Sunday, October 29, 2006

Hello All,
WHITEWARE IS BORING!
Arh, our washing machine died after 15 years of loyal service. It never complained, just washed clothes. One day it tried to walk out of the wash house, almost made it to the door and then died. The worst bit of course is having to buy a new one. Why is whiteware white? Why don’t the sales people know why they stock so many brands and models? Why don’t they dry and fold the clothes after they have finished washing? Why don’t rap stars make washing machines, then you could get attitude and bling with your whiteware…probably come in more colours too!
Anyway, after suffering from this boring experience, I built myself a nice red Heckler, more below.
One for the Road
I’ve gone carbon crazy, I’ve now managed to get an Ibis Silk together. Now this is a nice piece of kit. Now I will admit that I’ve been a little slack with my road riding over the winter and my first ride of the Silk was the local Star & Garter, Tuesday night road race. I was worried that this might not be the best idea, but what the heck. I can honestly say the Silk performed amazingly, I could stay up with those hard-core Nelson B-graders. The Silk, accelerated, climbed, cornered well above expectation. It was really comfortable too and flattered my ability. Unfortunately, I may have not quite done up the seatpost clamp tight enough and my seat had dropped significantly, which meant by the end of the race I cruised across the finish line, instead of mixing it up in the sprint. Anywho, the Silk is good. Now I just have to sort my fitness out and get back into those Tuesday night racing. I also have some very nice orange Aireal roadie hubs, I like orange.

If you haven’t fallen asleep with talk of road bikes and washing machines, well done! As I said, my experience of purchasing a washing machine was really boring; I had to do something to snap me out of my zombie like state. So I figured it’s been quite some time since I have ridden a Heckler. I noticed that there was a spare one lying around (lucky huh!?). I purposely selected the Float R rear shock, I wanted to really know how well the Heckler single pivot designed worked and not how good the new DHX5’s are (bloody good, by the way). I have owned a couple of Hecklers before and I found that I did missing owing one. Getting back on a Heckler is like meeting up with a good friend that you haven’t seen for a while. You automatically just get along as if no time has passed. Everything just feels “right”. With the Float R, the Heckler feels very firm and efficient when pedalling. I hit all my favourite local trails that I previously ridden a Nomad, a Blur XC and Ibis Mojo. The Heckler climbed and descended everything. It was like I had owned this bike for years, it was better than I remembered and I would say that it would put many other manufactures multi-linkage bikes to shame. The Heckler set’s the standards and to think it could be better with a DHX5 air or coil! Personally I think everyone should have a Heckler in the bike collection. I can see why current owners keep them for so long.
War is Hell
Ok, I’m not going all political in my newsletters, no space. Anyway, I will probably never experience (luckily) what it is to go and fight for freedom or ones nation but this quote that I found on mtbr.com from Bombardier, helped me with some perspective; “I really miss my wife, my Nomad, and my Jeep.... in that order”. I’m pretty sure we would feel the same way.
North Island DH Series.
The NIDH series is in full swing with two rounds completed. Round one in Wanganui, showed how a home course advantage can help. Eddie Masters got his V10 across the line 8 seconds faster than anyone else (in all class’s). Check-out Eddies Diaries on NZride.com for more info.
Round Two in Mariatia (Auckland), had Jenna Makgill taking out open woman’s field and Dale Cragg winning Vet men’s. Bloody well done!

Syndicate Team
Jamie Goldman wins both the slope style and dirt jumps competition at the Roc D’Azur, France. The Rock D’Azur is a massive event, with 5 days of mountain bike events. This year it attracted over 130,000 visitors. So it’s BIG.



Websites
Looks like the people at Santa Cruz and Ibis have both been spending some quality virtual time. Both of them have now updated their website. Check out ibiscycles.com and santacruzmtb.com. Talking about websites, my newsletters (Mike’s rants?) can also be seen found at http://hyperformancehardware.blogspot.com/. Jeff Lyall set this up for me because I’m too lazy. Anywho, have a look around. More stuff to come in the future.
Dr. Bike/Outside Sports
Welcome to Jarna and the team at Dr. Bike/Outside Sports there in Queenstown. They’ve been associated with the Santa Cruz brand for a while now, Jarna has a lovely V10.

