10-3-07 TT 28.33. Splits 6.50, 13.50. Reached junction at 26.07, so 28.33 was a good result (I didn’t get stuck on the top barrier). After blowing out so badly last week, I was keen to see if it was an aberration or whether my fitness really had slumped over the last few weeks what with not riding so much because of excess work commitments. Because the heat was a big factor last week, I set off at 7.45 a.m. There was a light north-wester – a head wind, but the breeze was welcome. I felt good – strong all the way. It was a big relief to break 29 mins because the track is in such good nick that my usual 30 min expectation is a bit lazy. Also, if Ben can clock 28.57 on a single speed (ie, pushing for around 2/3rds of the way), then someone riding should manage better. (Ben got rounf the Karapoti in 3 hours 25 mins on a single speed – very respectable.) I overtook someone just before the TT eases off about a third of the way up. I wonder how much thinking someone might be right behind me makes me push more? As it was, I left him for dead.
Went straight on up to the Golfball, then down the road to the Sanctuary fence-line, then to the windmill, down Car-Parts and down the Planet Track to Aro St. The Planet track is such a nice single-track descent. It’s average minus in summer and probably average plus in the wet. Today it was easy – I even cleaned the entrance rut – but still great fun. It is of course now illegal for mt bikes, but I pretended not to see the sign, and didn’t see anyone else. I’ve never had a conflict with pedestrians on it – it’s not a big downhill track.
I felt so good in Aro St that, instead of heading home via the road, I went up the road then up the Rollercoaster back to the windmill, along the Sanctuary fence-line and back up the road to the Goldball. I still felt really good, only going into the small front cog for the steep bits of the Rollercoaster. So I decided to head home via Red Rocks. Ran into some people coming up the TT and a couple of girls heading down to Red Rocks. I let them set off first because they had suspension, but caught them before the first short up, that I’d slipped up on last time. No problems this time, however, and I found myself even doing the downhills at a fair clip for no suspension. Made the steep second climb first pop and was looking for a clean ride, but didn’t make the final climb. Having made the hardest climb, I was probably thinking ahead to the descent and just assuming the last climb was a done deal. It took me three attempts. The dry conditions make the surface very loose and you really have to pick your line carefully. Made the final descent right down to the barrier (bit of pedal strike in the final rut) – not quite as convincing as last time, but still cleaned, nonetheless. Then rode around the coast home – still feeling pretty good! I half considered going up the TT again, just because I felt so good, but it was now about 11 a.m. and getting hot and I was out of food and water and had the family to consider. The whole ride took about 3 and a half hours - with stops at the Golfball (twice) and at the bottom of the Rollercoaster to eat sandwiches. It was just what I needed.
I felt I did deserve a new bike after all. My poor old suspensionless Giant Iguana is fast crapping out. Last week I took it in to PFC because of the lateral movement in the front wheel, thinking that the cones needed tightening, but it turned out that one of the bearings was shattered. Now Oli (Brooke-White) had replaced the front bearings halfway through Jan – just before I went round the Karapoti. At least that’s what he charged me for. The PFC guys seemed unsure about that because apparently bearings should last longer than 6 weeks! I dunno. Oli seemed honest to me. Maybe I just shattered it somehow? Anyway, the bad bearing would also have contributed to my bad TT ride last week.
Plus, this ride was made with a slightly buckled on-loan front wheel from PFC because PFC was unable to do the bearings on the spot because of the weird size (a Jonty hub) - and I needed to pick up my bike pronto because Anna (9) had somehow managed to break her arm doing the death-drop off the bars at school! So Thursday was a bit of a mad rush from work to the hospital, then Anna had to stay in overnight (C took over) to have an operation to have the bone manipulated because although it was a clean break, it was way out of alignment. She’s gutsy, Anna, and likes doing outdoor stuff, which is nice. When she was asked to rate the pain on a scale of 1-10, she said 6. She said she heard the bone snap - yeech. The school has now banned the death-drop – much to Anna’s annoyance.