Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Few Short Things

There was a moment somewhere on the Hutt river trail, on Sunday, as a dropped into another sharp gravel corner where in considered whether I should perhaps be on a more appropriate bike. Now my ‘road bike’ sits in the bike room coated in mud with another 200km on the clock. Later in the ride I rode up a nice climb in the sun with a man on a bike half the weight of mine.

Many a time I have tried to describe what it’s like to ride a bike for lengths of time longer than most people sleep at night. And I guess I enjoy it, all fucked up out where unable to speak clearly and lacking basic motor function. Things get real bent, a sort of withdrawal. I think I leave parts of myself out there, ridden into the roads and tracks between places where others travel too. Those no name locations that I hinge memories of times, states.

And I miss losing my sense and grinding myself into the paste you might find between your sprockets. So Sunday came around and despite the northerly gale I followed though with a near 8 hour stint aboard my ‘roady’ called Bernard. Taking in every off road opportunity too and over the Blue mountains, Akatarawa's and Makara. Just shy of 200km I was not ashamed to be a bit uncomfortable grinding up though central park on the way home.

But so often that I have done these things to myself my body is harder shock. It’s become resilient to abuse, to a point of course. Where it just gets injured and makes me mad. So yes I did get a bit lost and bent but not as much as I am use too, maybe a little disappointing really.

In more understandable news I have a new steed, the Santa Cruz Highball, a wonderful entry into the carbon mountain bike world. From building it up it’s hard to grasp how much this frame will take compared to its weight, which is next to nothing. After a few adjustments I've been enjoy the fine times of light hard-tail riding including three local races finishing in the top two.

With a slightly more trail/aggressive geometry set up compared with other XC based 29’er bikes I've ridden it really shows class on the way down. Coupled with the directness and weight of a hard-tail carbon bike it also climbs like a minx. It’s been quite some time since I raced a hard-tail and its bloody good time. Fully's are still dam sweet but there is something more honest about a hard-tail that gets soaked up in the rear end of a fully and beaten out by a rigid. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Creeping into my thighs is the acid that comes on after 4 hours of salivating over the bent bars. Oh I do love that soft ache of the second half of big rides, pushing though the gentile sting as you stand up into the next climb. The feeling of progress, gain though nice achy pain and will no doubt cause some wicked cramps that will have to be fought though in bed that night.

Joys of training, great stuff, yes I am getting well into the longer rides and the yay times of making my bar tape turn from light pink to off grey, or something. Into the times of chewing though chains, tires, spear time, frames and brain cells. It’s a place I’ve had a break from and I've missed it and all its qwerks and beauty.

One of the joys is getting away and into back roads or the real back blocks on the rigid single speed. Vistas and quiet like nothing achievable even in sleep at home. Well until the phone rings. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Much Love

Two coffees down and winging around the bay talking the smack. Having been though the frozen valleys out of the morning sun I was grateful to have the use of my hands again. The south Alps nicely placed in the distance with lovely cold snow from the past few days. I was grateful that it was not cold and raining as I had been then. The drag out of bed away from comfort had been worth all the inconvenience. A lovely morning spinning the cranks over the grey mass making life a little more inconvenient for motorists and in the eyes of the authorities waiting to die for it. Cherry waves into back windows as their brains steam at our merry riding pleasure obeying rules and been heckled relentlessly. Hey thanks everyone for been so tolerant and not killing me as I deserve, I’ll blow you a kiss next time. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Fresh new ripe good

Long is the stretch of time since my last 24 hour solo race. It was Worlds two years back, and ending in a farcical medically based withdrawal. To forward to the coming year is hope, hope of a race that has given me cruel kindness in the way not to distant from a female pray mantis.

Yes the only real 24 hour race is set to return to the well kempt trails of the Whakawerawera forest. The 24 hours of N-Duro was my first 24 hour solo and where I first won a big race (different years).

Back in Wellington now and settling into the old mate trails with the aid of my now even more modified Sir. Into routines of glorious morning rides starting with a punch of a powerful short black at ‘Tony’s’ and the avoidance glares of clean suits and heavy jackets. Followed by charging rugged tracks careering off the beasty hills. Lungs burning the crisp swept wind then exhaling puffs of steam and hurt. I have also gotten sick and I live in a cold flat.

