15 04 2011

I have finally found a little bit of free time to sit down and pen some thoughts about the trip so far. It has been a whirlwind and I feel like I have crammed in an entire holiday already and it has only just begun.

The flight over was without incident although I did strike a small speed hump in NZ quarantine. Upon opening my bike box, all was looking good until the shoe inspection. The shoes were looking pristine since they had been through the washing machine twice before coming over however all my careful planning was brought undone by a plethora of grass seeds that had infiltrated the Velcro and gone unnoticed. The quarantine officer kindy suggested she would pick them out and disappeared for 10 minutes only to re-emerge looking deflated as 10 minutes work had barely had any effect. Those seeds weren’t going anywhere.

So my only option was to have quarantine hold the shoes ($20.00) for me to re-collect on my return trip. Unfortunately that left me without shoes to ride in which was a good enough reason for me to buy another pair. Lets face it, you can always use another pair of shoes in wet weather.

I got to the hotel a little after 1am and the 7am wake up call the next morning hurt a lot. The conference started out quite well bet quickly deteriorated into a fog of abstract topics that forced the consumption of 4 cups of coffee just to stay awake.

Afterwards, we all met at the bar for happy hour and then I befriended a group of young pharmacists who were heading out for drinks and dinner. It turned out to be a sensational and rather late night and again the 7am wake up call hurt.

This morning I left the conference, picked up the Jucy van and set course for Rotorua. I arrived around 2pm and immediately bought some shoes (and a cheapy camel back which I had also forgotten). Then I set to work assembling the bike with a beer in the warm afternoon sun.

An old friend. We first met last time I was in this caravan park 12 months ago and he is still strutting around

Late afternoon caffeine fix. I think I will be back to this place. It was coolBike building done. Now time for cheese and biscuits

The bike was not without issues when I took it out of the box. I had carefully placed the front wheel where the axel was well out of striking distance of any of the tubes and secured everything with zip ties. Unfortunately, things somehow shifted during the flight and the axel did its best to biopsy the down tube. There is a thumb-print sized ding along with some missing paint and thankfully that was all the damage.  I could have become mad, but for some reason (possibly the beer) I just wanted to laugh at it. At least I am always going to have a reminder of this trip when I see the marks and at least the bike is getting used again. It wasn’t getting any dings hanging on the wall at home.  As Dr Rob would emplore, clearly the bike is now useless and I will have to buy a titanium 29er.

The other problem I detected were the front brake pads. I knew they must be getting close to the end of their life, especially after the slush at the Mont and it quickly became evident that there were infact contacting the backing pads. No problemo…. I bought spares. It turns out however, that those 20g allen keys that I was debating whether to bring (and eventually decided to leave at home) were the only ones I have that are the right size to fit the elixir pad retaining bolt. Sigh…. Frigging weight weenies… It looks like I will need to track down somewhere to buy the right size allen key in the morning.

So no riding today (other than a couple of shake down laps around the caravan park), but tomorrow will see me going for a play in Redwoods.

Amusingly, I bumped into Chris Aitken this evening at ‘Countdown’ (Woolworths) as he is here with the Aus under 19 squad on a training camp. Sounds great…… except they are riding road bikes! WTF? It must be killing the team to be at the trailhead of one of the best trail networks in the Southern Hemisphere and to be out on a road bike instead. Here’s hoping you get your tyres muddy sooner rather than later Chris!



One response

16 04 2011

What’s with taking photos of random chicks on the second photo. That sort of thing could land you in trouble Ina foreign country (or at home when the wife notices).

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