Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wednesday Worlds - BikeHutt - Upper Hutt

Looking for adventurrrrrrrrre.
Get out on the highwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay !

Some mid-week exercise action was deemed to be in order, and due to a recent infatuation with my Santa Cruz Superlight my roadie kharma was waning.

Wednesday night had came around, and the word on the street about the Wednesday worlds had spread to the Lower Valley.

The signs were good. Burst-and-gurlgars Mrs was taking a rare night off in her quest for ass-kicking perfection. Already a black-belt in one flavour of karate, she was also doing Tai Chi and Kung-fu. Thats right! YOU CAN PUT OUT THE WASHING TODAY MATHEW!
Anyway, she said Matt was allowed out to play so I was fine with that.

We rolled out to The BikeHutt in Upper Hutt and started with the pre-ride idle banter and posturing. Given that it was Mike Andersons shop, we kind of expected Mike to be there, but one of his hench-girls said that he had caught an illness off one of his kids and couldn't make it.

To our amazement a steady stream of riders of all shapes and sizes collected out the front of the shop and were all rearing to go at 6pm.

There must have been 30 of us at that point and the rules were laid out. We ride out (as a group) to Te Marua and ride through Whitemas valley and stop at the top of Blue Mtns. At this point it's gloves off, for the return trip. Whoever gets to the green sign opposite the Church near the Gorrie Road intersection is the World Champ, Upper Hutt styles!

Little Mikey Milner made the first move, and would have almost slipped away unnoticed, if it weren't for the wash his mack-truck like aero-dynamics were causing in the surrounding vegetation. A counter move on the Paris Robaix segment saw team "Go-Vegan" bridge back into Mikey's wake and make his puny move.

After a while Dan and the other members of the secret Upper Hutt death-squad started putting on the screws, while keeping an eye out for errant motorists who might be silly enough to flip them the bird. Over time a series of attacks came and went and at some point, probably through sheer boredom we let Dan ride away and get to the finish point first.

It was a fun ride and I look forward to the next one. The only sour point was being attacked minutes from home by a cowardly vegetarian when I mentioned my sore legs....

Monday, October 26, 2009

350 Ride, in a frock, on a bike!

It was my wifes idea that we should think about doing the 350 ride from Eastborne to Wellington on saturday.

She started riding a bike to work this year during "Bike to work" month, and this culminated in her actually doing the Graperide, a big turn around for someone who has always regarded cycling as a "vice".

Ever since then she has become very vocal in the "water-cooler" discussions at work when her workmates turn on the down-trodden cyclist!

We tootled on to Petone and teamed up with Matt, Mo and Zoe. Matt was riding a single speed, moustached-barred Colnago, towing a bike-trailer with a two-year old on board. These trailers are real head-turners and people's faces just lit up to see a sproggin getting towed around like this. A shame that this kind of thing is not encouraged in this 3rd world city of ours.

The Eastborne riders rolled in about 30 mins late, but large in numbers, about 170 I think? The Frocks on Bikes thing was happening as well, so Kay and Mo frocked up to show people that riding a bike didn't have to mean Lyrca and sweat.

The famous Kennett Brose and whanau were spotted in different parts, and a yap with Paul (also towing a trailer with a two-year old on board) revealed their new book about to be launched - ( Cycling Legend Tino Tabak) This one sounds great, and I cant wait to hear the interview with Kim Hill on National radio when it happens.

It was great to see a feminine side to cycling that I had never seen before. Kay got a puncture as we were about to leave Petone and instantly there was an immaculately dressed woman in knee-length boots waving a track pump at me! Awesome.

Unfortunately despite a C02 quick full and a track pump we still missed getting into town with the bunch. We caught them just as they cruised into the Wharf. From here it was down to the Macs Brewery where we ran into Alana Jo and Robyn Wong.

There was beer and chips, and gelatos, and when celebrity seismologist Bill Fry arrived with his $15 Healing Mountain Cat, there were more chips! Bills friend in a all-white Gimp-suit got maximum points for unsettling looks but seemed quite normal when he de-cowled. Bill and his friends had started their leg of the ride at Island Bay and went right around the bays to meet with the rest of us.

It was great to join in on such a fun event. One of the many things the riders were trying to bring to attention was the cycling lane situation in the Wellington region. We are so far off the ball is shameful.

Matt was towing a 2-year old in a bike trailer, and given the lack of a north-bound cycle-lane going back to the Hutt Valley, we were forced to ride back on the south-bound cycle-lane, and then ride the last 500 metres into the face of oncoming traffic at 100kmh. It was very very scary. The lane was covered in glass and debris for 80% of its length. Its not hard to see why. The lane is lower than the road and the debris travels down to the lower level. Where there is a gutter, the rubbish doesn't make it onto the lane.

