Monday, December 31, 2007

Tangle With Electric Fence

I enjoyed most of the MTB course we rode on Thursday night. There were bits removed and bits added on from last year and I think it is a better course.

All was going well for me until I missed an arrow and found myself heading for an electric fence gate on Roger's farm. I hit the brakes and skidded up to the gate, went slowly onto my front wheel, teetered at the point of balance for a few seconds and tumbled over the handle bars. Unfortunately the bike stayed north of the electric fence and I ended up south of the fence still locked into my pedals. As the top of my head hit the ground the first of three electric jolts surged through my body as I maniacally screamed and kicked to free myself. I rode well from there.

The adrenalin from the electric shock masked the neck pain. Over the next few hours my neck stiffened and 4 days later it is still very sore and I am about 2 inches shorter! Might see a doctor if not OK by thursday, which is when we race the course again.

Three snapper off Maraenui Beach last night while BBQing at Maraenui Clubhouse! Hooked again.

Weather is like those childhood summers. Having a great relax and looking forward to a couple more weeks.

Have a safe and happy new year. Nga mihi i te tau hau!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Blue Mountain Blitz

On Sunday before Xmas a few of the crew biked from my place and did the Greenhorns ride in the Blue mountains. I couldn't go because of my leg, but they had such a blast that we organised another ride for Boxing Day and I joined in - no problems with the leg!

It's such a cool ride and the rain over Xmas night made the slippery clay and pine needles downhill even more fun. There were no major falls. The ride back out up the Mangakirikiri with a little extra water in it was a blast. We were all hitting the crossings at pace with Chris, Brian, Ellen taking a swim each. It was good to see Brian's brand new Giant XT2 getting all wet and muddy! Peter had a great ride, twice leaving his bike for a short flight into the mud or scrub. Lea had a technically confidence-boosting ride in the tricky bits, though I did see her put her foot down at least once in the creek.

While having coffee and muffins Leigh, Shirley and Tina then set out with Tina doing our ride and Leigh and Shirley turning around at "the big puddle".

Tonight we have the first of the Thu evening MTB races at Woodlands so should have plenty to tell you soon! The firshing tournament is on at Mararnui this Sat as well, so get out there and support the kura.

See ya!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Xmas

Hello conscientious readers. I haven't done a post for weeks and it has been heartening to see that at least three people have asked me why there has been no postings. There are readers out there!

Been very, very busy. Unfortunately it has all been mainly work with little adventuring going on. That is all about to change. Lea and I are both in the Round Taupo relay which will be a real test of the Code of Silence. We are also part of Barry's 24hour adventure team!! I haven't done much fitness stuff over last 6 weeks but will get into it soon. Have had a minor leg operation and should be running /cycling by end of next week.

Hope everyone has a great summer and gets involved in some neat adventures.

We have had a wonderful year at school.

Our touch team represented the Waikato/BOP region at Nationals where they finished third in NZ and had thre members, Tutere, Shayla and Te Hata, named in the World Youth Cup Academy squad. Our Young Enterprise Scheme Company Kei Te Pai once again represented our region at the Nationals. Katarina was named MWWL Intermediate Girls Whaikorero National Champion, our Community Cadet Unit won the right to represent the Northern Region at the National Skills tournament and then won that tournament to be crowned top cadet unit in the country, our Kapa Haka team, Kura ki Uta, took out the Mataatua Regional Secondary School Kapa Haka tournament and will be at the Nationals next year, Year 13 student Steven was named NZ U18 Body Boarding Tour Champion, our Cricket 1st XI claimed for the first time and still holds the Challenge Trophy, 9 of our touch players are off to represent Mataatua at the Maori touch nationals, Opotiki College students were members of the Opotiki Surf Life Saving Club which was awarded the London Trophy for their attaining the highest level of lifesaving awards, Year 11 student, Turoa, was awarded a William Wallace Award in Wellington for overcoming hardship and turning his life around, Year 11 student Matthew attended the Australian Junior National Wheelchair Championships, entered 8 events and got 8 medals, the Girls 1st XI Soccer team won the Pullar Cup for the first time, our 1st XV had a very successful tour to Australia, Mania and Sam represented East Coast and Waiariki at Youth Parliament, Rkanoid made the regional finals of the Smokefree Rockquest, three students, Dylan, Te Amo and Te Hata, were selected in the New Zealand U17 Rugby side and 9 students have attended Outward Bound.

