Well there is snow on Mt. Arthur, which is visible from our lounge window. It is getting a little colder in sunny Nelson. It still doesn’t rain much and I can ride to the forest, so cold yes, but Nelson still has its advantages. Don’t ask me about the couriers though. The other fantastic news is that my espresso machine is working again. So these cold winter mornings are quickly sorted with a couple of short blacks. If you happen to pass by Nelson, the coffee will be on. Sandra also tells me that it’s not too cold for a road ride in the morning, she’s preparing for the 12 hour Taupo Day/Nighter thriller. We are enjoying our Nelson residence and there’s plenty of exploring to do in Malbourgh, Hanmer and the West Coast. The flattest ride was the Charming Creek track. The old railway tracks can be challenging, especially when they’re wet and elevated off the ground, all the better to swallow your front wheel with. You really appreciate full suspension here. The pitch black tunnels are also great at honing your “using the force” skills. They are dark, but at there end there is light, waterfalls, native bush and the old mining relics. The details of coal mining history is interesting. If you think you’re having a hard day at the office, these guys used to fill their little trains with coal and then jump on them at the end of the day to get home. On a good day the brakes on the train would work, on a bad day, well runaway train. I don’t think that any of us can confess our jobs involve a near death experience at the end of the day. The other thing we learnt is the petrol stations are a little further apart on the West Coast. We haven’t run out of gas yet, but there was a lot of coasting down hills “just in case”.
More racing news, this time for the Rotorua Moonride. Another fantastic result by the “Santa Cruz A Team” girls. They finished a very close 2nd place after 12 hours of racing. Very close racing all the way to the last lap! A big thanks to Amanda, Brenda “Bob”, Trish, Danielle and Sandra.
A BIG “good luck and have fun” to Rob and Annika Smail. They’re off to Switzerland for more riding, Annika will be competing in the Swiss cup series. A series that is on par to the world cup, you get all pro-racers turning up to Swiss cup rounds, so they can stay sharp for the world cup’s.
As we all wait in anticipation for the new Santa Cruz models to arrive, ”no I don’t know when the Nomad will be available” and “yes if you can choose the colour now, but it won’t arrive any faster”. A quick history lessong on Santa Cruz bikes, they been doing single pivot bikes for 10 years now. I know, I used to own their first suspension bike back in 1994, the Tazmon. Before Santa Cruz took on the VPP suspension design and every other manufacturer was trying to make a variation of the 4 bar linkage design. They perfected the single pivot suspension design. The Heckler is the bike that began Santa Cruz’s cult followinging, a bike that had about 4 inch’s of travel when all other bikes had problems with 3! It also climbed ok and descended better. The other thing was that it lasted, there are still 7 year old examples out there. The owners have worn all their components out, the paint is looking a bit haggard, but it still works! Santa Cruz’s single pivot bikes have now had a second coming (of not quite biblical proportions) with the introduction of platform shocks. With this new shock technology, the Bullit’s, Superlights, Juliana’s and all new Hecklers work so much better. No more “pedal induced bob”, from poor pedaling. The rider can pedal in any manner they please and is propelled forward over all terrain with comfort of tunable suspension. The Heckler has now become a “stand out” bike and is even more popular. It now has more travel, close to 6 inch’s with the new 5th Element coil and Fox DHX5.0. It’s also designed to use a long travel single crown fork and there are so many good options here. The Heckler has the right amount of travel, it low maintenance, it works well, it climbs better than most supposed XC suspension bikes. It won’t be replaced next year with a different coloured model or one that they’ve changed the suspension design.
Thanks again for your support,
Mike Stylianou & Sandra Williams