Monday, July 28, 2008

Last rites

It's time to head back to the windy city after my three weeks in Aus sped by. The weekend saw a couple of rides, Saturday at Killi and Sunday in Glenrock. Having other people's bikes to ride has been a Godsend, but which one to choose? It was the Intense for Killi, and El Mariachi got another run on Sunday. Cheers K-Man!

Johnny Klink brought along his retro SSer that he's just built up, for more of 'The Museum' check this out.

While here I managed to talk Steve into buying a new bike and get his old mojo back. He's lovin it too, not having to ride a clapped-out Cannondale with a Headshok minus rebound (and only one gear). K-Man sorted him out with a sweet price on a Canaan and it's like he's never been away, slicing through the trees like a man half his weight.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bahamontes knows....

“Looking in the eyes of a cyclist, I can tell you if he’s messed around with something or not,” says Bahamontes. “I don’t need [drug] controls or anything. A dilated pupil, eyes tight like the head of a match, shiny – it says it all.”

What, like this?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Wisdom can be painful

Especially when it comes to teeth. Today I got two of the buggers removed from my head, which now feels like a soccer ball that's had the shit kicked out of it. The bottom half of my jaw doesn't feel like it's even there.The numbness hasn't really worn off yet, and I'm hoping that I don't regain too much feeling just yet! But the ice-pack is a good look, no?
I was expecting a whole lot more pain, but now I'm thinking I might still be able to make the most of the rest of my holiday, and get some more riding done. The last week saw a bit of trail and road time, on Saturday I went out to Killi and had a cruise around with Johnny Klink and Col (The Slug). I wasn't surprised to see that The Slug still hasn't grasped the idea that knne and/or arm warmers are supposed to cover the area of leg from calf to thigh, not just the knee. They had migrated as far south as they possibly could by ride's end. Me and Klink summised that the offending items where probably trying to get as far away from Col as possible, like they'd rather be caught up and mangled in the chainrings than face another minute next to that man's skin. Or maybe they just need throwing out and replacing. (Yeah Right! says Col)Killi itself wasn't in great shape either, after the big storms over summer a lot of the trails were under water. and combined with excessive 4WD and motorbike traffic, some of the trails are pretty boggy/rutted. But some of them flow a whole lot nicer than Glenrock. Which I rode again last Friday night, my first night ride for the winter, and something I need to do when I'm back in Welly. I didn't get to ride the Nomad, as the pedals had been put on James-Watson-tight and were not coming off in a hurry. Kman got to lug the beast around the 'Rock, and I was left with the 5.5, not a bad second choice. Tuesday was a 80km road ride with Col and Vince, a lovely sunny day it was too, with Vince opting for a quicker exit while me and Col continued south to Bugewoi. Last night seemed to me as if it could be my last chance to ride while I'm here, what with all the horror stories I've been told (regarding teeth), so with a 2pm admission time today I was still able to get a ride in, eat proper food and have a decent sleep-in. This time there was no escaping the Nomad, as Kman had a proper big pedal spanner at the ready, and it was left to me to try the big bike out. I don't know if it was the bike, the lack of food throughout the day, or having in the back of my mind the thought "imagine if I broke my arm the day before getting oral surgery done", but I was off the back most of the ride. Ok, I'm blaming the bike. Yeah, it's noticeably heavier than the Intense, which is noticeably heavier than the Stumpy, but it still rides real firm (for 6" of travel it'd have to) and climbs fairly well. The slack steering angle was a little weird feeling, especially in the tight stuff, yet it handled really well. I don't think Glenrock (or at least the trails we were riding) suits its capablities very well, but I can see how fun it would be for eating up steep, rocky, nasty technical trails. But I don't think I have the size of 'nads or the skill level needed to drop it down the sort of terrain where it would shine. Or maybe I'm just too smart to risk injury....But who knows, now that I have no wisdom.....