What a great school!

Keep checking the blog.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

All Seven Children

Originally uploaded by m0rehu.
It's such a rare moment I thought I had better post this one separately.

Edith's (Nana) Tangi

Originally uploaded by m0rehu.
Edith passed away on 30 October and was buried at Taupo on 3 November. This photo shows Adrian and Eryn (with Alex), Thomas and Lucy, Jonathan (obscured) and Bruce carrying her from the service.

It was a moving service which captured Nana's life well.

If you go to Flickr you will see more photos including a rare moment whn all 7 children are together. This may have been the first time in over 25 years.

Grade 2 Kayaking at Aniwhenua

Originally uploaded by m0rehu.
Here's Sykesie going over the falls. What a great weekend with Kurt and Sykesie and 2 of his mates gaining our grade 2 kayaking certificate. We camped at Aniwhenua for 2 nights and did 3 great runs down the Rangitaiki.

We all had some fall outs on the first run. Kurt nailed a roll and I nailed it so well I went right over!

The second run of the day was the best as we were assessed on rescue, throwbags and tipping out at the top of rapids and surviving to the bottom.

Sykesie chose a 200m rapid with huge waves and corkscrews and told me to fall out and get to the bottom with all equipment. Very scary but hugely exhilirating.

Another night of beers and talk and we had one more run on the Sunday. Not many photos because of water etc but go to Flickr to see.

One of the best adventure weekends I have ever had. Thanks Sykesie.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Opotiki College Kapa Haka Success

Originally uploaded by m0rehu.
Opotiki College Kapa Haka, Kura ki Uta, are the 2007 Mataatua Regional Secondary School Champions and will compete at the Nationals in Wellington in 2008.

The event was hosted by Opotiki College and our group represented their school whanau, hapu and iwi proudly and performed a magnificent programme to the highest level.

In assembly today I was able to acknowledge the fine work of their tutors, Hemi and Paula Pirihi, and their support crew and the continued outstanding support and guidance given by DP Robyn Abraham-Harris. I was also able to acknowledge the great organisation put in place by DP Hone Green, who led the committee that organised the event. It was also great to take the opportunity to thank the staff of the College who provided awesome background support.

These young people set a high goal and, more importantly, showed the discipline and determination to succeed. We are very proud of them.

Restorative Justice Conference

Originally uploaded by m0rehu.
This is the view from the conference venue, Twin Waters Resort, on the Sunshine Coast in Australia. The venue was great and the conference itself was inspiring.

I attended workshops on Evaluation and Research of Restorative Practices, A School's Journey, The Role of RJ in Engaging Students and Overcoming Barriers to Implementation.

I soon came to realise that there are a small group of New Zealand Secondary Schools that are leading the way globally in implementing restorative practices; and that Opotiki College is one of them.

I still found a great deal to learn to build on our practices.

More photos are on flickr.

The face says it all!

Originally uploaded by m0rehu.
Click here to see a series of photos of me, lea and Tina who all competed as individuals.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Motu Challenge 2007

Congratulations to Lea who completed her first ever solo Motu coming in comfortably under 11 hours. There, that's out of the way, now it's about me!

There will be more to follow, especially when I upload the photos, so this is just a short post. I'm off to Aussie tomorrow so there might be a little wait before the next exciting post.

I had never trained better and more consistently (181 days in a row yesterday) and was certain that I would go close to my PB of 10hrs 18 set when I was a much younger early 40s! The MTB was going really well and seemed quite effortless. It took me just under 32 mins to climb Meremere which is my fastest ever and I was in a good group with Dr Kerr and Trevor Standen. Then I got a puncture and the bloody rims on my bike (ask Hedley) meant it took 12 minutes to change the tyre. Huge thanks to Ross Steele who interrupted his race to help. Thanks mate. It was heartbreaking to see Lea and Tina and other superstars go past. I biked in a pretty grumpy fashion to Motu in about 3 19. I was aiming for 3.10 and honestly felt that without the puncture I could have gone quite close to 3 hrs.

