Sunday, April 29, 2007

25-4-07 Wednesday and ANZAC Day. Didn’t ride at the weekend due to being full of cold and family commitments. Plus I commute during the week, so sometimes feel I’ve done enough riding. But today I was overdue a ride and the PNP cycling club were holding an informal repeat of the Hawkins Hill race because the roadies feel they have further to go and therefore can’t compete. The idea was for a code swap – roadies to ride MTbikes and go up the TT and MTbikers to ride road bikes and go up the road. But I don’t have a road bike, and the idea of repeating the TT race again didn’t appeal enough, especially as the time was set for 1 pm and there was a strong NWer.

So I set off at 11 am and headed round the coast to Red Rocks and up the descent. This is harder than the TT – steeper in places, and I’ve never cleaned it. I always come off at a steep lose climb near the top. I carry my bike up the first lose rocky section to the second bend and start there. And it’s surprisingly ridable because, although it’s steep, once, you’ve got past the first lose bit, there’s solid rock and good grip. Unfortunately, at the top of the sold rock section there’s a short steep bit which I slipped on. I immediately re-did it – no probs – but then went on to clean the rest of the ascent – finally nailing the final steep climb near the end. So do I say I’ve cleaned it or not? Technically I probably haven’t, but I feel confident that I pretty much did because I immediately repeated the silly slip up. Anyway, I think it’s a harder climb than the TT, and the fun thing for me is not timing myself so just being happy to puddle up in whatever gear and use the bottom cog.

Then went up to the GB, down toward Windmill, down 4WD road into Long Gully, up Sanctuary FL to Wrights Hill, and down Deliverance. Why I decided to give Deliverance another crack, I don’t know. I just didn’t want to do Car Parts and Planet again, I thought it would be dry (still have the crap Hutchinsons on) (it wasn’t really) and I just felt I should take the opportunity before the winter rain made it totally too hard for me.

Deliverance is at the limit of my ability. I’ve never cleaned it, but my recent attempts have only had 3 dabs, so … This time I had a couple of stupid daps on the initial rocky descent, which I usually clean. Those crap Hutchinsons! Then there was one on the bloody tree root – which I’ve never got over without slipping. I got down the chute (yes!) but pushed my bike over the stream crossing at the bottom. After that it was plain sailing. So I was very pleased. Normally my dabs are on the tree root, the chute, the stream crossing at the bottom, and one or two of the other stream crossings. Amazingly, I seem to be able to manage all the drop-offs. But not in the wet.

Then I went up Salvation, back up the Sanctuary FL (passed some guy pushing), back up the road to the GB – and who should I see arriving but Mark Renall – the PNP race guy. He was waiting for the other Hawkins Hill racers (10) to arrive. I had a quick chat to him (he had no idea who I was), then (waited for the 5 MTB climbers to pass) went down the TT, carefully, and home. A good ride with one hard climb and one hard descent, both done pretty well. 3 hours, 1000 m total climbing.

15-4-07 The TT Race. I was OK to race, with just a plaster on my nose and a new helmet bought the previous day. This is the event’s second year and it pits runners, road riders and MTBikers against each other to see who can get up to the Golfball (Hawkins Hill Radar Station: 495 m) fastest. The start is at Owhiro Bay car park, the finish by the GB. The runners usually go up Bata Place (quickest route), the MTBikers up the TT and the Roadies up the road. All the gates are open. Last year I did 35.34 (drizzly, but only a moderate NWer), which was a bit slower than I’d hoped for. This year the weather was sunny and the NWer light. I did 32.46, which I’m happy with. I could have gone a bit faster if I’d had someone pushing me, but I was basically alone for most of the race because the people I overtook didn’t hang on and the guns were way out in front.

This year there were mass age-group starts, so you could draft up the road. Last year it was a time trial with everyone going at 30 second intervals. I liked the time trial because I don’t like being surrounded by other riders, but there wasn’t a large field, so the mass starts were fine. By the time we hit the TT people had pretty much sorted themselves out and the slow battles of attrition began.

The race was won by Wayne Hiscock (MTB) in 24.21 – beating Tim Wilding’s (MTB) time last year of 24.45. Simon was the second MTB in 25.47 – he had a mild cold. Jonty Ritchie was the 3rd MTB in 26.53. Paul did 35.00. Special mention to Patrizio Morganti who ran it in 28.32.

I wonder what my TT time was? Simon reckons he does the road bits in about 4 mins, so they probably take me 5-6 mins. So my TT only time was probably between 27-28 mins. My TT record is 27.10 and I’d love to break 27 mins one day.

Coming back down the TT after Paul K (full suspension) I just about lost it on the last water bar. Somehow the front suspension took the hit, but the back wheel bounced up and I found myself flying through the air and landing on my front wheel. Not good. Given my head injury just tow days ago, I was lucky. Now the TT race is done, I’ll get those light, no-tread Hutchinson tyres off and put them on my old bike for commuting and put the heavy winter 2.?s on the XTC1.