Friday, July 11, 2008

Rollin on the 'Rock

Sometimes the familiar can seem very unfamiliar, which is how it was yesterday when I rode Glenrock with the Kman. While I knew where the tracks were going, how the terrain lies and when to slow down/speed up, what I didn't expect was how the trails have degraded. There are bogholes where before there was only a ribbon of dirt... Upper Kenny has a diversion around some fallen timber which adds to the flow, but there is a huge bog that really needs some attention. But the trouble is, National Parks won't allow any trail maintenance until after the new POM (Plan Of Management) goes through. So it's a Catch 22, bikes doing damage, but bikers not allowed to fix the damage and prevent more. All it takes is some simple drainage to be dug, although Bailey's Paddock has bigger issues, it's still the same mess it has always been. Maybe a bridge needs to go through there. But it's still a fun place to ride, hopefully things will get going on the POM front and the trails can be maintained and problem areas fixed. The ride itself was a lot of fun, I started out riding the Intense 5.5, but the Kman was suffering a bit on the El Mariachi, so we swapped over, and the real fun began. The Salsa (singlespeed, rigid 29er) is a blast to ride. My first real off road ride on a 29er, and it is impressive, rolling over sharp edged rocks and roots with ease... I'd be thinking "this is gonna jar" as I'd aim the rigid steel fork at things a suspension fork would eat up, but the big wheel just seemed to laugh at such distractions. I was having so much fun, when we got back to the car I decided to do another loop then ride the road back to Kman's place. Tonight it's a night ride, I'll be testing out the Nomad this time... or can I resist the 29er?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

El retorno

I'm back on Aus soil, and so far it feels ok. The weather has been cool but sunny, and I got out on the Roubaix for a lap of my old route on Monday, taking in the coastline south of Belmont, down to Catherine Hill Bay and Frazer Park. Col was gonna come too, but had some excuse about vomitting or something... for a doctor he sure is unhealthy.No jacket required, just cool enough for arm and knee warmers, though I probably could've gotten away with BKW's if my legs weren't so pasty from the Wellington 6am rides. I called in to Hadley Cycles at Belmont, my old place of work and saw Levi, still plugging along and expecting his second rugrat. Nice work, if you like that sort of thing! The line-up of Giants didn't do much to excite me though. The old man has almost finished his restoration job of his boyhood Speedwell, and I must say it's looking fantastic. I wouldn't mind riding around Welly on that, it's got the old-school style goin on for sure. All the chrome bits are the original 1952 items, re-chromed and lookin sharp. He's got a Brooks saddle bag and leather bar tape coming for it, which will finish it off nicely. I'm trying to convince him that it needs to be run single-speed, the 3-speed hub isn't working anyway. Those brakes may look the business, but without pads they don't do much to slow you down. I found that out on my ride down the driveway. Caught up with the Kman and Kath for dinner, and got to check out his new Nomad and El Mariachi, both sweet bikes which I'm looking forward to sampling in Glenrock and Killi while I'm here.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Strike a light!

Last night I got to see one of the best shows I've ever witnessed, thanks to my friend Magnus, a Stumpy rider who works at the Downstage Theatre. The show is called Elemental, by local percussion group Strike. These guys whack the living daylights out of drums, marimbas, pipes, cymbals, old car wheels and fenders, creating a sonic boom that resonates through your whole body. It was making my legs shake involuntarily at times. They also love playing with fire, and I thought the theatre might go up in smoke at any moment. Real cool. After the show I met up with Chris The Courier, AJ (another courier and international playboy!) and Aussie Mark and got rather drunk, stumbling home in time to catch the finish of Stage 1 of the Tour. Valverde is a great bike rider, I don't know if he can perform in the mountains consistently enough to challenge Cadel, but I hope he does and we get a great race for the yella. Well it's back to Aus for me tomorrow, time to go pack the Roubaix and prepare to get up at 4am to get my flight...that's gonna hurt.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Josh takes YJA, I skive off to Aus

After leading for three weeks, my day off unfortunately fell on the last day of the work tour (of Switzerland) allowing Josh to sneak under me on the line and take the YJA.
Now for the big one, Le Tour de France. I'm gonna be doing a Cipo though, looking for stage wins in the first week before pulling out and going for a holiday (and secret sales training camp)in Australia, leaving Josh and Mike and Staff Purchases to fight it out, with the Tongan dark horse Big Nath a chance after pipping Mini-Me for the podium in Switzerland. My objectives now have to be the Worlds and Olympics.