The run was agony. The only highlight was finally catching Lea at the Falls Bridge and then picking up Kelvin Harford who was in one of the school teams. Took about 1 40 on the run plus a few minutes in the transition. My support crew of Leigh, Lucy and Kurt were awesome because I was a bit low at the end of the run. I knew that despite the puncture I still could have had a shot at my PB if it wasn't for the wind that I knew was waiting for me at Matawai.

I biked quite strongly (despite cramp kicking in a few times) but found the wind very tough and a bit scary in places - actually getting blown off the tarmac at one stage and almost coming to a halt 3/4 way up Traffords. I picked up Trevor Standen again and we completed the stage together. The full leg took 1.59 so I suppose with transition time I was in the low 1.50s.

Into the waka. The river was great and some of the rapids were quite gnarley. Lots of people in fast boats were tipping out. I caught Trevor after he tipped and he went past again and then had another swim. Fortunately for me while he was chasing me he hit a rock and tipped again. Kurt had to haul me out of the waka at the end and I had a strong cycle and run to hit about 10.24 which is 6 minutes outside my best!!!!!****&&&%%$

Big thanks to Kurt, Leigh and Lucy who kept me going. Thanks again to Ross and to the many locals who took part. It was great seeing everyone congratulating each other etc.

Jan and his crew came from Hamilton and did quite well, though I didn't get much of a chance to catch up with them later. Jan about 3.30 on MTB, Tasha about 1.40 on the run and Ross abou 1.35 on bike (then he rode to end of kayak). I didn't catch Richard's kayak time but I think he smoked it.

Photos to come.

Oh yeah. Well done again, Lea. I might let you put your own posting on.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

175 days in a row which includes a swim!

Thomas turned 21 last week so Leigh, Sam, Lucy and I went over to Hamilton on Friday and took him out to tea where we had fine Thai and a few too many beers. He really liked his pounamu - one from Lucy and another from the rest of us.

Came back on Saturday to find Lea had had a good day up the Motu. She MTBed up in about 3.30 and then ran from the Motu Falls Bridge in about 1 26. This would give her about a 2hr run which is great after the MTB and considering her 2 weeks of flu. The boss did a great job looking after her.

On Sunday after the devastating rugby!!!!!! Lea and Andrew biked up to Oponae and then Lea and I paddled the full course. The river was good at about 1.7 but there was a strong head wind all of the way. Lea made it down without swimming which gives her an average now of 3.4 swims per paddle. 17 on the first and then none since.

I made her day by falling out. In an ttempt to avoid running in to her I cut out of the white water through the eddy and flipped. It made her day. My average is now 0.2!!!!

We were stoked to paddle in a fraction over 2 hr 30!!

Predictions for the day:

Lea 11hr (3.15, 2hrs, 1.55, 2.50, 20min, 20min + 20 min transitions)

Maurie 10hr 25 (3.10, 1.35, 2hrs, 2.40, 20min, 20min +20min transitions).

There! That's setting me up for a fall!

175 days in a row today.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Didn't Fall Out But We Bailed Out

After a hard day's training and feasting the day before (see previous post) Hedley, Lea and I with Marg's support headed out to paddle the Waioweka. The river was at about 1.7 so there was quite a good flow and we were looking forward to a good time.

There was a little bit of drizzle just after the start but we pressed on and enjoyed the better water flow. The rain and wind kept getting heavier and stronger and for those of us without wetsuits it was getting colder and colder. Our highlight was passing a group of six paddlers in flash boats with two of them in the water while we charged through the rapids!!

As we reached the gravel pit the rain and wind got stronger and we decided to bail out. There will be many versions of how we came to that decision. Lea will claim that the boys whimped out. An alternative worth considering is that the decision was made to ensure our recovering co-competitor didn't make her flu return. Most will find this version difficult to accept because how could someone suggest something so supportive when they were badly let down the day before by said recovering co-competitor (see previous post).