Thanks again for you support;
Mike & Sandra
Hyperformance Hardware

(Testing the Mojo, Dunn Mountain walkway)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Newsletter 7 Daylight saving

Hello All,
DAY LIGHT SAVING IS HERE
It’s here, no more moping around in the dark. Time to get your arse off the couch and get riding, 7 days a week. No excuses and with global warming around the corner, any reason not to drive is a good reason to ride your bike and chances are it’s going to be a dry summer too. I also hope that the World Champs motivated everyone to start racing too. A quick look at BikeNZ site shows that there are some fantastic venues for the XC and DH races. So get back into that training regime, enter some regional races and enter the national series. You’ll love it and you’ll be talking about your race season for years to come.

Interbike
For those of you that didn’t hit the bright lights of Vegas, interbike could easily be followed via the virtual world, everything but the slot machines. I’ve put some pictures below for your viewing pleasure. The new Superlight/Juliana just looks so good and the VP-Free will get a 1.5inch head tube….and so will the Nomad next year. No news about the new Bullit.
Ibis will be offering painted Mojo’s. This sounds wrong, but looks great. Baby blue, orange, cool white and a Irish green.

I used http://www.mtbr.com/interbike06 and http://www.pinkbike.com/ for my viewing pleasure. Pinkbike had some lovely broadband sucking steaming video interviews by Elvis. This video on mtbr.com has Rob Roskopp talking about Santa Cruz bikes, very worthwhile http://www.mtbr.com/videos/santacruz.mov .

Perks of the Job
The best thing about being a “Bike Guy”, is that I get to ride brand new bikes before anyone else in the country. Some of my favourites have been the Blur and Nomad; the Heckler is bloody good too.

The Ibis Mojo I’ve been anxiously waiting for quite some time. It seems that every time I planned to take it for a ride, the weather would cave in. I’ve now managed 6 rides on it in varying places. Obviously Nelson, the Port Hills, Hanmer and Richmond. The first impression is of how light it is and how efficient it is to pedal. No matter how much or little air you stick in the rear shock, every pedal stroke makes you go forward. Ibis’s execution of the DW-linkage is amazing. The geometry of Mojo very nice too. It lends itself to being a single-track screamer; it feels stiff, fast and agile. The Mojo accelerates like a XC race bike and you sometimes forget that it has 140mm (5.5 inches in old money) of travel. Also the bike builds up very light so it always feels like it just wants to go. The people at Ibis have made a very nice bike. It looks fantastic in the flesh too. It squeeze’s into a my list of my favourite bikes. The hard call is which one to ride these days. Oh yeah, feel free to contact me if you want more info, but if you want to discuss axle paths, chain growth, etc. Best you join an internet forum.

Team Santa Cruz NZ, Global Domination
Andy Reid has been using his talents as a really fast mountain bike racer to help raise funds for the earthquake victims in Pakistan. Andy entered the Tour of Karakurrams, more info on http://kmt.org.pk/tok.asp. A 3 day mountain bike tour, in which Andy finished in 4th place. There was some very stiff competition and familiar names, like 24hour world champ Tim Vincent and Olympian Rob Reid (Andy’s bro).

I’ve attached Andy’s summary of the event. A gruelling race and a good read too, there are some nice pictures too. So read it!
While the rest of us were suffering through a NZ winter, pro-elite XC racer Jason Hill took off to Whistler to brush up on his slope style skills. Picture below. Something we could all do with, I’m sure. How’s that new Heckler Jas’?

Syndicate Team
The Syndicate team have not been slacking since leaving the world champs in Roto-Vegas. Steve Peat is now the UCI World series champ, after completing the final world cup race in Schladming, Austria and Nathan Rennie finished 4th overall. Rennie finished second on the day and Rennie also had the fastest qualifying time.
Jamie Goldman won the Red Bull battle of the Fort in Belgrade, Serbia. Goldman had a perfect run and pulled the biggest back-flip in his life. About 20 feet off the ground.

Lower Hutt Posse
Welcome to John, Campbell, Shannon and Lisa from Bicycle. They are the new edition (no relation to Marky Mark) to the Santa Cruz dealer network growing around the country. Go and see the guys there in Lower Hutt. Somehow they even managed to get www.bicycle.co.nz. These guys are really on the ball! John has also ordered an Ibis Mojo for his personal use, wise man. They currently have a Nomad, Heckler and Blur XC in stock. So what are you waiting here for?

