Oranje

One of perpetual joys of riding in spring is the weather. I mean really! Every time I seem to head out the door it’s well… bollocks. Like riding through a car wash at times. 

One particularly memorable outing was a wet and wild Makara loop. In little more than a half hour I’m completely drenched, I feel like a human wet wipe. It appears my old olive coat has lost its mojo and it doesn’t keep me dry for long. This is going to be another in a long line of unexpected investments.

Ok so now I’m an orange

With some dedicated trawling of eBay I managed to track down a brand new older stock Endura MT500 waterproof coat with hood. 

What a difference, a week ago I had a crawl back from Porirua to Wellington in a stonking southerly that water blasted the bejesus out of me. As unpleasant as it was, the coat performed better than me. It’s tough and has kept me pretty dry.

It’s great, all but the fact I now feel like I’m competing for the Dutch national bike touring team.

Pain in the arse

The saddle is not doing it for me. After wiggling the saddle and my butt around I just couldn’t find any comfort in the brooks after an hour into a ride. I’ve thrown the towel in and purchased a leather saddle, a Selle-Anatomica T Series. I’ve used a Brooks leather on my old Kona so know what I’m in for.

Result!

Instant relief. Jumped on rode over a 100km without the pain. It will stretch over time but at least I can comfortably do the distance. 

The beginning of the beginning

Three months out

I made the call sometime back that I needed to beginning training in earnest three months out. That rolled around yesterday so this means time to make some changes. Here’s my to do list:

  1. First up, No smoking. I can’t do this crazy thing and smoke at the same time.
  2. Stretching. Something I’ve never really done, but now I’ve crossed that half century threshold I had better take my body seriously. So that means getting rid of a few old crinks and making sure I’m up for this. More on stretching later.
  3. Fluids. Again something I’ve never paid a lot of attention to… well not those non heady types of fluids anyway. So I’ve got to rehydrate now, daily, just not on the bike.
  4. Food. I know my calorie intake is going to be way higher on the road, but I’ve got to start thinking about diet now and getting the balance right. I have a few plan in that department. More on food later.
  5. Riding. I’ve got to get a ride in 6 days out of 7, mostly short one hour rides and one of those my tour average daily distance of 85 km.
  6. Hills. No cheating, the more I look at potential routes, the more I realise hills are endless, so best get angry with them now.
  7. Cross training. This means some form of light body weight-training and definitely swimming. I’ve got to work on a number of things: legs, core work, neck and shoulders (to reduce the load).  Basically everything! More on cross training later.

So todays the 11th of September and I’ve started.

I got a 90km mixed trail ride in yesterday including hill work, wind, rain and a good helping of mud. Today was an hour (more or less) and a good shop to make sure I’m starting to look after my fluids and food.

So far so good.

The ride – Surly ogre

All in the assembly

It started back in January on the way south to Bluff. I tracked down a black Surly ogre  frame from Darren at Bikeinc in Timaru. From there it was a process of researching options (and there are a lot of options), tracking down parts and the slow step by step assembly. This is my second touring bike build in the last three years.

Tough choices

Wheels
I went big on the wheels and had a set of 29’ers hand built by the team at Wheelworks. They are light, sturdy and sleek.

Bars
I’ve used touring ‘butterfly bars’ before on the last build, but this time I wanted something that provided a little more width and control for use off-road.  I trialled two bars; the Soma Clarence bar and the NC-17 Trekking bar.

In terms of comfort they were both superb, but the Soma profile allowed for a number of hand positions and allows me to stretch out to battle the wind.

Brakes
I thought hard about the brake specification. I was pretty tempted by a set of front and rear AVID BB7 Mechanical disc brakes. These appear pretty standard on off-road touring bikes, but in the end went with a set of Shimano SLX hydraulic.

Saddle
I’m a Brooks saddle fan having owned a B17 Imperial in the past. This time I wanted something more waterproof so chose the Cambium C17 Carved. It’s stiff and I’m not yet convinced I will last the distance on a big tour.

Time will tell if these were good choices and the only way to really find out is to get out there and ride.


The full and final specification

Continue reading “The ride – Surly ogre”

What the hell am I doing?

The beginning

I had this idea in January. A personal goal to cycle from Cape Reinga to Bluff alone and unassisted within the year.

I thought from that day to now that if I could get everything assembled and inform enough people, then I wouldn’t have the excuse to get out of it. Basically eliminate the barriers one by one so that in the end the only thing stopping me is me.

So here I am some seven months later with the assembly pretty much completed and although I’ve still got another five months, I need to begin physically preparing myself for this. Getting saddle ready, more physically fit, quitting the cigarettes and planning the route.

So this blog is a first. A way to record the build up to the Cape on the 9th of December and beyond.