Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Sorry I haven't been keeping up this blog regularly. I record all my rides in a notebook because I'm diabetic and exercise is part of the equation, and I only blog when I get the chance and that's why I dump in lots of the rides in at once. Sorry Ben, I know this makes it hard to comment on particular rides. Finally, though, I've better things to do than blog after every ride or week or whatever.

25-8-07 Up Happy Valley Rd at 8 am !!!! and met up with Andrew Johnston (considerable NZ poet – check out his website thepage@name.com) at the Brooklyn lights and rode up the road to the Golfball. Strong NWer. My legs were toast after yesterday. Then just back down road home. Nice to go with someone for a change. Then biked round to Lyall Bay to watch Anna’s netball. Tired.

24-8-07 TT 27.05 – a new PB! Splits 6.24, 13.12, junct: 24.44. Steady NWer. Wow, this was a surprise – totally blitzed it. At the junction I knew I wouldn’t break 27 min because I was too tired to stand up and shove it. If only there hadn’t been a steady headwind, if only I hadn’t had a backpack, if only the gates had been open ... I’d have gone under 27 no trouble. The world is full of ‘if onlys’.

Down road to Sanctuary, Windmill, Car Parts, Planet – this time got down the first rut and through the mud puddle (man, it’s deep!), but lost my chain just before rooty climb, which I still didn’t get up anyway – too slippery. Up Durham St and down Happy Valley Rd home.

Was using my old watch (not the stop watch), which I hadn’t left at the bottom of Red Rocks some weeks back (1-8-07) after all.

Amazing how much really pushing it on a ride can take it out of you. If I’d done the TT a couple of minutes slower, I’d have felt fine next day. But those extra 2 two minutes really took it out of me.

22-8-07 Up Happy Valley Rd to see The Lives of Others (Very good) at Penthouse, then up road to Castle and down to Red Rocks (cleaned). Managed the descent with more speed and style than usual – I think cleaning the climbs just adds to you momentum. Round coast and home. 1hr15min from Penthouse to home.

15-8-07 TT 30.00. Was using a stop watch that was hanging round my neck swinging and it seemed to knock against the stem and crap out. So I slowed down and only once I reached the top and fiddled with it did I realise it was still going. Stopped it at 30.17, but probably made the top around 30. Sunny, and light SEer.

Down Sanctuary, Windmill, Car Parts, Planet – off 3x – First rut, mud puddle (splot), and rooty climb is currently too slippery. Very wet and muddy. Round waterfront to Lyall Bay and home.

5-8-07 Sunday tree planting at Makara Peak. Got a ride in with Ben Wilde (late this time because he forgot me). Biked in at St Albans Ave and straight up 4WD to top. Good fun planting trees in the sun. There were so many people most of us left after lunch. Down 4WD, lower RL, SWIGG, Starfish and back over via Redemption, Sanctuary, road to GB, down TT and home. Would have liked to have taken Anna, but she would have had to have biked back with me, which would have been too much.

3-8-07 TT 27.25. Splits 6.35, 13.22, junct 25.05. Cloudy, misty, mild southerly. Quite focused – I wanted to prove to myself that Wednesday’s time was not a true reflection of my fitness. Went down Red Rocks again to see if I’d left my watch at the bottom 2 days ago. Was using a stop watch round my neck, which swung alarmingly, but didn’t turn off. Took 3 goes at final climb, which is currently the hardest because it’s loose and my usual line on the grass to the right is hard to reach because of the gorse bush. Cleaned the final descent at speed. Wet helps firm up the loose stuff. Didn’t find watch. Round coast and home.

1-8-07 TT 32.01. Splits 7.15, 15,24, junct 29.04. No wind, wet and misty. What a crap time. Just not there at all. I was still tired from the Montana NZ Book Awards in Auck. The Year of the Bicycle didn’t win, but I never expected it to and C and I had a nice weekend at Waiheke. And the adviser for the poetry category, John Newton, called it ‘the freshest and most inspired writing in the field’. I won’t hear a word against him.

Up to GB and down Red Rocks. Should have cleaned RR, but my front wheel hit a rock just at the top of the hard climb as I was going over the lip – I couldn’t believe it. I got it second go, got last climb and went down the final descent like a bat out of hell! Stopped to eat at the bottom and possibly left watch on a rock. Round coast and home.

25-7-07 To Makara Peak via Happy Valley road. Up Koru to Skills Area. Mucked around – seesaw and ramps or what ever those wooden things are called. Up SA, ML, Aratihi (off 4x! due to tiredness, slipperiness and low b/s). Stopped and ate on Aratihi. Steady NWer. Down RL (1 dab), SWIGG, Starfish. Back on road via Jonty at Revolution Cycles who tuned my gears. I owe you $20 Jonty. About 3 hrs riding all up.

17-7-07 TT 29.10. Splits 6.48, 14.12, junct 26.48 (thought it was 27.48, so took the last bit rather casually – excuses, excuses). Mild easterly. Sanctuary, Windmill, Car Parts, Planet – 2 dabs on first rut, then slipped off on rooty climb. Back via Durham St and Happy Valley Rd.

