My MTB Journey 6 March to 5 April

I haven’t posted any of my random, rambling musings recently. Here goes if anyone is interested. I haven’t cracked the best time I set way back in December, but I am generally well under 1 hour and 15 minutes, except if it is very wet. I put a new rear tyre on after this morning’s ride which is more aggressive than the stock option. I wonder what the response from that will be.

The other discovery I have made recently was that the stop watch on my smart phone gives me a quicker time than Strava on rides through the bike park. The times were pretty similar on a longer road ride I did on Saturday morning. I suspect the disparity is related to Strava losing connection in some areas of the park. Strava uses GPS to set the time while the watch is connect to the phone/mobile network and is just a simple timer.

6 March Just under 76 minutes. 1.15.46 minutes. Conditions were great and I felt pretty good. However, I got a puncture at about the halfway stage which took ages to deal with. It was dark, luckily I have taken to wearing a helmet mounted light which helped and managed to get the tyre off the bead without too much trouble. I think I picked up something sharp somewhere. Hopefully I poked it out enough for it to fall away but its pretty hard to tell in the dark.

Unfortunately, I think I bent the valve so will probably have to replace the new tube, luckily the lockdown ends tomorrow so I can go and get some spares.

7 March. A touch over 81 minutes. 1.21.07. I kept an eye on the weather but it was wetter than I thought this morning and quite sloppy in some places. A few minutes quicker than last Tuesday though. It started to drizzle as I took off down the drive, but I decided to carry  on. Yesterday I pumped the tyres up to quite a high pressure to provide less friction but it has come at the expense of traction which made the roots a bit of a challenge and the front washed out a couple of times. I came as close to having a real decent spill as I have had for a long time, right at the end of the track as it hits the main trail  Luckily I managed not to have a decent high side. Looking at the rear tyre this evening, I’m going to need a new one pretty soon.

For the second day in a row I saw someone else in the park, I think he or she must have been on an E bike as they were headed up the bridal trail. It also looked like someone else was out for a ride earlier than me. Might have been the same person.

Its a long way from my best times.

9 March 73 minutes and change. 1.13.10. Eight minutes better than Sunday morning and my third best time ever. Its an interesting position to feel a bit dissatisfied with this time as I felt I was riding pretty strongly. I did  get held up by some runners in one section but that wouldn’t have slowed me down too much. Nine minutes faster than a similar date last week.

Third fastest time on Pony Express, second on Anaconda and a PR on Four Gullies, so I still need to work on the first section still as that is where the gains are. My average speed was 0.1km/hr slower than my best time.

Conditions were really good, and I have reduced the pressure slightly in my tyres so there was plenty of traction and no issues on the rooty sections and the really slippery bits.  The rear felt a little odd but it has led to improved traction.

The biggest news today is the fall out from an interview between the Sussex’s and Ophra Winfrey. As an outsider looking in, and without watching it, it sounds like its a poor little rich boy and his entitled wife wanting to air their dirty laundry in public. It looks like they wanted to ‘serve’ on their terms but this wasn’t acceptable to the rest of the family so they decided to throw their toys out of the cot and leave the family firm instead of trying to work on a solution that would satisfy everyone. Family ructions like this are not uncommon, but they are far more public for the Royal Family because it sells papers.

13 March 72 and a half minutes. 1.12.29. Second best time ever by 4 seconds, 4 minutes better than roughly the same date last year. Pretty pleased with myself. Managed some better times on the first section of the ride which is where I need to focus, but still need to work harder.

We have been away for a few days, a road trip to Taupo, via Raglan to visit the olds and then across to Napier for the night. Lots of driving but t was good to get out of the big smoke.

Auckland has gone back to lockdown level two just in time for me to go back to work next week. It looks a bit messy to be fair and we’re going top have to look at new ways of doing things. We talk a lot about the customer but we’re actually pretty inward focused. Its going to take some hard work to turn the ship around. Brendon Main will be stamping his mark on the business in the next few months, I wonder if I will still fit ion there somewhere. Only time will tell.

