Sunday, August 25, 2013

Neil's Hakkalugi disc has landed

My beautiful Ibis Hakkalugi disc cross bike was born safely at Wheelworks Saturday 24 August. 
It’s a project bike from my perspective.  I was pretty tied up with the TDF trip so wasn’t rushing to get it completed, but wanted to pick the components carefully and end up with something a little different.  A few pieces are recycled from my other bikes like cranks and saddle but most are new.

Ibis Hakkalugi disc

The Ibis frame’s been out at Wheelworks since about February but I had a hankering for Chris King hubs, and with 11 speed out it didn’t seem to make sense to build it up new with 10 speed.  So I waited for the Chris King R45 11 speed disc hubs.  The wait ended up being longer than expected and I understand that I have the first set in the country, but they’re here and look (and sound) magnificent.

The Shimano CX75 disc calipers were a bit of a saga too but Tristan sussed that one.  My set sport a stencil saying ‘PROTOTYPE’ which definitely emphasises the newness of the product – kind of cool if not entirely reassuring.  They’re mechanical disc brakes rather than hydraulic which seemed to reduce the complexity to me.  I chose nice Zipp carbon seat post and stem and the same 3T Ergonova bar I ride on my road bike.   Ben gave me some good advice on the cables – which are Gore with a sealed inner to keep the crap out and tyres which are Schwalbe Sammy Slicks which are a great hybrid for hardtop and gravel road surfaces.  Think I’ll trim the steerer a bit once I’m more sure of my fit.

Voodoo Lounge decals yet to be fitted!

First ride today – Sunday – was a small one, but I love it!  Descending with disc brakes is awesome in terms of stopping power and more importantly the control or modulation you have.  Though I haven’t had the wet weather experience yet I expect that to be even more standout.  The Dura-ace 11 speed shifts like a dream.  It’s almost like Di2 with just a bit more movement needed for the changes but a very light action.  Overall the bike felt incredibly sure-footed but also responsive and pretty light.  I haven’t weighed it yet but it seems a bit heavier than my road bike but not that much.

This bike’s going to be a lot of fun.  Thanks to Tristan and Gavin at Wheelworks for doing an awesome job for me on the build - Neil

Shimano 11 speed

Shimano discs - ENVE fork

Overseas experience key for national Cyclocross title

Wellington’s Alexander Revell, who has raced in Europe this year, claimed his first elite men’s victory in the Cyclocross National Championships in Wanaka today.

Riders were treated to chilly conditions, mud pits, dirt jumps and even snow on the course that wound through Wanaka’s Lismore Park.

Revell snatched the lead from defending champion Gary Hall (Hawke’s Bay) and held on strongly for the victory, with Wellington’s Brendon Sharratt (Wellington) third.

After a season in Belgium, known for its brutal racing conditions, Revell enjoyed the testing course today.

“It was a great course. I was kind of hoping for some mud because that’s what most of the racing I did overseas was, so that’s what I feel most comfortable on. In the end when you’re going as fast as you can and sliding around corners, whether it’s muddy or not, it’s kind of a similar thing.

“You just have to push yourself as hard as you can go and just hope that as hard as you can go is slightly harder than everyone else.”

The 28 year old, sporting his recognisable handlebar moustache that won him a loyal following overseas, took over the lead mid-way through the race after Hall crashed in the snow section.

“I wasn’t really sure how I was going to fare today,” Revel said. “Halfway through the race we were all still together so I thought ‘well it’s either going to be like this until the end or I’ve got to try and get ahead and stay ahead. I just took a chance and managed to stay ahead.”

Revell will compete in the Yanqing International Cyclocross in China next month, a UCI C2 event which has attracted some of the top riders from around the globe.

Joining him in China will be the elite women’s winner, Jenna Makgill from Auckland, who dominated after gaining a convincing early lead to finish clear from Gayle Brownlee (Auckland) and Hayley Davis (Napier).

“That was just neat. We were racing with the Masters and it would’ve been nice to keep up with the guy in front but my little heart wouldn’t permit me to do it. It was nice racing with the boys because you need people around you to push you,” Makgill said.

“The course was good, I liked it because it had jumps, which suits me, and it was very challenging. It definitely pushed you.”

Makgill, 27, who has raced in the UCI World Cup Downhill, has twice won the World Messenger Championship but it now enjoying her change to cyclocross.

“The whole fitness and endurance aspect of cyclocross is a whole new kettle of fish for me seeing as I come from a technical background. This is more of a personal challenge to test the waters.

“I’ve got an amazing opportunity to go over to China to race. I think I’ll be over my head, it will be sink or swim. I might sink but sometimes you learn to swim after you sink.“

The event also featured Masters, secondary schools and children’s categories.

Cyclocross is a cycling event which is hugely popular in Europe and is rapidly gaining in popularity in New Zealand. It features riders riding off road courses featuring obstacles such as mud, sand and jumps, with riders using adapted road-style bikes.

Results will be available on

CAPTION: Alex Revell enjoys the mud pit in today’s National Championship race in Wanaka.
CAPTION: Jenna Makgill on her way to victory in the Cyclocross National Championship in Wanaka.
The Images are free for editorial use only. Mandatory Credit: Amy Taylor
For further information contact:
Emma Bryant
Tel 0277069850

Mainland Weekender - cross post

A series of coincidences led to a sortee down to the mainland to compete in the Blenheim round of the Cyclocross Nationals on July 21.