Thanks again for you support;
Mike & Sandra
Hyperformance Hardware.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Tour of the Karokorams 2006 (By Andy Reid)

Tour of the Karokorams 2006
SOME BACKGROUND
The tour of the Karokorams mountainbike race a 3 day mountainbike tour was organized in order to raise funds, and generate exposure for the Kagan Memorial School Project of the Kagan Memorial Trust (www.kmt.org.pk). An earthquake that hit the northern areas of Pakistan on the morning of October 8, 2005 was the most devastating natural calamity in the history of Pakistan. Confirmed official estimates of the loss of life put the death toll at over 77,000 and the number of people rendered homeless at approximately 2.8 million. One of the most damaging aspects of this disaster is that roughly half of the fatalities were children, trapped under the debris of their schools. Hundreds of such schools in the affected areas were reduced to rubble; a whole generation was lost in a matter of seconds.
Initial tour information described the race as “not a trip for the physically, mentally or culturally weak”

CHRISTCHURCH – SINGAPORE – LAHORE - ISLAMABAD
Long international flights are always a bit of a test of patience, and this was no exception. A window seat provided some amusement especially with a daytime flight over central Australia. However I finally cracked nearing Singapore and resorted to using the complimentary shavers to try and tidy myself up. Bad move, this resulted in 15 minutes of excruciating face pain. Lesson learnt.

A long stopover in Singapore was endured with a 6 hour stint in the transit hotel followed by endless wandering in the duty free area at Changi International Airport. Many K’s were clocked up on the travellators. Highlights include electronics bargains, orchids, big fish, and foot & calf massage machines

The PIA flight from Lahore to Islamabad was on the oldest plane I’ve ever traveled on, possibly 60’s vintage 737. Thread bare apoulstry, skanky carpet and enough duck tape to make MacGuiver proud. I was afraid to look out the window in case I spied a flapping piece of tape holding the wing on.

Islamabad airport – straight into it… heat, smell, crouds, beggars. Good to be met by Atif and Razza who dropped us at the hotel, 11:30 at night after 33 hours of traveling. Knackered.

PAKISTANI MINIVAN RIDE OF DEATH
Day 1. Pakistani minivan racing. Four vans going for it on narrow winding roads, in super busy traffic. These guys are the worst / best van drivers in the world. Bad for the fact that they were driving like crazymen, good because they went for some crazy shite and actually pulled it off and I’m alive to tell the story. Classic moves included inside passing, chicken and the .002 second following rule. If there was enough room to get the van into the oncoming traffic lane our driver was getting amoungst it. Flash your lights and toot the horn and you’ll be OK Rasheed. It was mildly amusing for the first half hour but one too many close calls resulted in a torent of abuse from the (scared shitless) euro passengers and a brief respite. After 4 or 5 hours we got our first views of Balokot, the town that was hardest hit by the October 8th earthquake. This place was fully devastated. Massive slips, bridges destroyed, buildings reduced to rubble, roads munted by subsidence and huge cracks, and tent camps for the locals. Balokot sits at the head of the Kagan Valley, the area in which the tour took place. From here to Naran, another 5 hours traveling, the road deteriorated significantly, with major slips and washouts. Always breathtaking scenery of
the valley and Kunhar River below and high mountains above. I have a new appreciation for the versatility of the Toyota Hiace van. These guys took these things where I wouldn’t have driven a Hilux.

The so called “prologue” to the race was a 1200m climb from Kawai to the Danna Meadows, 2 hours of granny gear in 30+ degress. Hard out, everyone was a little concerned what this would do for the legs for tomorrows race.