Pete from Auckland also bailed out and we were able to cart him down to the bottom of the paddle.

Training will be quite low key now so not too tired on the day.

We're off to Te Kaha for 3 day's break then to Hamilton to have dinner on Friday with Thomas who turns 21 tomorrow.

Jan and Dave "I'm not much of a runner!!"

Jan and Dave visited from Hamilton to do some Motu training this weekend. We sussed each other out over a few beers on Friday night and then set off for a big day on Saturday.

After watching Tonga fall to the Poms the boss, Jan, Dave and myself headed off on the MTB course. On the Whitikau Dave and I got a bit of a jump on the other two. Just before Dave dropped me he asked me waht my strongest discipline was and I foolishly said running to which he replied "I'm not much of a runner." I thought nothing more of that.

I should've been suspicious when he not only dropped me but after getting to the end rode back to meet me 500m from the finish!!

It was another fantastic ride on 3hrs 9min! There were many other riders and one guy had a fall after hitting a weka. He bloodied his knees but we hope the weka is OK.

Lea had driven up to meet us as she was still out with the flu. She drove us to the Motu Falls and Jan Dave (I'm not much of a runner) and I started the run in the bush. Dave and I dropped Jan who bailed out and headed back without telling us. We waited for 15 min at end of the bush before other runners telling us he had gone back.

With that Dave (I'm not much of a runner) and I loped off with 5k to go. From that point Dave floated on and disappeared into the distance. The only consolation was that he did not run back to meet me after he had finished!

Lea and I then road biked from Matawai. Of course, I was a bit shagged by this point and there was a howling gale as a head wind. And of course Lea was as fresh as daisies not having trained for over a week.

She dropped me on the first hill and when I caught up I gave her a little test. I told her to go on and not wait for me. After having looked after her for several months of training I fully expected a response of "No we'll stick together and I'll pull you through." Her response was "OK" and took off!!!! Test failed.

For the next 1 1/2 hours I slogged manfully and lonely into the head wind!!!!

I got over my disappointment by having a spa, a few beers, a BBQ of venison etc with Pete and Lea, Marg The Boss, Jan, Dave )I'm not much of a runner), Dad, Hedley and Teleri and old Mad dog Telfer and Faith.

Have to go and have a coffee at 2Fish now so I'll let you know about the Sunday paddling in the next post.

All of the above is true.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sausages at Matawai

Sunday saw the Boss, Kerr and I do the Motu MTB ride in very good conditions. Little wind, slight drizzle; just a little bit of sticky mud. The big shame was Lea succumbing to the flu and not being able to take part. She actually took the day off work on Friday!

I was wrapt with my time of 3hr 10 which is my second fastest behind my race day of 3hr 8. It was good to establish some time marks - 2 hrs to top of Papamoa, 2 11 to small ford before last big climb and 3 hrs to top of last hill. I'll keep them in mind. Kerr finished only a few minutes back with the Boss a little further back. We had to chase Kerr out of the Women's toilets but this is pretty minor behaviour from him.

We were met at Motu by Kurt and Agnes. Kurt and I ran the course from the Falls Bridge. It took me 70 minutes which equates to about 1 hr 35 for the full run. In the meantime Kerr took off road cycling and I haven't heard how he got on. We never caught him because we stopped at Matawai where I consume TWO!!!! fried sausages, washed them down with a long black and the followed up with a Magnum Icecream for pudding! Perfect!

It was a pretty tough day but if I can do 3 10 on the MTB and follow that up with 1.35 on the run (and then hang on from then) on the day I should go close to my best time of 10hrs 18min.

Soory there is a lot about me, me, me in this post but I'm not like these other fellows who like to keep their times secret!!

I'm expecting a crew from Environment Waikato to come over next weekend to train so I'll keep you posted.

Also on Sunday Leigh, Shirley and Marg set off from Waiaua and attacked the Meremere. Leigh and Shirley got to the top and Marg failed to summit. This was a great effort from all of them.

