Monday, July 2, 2012

Where are the podium girls?

Wahoo! Ran on a CX bike. Good to hear! There is some more very cool CX news from Voodoo Lounger and Revolution Cycles Hapu member Alex Revell who just won the 2nd round of the Cyclo Cross nationals in Queenstown. (Link.) NZ CX facebook (link).

Thats Alex 2nd from the left; what is interesting about this "Team Voodoo Lounge" photo from the 2012 Kiwi Brevet is that Andy King took it, and as Ollie Whalley was standing around BS'ing with us at the time he lined up with us in the photo, unfortunately I had to tell Ollie that he wasn't a Team Voodoo Lounge member and he couldn't participate in the official shot! Hah hah.I'm a meanie!

Ollie went on to smash the 4400km Tour Divide record last week and go down in Tour Divide history. For a bit of background, Kiwi Mountain Biking pioneer Simon Kennett did the Tour Divide in 2008 (actually the Great Divide - pretty much the same thing) and he brought the concept back to NZ where he launched the Kiwi Brevet.

Ollie has won the Kiwi Brevet both times and used this years Great Southern Brevet and Kiwi Brevet to hone his form and gear selection for the 2012 Tour Divide. It was an epic battle as Ollie and a Canadian called Craig Stapler broke away fairly early on and rode together for a long time. Then one day Craig got the bonk, badly. He took a diversion and did some elite carbo-loading while Ollie hit the road by himself, only to be thwarted by a fatal traffic accident that cost him so much time that he ended up reuniting with Craig!

If you haven't noticed, bike-packers who are competitive at this level leave nothing to chance and compile lists of kit to geek out on. Craigs bike had been on the site for a while, and if you look at it you can see what a sweet rig it is. Ollies bike also sported some state of the art kit, including a belt drive and internally geared Rohloff hub, but his "gear-list" so impressed one fan that he spent some time adding photos and descriptions. A great resource.

Ollie's Ventana
Check out Ollies bike and ask yourself how all that gear fitted on? To cut a very long story short, Ollie and Craig hammered away through the snow and bears until the inevitable happened. A gear failure. Craig's Shimano XTR pedal broke and he was stranded at mid afternoon on a friday in a small town in the middle of nowhere. All the blue-dot junkies were panicking as they watched his spot tracker  go back and forward between Walmart and the Ford dealership! It was tense.

I think it was 14 hours later that he finally got moving, but Ollie had his head down, and while Craig waited on parts, the guys in 3rd and 4th positions had caught him.

When Craig got going again he put on the hurt and pulled away but he was never going to catch Ollie.

Its a great event to follow, and thanks to the spot trackers you always know where people are, but that doesn't cut down on the speculation on the forum that follows it. It's made up of mostly friends, family and Bikepackers who one day dream of doing such an event. Ollie and Craig have been finished for quite a few days now, but there are still heaps of people out there on course, including Kiwi Nathan Mawkes. Check their positions on the Leaderboard, find out the goss on the forum or listen to their call-ins where they talk about their brushes with wildlife and niggling injuries. There are no podium girls in the Tour Divide!

Ollies interview from National Radio

Cross dressing

I’m going to build a cross bike.  there, I said it.  now don’t jump to conclusions! – no racing for me.  I don’t see the point of a bike race where you have to carry your bike around the course.  Might as well go running with a 15KG dumbbell on your shoulder.  and then there is the mud…. I think that telling the wife that yet another bike is in the making is a tough enough challenge.  (thank god for kids that like to go trail riding with their dads – 12 points!)

I did enjoy the off road excursion (read getting lost) with Neil 18 months ago and would like to do more of it, but I shudder at the thought of my second mortgage carbon bike bouncing around the rough gravel and metal roads.  mind you, some of the sealed roads feel just as bad.  Also, the combination of my fear of height with lack of technical mountain biking skills ensures I avoid steep technical single tracks.  wide, gentle forest trails will do me fine thank you very much.

to business then.  A Felt FX1 frame and fork is on its way to my humble abode (via the office – I may be crazy, but not stupid….).  It comes with the headset and bottom bracket.  I am going to reuse the Ultegra 6600 shifters and Truvativ compact chain rings from my Kouta Kharma road bike.  I also have a spare set of wheels which will be topped with nice and knobbly (is this the right word?) 700x35 tires.  What inner tubes do I use?

My main issue is the rear end (now get your brain out of the gutter!)

I am keen to go lower than the 12-25 cassette I currently use on the Kuota.  I have a 11-28 cassette on the LOOK which saved my life several times, mainly on the way home, climbing Brooklyn Rd after 90-100Km Sunday rides.  considering the off-road implications, and the realisation that New Zealand parks and reservations are not flat, I would like to go lower.   like a 11-36 lower.  Is that too much? – what rear derailleur would i need? – would it work with the Ultegra 10 speed shifters?  Torpedo7 sell an SRAM 10 speed medium cage rear derailleur that is supposedly compatible with a 11-36 cassette that is also available on the site…

I will also need to invest in a set of breaks.  if someone has a set of nice cantilever cross brakes, let me know.  Otherwise, I might find a set in the USA when I’m there in three weeks time.
I’m Happy and open to any advice or assembly tips you may have for me.  Also, if anyone has any spare parts they may want to sell or contribute to the project, let me know.   I haven't decided i I will put it together myself or surrender the whole kit and caboodle to my local bike shop or the neighbourhood mechanic.  maybe a bike and beer Voodoo Lounge party needs to be called?

exited! - Ran