Monday, February 26, 2007

Cuba Carnival

Saturday night was the Cuba Carnival Illuminated Parade. The Cuba Carnival is Wellington's answer to Mardi Gras I believe (someone correct me if I am wrong).

Brumbies v Hurricanes

Friday night we went to watch the Brumbies play the Hurricans at the "Cake Tin" also know as WestPac Arena.

Captain Hurricane and his Hurraplane.

Australia Trip – Lisa and Macca's Wedding

I am falling behind in updating this thing so I will just throw up some pictures for now.

The bride and groom.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Australia Trip – Part 2

Friday morning Sarah collected me from Dave’s and we drove out to Sparrow Hill. I had one of best rides out there ever. I couldn’t believe how fast I was going at times; it was amazing!

After a quick trip back to Sarah’s to grab a shower, I met Shaun for Lunch. We went to the Union and pie and donuts, which were seriously lacking in quality. After lunch, Helen and I went to Susie, Patrick, Josh, and Mia. There were all doing well and I had a great time playing cars with Josh.

Next it was back to Uni for drinks at Uni House. There we got to catch up with Matt and Nicole, Chucky and Meridith, Bec, some random guy, and Dave’s new girl Tam. From there many of us head to the Blue Elephant for some curry. I had the butter chicken and it was amazing.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Australia Trip – Part 1

It was Australia that we were in wasn’t it? I can’t believe how fast four days can go by! Helen went over early to do some work for NIWA and I flew over on Wednesday. Thursday morning Helen dropped me off at Mount Stromolo with my most prized possession – my singlespeed. I spent the next couple hours exploring the new Stromolo Forest Park. I have to say I am still pretty unimpressed with the place. There is a lot of singletrack, but it definitely is not as good as other places around Canberra. It is very sandy, exposed, rutted, and rough. Someday it might great, but it is going to be a while. The next Scott 24hr Race is meant to be held there, and more than a few people are not happy about that. In fact, the original Mont organiser is going to be running another 24hr race around the same time with Mont as the sponsor. It will interesting to see how that plays out.

After finishing at Stromolo, I met up with Helen, Dave, Georgie, and Lilly for lunch in Kingston. Lilly is over a year old now and growing quickly. After that it was back to Dave’s for a quick shower and little nap before we headed down to Waniassa to meet Andrea and little Adah. She was awfully cute and looked a lot like Lex. I am not real sure how you can be both cute and look like Lex; must be the magic of babies. Just kidding – sorry we missed you Lex.

We left Andrea to get some rest (yeah right!) and headed back to Dave’s again. We grabbed Dave and headed up to Cook for a BBQ at Sarah’s. We were a bit late because of some rental car shuffling (the one we had wouldn’t fit two boxed bikes in the boot). It was good to catch up with the folks from Cook – Andy and Sarah, Andy and Nat, and Daniel eventually.

I am going to break this up over the next few days to make it easier to read and so I don’t have to sit and type it all out at once.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Singlespeeding in Wellington

I brought my singlespeed back from our trip to Australia (see next post). Today, I took it up to Makara Peak to try it out. I didn't expect to get very far, and ended up being quite surprised! I flew up Koru to the skills area. I was going fast enough that I nearly came off the track going up hill. The track is just at the right gradient that if you keep your momentum up you can really fly. I had a little break and play on the skills area goodies before setting out again. The next section is pretty fast and rolling. Sally Alley went okay and before I knew it I was at the start of Missing Link. This track starts with a rocky decent and ends with a nasty switchback climb. I nearly came off in a spot where there wasn't much to stop me from sliding down the hillside. Somehow I managed to stay on the track and make it to the start of Aratihi. By this time I am usually pretty tired on my geared bike. I was still feeling okay, but I still had a 3km climb ahead. It starts out steep and then levels of a bit. I was puffing pretty hard and barley made the switchback about halfway along the track. A few more minutes of anaerobically grinding away saw me reach the top of Makara Peak. I was totally amazed. I didn't think I would make it without switching to a bigger freewheel.

Now we will have to see about Mt. Victoria........

Monday, February 12, 2007

Another Busy Weekend

This weekend X-Air came to Wellington. Some of the top BMX, skateboard, and freestyle motocross riders from NZ and around the world showed up to compete over two days. Friday after work, Helen and I walked into town to grab some dinner. After that we headed down to the harbour to have a look around. We got to see some freestyle motocross guys doing back flips and other crazy stuff. After the motocross, the BMX guys came out and were equally amazing.

