Damage Report: Taupo Tapout 2

Apparently there are quite a few little sharp bits on my new polo bike. It also does not turn quite as tight as the old one. The concrete in Taupo turns out to be pretty tough but I wasn’t about to give up the fight.

I now have two nicely busted up knees. Road rash covering most of my right elbow. Half a dozen cuts on my legs and some quite tender ribs. Oh, and I seem to have misplaced a largish bit of skin from my left big toe (How?!?).

Once again, Taupo Tapout was a huge success and the T-Town boys pulled it off without breaking a sweat despite the fact that one volcano had already erupted and a second was threatening to.

My trip started last Wednesday. 4am to ride to the airport and get checked in at Sydney which is notoriously fickle. I got threw mostly okay but my well loved passport is being called into question more and more. To the degree this time that I was offered an on the spot refund as she was convinced New Zealand would not let me in. The ride into Auckland was as unpleasant as last time, except I was on a smaller gearing so it took 2 hours.

I stayed with a friend in Auckland who lived in one of the coolest communal houses I’ve ever been to. I’ve lived in a couple communal houses that couldn’t touch this with a poo covered stick. Good people, good food and an overall sense of social responsibility.  Played some pickup that night, out for drink, repeat Thursday with beach and riding around Auckland.

Headed for Taupo Friday morning with some of the Auckland polo crew. Nice drive and stopped in, sorry to make you jealous, Hobbiton. Friday night pickups in T-Town and partied back at the hall.

The post tourny shenanigans is what really makes the Tapout of the best. Thermal springs in the river, thermal springs in the lake and all a close ride across town. And since there has been so much volcanic activity lately the lake was especially nice. Or probably just by comparison to gale force winds of last year.

Thats all I got. I’m hurt, I’m outta here. Posts coming soon, new touring bike, plans for Tasmania tour next month, next years NZ tour and a stupid plan to get one more stamp in my passport.

 

Sydney-Brisbane Tour Wrap Up

I finished up my tour last Thursday clocking in just around 1110km bringing me to about 5975km in Australia since march. Because I broke my Shogun several months ago I ended up doing this ride on a Surly Long Haul Trucker let to me by a friend. I’ve noodle around on a couple of these bike before but never really like it. I found it to be too long causing me to be stretched out and not handling well. Big difference where that they where closer to my size (58cm) and 700c wheels. This one was too small (54cm) and had 26″ inch wheels. With a straight seat post and a longer stem (130mm) it was amazingly confortable and handled very nicely.

Back in mid-April right when I hit the Nullarbor I had a massive rash of flats from some defective tubes. No matter how well I patched them the holes would keep opening up on either side of the patch. As if this was not bad enough none of the small towns had 700c tubes except maybe the occasion schrader. So I have already been thinking of 26″ wheels simply for the availability of tubes. I think the ideal setup would be 26″ rims with schrader holes plugged with presta adapters.

This tour I also was using Ortlieb Front-Roller Classics rather than double Back-Rollers like I used last time. These handled headwind much better and helped prevent my over packing…. which I still managed.

I think I will be building myself a Trucker pretty soon and using my current project (Hagen Wechsel) frame as a lightweight short distance tourer. This bike just worked out so well for me. Thanks Donny!

And another thing.. any thoughts on the more frequent shorter posts I did along the way? I found it to be a big easier compared to bulk updates every couple of days or week(s).

BOooom! Day one complete

Finished up with around 115km not making it quite as far as I wanted but needed to stop. I was frantically setting up camp with a massive thunderstorm approaching. I managed to have dinner nearly done before the crazy downpour. Ended up a bit wet do to bad hammock setup but not to bad.

Future Polo Frankfurt

Made it out to “Future Polo” last night. Future polo is about getting back to the roots of polo with casual games with most people playing on the commuters or local couriers on their work bikes. It was fun playing without taking too seriously but did get some good placement and passing practice. Also getting some beers in the chatting with some old and new friends. Leaving for Karlsruhe this afternoon and super excite to meet up with my brother!

Arena Bike Polo “Creamy” Shafts

San Francisco local bike polo player Chris Arena has created some very nice custom shafts and heads under the name Arena Bike Polo. We have been talking for quite some time, in fact before he ever received the shafts or I even had moved to Australia about getting a load over here to sell. Shipping things to Australia is very expensive so it made sense to have a large quantity sent here then sold in the country to keep shipping costs down. After some efforts a decently inexpensive but fast shipper was found.

Introducing…. “Creamy” Shafts!

"Creamy" Shafts
"Creamy" Shafts

These should be arriving by the end of the month and I will begin shipping right after the start of June, right after returning from Christchurch for the Winter Wack III.

Even with finding a decently shipper it is still quite expensive. So the pricing will be slightly higher than buying from Arena in the US but will still be dramatically lower on shipping costs. Pricing will be as follows.

  • $18 per shaft.
  • $16 for 3 or more
  • $14 for 10 or more

I’m encouraging local clubs to do group buys, you will get them for cheaper and save on shipping. I will start taking orders right now and taking payments just before shipping will commence. Order HERE!

I will also be bring as many as I can to the Winter Whack if they arrive in time.

Whack on friends!

Wanda?

Yeah, I Wanda how long it will last.