We’re  also working on getting Joyce back to work. Have had  meeting with the Stroke Foundation and the PSA and will meet with her boss on the 22nd.

19 March 73 minutes and change. 1.13.30. Not what I was aiming for but I’ll take it for a warmish Friday afternoon. I stopped briefly to check my rear tyre and got stung by something as well, and stopped to hold the exit gate at the end of the ride for some other riders to pass through. Not that I am using this as an excuse, but 10 seconds here and 20 seconds there add up, especially when you’re only looking for 180 odd seconds. I have been feeling a bit off this week as well, not using that as an excuse either. Back to work blues, and I have been eating shit food all week. Three minutes better than the same day this time last year. In another week or so it is the anniversary of the lockdown and I didn’t ride in the park for a month and discovered riding around the roads.

I did a bit of analysis and I was right on target for the first half of the ride, the stoppages/delays were on the second half of the circuit, I lost the time the last quarter to be exact. I’m going to have another crack this afternoon or in the morning.

We’ll be going through a restructure soon and I have had some i sights into what it looks like. Given that we are developing new automated sites which will drive new ways of working, there is a big transformation piece of work, so I think we’ll see a reshaping of teams- more people not less, its a matter of where to fit in.

I’m 59 next month and I have been thinking about the future and retirement so the thought of redundancy doesn’t concern me too much, though I am sure I would be emotional about it. If all goes according to plan I should be in a financial position to retire early with an income from our housing projects. But I still want to work and feel useful for a while or have something fulfilling to do. I have also thought it would be good to do something different before I actually retire, as long as health and any other issues don’t intervene. I am not sure exactly what I’d like to do, but freeing up some time to focus on the great Nzild novel would be good.

I have to acknowledge that I am luckier than many people as I have choices.

21 March 72 and a half minutes. 1.12.26 a mere 2 seconds off my best time, done almost all in the dark. I felt pretty strong and was tracking slightly better than I actually was. Still managed several personal records on various segments but I still don’t seem to be able to put that perfect effort together. Conditions are excellent. I am going to try and ride at least once before work, if conditions are good. My lights are sufficient and I have a new one on the way somewhere between the US and here.

26 March 73 minutes and change. 1.13.11. Pretty good for an afternoon when its a bit warm and better than this time last week. This  time last year we were in lockdown and no more riding in the park for a few weeks.

My most remarkable discovery today was that the stop watch on my watch gave me a better time than Strava. I know what time I want to record but for consistencies sake I need to stick with Strava’s time which is a little disappointing as  I though I was going smash my best time.

I have had a look online and it appears that the auto pause function might be slow to kick in again and reconnect to the GPS satellites at slow speeds and there are spots I have to stop, e.g to open and close the odd gate. I have turned it off and I’ll see if that makes a difference

Only a couple of achievements today, but overall speed is pretty consistent.  I’m going to have a real crack over the next  week or so and after

Easter I will extend my circuit by 10 or 15 minutes.

28 March 74 and a half minutes. My slowest time for a while. 1.14.27. An Average speed of 13.5 km/hr vs 13.7 on Friday and 13.8 for my best ride. Not sure why because I felt pretty good and conditions were excellent. Maybe its the impact of the beersies I drank last night. I also changed the pause settings for strava because I assumed it would give me the actual elapsed time after comparing the strava time with the stop watch. I didn’t use the stop watch function today so can’t compare today’s times. Before I revert to the default setting I’ll compare the times again using the stop watch. It could well be that the time this morning is the actual time. Its there or thereabouts anyway.

Looking at the data, I was a bit slower through the first half of the ride. My top speed, rolling down the hill was a km slower and my half way split was just over a minute slower than Friday night. The other thing that I noted was that the start time I took off my watch was a minute ahead of the time Strava reported, which means that on the first leg I was over a minute slower than I thought I was. I was slow through the second quarter  as well. In other words, going off the time on my phone (which is mounted on my handlebars) I wasn’t hitting the splits. The time check I was working off was 5.46 possibly closer to 5.47, when in fact it was 5.45. I suspect these times might be slightly different given the phone and watch use the mobile networks to set the time and Strava uses GPS satellites. 