Race day stage 1 awoke to heavy rain and cold temperatures a complete contrast to the previous day. With a bit of Kiwi ingenuity we devised shoe covers from 2 litre water bottles that were surprisingly effective in keeping our feet dry. This however did little to relieve the suffering that the first climb to lake Saiful Mulook a 1 hour climb from 2600m up to 3200m. this was followed by 2 laps of a 30min circuit around the lake with some fun technical single track. There was quite an impressive line up: World 24 Champion Tim Vincent, Olympian and Commonwealth Games Representative Rob Reid, Tour de France veteran Nathan Dahlberg, Scottish National MTB Champion James Octerloney, Dutch Road Professional Remko Krammer, and German Pros Felix Rohrback and Thomas LuaterBach and Canadian Matt Usbourne to name but a few. It was all go from the gun, straight into the hurt box, riding at altitude took a bit of getting used to for sure, the first couple of km’s finding a rhythm was difficult. It soon split once we hit the dirt climb with Octerloney and Vincent riding away and Rob Reid, Dahlberg and Rohrbach and Usbourne in the chase group. The more technical riding around the lake allowed experienced mountainbikers to gain some time. Tim Vincent took it out James 2nd, Rob Reid 3rd. Impressive scenery, 5290 Malika Parbat and lots of crazy local spectators.
Race briefing for Stage 2 – to Babusar Pass was a fairly sombre affair that left everyone shaking in their boots. Nathan made it sound so extreme that if the weather was bad or we had a puncture it would not be cool.

Day 2 started with 1hour jeep ride to Jalkot the start town for stage 2. The further we drove the more deserted and desolate it became. We often came across nomads who looked as if they had come from way back, it was like driving back in time. Jalkot was cold and windswept, but cool to be amongst some big mountains. The start at 3250m definitely was hard on the lungs. The pace was hard from the gun and once again Tim, Rob, James and Thomas made the front selection followed by Matt, me, Nath and Polish guy David Kompiel. The effect of the altitude here was significant, even the slightest rises or rough sections would send you directly to the red zone.
Having dropped ze German Tim and Rob dispatched the scottish dude as well and were the first to the top of the Barbusar pass with a lead of about 4 minutes. The Barbusar was a fully hard climb exagerated by the altitude (4000m), granny gear and walking for about 40 minutes was the go, although it wasn’t all that steep it was bloody hard. Like wrapping your chest super tight with packing tape, strapping on an extra 20kgs or so and breathing through a straw. The weather was also kind of crazy – the marshalls at the top of the pass reported the temperature dropping from 17 degress to 4 in just one hour. It was kind of a lunar landscape up there as well although greenish there was no vegetation to speak of and piles of rubble all over the show, not too sure how the locals survived up here. The kids were bloody fit and fiesty though, I was followed for a couple of k’s by screaming brats throwing stones at me, these kids could run, a good incentive to ride faster. It was all looking good for the kiwis until Rob punctured on the descent and Tim got to the cruicial left hand turn at the top of the valley before the martial could arrive (being on pakistani time the jeep with martials had left an hour late and the roughness of the terrain meant the riders were able to travel faster). This let James Octerloney into the lead. Rob had another 2 punctures and blew his shock effectively ending his chances of winning. Back in the field it was all pretty exciting. By the bottom of the barbusar a group of six riders had formed with Nathan, Dave (the Polack), Thomas ze german, Matt the Canadian, Rob and myself
all riding within about 1 minute. So it was bloody exciting. However the roughness of the course was taking its toll, Nathan, Dave, Thomas, and Rob all puncturing, and the guys on fullys really making up time. I was loving my Santa Cruz Blur XC’s plush ride. Up front James had consolidated his lead with Tim in second, after riding for 15mins in the wrong direction. I had moved into 3rd and rob 4th. Although the return ride was mostly downhill it was still super hard and with the weather getting colder by the minute conditions where not a great deal of fun. The last hour was certainly a bit of a suffer fest for sure. I had moved into 3rd after rob punctured again and was not enjoying having to hold off thomas ze german at about 20 seconds for about 10km, luckily he punctured. James took the stage followed by tim @ about 13mins and then me, Rob and Thomas. Everyone was stoked to have finished, it was a pretty epic 4 hour race. After a good feed of Naan, rice and curry we piled into the jeeps and headed back to Naran. Both rob and Tim we a bit gutted at having the race won only to lose it due to the lack of a marshall and mechanical but that’s mtbing I suppose. This was definitely one of the coolest places for a race, and everything ran smoothly which a bonus for the organisers. Both rob and Tim we a bit gutted at having the race won only to lose it due to the lack of a marshall and mechanical but that’s mtbing I suppose.