Get well, Lea.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Apologies to Tessa

My only excuse Tessa/Tracey is that I was suffering intense fatigue and my brain was scrambled because I didn't have a Matawai sausage in my puku. I'm too scared to tell Lea that you only had one swim!

I am really excited about this Sunday when we will MTB to Motu and run because it means we can stop at Matawai and have one of their famous sausages!

I expect to have a couple of Motu teams staying at my place on the following weekend and we plan to do some good training. We will most probably have a bit of a feed and a few drinks at home on the Saturday. I will keep you all posted.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

News Flash

Not only did Jarrod paddle the river in 2 hrs, but I hear that Aaron may have done the run in under 1hour 10minutes!

By the way, if anyone is interested, tonight's running speedwork session was day number 156!!!!! in a row of training!!! What a possum!!!

Monday, September 17, 2007

No Sausage at Matawai!

Saturday's paddle down to the gravel pit was uneventful but has brought Lea's average number of swims down to 5.6 with 17, 0, 0! We both got caught in one backwash against the rocks but both got out safely, which was a confidence boost.

Sunday was an awesome day with Lea and I travelling up to Motu with the Boss and his daughter, Nicole. Lea arrived with no chain on her bike (!) but the boss and I managed to fumble our way through and reconnect it.

Lea and I set off for the run and met Nicole at the bridge and carried on through the bush. The track was great - a bit of mud, but very beautiful bush. Click on the link below to see Lea and Nicole charging through the bush and then having a wee rest out the other side. It was a bit of a slog back with Nicole succumbing to a crook knee. However, Lea completed the run in 1.49 which was about 10 minutes faster than expected.

In the meantime Motu township's population had quadrupled. AaronTeddy and someone else had just started the run, Brian with the broken collarbone was running while his son Hamish and Pat were road cycling home. A bunch including Graeme, Christine, Julie and some others were also road cycling and then Rachel, Brett and Colin turned up to road cycle and leave their car for Ross and Jane to pick up after mountain biking through. There were others too but too many to remember.

Lea, Boss and I took off on the road bikes and were quickly joined by Brett, Rachel and Colin and we worked sort of as a team through to Traffords (really only I and the boss and Colin had turns at the front though!) The big disappointment was that we didn't have a fried sausage at Matawai which has to be the best fried sausage you have ever had!

We split up on the big hill with Colin finally pulling away in the last few hundred metres on his light as carbon fibre cycling machine while I lugged up my solid steel machine 50m behind him. Rachel was next after a great climb, followed by the boss and Brett who was relieved to hold out a fast fading Lea. Colin took off straight away, but being the gentleman I am I waited for all to get to the top and the rest of us took off together.

Of course the steel machine was first to the bottom and while I waited for Lea and the Boss, Brett carried on and the three of us had to work very hard to get him back often reaching speeds in excess of 60kph.

We had an awesome ride. This photo shows us in pursuit of Brett. Check this link out for the full set of photos. We finished in 1hr 45 which is my fastest by 6 minutes. It really shows the value in working as a team.

At Oponoe we caught up with the others who were having a lunch stop to find Tracey climbing in to the river in her Cobra Eliminator to paddle (by herself). I'm waiting to hear if she fell out.

Talking about kayaking. I heard a rumour that Jared paddled it on Sunday morning when it was only 1.56 high in 2 hours and then continued on to the Waioweka Bridge!!

It was great to be part of so many locals out there completing some challenging training. Congratulations to all of you.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Car Crash

Yesterday Leigh wrote our car off in a car accident!!! In fact, the car was written off by the other vehicle rather than by Leigh. Turning right into Tirohanga Rd and waiting for oncoming cars she was rearended by Whanarere, spun around and across the other side of the road. Thankfully, Leigh only suffered some bruised ribs (possibly cracked) but the car was totalled along with my trusty old bike carrier.

Be careful out there!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Challenge Road Challenge

Lea, Kerr and I made a rare visit to the TFO where we were reintroduced to the boss and treated with beautiful coffee. We then headed off (only 15 mins late) to Amokura Rd, over the range into Waiotahe Valley and back through Browns Rd and Old Creamery where the boss treated us with a bowl of hot soup and more fine coffee.

