Excitement! A few ‘Firsts’ in todays rant attack, starting with the first post on the NZ Summer Lovin tour and prepare yourself, its an absolute LOVE fest alright, I won’t be holding back as I spew forth the superlatives – Which basically mean I lucked into a rare awesome sunburning weather day in Welly as I pass through. Let the avalanche of “things I really like” commence then.

Dirty pleasure #1 – Ridiculously overpriced and over equipped rental cars. I’m well known for having a penchant for being fingered by Rental car companies and Europcar were more than happy to oblige me. Oddly though, reaming me wasn’t enough for them to get a spot in the 2015 Protour, turns out that having panache and being basically clean are not values the UCI is interested in. Still, they did manage to deliver again on my request to provide me a Gangsta rental, complete with Faux-Mahogany trim. The perfect vehicle when you only have one good arm:

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Gimpin/Pimpin Ain’t easy…

Dirty pleasure #2 – What’s the next thing we need to do when touching down at home? Get mega busy with the local cuisine of course. Mega thank FUCK that I have now switched over to the full ENDURO diet, which is more than well catered for in NZ… No road salads here, I even took out that lettuce before I ate it:

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I’ll have my burger moist please

Our Dirty Welly Affiliate had invoked the DN Contingency plan perfectly and knows exactly what needs to be supplied… The Doomsday bike was gleaming and waiting, Japanese brothel style sleeping arrangement and room for one overloaded Fox gear bag… Is it disturbing and weird I’m including this shot? Absolutely… So why? Because this personifies being back on tour, and after 8 weeks of gimping around a 500 square metre space, that’s an awesome feeling:

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That sweet feeling of cringing on someone’s floor…

Enough filler… How about revenge on Manila?

Yes, today was all about ONE thing and one thing only… The first road ride in 8 weeks! Fart noise x 3… I can honestly say that I was more nervous about this morning than any ride or race I’ve done in the last few years. I had no idea how it was going to roll and I had an odd pensive feeling mixed with a strange excitement that’s usually reserved for your first day at school, your first threesome or when you try and stalk Sam Hill.

This was a crucial step though, it was time to become a cyclist again, time to take back the joy of riding that the third world had robbed from me and time to take the first pedal stroke on the road to Trans Provence! It was such a mix of emotions I had trouble standing up straight… No such problems for AT, who was as rigid as an Eastbourne Porn star:

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Casually awkward… And dressed for summer…

I’m not going to lie… As we rolled out and straight into a downhill I was absolutely shitting myself. I’d like to blame the low front end on the CAAD10, which has a bigger drop than even on my Evo race bike, but that would reek of being unauthentic. No, I was literally the Virgin that had accidentally wandered on to the gang bang set. I can’t recall ever feeling so twitchy, so spooked or just so damn SLOW. Riding down Ngaio Gorge was scarier than descending the Angliru and the only sensation I can liken it to was like being a beginner again. To say it was humbling was an understatement…

Luckily for me I had two things going in my favour on this very tentative return to action: 1) AT was as patient as you could hope for and spent 95% of the ride taking the wind as I was shitting myself riding next to anyone, chur Bro. 2) Welly presented us with an awesome day to get back into the swing of things. I was assured by locals repeatedly that this was RARE at the moment:

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“Lets stop again so I can take more photos of water…”

Have I ever been happier to get to the coffee break on a ride? Nup… And thank fuck it came at the 25km mark too. It took all my skill and powers of persuasion to extend that out to two coffee’s as well, using the additional time for my body to register what was happening to it. Riding, wind, a bit of cold and trying to make sure that my gimp arm wasn’t getting banged about or at risk in any possible way, I wouldn’t say it was a ‘low anxiety’ outing. My eyes are still recovering from being as wide as dinner plates for 2 hours.

Still, with a litre of caffeine on board and a tail wind at our backs (so no real difference for me), the return trip on our bays out and back started to feel more like a normal ride… I’m not the greatest at being patient, but I did reflect on the fact that in exactly 8 weeks to the day I have gone from scary cake addict looking gimp with zombie eyes back to sort of looking like a cyclist thanks to all the new kit I brought whilst lying around, its amazing what the body can do when given a chance to repair itself:

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Sunday 19th October Vs. Sunday 14th December

So, I was the Virgin today… Didn’t really know what I was doing, it felt a bit awkward, the person I was with didn’t get a huge buzz out of it and when I was done I was just pleased it was over so I could go and tell everyone about it… Yup, familiar right? It did reinforce one thing though:

There is a looooong road to travel before June 2015! 

So what else to do in Welly on a once in a month type day? How about another random first for DN… Off to the TRACK! No, not for the dogs or nags, some rogue Track cycling action. Its not something I can ever see myself doing, but the Rivet Racing crew were out in force, so what better way to kill 18 birds with one stone:

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Sun burn on the left, fridge on the right…

The coolest thing about the Track scene, apart from seeing T Bone in his skinsuit, was the vibe… It was great to be back in an environment where everyone was stoked on riding, no one was bitchy, there was no ex-pat weirdness and everyone was just having a good time. Also got to scratch the classic sausage in bread off the summer list as well:

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Maybe 4 to 5 Sauosages? (Not a typo if you haven’t seen the movie)

The racing was fairly intense as well… Having never done track I wouldn’t have a clue, but I could tell it wasn’t all that straight forward with the burn I could see on the faces of people who I know are GOOD riders. Mostly I didn’t have a scooby about what was going on in the races, so just settled for screaming at people at the wrong time and adding to my TB Piemaker porn collection, here he is getting business done for Rivet Racing in the elimination race:

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Did someone say Hamburglar?

You can imagine my amazement when I found out that fixed gear bikes weren’t just for cunts who move to Asia and try and ride around on them in jeans and lumberjack costumes with no helmets in 34 degree heat! You can actually race them! Although I didn’t quite get my head around this one, no crossing the white line until the whistle blew and then a one lap full gas sprint… Unfortunately for the Bone the whistle blew 1.2 seconds after he had to unclip… OUT:

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Gaaaaa… Fuck… Gaaaaaa

What… a… fucken… great… DAY! Back on a bike, so basically a functioning Human again, rolling with a good crew and mint weather which made Welly feel more awesome than I know it is 90% of the time, how do you cap it off? Cringe at the Alley Cat’s place eating his pizza and drinking his beer… Summer Lovin is ON!

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“Its suburbia Cat, but not as we know it….”

Today was a reminder of how good the simple things are… Riding your bike and hanging with good people.

More please

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