With the last stage down the valley to Kawai looking like a road race, the kiwis / canadian had a team meeting that night to formulate a plan to try and get back the lost time of stage two. We basically decided to gang up on poor James and see what would happen from there. It was strange really, the vibe for the first two days of the race was all god everyone was mountainbikers and good mates, but as soon as it looked like a road race we all started to show our dark side and got angry. It was all go from the gun of the last stage with Mat going blocks forcing james to chase. Once he was caught Nathan remko and thomas immediately countered and got away. I rode a hard tempo on the first climb and set Tim up perfectly. He attacked and rode across to the break leaving James alone in the bunch to chase by himself. The break put the hammer down and got the gap out to 5 minutes or so before Rob punctured again. Tim, Nathan and Remko continued though and after what seemed like a ultra long 70kms Remko took out the stage followed by Nathan and Tim. Rob recovered from his puncture to take 4th followed by Matt, Felix and myself. It was a tense wait for Tim to see if he had taken back enough time, he needed 10 minutes but james had a strong ride andin the end only condceeded 8 minutes, enough to win the tour. This stage, although short was super intense with attacking all the way to the finish, probably just a hard as the previous day and being at a reasonably high altitude 2600m+ super hard on the lungs. After the stage end we were treated to a superb BBQ put on by the Kawai villagers including the local dellicacy- BBQ’d liver, kind of tasty but still liver. Prizes were presented by the Pakistani minister of tourism and the foundation stone laid for the Kawai school.

Packing the bikes in 30 degree sunshine was a bit of a mission but we were rewarded with BEER! Who knows how these guys got hold of it in a Muslim counrty were alcohol is illegal but it was a bloody good tasting Amstel gold. One slab for each minivan on the way back to islamabad certainly made the first few hours of the van ride back to islamabad go quick, the ration of 3 cans each had us all pretty pissed. Once we were back on the valley highway passed Balokot it was Pakistani van racing at its best once again. Only this time at night and really everyone was too smashed from the racing and the beer to care so we just relaxed and enjoyed the ride as much as we could. Finally back at Khurrams place by the lake at 11pm after a solid 7hours of driving everyone enjoyed some good BBQ naans and curries and of course drinks. Good times really.
The following day was pretty low key… kayaking and water skiing on the lake, a bit of tennis and generaly lounging in 35+ degress before heading back to Islamabad for the official prize giving hosted by the major sponsor Pakistani State Oil. More Tasty local food and drinks to wash it down. Tim was awarded the title Pakitani tourism ambasador to New Zealand for 2007 in conjunction with “visit Pakistan year” we all thought it kind of amusing but they were taking it fully seriously and it seems he’s got some sweet diplomatic priviledges coming his way.
Last day in Islamabad was spent hanging at the markets shopping for souvenirs, and getting photos of guys with guns. Shot guns, AK47’s, pistols, guys with guns everywhere. Strangely american fast food outlets were the most heavily guarded?? Afgani style BBQ was on the menu for diner, again absolutely superb, a meat fest though definitely not for vego’s.
The trip home was bloody long again. Some interesting experiences including being held up on the way to the airport for 30 minutes while the presidential convoy blazed through town – 5 identical big black mercedes sedans at 5 minute intervals with full police escort, apparently to keep the guys who don’t like Musharraf guessing. Rush hour Lahore airport – negotiating the crowds with two bike boxes was a mission, I’m sure I ran over several small children, and arguing with the locals who had snaked the foreign passport que. Singapore – Chinatown for cheap digital watches and chicken noodle soup.

Pakistan was wicked: the kagan valley beautiful, the racing epic and organisation outstanding, food amazing, the locals utlra friendly, a great crew of competitors, an awesome crew of race organisers and officials who went totally next level, islamabad the usual craziness, great parties, good times all round. TOK 2007 is looking all good. A big big thank you to Khurram Khan, and Nathan Dahlberg for going the extra mile with the race organisation, peak fuel for tasty race food, Santa Cruz mountainbikes for the plush ride, and Chalky Digits for super stylie threads.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Newsletter 6 August, NZ Santa Cruz Riders Represent!


Hello All,
It’s finally August
It’s so close to World champs, I can taste it. Mud, sweet and gears, this is the biggest thing in NZ mountain bike history. No excuse’s, just be there, NOT TO BE MISSED!