Saturday, the weather wasn’t great and a bunch of the X-Air stuff was cancelled. We had a pretty crusy morning reading the paper and looking for houses and jobs. In the afternoon, we decided to go check out the climbing gym in Lower Hutt. It was nowhere near as good as the one in the city. I don’t think we will bother going out there again.

Sunday, we went and looked at houses and then went for an epic bike ride. We decided to go explore Belmont Regional Park. This place is only a short drive, and is pretty massive. We started out trying to take a short cut, which ended up sending us down a really fun trail. Unfortunately the track ended with a big sign prohibiting cyclists going any further. We had to turn around and climb back up the track. We finally got going the right way.

Lower Hutt and the Hutt River emptying into the Wellington Harbor.

We finally got off the paved road and ended up on a really nice singletrack that switchbacked its way up a pine tree covered hill for about 2km. From there an old double track took us out of the pines and into pasture. Most of the ride was rolling up and down a ridgeline that was covered in sheep and a few cows. We passed Round Knob and Cannons Head on our way to Belmont Trig. We were following orange markers most of the way, but managed to missed an important turn. We did a bit bush bashing before we managed to find our way back to the proper trail. The highest point on the ride was Belmont Trig (457m).

Helen posing with the Belmont Trig.

From the top of the trig the trail dropped down and down and down. We were both grateful when we finally hit a short section of uphill – arms and brakes needed a bit of rest. A bit further we came to Baked Beans Bend (no idea why it is called that) and Korokoro Stream. The trail crossed the stream at least half a dozen time, which was pretty cool (not too many stream crossings in Australia or Arizona), until I ended up with wet shoes. By the time we made it back to the car it was 6:30pm and we were both starving!

View of the Cook Sraight.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Waitangi Day

Waitangi day is a holiday in honour of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi between a group of Maori Chiefs and the British. But for most New Zealanders it is another excuse for a public holiday and this year the weather in Wellington was unusually sunny and hot. So we headed over to Eastbourne on the other side of the bay.

Wellington from the other side of the bay.

The plan was to ride a big loop up to the head of the Wainui valley and follow the Wainuiomata River, past the Rimutaka Forest Park to the coast at Baring Head. Baring Head is a popular spot for bouldering, so we packed our climbing shoes in our camelbacks so we could have a little play. Unfortunately we were pretty tired by the time we got there– riding along the beach through the sand was hard work, so we didn’t get much bouldering done. We will have to go back another day and do it some justice.

A dirt track continues around the coast past the light houses at Pencarrow Head and back along the coast to Eastbourne. It was a beautiful sunny day and there were a lot of people out riding this section of the track, and fishing and swimming along the coast. We enjoyed a cooling dip in the sea at the end of the ride.

Bouldering at Baring Head.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Rugby Madness

The Rugby Sevens competition came to town and this seemed to be an excuse to have a huge fancy dress party. I think you were the odd one out in town if you weren’t a guy dressed up as a nurse or a pirate etc… However the prize for the most outrageous costume had to go to the bunch of guys wearing the Borat Swim Suit. If you can visualise this picture – I’m sorry, for those of you who don’t know quite what I’m talking about then you are very lucky…

I spent a good deal of the afternoon then glued to the T.V. watching the rugby sevens. I have to say I was pretty horrified by Australia’s luck lustre performance they got beaten by Canada and were almost put to shame by the U.S.A. (Although the U.S.A. did have a few ring-ins from Fiji, New Zealand and South Africa). Australia didn’t even make it to the final eight. It seems to do well at Rugby sevens you have to be from the South Pacific or Africa. It was definitely good eye candy for the girls… plenty of very lean bodies in those new tight rugby shirts… very nice. The Samoans finally beat Fiji in the final and it was all very entertaining.

Then after the sevens final the Super 14’s match between the Brumbies and the Chiefs was on T.V. The Brumbies looked pretty good in the first half, kind of faded in the second but they still beat the Chiefs. The Hurricanes also lost…. Here’s hoping the Brumbies do really well this year so I can tease my work mates who are avid Chiefs and Hurricanes supporters and were telling me only last week that the Chiefs are going to do really well this year.