For most of the week I have been operating at about half speed, after an excellent couple of days riding in Rotorua, in the company of Kate Mullarkey and Gaz.
On Saturday Kate and I rode the Rotorua-Taupo 100k Flyer, while Gaz took care of the Nzo stand in the finish at the Taupo Events Centre.
My plan had been to ride Team McCall, the fair weather performance option; but a forecast for rain made me reconsider and refit the guards on the Hurlow. Needless to say the day dawned fine.
Although the course map promised a detour through the Whakarewarewa Forest, we barrelled straight out of town along Highway 5, over a series of draggy uphills that soon showed that I had started with a group that was too fast for me. Eventually I settled into a decent group, where I remained until they unloaded me about 5kms from the finish.
Retro Ride regular Mark Skelly made an appearance in the group somewhere before Reporoa. Despite his 81" fixed being a bit big on the climbs, and too small on some of the tailwind declines, he stayed in the bunch to finish a couple of minutes ahead of me.
With the NZSSC but three weeks away, it would have been madness not to ride in the Whakarewarewa Forest, so Sunday morning saw the three of us at the Waipa Mill carpark for a couple of hours singlespeeding.
We weren't alone- in the carpark we met Mike Metz, lately moved to Rotorua to start Bike Culture with Rob Smail, and Zib Campbell who for years kept Nzo on an even keel. Their posse had gears and were heading for the high ground, so we bid them adieu and made for singlespeed compatible territory.
Gaz took us through various Pondies and the Yellow Brick Road, while keeping up a running commentary on trail conditions and world affairs. The only time either of us got close was when I banged my front tyre squarely into his back tyre, tipping myself head first off the low side of the trail.