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I picked this tire up a couple of weeks ago after tearing my front tire open (again) on a dirt descend. Never heard of the brand but had a nice fat Made in China on the side. I liked the profile but the rubber looked questionable. It lasted a lot longer than I expected but over the last couple of days I notice the rubber was wearing quickly. Thought it would still get me home but today it start opening in two spots! I was just about to pull off in Goulburn to invesgtigate the noise when the tube blew. Derp. New tires, ready to roll. Two more days to Sydney.

Tedious bits done

The last couple of weeks have been a bit on the nitty gritty side. Basically since leaving Port Augusta I’ve been riding on the highway. I decided on Sunday I would head east rather than back up north to Adelaide. I wanted to camp at the Gampians but the thought of going further from Sydney wasn’t a very desirable one. After I picked up a map of Victoria I discover huge amount of parklands to the east. East it was then. I’m in Orbost, Vic now and about to start heading north. Sadly the nice weather didn’t hold out and I will be seeing rain in the next couple of days. Maybe even snow at the top of the climb. Over the next couple of days I’m going to ride a meager 170km, riding short days then camping and hopefully some hiking. Next major stop is Camberra sometime next week.

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Melbourne Autumn Tourament

Three years after having my first tourny in Australia I have finally made it back to Melbournes lovely Flagstaff Gardens for another fantastic weekend of polo. Brook flew down from Sydney and I arrived Thursday morning after taking the train from Horsham (more on on why I was on the train later). I ran some errands Thursday & Friday. Stopping by Jetnikoff Bicycle co. to chat with William about building me up a loaner polo bike. We slapped it together Friday evening before I headed off with Rob Moss and enjoyed some of his fine homebrew while he got stuff together for the tourny. Then off to a party for one of the local players moving to Tokyo. Upon arrive at the party we immediately began heckling Benee to play with us and before even saying yes the smile on his face said it for him. Morgan, Brook & Benee: The Dog Particle.

We started Saturday morning off like being shot out of a still drunk particle accelerator. Despite all my efforts to be as hung over as possible it seemed nothing could upset the Particle.  7 games, 7 wins. The Dogaverse seemed unstoppable.

Sunday started off oddly. There was something missing…. maybe that rhythmic pounding in my head that is usually the cadence at which I stumble through a tournament. Had gotten a good nights sleep done me in? Naaaahh, we did just fine.
First game was against The Narwhals. Poor DFL team, but they had good spirits about it.
Next up was Polo Beer. Bart still being a bit sore that we got Benee. Took them down as if The Dog Particle did not even know what physics was.
Then Melbourne WAnchor (I kid, I kid). We decided to get hella(!) pumped for this match. Threw on some Gamma Ray right before the start and I was off. Sadly my break could not seem to keep up with me. We where all over the place and got slapped down for it. 5-1 Anchor I think. Ouch.
This dropped us into the “Not Winners” bracket and we played Seagull Archy? They explained what it meant many times but I don’t think anyone got it. It just confirmed for me lefties have no souls (love ya!) and… I aint afraid of no lefty bullshit.
This is the part were we where in the final. The Dog Particle v. Melbourne Anchor. This was probably my favorite game of the tourny even though we lost. 3-5 but it was a fight. An enjoyable one at that. Probably should have heckled more. meh.

Great tournament once again. Thanks to Rob, Sam, Robbie, Belle and everyone else who helped out. Thanks to Benee for joining the Dogaverse, cannot wait for WWIII in June.

Progress so far

My original intention of writing daily on the phone/touchpad and post when I had WiFi access. This didn’t work out as I had intended. Once in my tent and fed the last thing I wanted to do was hold my phone up and write about the day. Also WiFi barely exists out here. I’m at a public library right now.

Instead I’ve been taking notes each day about the day before and will compose those into a proper log. For now I’m going to breifly write about each day so far.

Day 1. Perth to ?
58.18km
Left Perth around 2pm. It was hot. Traffic sucked. Climbing. Once I hit the turn off for Great Southern Highway at The Lakes it was quite nice riding. I was out of the climb, there was more shade less traffic and generally nicer. Pulled off early, around 530 and made camp. All was well.

Day 2 ? to York to Quariding
104.57km
2 front flats early in the day. Tear in the sidewall. Slow going to York but cruised after that. Stayed in Quariding but had a shit nights sleep. A party of Irish pavers broke out outside my window and I havne’t a clue what time.

Day 3 Quariding to Somewhere east of Merredin
141.65km
No notes. Must have been a good day

Day 4 14km east of Merredin to east of Yellowdine
145.40km
In an effort to make a big bush I decided after eating in Southern Cross I could make it past Yellowdine at the least. I grabbed 2 grilled cheese there so I could ride to the last light and setup camp without worrying about the stove a cooking. Twilight lasts quite a long some and I’ve still not been able to time setting up camp perfectly. Thats okay, just means I can read while I eat.

Day 5 East of Yellowdine to Coolgardie
137.05km
Big day with nothing in between. Decided I would opt out of my only water station to see what I was going through. It was hot today too. 30C. I used to almost all my water. Will add 3L before hitting the Nullabor.

Day 6 Coolgardie NOT to Norseman
120.15km
Suck fest. Don’t want to talk about it.

Day 7 Suckfest to Norseman
49.someodd km
Still pissed from yesterday, casual ride, stopped a lot and took pictures. There where a lot of really big really dry lakes. Made it to Norseman a little after 11 and promply found the pub. After this going to stock up and get a room there. Going to try to leave early tomorrow for a big push.