Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Dual

In a moment of weakness at the request of "friends" (I use the term loosely) I have entered another mountainbike race

Riding 50 kilometres on a lumpy inner-harbour island sounds bad enough but you also cross a causeway onto a volcano for a chance to lose all you skin crashing on the razor-sharp scoria. 

The perfect pairing for this epic is of course a 36 pound singlespeed piloted by a skinny, unfit guy with a stuffed ankle. 

Sounds like fun, I can't wait. I have two months to get fit enough.

I'm getting confused just looking at that course layout

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Unicycle Clubbers

I'm a bit late with this post but below are a few pictures from the final meeting of our local school's unicycle club for the year. 

I thought The Campbells Bay School Unicycle Club was a bit of a mouthful so I suggested they re-brand as the CBS Cyclones and whipped up a logo. We'll see if they run with it this year when the new term begins, but the response was very good.

This club is wholly due to the enthusiasm of Mark, a keen unicycling parent who started it all and managed to secured Sports-Trust funding to purchase dozens of loan unicycles. They are available free for the children to learn on at club meetings and take home to practice their newfound skills. Ten or more new kids join each year and the school-leaver's uni's are passed on down to the new recruits. 

The School thinks it's wonderful as the club represents CBS at local parades and a large bunch of unicycling kids sporting blue school shirts and red stetsons makes quite an impact in the community. Good PR never goes amiss! 

The more accomplished riders trying out some moves

Mark hands out certificates (and ice-blocks)

Relay racing

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Shitty, Shitty, Dog-Shit Day

Told you the Pugsley was a 29er

The unicycling mania that has consumed our family has not left much time for casual bike riding. The only two-wheeling I have done in the past month is commuting to work and the odd errand to the shops or school. The Pug was looking a bit morose hanging in the corner of the garage so I dragged her out for a ride along the beaches. 

It was one of those rides when nothing goes right from the start. It's been very hot and humid in Auckland over the Christmas break. 25ÂșC feels like 40 when it's really humid but the rain was cold on my back so I put on a cycling rain jacket that I bought 15 years ago and have never worn before. I put that damn thing on and off three times before I finally set off. Instantly I felt hot and clammy inside it, but I persevered because the wind was high and it can often feel a lot colder riding along the coast with the wind coming off the water. 

One month off the Pug and everything was hurting, and things were hurting that had never hurt before! My bum was uncomfortable on the seat despite the suspension seatpost, my legs felt tired and leaden and most surprising of all the three outside fingers on each hand began tingling and went numb despite wearing gloves. This has never, ever happened to me before in my entire cycling life and was very irritating. I had to ride one-handed and keep swapping hands to keep the blood flowing. All this in the first few kilometres.

As I was riding along the sea-wall I looked down and noticed  lots of sticky brown mud bunched-up around the bottom bracket and cranks. That's funny, I don't remember riding through any mud, it's the middle of summer here after all? I stopped to take off the damn jacket (that I will put in the cupboard for another 15 years) because I was wetter inside it than out, and to my horror discovered that the "sticky brown mud" was splattered up the back of it and was in fact dog-shit. Well, I'm calling it dog-shit, but It was from no dog I have ever come across. The shear volume plastered over both me and the bike was unbelievable, and now that I had stopped moving the stench was overpowering too. This was obviously from some kind of Great-Dane/Woolly-Mammoth cross. It was on my shoes, socks, legs, shorts, all over the frame and now that I had removed the jacket my gloves and hand-grips as well.

At the first sign of a tap I tried to wash it all off but despite the rain and the sweat it was adhering for dear life. I rode on. I wasn't going to let five kilos of dog-shit spoil my first ride of the new year. My sense of smell is pathetic, but riding along the coast you are surrounded by some pretty powerful odours; stagnant water, rotting seaweed and the ever-present briny-breeze. I detected none of that, all I could smell was a dog's rear end. 

Well I reached the halfway turn-around and headed for home. Things just kept getting better. I misjudged the depth of a steam crossing and got wet feet. Three waves broke over me riding along the sea-wall and I had to portage my bike along part of the cliff to avoid the surging tide. 

I was sure looking forward to a shower when I got home but the Pug got a soapy bath before I did. I usually just hose her down, but detergent was called for this time. She leant against the fence drying, purple paint sparkling in the sun (yes it stopped raining when I got home) and looked a lot happier than she did before our ride. 

I guess a Pug doesn't mind a bit of dog-shit after-all.