The upshot is that I believed I was target for a time close to 72 and a half  minutes, if not better, but was actually  2 minutes slower. Bugger. I just need to focus on going faster!

It was dark for the full ride. I have a pretty good headlight, but I have ordered a new one which will provide me with more confidence. I want to get into the rhythm of riding once a week before work, and maybe work from home for a few hours on the day I do this.  I am using Serfras lights and have upgraded over the last few years. The more powerful models are no longer stocked here for some reason and you can’t buy direct from the manufacturer. I bought one from an online store in the US via Amazon but it looks as though its lost as there is no scanning. This is a first for me. So I have order another from an Australian site. No doubt I will end up with two lights. I’ll try and sell one on trademe if that happens. I want to stick with the Serfras product because I have a range of settings and bits and bobs. Dumb I know.

The lights I am using at the moment are actually pretty good, sufficient for safe riding but In have a strange anxiety about riding before work in the dark, which I don’t have on the weekend. Now I will have no excuse. Famous last words.

1 April 77 and  a bit minutes, 1.17.16. Not too bad considering it was pretty wet for two thirds of the ride. I am not sure how accurate that time is. Because it was wetter than usual I had a lot of trouble unlocking my phone when It stopped. The stop watch was 1.16.16. Either or, it was a good time given the conditions for three quarters of the ride. It has been wet for the last few days, when I took off it wasn’t raining, the tracks were actually pretty good, maybe a little tacky, but it started drizzling as I completed the first quarter and from then on I was a minute slower than target and as it got wetter I lost a bit of traction. I took it easy on the bridges, cattle stops, and some of the muddier sections, and I had to stop a couple of times to shoo cattle off the track.

All in all I  am pretty pleased with myself. The tread on my rear tyre is looking a bit tired. If I was racing I’d have swapped it out a long time ago, I’d probably been quicker today with a better tyre. After today the weather is looking pretty good so I am planning at least two rides over the weekend and will change the tyre on Monday, Monday being a holiday.

We’re in the middle of a restructure at work, there will be a swapping of the deckchairs at the GM level and my bosses boss might be looking for a new job. He is on secondment and has really struggled with the leadership component of the role. Watch this space.

Biggest news today is that Joyce goes back to  work next week on a graduated back to work plan.  I could write more but I have had a beer. Its quite strong.


3 April. I did the long road circuit with a wee teak. I don’t think I have done this ride on a Saturday before, there was quite a bit of traffic on the road.

I cut a section out of the first harbourside pathway, it ends at the Weymouth Rugby Club and there always seems to be people drinking in the area, so I cut that section out. 

There were a few people out walking on the second pathway and I spooked a dog when I came up a woman walking her dog. I normally give people a wide birth, but there’s often not much point calling out as most people wander along with their headphones in listening to music.

The ride takes just under 2 hours, but I reckon I expend more energy on my MTB circuit. I am aiming to ride both tomorrow and Monday, given its a holiday, and whack a new rear tyre on.

I’ll see how I go. Depends on whether I have any beersies tonight. I felt a little seedy yesterday morning. Based on this morning the phone and Strava seem in synch.

5 April a touch under 73 minutes according to Strava. 1.12.46. According to my stopwatch I was almost exactly a minute quicker. I know which time I want to record. However, for consistencies’  sake I need to stick with Strava. I have loaded the Strava app on my watch so maybe I will use that and see if there is a difference. I am assuming the difference is that my phone must lose signal in some of the gullies for a moment or two.

Still I’m happy with the time, the tracks are in good nick. I didn’t manage to ride yesterday morning, the longer effort on Saturday seemed to take more out of me than I thought. With daylight saving over for another year its light earlier again and I am going to have a good crack at riding at least once a week before work. I’ll see how that goes.

After bacon and eggs for breakfast this morning,  assuming if there is any left, I’m going to have a good crack at controlling my diet and lose some weight. I have been eating crap. Even just doing something different for lunch would be a good start. This has been a mantra of mine for ages, time to implement. I’ll backslide, but all I am after is doing the right thing most of the time.

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