Friday, December 9, 2011

To the fringe where I like the feel of the grass

Not been one to keep to norms or even followed reasoned advice has its joy placed in unusual corners of time and space. 12 hour racing hooked me in at 15 years then 24 hours shortly after at 16. With the failure on the parts of others there were no Worlds for 24 hour solo racing last year, which gave me a chance to not be racing, disappointing on many levels as I had the time to train.

This last while I have been riding on my terms, mostly whimsical and occasionally extreme. Many great times have been had to the credit of body and mind, life happened. But on I must go to the future with the guide of a plan.

There now runs a widening gap in the 24 hour solo community. One side is the well established outfit of the 24 hours of adrenaline. They have not full faced up as to why and who is accountable for the absence of a Worlds last year. But have come up with a date in later 2012 for a Worlds race in the same location as 2009 and 2008.

The other is a the mighty club of Corc which has got the pip with the adrenaline outfit and made their own Worlds after running the 2010 event with great success. First up is Italy in May 2011 and with confirmed dates and venues for the next two years following that.

All considered it would be safe to say the Corc are ones for action and have come through with and attractive plan. But the question remains to which winner of either event is the honour of a World title?

Before this all came out I decided to put my energy into an event that had dates and locations fixed. The Tour Divide, a race for those who want more than a weekend spins around a park. With around 4000km for adventures to develop and problems to grasp your heels, it’s an undertaking.

My earlier length of NZ attempt was in a similar style to The Tour Divide. No support and no outside assistance are the basics. You can pick up anything that is publicly available along the way; food, shelter, bike parts etc.

So that’s June sorted, before then it is another crack at Length of NZ again and the Kiwi Brevet. Both of these with great challenges deep within. Looking forward to putting myself though the dark miles of riding into one’s mind.

Currently I am earning a wage in a small town northwest of Brisbane. With marginal riding missions already pilling up in the wedge between periods of work. I hope to get some form of coupling fitness before February and the Brevet. Yes yes.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Mud and Hair

Mud, what lovely stuff. All sticky and dirty. All over my bike all over my clothes. The other day I spent 3 hours covering everything with butiful stuff. Just great. Halfway though my bike didnt want me to use anything but the big ring, for the remaining hour or so.

Ah what fun we have making hard work for the washing machine. Playing, folly, good times under the clouds of passing showers. Keep playing, keeping warm with the movement.

Then when its time to lay down the mud incrusted machine its for the soft drinks and chasing the girlfriend with offers of hugs to make her muddy too. One sweetly dirty mess munching on miny choclate bars and suger drinks.

I think I have mud in my beard.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rainy Return

Some time has passed and with it not many hours have been spent on the bikes. An offseason of sorts anyway. After pulling the pin on the big LoNZ because of my knee bad times I figured some time out was in order and combined with ducking down to Blenheim for a couple of months of which I had two days off made bikes easy to avoid.

But now back in wellington with the freaks and the hills there is time to spin the legs and find that grove. And where does the grove lead, plans they are a making. Rides, races, records all lie out there for those who train. Still having an eye of the obscene distances big rides will be a factor in the coming months.

In the weekend I rode the first race in n age it seems, the Wainui six hour. With next to no training (honestly) and having cut and bruised my knee the day before in a lame little crash I didn’t expect the world of performance. Rather I had a quiet little time with no support crew and no idea where I was the entire race. Edged but into some of the old ways but still lacked all the things I would expect from myself in a race this length. Somewhere to move on from then.

An old friendly steed has returned to the stable. Back in 08 I raced my first World champs in the sludge fest that was Nordic centre in the Rocky Mountains of Canada. That day’s I charged down and up the hills on a bike that has since then been hardly ridden, the Black Panther. So named because it is one of the dam good looking machines I’ve seen. All black and silver it was something of a patriots. But it was ahead of it times been the one of first 29’er duel suspension bikes made.

After taking it out the other day to get it muddy I am dam glade it didn’t sell. And with the Rohloff fitted it will be seeing many coats of wellington mad this rainy season.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Week out and Delusional

Not been one to face things too well organised things are not all in place. The mighty Richel (my km eating old road bike) stands with missing parts waiting orders to come in, which they will. I am yet to find the locations of every 24 hour food outlet in route or even have defined and finalised route. But do have the madness and silliness to dive into this kind of mission. Can’t wait really. Riding all day, then all night, then all day again, repeat till further notice until your mind snaps. At this point sit on the side of the road and have nut bar. Then continue as before. When the road ends you may stop. All yay’s really.

It is hard to ignore the force of nature that has dealt out such destruction and lose of life in Christchurch. My good wishes go out to those put at ill by this disaster. The ride will continue as planned at this stage although a deviation around Christchurch itself for a variety of reasons.

The start time will be early morning on the second of March, probably around 6:30am. It looks like it will be wet in the Deep South on that day although the winds look almost favourable. So it’s a quick run out of there hopefully. Then straight on up the east coast to Picton. Sounds quite quick but is around 1000km or about halfway.

The North Island is a tad more complicated. Auckland is of course the most so but there are also a multitude of routes present themselves once you head north of Bulls. But at this stage the loose plan is to hit the dessert road then follow the western access around Lake Taupo. Then make my way into the back of Tokaroa and head east of Hamilton towards the big smoke. Though which I will likely get lost several times and end out on the northwest side and wined my way back to SH1 then continue till the road ends.

There is one glaring misgiving in my plans that I am unable to fill at this stage. I’ve got a flight to Invercargill and then I ride to Picton, ferry, then ride again. Then when I am done I will be at the Cape, but I live in Wellington. So I guess I will take a photo or two and turn around, perhaps hitch, perhaps sneak into one of the tour buses. It’s good to have some mystery in such a well oiled undertaking.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Length of New Zealand Now

I quite literally decided to do this on the way home from work on Saturday. It was a work were I was told that the cut in my hours that I knew was in the post was about to kick in. so today I handed in my notice and have given myself a two week window to complete a mission. And what mission could fill this time gap with? Own that has been on my case file for a while, riding the length of New Zealand.

But this ride will bare virtually not resemblance to all precious attempts to break or set a record. There will be no support vehicles, no helicopters and crew of people helping with my every need. No it’s just me with my bike, alone and unsupported for battling the length of this fine land. Oh and I’m also doing the ride backwards, south to north, against the prevailing winds. The reason is because the cape is pretty and it’s about time some did.

With such a spur of the moment decision comes urgency to the preparation. Yesterday I built my first ever set of wheels with the main purpose of completing this ride. There are tires, bags, chains and new helmet to be obtained before the end of the month. There will be hustle for a while yet.

The pure practicalities of the ride are simple. Ride until further notice, stop only for food gathering and essential nap time. Only the ferry ride in the middle will present a meaningful time off the bike. Think fast brevet, but with no one else competing.