13-4-07 Friday and went for a ride with Ben W at Makara Peak, which proved a disastrous thing to do 2 days before the TT race. Somehow I was feeling very out-of-sorts – not focused at all. We went up Koru, SA, and then up the 4WD track to the summit. Ben – on his new Trance 0 dual suspension rig – pretty much left me in his wake (not that it was to do with the bike – Ben’s fit and a much better downhiller than I am). At the top – it was drizzly and windy – we went down Aratihi, and somewhere I lost it and crashed. It wasn’t even a very good crash – I just kind of lost the front wheel and flopped onto the ground. If I’d been going faster I might have gone harmlessly into a bush off the side of the track. I think my blood-sugar was seriously low. Anyway, I face planted and broke my helmet and there was a bit of blood coming from somewhere. I had a few sugar pills and muddled on to find Ben coming back to look for me. My vision was completely blurred and he said I was slurring my speech.

So, we then headed out of the park via Missing Link. My vision was stuffed, I was getting cold, and I didn’t know much about anything. What I do remember is being totally surprised when each feature of the track came up. I know the park quite well, but I was having difficulty locating myself geographically. We went out the St Albans Ave entrance and Ben went round the road and got the car. By now I was shivering and my vision had become double rather than blurred. But I got to eat. In the car I watched dual white lines and oncoming cars approach and merge into one. Within about 3 metres my vision became OK, then by the time we reached the after hours clinic it had thankfully returned to normal.

Ben was really great, because once my vision corrected I said we should just go home. But he insisted that I get checked out and stayed with me, paid the bill for me, and took me home. I’m very grateful to him. I had mild concussion and ended up with a plaster over a cut on my nose.

11-4-07 TT 29.04. Splits 7.10, 14.26. Junct: 26.56. Gale NWer – blown off once at beginning of 4th test on second half. Not a good day for a fast time. I was surprised how I was only a minute slower than last time, and also how fast I did the junction to sealed road – 2.08 – which is fast for me. Just came back down TT and home.

6-4-07 TT 28.05. Splits 6.45, 13.45. Junct: 25.45. Stronger NWer than 3-4. People with dog cause me to lose a few seconds, but still, no excuses for not getting under 28 mins. Up to GB, then down Sanctuary Fenceline, Windmill, Car Parts, Planet (cleaned), up road, Rollercoaster (in second cog), road to GB again, down TT (8.05 – a new record for me!) and home. 2 and three quarter hours, 1000 m of climbing. Didn’t feel as great as when I did this ride a few weeks back and went home via Red Rocks rather than the TT - but still a good ride.

The TT race is coming up, which is why I’m trying to get in a few ascents. Simon Kennett clocked 20.19 (bottom gate to sealed road – which is where I time myself to and from as well) the other week, which is stonking! Then, last week, he did 19.37, which is a NEW TIP TRACK RECORD (bottom gate to sealed road). Amazing!

3-4-07 TT 28.25. Splits 6.50, 13.50. Junct: 26.00. Steady Nwer – so good time. Up to GB. This is the first time I’ve done the TT on my new bike. Down Red Rocks – clean all the climbs first pop + descent! It’s a while since I’ve totally cleaned Red Rocks, usually I stuff up one of the climbs, so I’m pleased. The XTC1 has crap Hutchinson tyres on it which makes cleaning the descent even more pleasing – but I do have suspension now.

31-3-07 Bike Crazyman Course with Ben’s mate Jono. We leave car outside Paul & Michelle’s in Moera and bike up Wainui Hill on the verge, then head along the 4WD track and hook up with the course. Then down into a valley and up out again – an easy climb. That’s as far as I’ve been before, so Jono leads on down the 4WD and single track above Silver Stream and into Stokes Valley. It’s nice doing something new – but I doubt I could find my way down again. Then along the Hutt River trail back to Moera. 3 hours and about 40 km? A good solid ride in windy, cloudy conditions.

24-3-07 Bike to Makara Peak for a Bike Orienteering event with Paul Kennett. A Rogan – get as many points as possible in 2 hours. We probably don’t pick the best routes, Paul punctures, and we go the wrong way near the end, but all good fun. Come back down an unfinished Lazy Fern at end – seems to go on forever! There are 7 mins left and Paul decides to clock in as you lose 10 points for every minute you’re over the 2 hour limit. I decide to try and whiz back up Koru and down Live Wires to pick up a 30 pointer, but realise immediately I set out that I’m too tired and won’t have enough time. But stuff it! I arrive back five minutes over time, gaining 30 points but losing 50! Bike home – by the time I get back I’m well knackered.

21-3-07 BUY NEW GIANT XTC1 form Penny Farthing Cycles! $2545. Bike back over Mt Vic (water tank) and Mt Albert. Am not convinced by the ridiculously complex Reba forks, but the bike is light and feels OK.

20-3-07 Makara Peak with Ben W. Koru, Skills Area (ride new wooden path thing and see-saw), Sally Ally, Missing Link, Leaping Lizard, Possum Bait Line (crashed into tree), Leaping Lizard – made climb out + descent + river crossing. No suspension!

18-3-07 TT 32.07. Splits 7.20, 15.20. Junction at 28.50. Down Sanctuary Fenceline, Windmill, Car Parts, Planet (cleaned), back round road. Very autumny feel. Dark on Car Parts. B/s 1.9 on return – account for low energy?

12-3-07 Biking to work over Mt Albert and Mt Vic – back rim worn through and cracked. Limp into Penny Farthing Cycles for a replacement. They say I can get home on it. Return two days later and get a new back rim.

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