It was a great but gruelling ride. Dr had a neat fall in the mud which ripped his pants and shorts but then took it out on us by being first up the hill in possibly just under 40 minutes. He was followed by myself in 42 mins(who had hung back a bit at the start to check that Lea was alright after falling on the uphill at 0 kph but diving on the rocks to protect her bike from being scratched!) then Lea (45 mins) and the boss (50 mins).

The downhill was awesome with yours truly throwing caution to the wind and flying over the rocks and loose gravel on what must be one of the longest steepest descents in our area. Dr had all the fun and had another spill because he put his brakes on!!!!!. It was getting more and more difficult to explain to Agnes that his injuries were due to mowing the lawns (wnich he was supposed to be doing while she was away, but returning at 2.00 that afternoon!!). The boss followed next and many minutes later Lea appeared! Just let it go!

The ride home was tough as usual but it was good to be out with the boss again.

The rides from now on will be up the Motu Rd as the event looms larger.

All-in-all a great weekend with Lea coping with the river and a tough ride in the hills.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Most Improved Kayaker

The trip up to the start of the paddle was very stressful. The tension was such that everyone was scared to talk. That didn't stop Maia, Mac, Pete and myself doing our best to psyche Lea up for the paddle because we didn't want a repeat of the 17 swims. Lea didn't respond very well and we were all the victims of her vicious tongue!

Lea had borrowed Kurt's waka (sea kayak) and felt a bit nervous about being hemmed in by the skirt. She expressed a real appreciation about the supportive emails she received from all of you concerned about her welfare! Even one of my staff members asked me to make sure she was OK!

What a great trip - 15 mins to that bad rapid and no swims, 15 mins to the gauge and no swims, 15 minutes to the bridge and no swims (8 last week), 15 mins to the gravel pit and no swims, 40 min to the staircase and no swims, 45 mins to the old cafe and no swims, 30 mins to end and no swims. 2hr 55 compared to 4hr 05! We did take the fat man route to the left on the 2nd to last bend so it wont be totally conquered until Lea takes the right hand narly shute there.

You wouldn't want the river much lower (1.5) but it was a more satisfying paddle, though not as entertaining.

Well done, Lea!

I still want to hear from everyone who paddles the river and get reports on mishaps and successes etc. Just click on the comment tab in green at the end of the post to make your comment.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Waioweka Swimming Tally to 5 September

Lea 17
Vaughan 3
George 2
Sidi 1 (Though not full Motu course paddled)

Monday, September 3, 2007

Waioweka Swimming Tally to 3 September

Lea 17.
Vaughan 3.
George Teddy ??? How many?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Stanley Rd!

Day 2 of a very hectic training weekend.

Where's the boss? 2 weekends away!

Lea and I set off from Wellington St clubhouse and found Dr Kerr at the bridge and we headed off into a strong wind aiming for Stanley Rd. We stopped at Nukuhou Dairy for a feed stop and Lea shared a barley sugar which is better than what she did at Houpoto - see earlier post. The barley sugar was worse for the wear as a result of spending a lot of time in the water - see yesterday's post.

The Dr decided to turn back because he had to have a Fathers' Day lunch with kids and then off for a paddle. Lea and I continued. The climb over Stanley Rd was quite nice - very sticky mud, not too steep and beautiful bush and waterfalls - sorry no camera. Of course the best bit was the descent into the Wainui! It was quite a haul back home but we cruised along at 28-33kph with a slight tail wind.

Absolutely knackered at the end but not surprising after yesterday's paddle and today's 80k at 23kph average!

Beautiful pumpkin soup and coffee at the end! What a great way to spend Father's Day.

I still can't get over Lea's 17 swims during the kayak yesterday. I want all of you Motu trainers to leave a comment on this blog telling us how many times anyone falls out. Lea needs some motivation so don't be shy.

