Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Auckland XC Champs Round 2 - Slater Road

Ollie smashes the start.

A private farm just north of Helensville was the location for round 2 of Aucklands XC champs. Starting with a fast climb to a tight singletrack loop, Ollie was gapped by Auckland rider Brad Tilby when a young rider hit the deck on the first stretch of singletrack. Fortunately the needles made for a forgiving biff, and the rider was not hurt. Unfortunately the damage was done to Ollie's race, and despite digging deep he wasn't able to match the furious pace Brad was laying down. Settling into a rhythm he pulled a gap on 3rd and held 2nd to the end of 4 laps.

Pine forest made for singletrack bliss

Being sand based the course was murder on the bike, and as the race drew on, corners became loose and focus shifted to staying smooth. Keeping upright in the shifting sands became an enjoyable challenge.
Again Pete Fyfe made the race but some hip surgery meant he was resigned to bottling and cheering duties. Cries of "Turn that frown upside down" did wonders for Ollie's morale!

A rare smile on the race face.

The final round is at Woodhill where a Ollie will need every ounce of nous to keep in touch with local riders who will know the tracks like the back of their hands!
Mountain Pedaler out...

Auckland XC Champs Round 1 - Hunua

Ollie gets worked by Patrick Avery (Clinton's bro!)

October spelt a change of scenery for Ollie, moving to the big smoke of Auckland to ply his other trade. And what better way to get to know a city and its people than a play in the mud!
The race was dominated by the Rotorua boys, with Scott Green and Patrick Avery setting a furious pace which Ollie could only hold for a lap and a half.
The tracks themselves were uber-fun, and Ollie settled into a good rhythm to carve the slippery descents and power the puzzling climbs, bringing home a solid 3rd in Open.
One aspect of the course that Ollie quickly learnt was the proximity and ferocity of the course-side trees. Cutting it fine on the second lap he hooked a tree with his bar end resulting in a monster tank slapper! Safe to say caution was exercised after that.
Local pinner and El Toro rider Pete Fyfe also made the trip out and pulled off a solid 5th in the singlespeed field. The Fyfe clan were also most generous with pre-race feast, transport and a bed for the night. Bring on round 2!
Mountain Pedaler out...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Commander Sherman reports for duty

When one imagines a tank, flow and finesse are probably the last images that come to mind, but the latest Ventana to join the Mountain Pedaler NZ test fleet oozes these belt drive enhanced charms.
Dubbed Sherman after the bad ass freedom crushing tank it shares a colour scheme with, and utilising the latest Carbon Drive technology, this bike blasts into a new world of riding simplicity.
Pundits claim the belt lasts almost 20,000km with no lube required over its life. The prospect of such low maintenance has at least one bike obsessed person fizzing at the bung.

Spin (or rather grind) legs here...

Cog turns here.... not a chain in sight.
Sprocket eye-view

Belt drive in action!

Based on an El Commandante frame with Sherwood Gibson's masterful sliding dropouts, the rear driveside dropout can easily be split to allow a belt to be used.
Rolling on big wheels sans gears is a new concept for the Mountain Pedaler, but early indications are that the innate rollability of the 9ers enhances the SS experience.
Sadly the faithful El Toro (Migel) is being retired from the fleet, but has been farmed out to greener pastures and there is no doubt that he'll give as much joy to his new owner as he has to myself and a number of long-term testers.

Military issue Hope X2 brakes round out the stacked build kit.

Sherman is available to anyone wanting to give the Carbon Drive a burl. As always we'll keep you posted with his adventures around the land (once his missions have been declassified).

Mountain Pedaler out...