Thursday, May 29, 2008

If only to prove

that I still can ride a mountain bike, I ventured out today with the lunchtime crew of execs/riders/trail builders about who I am writing an article for SPOKE. First up Caleb and I met up with Craig up at the wind turbine, where building is well underway on CarParts 2, about 2km of singletrack heading back south towards the Tip Track. It's coming along nicely, and will add another piece to the delicious jigsaw of trails that Welly has on offer. As Craig said, it's really a mountain bikers paradise here. Maybe I should put the Roubaix away for a bit. Naaaah....
Afterwards I met up with the ride crew. These guys have been doing regular, and I mean regular as in hardly missing a day at all, lunchtime rides since 1991! They are a wide-ranging bunch of characters, with apparently pretty bloody good bosses (or are their own bosses, a la Ian) abling them to take a couple of hours off each day to go and ride. Matt, Ant and Ian from my 12 hour team from last year are regulars, so I knew I'd be in for a pretty quick pace. Then they dropped the big one, we were heading up the Tip Track. Damn it.
We didn't ride all the way to the top, but turned off just below the summit to descend down to Red Rocks, a ride that I surprisingly hadn't done before in my time here. It's a cool ride, absolutely spectacular views of the coast (if you can glance over through watering eyes as you rail it downhill at speed). At the bottom the ride along the coast is cool too, literally, but the day was sunny and not too windy, although the northerly going up Happy Valley road made it a headwind. But that's ok, when you've got Ian on the front... the guy is an animal, he just drove it up there with Ant, me and Mike the only ones able to hang on. I was hurting a bit by the time we hit Brooklyn lights, where Ian turned off to climb one of the steepest streets back up to the wind turbine and over to Makara. I pointed it downhill back to town, where Matt and I realised that you can't buy a coffee without money... I'll be doing a few more rides with these guys on my days off, but maybe not for the next 17 years.

Monday, May 26, 2008

I miss these guys

but I'll get to see them in six weeks time when I take a break back at 'home' in Aus.
That's Bolts (Bolton) on the left and Nuts (Nutmeg) on the right, battling for supremacy of the basket.
Marty, preventing any attempt to erect the pergola from happening with a lie-in protest.

What's been happening

around here? Not a lot really, the mountain bike remains stranded as the trails get a soaking, the road bike and the fixie are getting their morning and afternoon rides still, and my keyboard will be getting a bit more of a workout as I've now been made a 'staff writer' for SPOKE magazine. I'm taking over the spot left by Tama, so my inane ramblings can be inflicted on the unsuspecting Kiwi MTB community every issue. What the hell I'm gonna inflict on them, I'm not really sure... maybe I'll talk about the weather, seems like the topic of interest most discussed these days. If only there were riders like <<--- her to write about...

The Giro is going to script (well, the script I predicted anyway) with Contador taking the pink jersey on the second mountain stage. Di Luca is up there too, and things could get interesting in the last week with more big climbs to come, including a brutal uphill TT tonight which should rip the legs off a lot of contenders, with grades up to 18%! The old stager Simoni is hanging in there, I like him beacause he's always having a go, and doesn't mind telling everyone what he thinks. Could be a stink for the pink...

Friday, May 16, 2008

I'd do this too

if I had to ride a FELT...

The tundra is no respecter of fashion

and nor is a Wellington winter. Back in Aus, winter riding meant an undershirt, some arm and knee warmers and maybe a dose of BKW. Here, I add a jacket, skullcap, thick gloves and shoe covers to the mix. Some of our early morning rides have seen the mercury down around 4c, but having good gear has kept me toasty until I get back for my toast. And while I may be a fan of all things PRO, I leave the PRO-kit to those who are paid to wear it, all bar one item; the cap. The more obscure the team the better, but it's an essential item for those of us who are follically challenged (right Josh?). My old gloves just weren't cutting it, so a pair of Louis Garneau's Wind Tex jobs did the trick, along with their booties...if your feet and hands are warm, you've got it made. Some of the best cold gear I've found is by DeFeet, who make awesome arm and knee warmers, and the best damn socks ever, Wool-E-Ators. If they're good enough for Boonen, they're good enough for.. Josh. But don't take my word for it, here's proof in song format...

Monday, May 12, 2008

It's been a nerve-wracking few weeks

for me on the football front, with my team Bolton Wanderers threatened by relegation, but we went into the last game virtually safe after three wins and a draw in the last four. And we played our part in the top of the table stakes too, drawing with Chelsea to help Man United take the title. It's been a pretty crap season for us, but at least we are still in the top flight for another season, and hopefully now we can rebuild (and maybe get a new manager... Big Sam, where are you?).

Sunday, May 11, 2008

So it's getting cold here

but Josh, Karl and I have been getting out for some early morning road rides which have been bearable so far. It was Karl's idea to start doing this in winter rather than summer, the guy's just a little touched I think... but to keep him happy we've been out there trundling round the bays. It's pretty nice as the sun comes up as we hit the coast. And if I feel like it's too cold to ride, I'll just have to watch this... the epic Gavia stage in the 88 Giro, the stuff of legend as riders nearly froze to death, and Andy Hampsten became the man. It's time for the Giro again, no TV coverage of course (not even the Italian RAI channel which I'd subscribe to for a month back in Aus) which sucks coz it looks like it could be a great race. Astana will be out to prove a point after their exclusion from the Tour, and I reckon Contador might be the man to beat (even if he's not in the best nick, he'll be pretty driven by revenge). Di Luca is another who will be out to redeem himself, it's like a race for the drug-tainted teams and riders really. So there it is, Contador for mine...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Geez man, mellow out!

Mini-me and... me, went and witnessed the angriest old punk in the world, Henry Rollins last week. I've been a (not-overly-zealous) fan of Black Flag and the Rollins Band for a long time, but had never seen one of his spoken-word shows before (except on video), so I was curious as to what the big man had to say. Turns out he has a shitload to say, whether you want to hear it or not (much like this blog). I made sure my phone was turned off, because you don't want to incur the wrath of Hank (as some young fool found out when he dared to yell out some inane comment). So anyway, basically it was three (that's 3) hours of this;

I was too scared to get up to piss... by the end of the three hours I was thinking "man, just shut up..." I can see why he constantly bemoans the fact that he doesn't form relationships with women, he probably scares the shit out of them. I can't imagine he has a lot of real close friends either, he's just so intense. He never drew a breath for the whole three hours, didn't even take a drink of water or scratch his balls... that'd be weak in his eyes I guess. On the way out I heard someone say "that was hilarious!" Hilarious? I think you missed the gist fella... Thought provoking, yeah some of that, funny, yeah at times, but it certainly wasn't part of the Wellington Comedy Festival. We got our 47 bucks worth, but I don't think I could take another three hour helping, not for a couple more years anyway, maybe when there's a new President or war to talk about.