Note the comments on the last post. Someone out there is also reading! The retired American teachers need to make contact so we know when they are in Opotiki.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Waioweka Wetness

Lea and I decided to have our first paddle down the Waioweka in preparation for the Motu. I was keen just to do one section but Lea, in typical fashion wanted to do the whole thing. What was going to be difficult about a 2 1/2 - 3 hour paddle. She was looking forward to gliding down the river and through the rapids on Pete's sit-on Eliminator.

How many times did she tip out? 3, 4, 5, 8 times? In fact, it was 8 - before the Tauranga Bridge! then 2 more before the gravel pit! then 5 more in the next 30 minutes and then 2 more on the last 2 bends! 17 swims!!!! 3 hours 55 minutes!!!!

I heard some bad language! I paddled an extra 5k going back, twice to get her waka which was wedged back in the rapids and many times towing her and her waka to the shore. Talk about resistance training.

We're going again next Saturday if anyone wants a laugh.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Meremere Road to Blue Mountains

Lea's Bike of course!
Originally uploaded by m0rehu.
I had to lead with a photo of Lea's new bike. Weighs 9.5 kilos, carbon fibre, xtr etc.

Today myself, Lea, Kerr, and Peter set off from Hanaia and picked up Mike at Tirohanga Dairy and set off up the Motu Road where we turned off at the 19k bridge and began the relentless grind up Meremere Rd into the Blue Mountains. Took us 45-50 minutes of granny gear, but we all rode to the top. What do you reckon, Barry! Lea and Pete both took a bit of a stumble and ran out of traction and took a bit to get going.

It was great to see Mike lift his bike over the 2m gate and then see Kerr open the gate and wheel his bike through!

The views were stunning as you can see if you follow this link to the photos. The downhill home was awesome, but the tracks are all bouldered up as a result of the forestry going on in there which is a bit of a pity.

A big cheers to Jarrod (note spelling) and the crew organised by Headley who spent the day clearing the top part of the military track. Sorry fellas, had to go to work.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Back On Track

I am sure you have been worried about the long period of silence but minor anal !!!! surgery kept me out of the saddle for a few weeks. You will be pleased to know that the rules committee met and allowed 20 minutes of weights to count as exercise in my attempt to not miss a day. As a result today was the 126th day in a row!!!

This weekend had been full of highlights. Lea spent more on her Mountain Bike than most of us spend on a car. Got a great deal from Hickey's so all you Opotiki people make sure you see them when you want to buy.

Today we had a big crew go MTB up the Motu. The Boss, Peter (newby) and myself turned around at the top of the Meremere and had a solid 52k ride - taking 36 minutes to climb the hill which is my fastest for a while. I'll let you know how my bum is in the morning. Lea, Brian, George, Barry and Destry carried on to top of Papamoa (George turned around early as he had a paddle date). Good 65-70k ride for them.

Yesterday was the working bee on the track. It was amazing the number of good excuses that came out today! However, Jarred, Kate and Lyn and I worked like Trojans and have completed the full circuit. It will still need manicuring to make some corners rideable etc but the back has been well and truly broken!After a half dozen beers to refresh Jarred decided to ride it in the rain, on soft dirt etc and made the whole thing apart from 3 corners which I will work on. See him in action in these pictures. Jarred, Kate and Lyn have life-time exemptions from the gold coin koha box to enable all you other buggers to ride.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

100 Not Out!

The 30 minute run tonight was my 100th day in a row without missing a run or cycle. To count it had to be a 20 min run or cycle. A couple of times I only just remembered and had to go out at 10.00pm at night!

Lea V and I ran tonight. Kurt and Scotty were supposed to be there and were changed and ready but must've got sick of waiting and went by themselves! Can you imagine that on such an important run.

Some people have team spirit and are supportive of their mates, and then there are those other people!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Hanaia MTB Track

Kereru Guarding The Track
Originally uploaded by m0rehu.
Click on here to see a range of photos that show the beginning of a 1k+ MTB track at my place at Hanaia. Imagine cycling around through the native bush (all planted by myself) amongst the native birds (see attached photo of the kereru). 1/2 of it has already been dug. The Boss will soon be sending out an email about the training schedule through to the Round Taupo ride and he will include a working bee afternoon that yoiu might want to be involved in to complete the track. Do some work, have a beer, do some work, have a beer etc then have a BBQ. Watch out for details.