Its hard to believe that we live in a country where cyclists have such a low status that this scenario is deemed acceptable. Check out the links below to read more about what the ride was about.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Belmont pre-ride - Not what youd expect...

Saturday morning I got a text from Team "Go Vegan's" Matt Burst-and-gurgler whose triathlete scum friends had deserted him for his ride.

Was I riding?
Yes I was. Get here asap and we would check out the course for the Belmont round of the PNP MTB Series.

We got 200 metres up Swetavacres Drive when Matt broke his chain... so while he lay down sobbing uncontrollably on the side the road, because now he wasn't gonna get to ride down Danzig, I mended it with my chain-breaker, which I always carry when riding with Matt, because he makes so much power, and because he is an american and he never carries tools.

We went down Stratton St (which was less technically demanding than Danzig) and up Danzig. Low and behold we ran into Marco at the top...

At this point I queried him about his course instructions which were indecipherable to anyone who was not a 3rd generation Romney lamb who had spent their entire life living in the Waitangirua Farm Forest Park.

Marco told me that my instructions were obviously wrong as there was a more up to date version available in his head, and also on the internet.

I pointed out that these printed instructions were fresh off the internet that day, so he downloaded the ones from his frontal lobe right there and then, without a usb port in sight!

Anyway, off we went to take the first hard left that went pretty much no-where so we returned back to the old coach road anyway, which was always the plan.

A few minutes later we were back on the trail to find that part of Marcos download was missing the instruction that mentioned that the park was in fact closed for lambing until... some date in the future.. that wasn't actually today...

Anyway. So faced with a choice of where to go next, and Matt's technical prowess ruling out the obvious descent of Danzig, we did the "Bridle track", which was mostly walking, as its very steep, and slippery.

I told Matt to stay away from the stinging nettle near the creek... and like a naughty child he made sure he brushed against some, which stopped him bleating about his goolies which had left a big dent in his top-tube after his chain broke.

By this time Matt and I had swapped rigs, ( I was now riding his pre-war FAT-CHANCE Buck Shaver ) and he proved to me how it WAS definitely all about the bike...

So on and on and we went and after exiting the creek we came once again upon Marco, and Hoz the Power-ranger who made Barry Crump look like a novice try-hard.

We told Marco we had just come down the Bridle Track and he said Nah thats not in the course anymore... neither is Weta or Big Chopper or Uncle Bobs Wheelie...

So with 95% of the course either out of bounds, or changed, or not in use anymore, what else could we do... We rode up to the top of the Trig then back up Danzig and down Swetavacres...

At least we got out....!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Paula Tesoriero has a new jersey!

In case you missed it Paula Tesoriero is back after her world champs in Italy.
A bronze in the Time Trial and a Gold in the Road Race to go with her other medals! More details below!

Anyway, the racing all went well. The Road Time-Trial was a killer.
Asthma went a bit nuts and there were weird cross-winds on part of the course (now I'm used to full head on winds in Wgtn, but cross-winds are another thing!) - but coming in with bronze met my expectations.

Unfortunately my Time Trial Bike frame snapped in travel, so I've had to have a wee sad farewell to that bike. She got bronze in Beijing and in Italy so has served me well.

The road race was the second event- and most of you will now know I won that event- and got the World Champion jersey. Cycling is all about the "jersey" so to win my first one (you don't get them at the Paralympics or the Olympics because the jerseys are world champ jerseys alone and winning gold at the Paralympics makes you a Paralympic Champion which is higher than a World Champion, but every cyclist wants the jersey so to finally have one is significant!). What was really cool is that just after they played the NZ National Anthem, they said it was also a celebration for Italy since I was an Italian as well.
Then the Italian crowd went NUTS!

It was sad leaving Italy and every time I fly out, I feel homesick for a few weeks after. This time it's no different. I miss the roads, the coffee, the people, the culture and the special bike signs that tell cars to give way to cyclists !!

All in all, it was a great campaign.
Despite telling everyone how lucky I've been to get through this winter without any colds or the Flu, I am sitting here wrapped up with what I hope is only a cold (damn long haul flights).

I had two marriage proposals while away, which is up on my usual one proposal every time I visit Italy!! This only ever happens in Italy.

Depending on this cold - training resumes tomorrow as we build for the Track World Champs in November in Manchester. Then it will be home and a break from competition! My pinnacle event for this year is the Track Worlds - where the jersey in the 500m TT is of course, the prized goal.

Thanks for the emails and texts while I was away,