De Snor, Alex Revell was keen to head down and asked if he could stay in the Voodoo Lounge. His fellow Revolution Cycles rider Geoffrey Notman had to head down south anyway to take photos for some painting he was doing, so it would have been rude not to fit in the race while he was there as well. For me it was a good chance to catch up with my family and bring back a motor scooter my brother had offered me, and obviously I would take part in the race too.

There was a taste of things to come when on the Friday morning as I was getting ready a particularly nasty quake rocked our house. It was a lot worse at my work where people were getting a bit more excitable, as is there job to. While I was sailing over the Cook Strait on the Bluebridge Ferry later on I got a text from my daughter saying another one had struck.

Alex roosts it up. Image from Sarnim Dean.
Things seemed to cool down for a bit that night while my brother shouted us out to tea at the Redwood Tavern. The next day, Saturday, like a couple of gun-fighters, Alex and Geoff rode into town rather than accept the complimentary Voodoo Lounge flat-deck-truck pick-up.

They checked out dads latest "eagle" and made themselves comfy in the Voodoo Lounge. It was the first time for Geoff but Alex had stayed before and after the 2012 Kiwi Brevet..

We tweaked the bikes for the next day's event and after a wholesome meal topped off with a complimentary bottle of wine left over from the Grape Ride three years previous, we hit the sack.

Around 7am on Sunday we were awoken by a sharp quake that knocked a picture frame off the shelf. Hmmm. A bit of a swarm thing going on here.

I had first heard of Mondo Kopua at the inaugural Kiwi Brevet in 2010 and he seems to have taken up the role of introducing CX to the locals in Blenheim. They were very organized and I think they also had a points system for the non-CX class where they got credits for things such as skin-suits, costumes and leg-shavings.

Image from
The course had some good technical bits and was quite a bit rougher than the manicured stop-banks and parks we are spoilt with in Upper Hutt, or "Upper Belgium" as its known. I was happy to be on my steel Singular Kite and wondered how much battering Alex and Geoff would have been getting on  their alloy Yeti's as they bounced over the myriad of cow-pocks that were in parts of the course. I don't usually race CX with gloves on, and this day was no exception but by the end of the event I had a very nasty blister from my cow-pock induced death-grip!

My speedy starts seem to be a thing of the past so these days I seem to be relying on a consistency that manifests itself in a 14 second spread on a long 7-8 minute course like this. Geoff and I were both racing vets men 45+ and I watched as he started putting putting a good 10 seconds a lap on me as he rode off leaving me to battle with the fastest ladies. Anja McDonald and Jenna Makgill were both riders I had heard about through mountainbiking and I knew technically speaking both of them would ride rings around me. Downhill, Cross country, fixed gear and Singlespeeding, these ladies have big reps, World champ and National Champs status across all codes, but I had no idea any of them were CXers. 

I busied myself at trying not to fall off on the slimy off-camber and after a few laps I managed to haul Jenna back probably courtesy of my running fitness, up one of the grunty walking climbs. It was common for me to come a cropper at least once a lap, and to fail at reclipping into my pedals as my crash point was usually followed by a pocky descent that was bumping my feet off the pedals. Sucks to be a nana!

The race was to be a bit longer than normal at 60 minutes plus 1 lap and eventually I pulled back Geoffrey and started catching a few more riders and lapping a few more. The "other" Mike Anderson from Stoke Cycles was just around the corner and for two laps I tailed him and Anja as Anja's lap times started to blow out. On the last lap I made a move and somehow cleaned the technical bit that was stymieing me, dropped Mike and ran past Anja on the next climb. Great I had it nailed. Unfortunately the last zig-zag proved too much for my nana-skills and I lost the front-end yet again and with my levers getting progressively lower with each get-off there was no way I was going to make the time back with less than a couple of minutes to go!

Somewhere along the way we caught Jut Bishop who I remember from back in the 90's as being the area's top MTBer. Its cool to see him still out there giving it a crack. 

Geoffrey Notman with his racing head on.
Alex was having it mostly his own way after his main competition, Logan Horn from Christchurch burped his tubeless tires twice on a firm part of the course, not that it meant that Alex slowed down at all, indeed he came a good cropper on the triple-set of stiles at the start-finish and scored a good haematoma for his efforts. It was great to hear some of Alex's tales from his CX racing in Europe last year.

We were late in starting the race so Geoff and I split ASAP when it finished to get out to his next appointment at Renwick where he was taking some shots for inspiration for his next series of paintings. Alex also took off so sadly missed the prize giving which looked particularly salubrious with some very nice bottles of wine and other goodies up for grabs.

After attending the Renwick Boar Slaying comp we realised what a completely fringe activity Cyclocross is by comparison. Thanks Mondo for lifting the profile!

After another wholesome meal from my mum I was contemplating jumping on my new scooter for its last ride on the mainland, to the ferry, when the next quake hit at 5.09. A 6.5 ! What a monster. I cant say I've ever been scared of an earthquake to that extent in NZ before. Suffice to say it was a busy week at work the next week.

We really enjoyed our brief shaky interlude down south and would recommend anyone to check out the CX events Mondo, Brent and his crew are putting on down there. We travelled via the Bluebridge Ferry which has free wifi and movies. Compare this to the Interislander Ferry where you have to pay for both of these, on top of a more expensive passage fee, plus The Bluebridge people had a half price deal on : )

Thanks to Sarnim Dean for the use of his awesome images on these pages. Check out the classic one below. This is Kim Swan (the one on the left ; ). She is a good friend of my fathers and has written many books on Pig-Hunting and horse riding.  For more on this theme check out Sarnim's pix in his Flickr feed.

Kim Swan, look harder, no, on the left !
Results here.