13-7-07 TT 30.25. Splits 6.50, 14.24, junct 27.53. Perfect conditions – cool with mild southerly. Really gave this everything I had so very disappointing not to break 30 mins. I guess I’m not as fit as I’d like to think. Headed to GB and on south into LG – chased by the bloody dog (it doesn’t bite, but it’s chased me a few times now and I’m getting sick of it). Headed down to the south coast, round over Hell’s Gate and home. No dabs.

12-7-07 This is just to remind people that I bike into town on the road 2-3 times a week. Southerly, rain, freezing.

13-7-07 Bike to Lyall Bay and back – cold, wet, southerly.

8-7-07 Had B’s car, so took advantage of it to take Anna to Makara Peak. Up Koru to Skills Area – helped Anna over the see-saw. Along Koru, Magic Carpet, then back down Koru. Anna’s bike is too big for her and she has trouble using the brakes going down. She does very well otherwise.

This is where not having a car is hard because I can’t take Anna to Makara Peak. Also, getting her bike adjusted is trickier – though we could bike round to Burkes and get charged more than the bike’s worth to get smaller brake levers put on. I guess she’ll just have to grow a bit.

4-7-07 TT 32.40. Splits 7.13, 15.23, junct 29.32. Raining and strong northerly. Didn’t actually want to go up the TT; I wanted a nice solid easing into it Makara Peak-type ride. But I can’t seem to go past it sometimes. The trouble with the TT is I haven’t really warmed up (it’s only 3.9 km on the road from my house) and the first quarter is particularly brutal if you’re trying to push it. Often I think I’d do so much better if I was half an hour into a ride before I started up. Of course, going straight at it does mean you’re totally fresh.

My head was also too full of a frustrating SLANZA Conference that I had a bit part in. There was so much more I think I could have said that would have been useful, but I only had 15 mins. Oh well. I blogged about it on the Montana Poetry Day site.

At least the ride got better as I went on. Went down south to LG, round coast and home.

It’s funny the people you see up round the GB. The weather wasn’t good, raining and blowy, yet I passed 2 people pushing 4WD buggies (covered in those plastic sheets) beyond the sealed road. I think they had driven up the road and left their cars near the top of the TT, but still, of all the crazy places to take your babies for a walk and of all the crazy days!

29-6-07 TT 27.34. Splits 6.37, 13.37, junct 25.23. Mild northerly. Ride felt solid rather than fast, but I really hoofed that last stretched. Cleaned gate. Up to GB, no dabs, and down Red Rocks – cleaned in style, especially hard climb. So, another bottom gate, up to GB, down to RRs with no dabs.

26-6-07 TT 29.24. Splits 7.10, 14.33, junct 27.00. Gale force southerly. Down Sanctuary, Windmill, Car Parts, Planet – wet and slippery. Up Durham St and down Happy Valley Rd home.

25-6-07 Bike to work over Mt Albert (road only) and Mt Vic (up road and down off-road).

24-7-07 Took Anna up to Mt Albert (top), then back down Houghton Valley and round coast home. She’s very game, but I think she liked playing at HV park just as much as the ride.

19-6-07 TT 28.17. Splits 6.37, 13.47, junct 25.53. Beautiful sunny day, mild northerly. Down via the Bunkers. Cleaned the final steep descent toward the Bunkers for the first time, but failed to clean the final climb up to the Bunkers. Tried 7 times and the front wheel just lifted every time.

So there it is – the different effects of the different geometries of my 07 Giant XTC 1 and my 03 Giant Iguana. The longer top tube means the 07 bike descends better, but doesn’t quite climb as well. Mostly the climbing deficiency doesn’t matter, but on something really steep, like the final step up to the Bunkers, the bike can’t do it. On my 03 Iguana with Duke forks wound down to 70 mm, I manage it no problem.

One solution would be to be able to dial down the front suspension, which I could do with the Dukes on my Iguana, but no, the Rebas are fixed in at 100 mm and so that contribute to the overly high front end. I tried to get my 07 XTC fitted with a pair of Rebas with adjustable travel – apparently they did make them in the US, but they never brought any over here. Travel that can be adjusted on the fly is just fantastic for people like me who like to get up things as well as down them. I’d worried I’d find it harder to climb on the XTC 1, and so it has finally come to pass. It really pisses me off that the twits who design bikes can’t see that the U-Turn system is actually perfectly suitable because it’s simple to use. You can adjust Rebas, but only after arsing about in your shed for a weekend, not on the fly. Now I’m concerned that the other steep climbs I like to clean, like the Karapoti climbs, are going to prove too difficult with the lifting front end.

Hmmph! Anyway, went down the scramble to the south coast and home.

16-6-07 Road ride round the Miramar Peninsula and home. Raining and southerly. Cold.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Congrats on the new PB to the junction...I need to make an effort to get out with you one of these Wednesdays (not this week or next but pencil me in for the 19th!).

Here's the link to Andrew's website (you put his email in your post rather than the website)