Monday, March 09, 2009

Karapoti revisted

Its a hard road planning out your season. For the past two years I have watched in envy as every man and his dog are doing PB's at Karapoti. A weird desire to do my first poti since 2003 came over me and I decided to do a couple of races to reacquaint myself with the dirt.

My first was a PNP race at Mt Vic where I did my only ever face-plant in my life and smashed my lid. Then the next race was a Nats final, in muddy Mt Vic where my very rusty skills became even more obvious.

My ribs still havent recovered from being acquainted with my bar-ends there, and watching Geoff Notman riding away from me on his over-geared single-speed hardly built my confidence. I pulled out before I expired. A sad day. I blame David Blake for making me build a fence out the front of my house. Its the mother of all fences, and gets more complements than anything I have ever had anything to do with in my life. I burned a lot of matches with that fence!

You'll note I stayed well away from Makara Park races, where you have to know the names of all the tracks to have any chance of not getting lost, and I dont know my "uncle Bobs wheelie" from my "Leaping Gecko".

I had some good Time Trial form but I couldnt see how that was going to help me down the Rock Garden, and Google Street View isnt what its cracked up to be in the Akatarawas. Some Hill reps up Belmont Trig did me no harm but my technical riding was confined to riding up and down Danzig. When NIWA announced that it was the wettest February for some time, I knew that it wasnt gonna be a fast year. Too bad, I had already entered.

Karapoti 2009 - The didymo conspiracy.....
I reckon I had a problem with the didymo procedure. I got to wash my wheels with soapy water, which is what you do to seat tubeless tyres? I was tootling back to the car and ka-boomb! A gigantic hole 4cms long is ripped into my tube....

I walked back to the car, stressing as I only brought one spare tube. I ripped off my tyre which was a narrow-ish aggressively knobbed green michelin with big spaces between the knobs... I had once used it as tubeless set-up and there were remnants of dried latex crap in it. My tube had stuck to the tyre, and I believe it slipped on the rim after it was didymoed, tearing my tube to shreds. Crap.

I got a new tube and took off with the Pro men. I was having a great race, and had decided to pace myself for once. Not long after Ricky Pincot passed me in his big ring after Deadwood I had a nasty crash on the slick rock at speed. I banged my head, leg and ac joint badly. Had to reset mt head set and straighten fork and from then on rode even more like a complete nana.

My left shifter lever was torn off in my crash, but if I could find a 2mm stump to tickle to change down if I was careful, the upchanger was still there. My right shifter was barely working, but was very painful on my shoulder with the amount of force I was having to put into it.

The Rock Garden was hard work with my confidence and gone and my shoulder giving me grief.

A high-light was seeing an eel, or a trout jump out of a puddle at the bottom of the stair-case into the stream alongside !

Anyway, I grovelled up the staircase pushing (not carrying) my bike. The only person I saw the whole time was a very cheerful Craig Madsen snapping fotos. Some time later as I was tootling up dopers, I had just caught Scott McLachlan... ka-boom! My rear tube exploded on me again. Some how it jumped out of my tyre and wrapped itself around my v-brake mounts! What a mess. It had a giant split in it, just like the first one. My mousse would have been a useless on that kind of a flat. Traction was great everywhere I went (in pro) so I guess it was a combination of the slipping tyre (soapy water) - against the rim, the tube sticking to the tyre, and a very grippy tyre that was causing my problems.

If not for the mishaps it would have been one of my most enjoyable karapoti's ever. I can also reccommend the A&E in the Hutt hospital. The camaraderie amongst the Karapoti refugees in there was great. Very very quick to process us on a saturday night. According to the radiographer its way busier in Wellington than the Hutt on a saturday night. Keep that in mind if you have a choice!