NZ represented Santa Cruz riders
There is no greater accomplishment for a mountain bike racer than to represent their country in their chosen sport. The World Champs is a BIG deal; racing in the World Champs in your backyard is a rare occasion. The sacrifice and long hours in the saddle have paid off for these kiwi’s and they are going to slip on the black and white, silver ferned lycra and race in the World
Champs. Congratulations to:
Annika Smail; Pro-Elite XC, one of the fastest women in the world and arguably the fastest full suspension racer in the world. Annika had fantastic results in the Swiss & World cup races.
Chelsea Wills; Under 23 XC, A hardcore Auckland racer that has more experience than most of us old folk.
Jenna Makgill; Pro-Elite DH, current national champ and some great results from her racing around the world. Currently overseas, getting that last bit of racing build up before the World Champs. A quick look on her blog shows she won the DH at Avoriaz. jennamakgill.blogspot.com
Lauren Campbell; Pro-Elite DH, 2nd in the national champs, Lauren is also overseas training at the moment too. A very talented DH racer.
Eddie Masters (pictured); Under19 DH, Eddie is the guy to watch. Winning the National champs & Wanaka round, he’s got what it takes to be a winner.
Special mention to Amanda Davies who made the reserve list and a BIG congrat’s to Brenda “Bob” Clapp for getting selected too. Bob has been a “ring in” on the Santa Cruz women’s night race team a few times now.

Beginners Guide to the World Champs
OK, so you are new to this spectating at the World Champs thing, aren’t we all. Here’s some help. Bring……

• Your mountain bike and riding gear, Roto-Vegas has some of the best single- track in the world. You must ride it!
Cow Bells or anything else to make noise with. Nothing that is quiet.
• Lungs, for cheering competitors on.
• List of entrants, so you don’t have to yell “Go Ozzie guy”, you can say “kick arse Rennie”
• Remember this is not a funeral, you are there to motivate everyone.
• More instructions on vorb
• Wear your Santa Cruz T-shirt and/or cap
Decibel to competitor cheering ratio;
• All competitor’s LOUD
• Santa Cruz rider Bloody Loud
• Kiwi competitor Even Louder
• Your local rider Louder still
• Kiwi Santa Cruz rider Loud as!
Use a Cow Bell for extra rider motivation.

Things to do, places to be, Roto-Vegas
• Right, get out to Whakarewarewa forest and hit the trails. “Rude not too”, “Hot Cross buns” and “A-Trial” are my pick.
• Visit the Bike-Vegas Expo, bring us a Jungle coffee, short-black & long-black.
• Coffee and Burger Bagel from Zippies
• Enter the Highlander and Fat Tyre Crit.
• Visit the Syndicate Team and get Peatie’s and Rennie’s autograph
• Get your old Santa Cruz skateboard signed by Rob Roskopp
• Mud pools and hot spa.
• Drink beer with the DH World Champ

It’s still about the Bike
More new Nomads got delivered to owners who are singing praises about the “one” bike. Geeza (Bike-Vegas Supa-dude) and wife Paula have recently got their new Nomads. Geeza got 2nd equal at the 25km N-Duro2, with flat pedals! Paula is pretty pleased with her Nomad too, especially now she has added butterfly stickers. Sandra was lucky enough to get the first small polished Nomad, nice. (She wants stickers too).

NZRide.com
Check out NZRide.com, the new baby from those DH Veterans Aaron Fernandez and Michael “Hammer” Carden, what these boys don’t know about DH racing isn’t worth knowing. It’s LIVE NOW and has MASSIVE Worlds Champs coverage, international and national rider profiles, Voq interview, competitions, ironing, what-not-to wear and pet care.

Gravity Bolivia
Want a job that’s not boring and you get to ride downhill. Gravity Bolivia needs you. Contact eljefe@gravitybolivia.com and check out Gravity Bolivia for more details.

The Village People
If you’re in Richmond go and see the friendly guys at Village Cycles. They are new addition the Hyperformance Hardware extended family. Welcome aboard.
Olie!, Olie!, Olie!, Hoop!, Hoop!, Hoop!
Oh yeah, Spoke out NOW, unofficial edition.