh, all style on the steeps. He's a better technical rider than me, but I have the edge on flowing, tight singletrack. Makes for some fun duelling.

Josh on the Corkscrew on Vertigo.

It's a really tight turn under the bridge, with an exposed rock surface on the corner and not much headroom (unless you're 5'3"!).

It does my head in, and I'm yet to have a go at it.

There was no way Paul was gonna get his 6'4" (including afro) under there.

Magnus decided that it actually was a good idea to pitch himself over the bars after all, but left it until the home run, on a nasty rocky section along the fenceline. More of a concern was the damage to his derailleur hanger and XO mech...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The accidental tourist

As mentioned in the last post on the 12 hour, my good friend and loyal 'pit bitch' (her term, so not offensive) Andrea was over from Aus last week, giving me the opportunity to do some of Wellington's sightseeing activities that I've just not gotten round to so far. We were blessed with five days of magnificent weather, so we made the most of it.

We took the cable car up to the top of the Botanical Gardens, the views over the city are fantastic.

"Wot you lookin' at geeza?"

This could be a postcard, in fact I've seen the same shot on many a postcard around town.

Looking over the main rose garden in the Botanical Garden.

This one's for you, Matty. Of course I had to take Andrea on a ride around the bays, and add the 501st shot on the blog for the big fella's benefit...

There a a lot of sculptures in the gardens, and I thought I'd get arty with this one.

We also hit up Te Papa National Museum, which I'd been putting off because I thought it would cost too much to get in. It's free. And way too much too take in in one visit. I liked the more modern NZ art on display, this cow was made from corned beef tins.

This Holden is covered in corrugated iron, and the artist actually drove it around for years as his main mode of transport. Stylin.

Murphy the landlady's cat is a regular visitor to my flat, and always sits in this weird position, much to Andrea's amusement.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

12 hours, 12 emotions

If the A-League is touted as 90 minutes, 90 emotions, then the Wild Wellington 12 Hour Relay threw up at least twelve on Saturday. Teamed up with Ian, Matt and Ant, we knew we were in with a good shot at taking the Legends category, not least because we are, well, legends. Ian had been onto me in the weeks leading up to the race to get myself in race trim, and a PNP race at Makara the week previous did the trick, showing that no matter how little 'training' I'd done, I could still push myself hard enough to pick up a 4th and not pop a lung. But 12 hours is a whole different kettle of fish to an hour and a half, and we ran the gamut of feelings over the long day. I say feelings because I'm not sure if some of these are emotions per se, but you get the idea.

The only way to race. I was stoked that we had such a good set-up, including a full mobile workshop courtesy of our sponsor Searletech. Even the stereo was loaded with cool tunes.

I was also happy to have my friend and long-time pit bitch Andrea over from Aus, even though with Mike doing most of the hoofwork she had plenty of time to enjoy the 24c sunshine.

I was quite a bit anxious when Ian turned up on his road bike, set it up in a trainer, and proceeded to outline our race plan down to the most minute detail. I feared the day might bet a little stressful, but we soon had a big lead on our rivals, although while relieving the pressure on me, only seemed to fire Ian up more.

The look of a disgruntled man. Actually the trainer was a good idea, especially before my last two laps when muscles were tired and tight, helping with a fast night lap to get Matt set up for his final scorcher to get us into 3rd outright.

Our mother for the day, Mike Searle. He did everything asked of him, and lots which wasn't. From swapping the transponder from leg to leg after each lap, to tuning bikes, swapping my grips and cooking the barbie, he still managed to put in a couple of fast laps and a nice crash just out of transition to boot.

When I'd hit this 50kmh tar section at the end of each lap, the relief was tantamount, at least until the nasty climb back up to the velodrome, but you knew the end was nigh and another lap was ticked off.

The pain of being stalked. It was an enthralling battle between Josh and Carl's team and ours for the full 12, with hardly more than five minutes between us all day. Ian and Josh had several encounters, with honours fairly even. At one point Josh told Ian to "hurry it up old man" which only served for the 47-year-old to leave the 29-year-old in his wake.

They're at it again. In the end Josh's team got us, we both were on 37 laps, one behind the winning team, and the only others to break 37. We won our class by two laps, and 3rd outright, with Josh and Carl second in Open. The beers tasted great, especially when Ian stopped calculating lap times and gaps and heart rates long enough to down a brew too. The event was run really well, and thankfully the prize-giving was over quickly so we could get home and get horizontal, the satisfaction of a job well done and the numbing effects of alcohol combining to wash over me and smash me to sleep.

Here's some pics from a real photographer, which make me look like a real bike rider... almost.

I was feeling the pressure to pull out some fast laps, and my first five were all 19's, with only a 21 later my slowest. 85% of the course was climbing, which made for some painful final laps.

Ant was consistent all day, in the 18s to 20s, but didn't fancy night laps so pulled out a fast dusk lap.

This guy is an animal. Sub 19s nearly every lap, and was disappointed with a 20...

Matt's last lap, and ours, was an 18 minute night-time screamer, and got us into our 3rd overall position... awesome ride.