Not ungratefully reduced to just having the only the rigid single speed running with the weather keeping things nice a slippery and yum. Plentiful merry bronation (lateral wheel movement away from the prearranged direction intent) and the delightful sounds of tacky trail mud as the tires break away from the surface like peeling away day old dressing from some gnarly road rash. Who needs suspension or gears in this weather anyway. Having recently blown out my only two suspension forks, it would seem I don’t deserve this luxury.

So I’m back and it is good. Life outside riding carries on happily at times and grinds by during those ‘work hours’. Thanks Wellington for letting me back into your hills. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

New Playgrounds

It is true, in the town of sun and cycle lanes. Around which are still the signs of the recent flooding. Yes nelson is just fine. It is one of the places that I could have seen myself living in. the allure of job with reasonable monetary return, proximity to vast track networks and a break from the eternal winter that is wellington.

But alas there is the work to be done along with the lethargically state of training associating. A physical job too, requires chunks of sensibility and excuse elimination to make any sort of regular training habit. At a month in things are kicking over but no mad k’s of yet, just all lead up.

After returning from the west island of hopes and heat dreams and madly covered most of the north and south islands, settled up in my home town for a week to ‘sort my shit out’. Mixed results really and the pack up for the drive to Nelson was full of half finished projects that would be easier completed in my parents garage.

A storm hit within the first week in a sunshine capital and living in a campground became less ‘holiday’ like. With this and a 26km ride to work followed by a good hour and half of getting and out of 4wd’s to make it to the work site. Luck rode our way soon after and we made it settled and relieved to be in a flat within 9 days of turning up in this fair city.

Now after a month or more I am beginning to discover this low key riding Mecca. Been still of an age where you can simply pack up a move is advantageous to life excitement. There is Taranaki style back roads a good warm up away and the hills ring long and loud with wild single track.

So far I have ticked off the Mtb Park of codages and the copper mine loop. Both awesome and worthy of the required effort. It’s even got me missing Wellington a little less. Although the coffee fuelled week day morning missions will be sorely missed.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Heat Treament

So full of life is this land. Teaming with bugs and reptiles that every bush moves with a scurry of hurried panicked dashes and you can’t stand still for want of swatting the million flies that patrol the air for a victim to lazy or weak to brush them off. Relief comes aboard a bike pushing though the air and past the bushes. Keep the speed up and the snakes and flies fall behind.

No I’m not acclimatising but merely accepting that hanging in for another two weeks is feasible. Nothing fade the feeling of inescapable heat here, I liken it to cabin fever but going outside makes in worse. Past a certain temperature, about 33 I reckon, there is even no relief from riding though the air. It’s just feels more like a giant oven on fan bake and the moisture is grilled out of you faster than a drip could counter.

Aside all this I have been a while and I have ridden one or other of my bikes to try and bring on some form of fitness to ready for this year’s activities. First off is the Brevet, which is very soon and the reason I am departing this land so soon. Been going over the course and think about my bike that sits in pieces in a garage very far from the start line. Yes it’s another trick of a series of last minute rushes to prepare for a big event. Lessons learnt and ignored and all that talk, lecture even.

Riding to work has been the regular thing here. Most weekends have involved a backpack loaded mission of 120km or more to Brisbane to hang with friends. After six or seven goes I have developed a reasonably direct way into this city of 3.5 million without getting tangled in motorway networks and industrial estates. Late Sunday returns have become real world training for the evening dashes of brevet’s, helped by the lack of reasons to sleep the eight hours on Saturday nights.

This time it’s all business with the bike; Freeload racks, aero bars, cycle cross tires, lights. I will be doing it again in the spirit of marginal Brevet technique but a touch of the deluxe. So instead of a glorified rubbish bag I have a bivy bag and instead of my usual down jacket I have light weight yellow one. The main difference this time is that I actually have enough money for food, whoop. Gee there is going to be some smashing dirty truckers breakfasts.