This Sunday the Boss, me, Lea, Jarrod, Barry (who?), Kerr, Brian cycled to the Meremere and return. The pace was on with Barry setting a strong pace all of the way. Jarrod and the Boss won the king of the mountain with the Boss sticking to Jarrod like that sticky stuff that sticks. The downhill was a buzz and we raced home to Hanaia where the Boss led us in a training planning session to prepare for the Motu and Round Taupo. Details will be out soon. Leigh spent the morning walking to Gaskills and back (15k!).

Yesterday Lea and I did opur first paddle of the season. We paddled across Ohiwa harbour to Ohiwa wharf and then turned into a strong tide. Fortunately we were able to pause at Unle Jim's for a beer before the final slog home. 1hr 45 paddling which is a good start.

Watched the All Blacks thrash the Springboks over a nice Mexican meal at Kurt's. Remember it was a Test Match and sometimes it takes 65 minutes to break the nut!

Back to school tomorrow. Yeehah!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Long Time Coming

Lots have happened since the last posting. School things have gone very well and you should go to from mid-July to read our full report. There haven't been any major cycling adventures since Houpoto, but we have cycled to top of Meremere twice and gone up Amokura. The good news is that of today I have trained 86 days in a row without missing!!

I have added a new link on the side bar. It links to the blog site of our school's Young Enterprise Company who are marketing a marae protocol awareness resource. Go and have a look.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Hopeful in Houpoto

On Queen's Birthday Monday myself, the Boss, Jarred, Mike, Roger went with Lea on a 3 hour MTB ride through the Houpoto which she organised. We were given clear instructions by Pete and had 2 maps and 2 expert navigators in Jarrod and Roger. Look at the track in the photo! We got lost and ended up on the banks of the Motu River and had to retrace our steps for 1 1/2 hours back up hill through the slips and windfall we had encountered on the way down. The whole event took 8 hours! We ran out of food but Lea got a Snickers Bar and Ham Roll off Jarrod when he went ahead to let everyone know we were OK and she ate it all herself despite the boss and I carrying her bike across the big slip.

Unfortunately I had 3 nasty falls on the same hip, elbow and shoulder!

It was a great adventure but we really needed our BBQ lunch back at the Maraenui clubhouse. Unfortunately we didn't get lunch until 4.30!

Have a look at the photos which show the magnificent view over Hawai early on in the ride, the chaps carefully navigating, climbing huge hills and scrambling over trees and slips. It was nice to see the Motu but not so nice to leave and climb back out.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

ERO Report Outstanding!!

We had a great week when ERO was here a fortnight ago. It was quite nerve-wracking while they were here because they rattle every cage that they can find and dissect everything that falls out. As the week progressed, howver, it became clear that they knew they were visiting a great school. At the end of the visit they made an extremely positive report to the BOT where they congratulated the school for its very high levels of achievement, the high levels of respect they saw between everyone at school and the high levels of confidence the parents had! It would be impossible, in my view, for any school to get a more positive report. You'll see when it's public.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Te Waiti Wetting

Originally uploaded by m0rehu.
Hello readers! I know you have been missing me, but I have had to punish you with silence because you are not writing comments to my blogs!

Never mind, we had a great ride (ten of us) up to the Te Waiti Hut on Sunday. The highlight was Dr Kerr taking a plunge into the stream. See the rest of the photos for the rest of the action.

The boss was on his new single fork Canondale!

We coped well with the quite technical in places terrain. Lea was a bit of a whimp and walked a bit.

I had the most spectaculat fall over a cliff only being saved by some bracken fern where I hung until a laughing Ross pulled me and my bike back on to the track.

We were joined by first timers Karl and Jane who performed way too well and need to know their place.

The race back down the Otara Straight was pretty quick with Jarrod barely hanging on to the old fellas.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

OPotiki College MTB Team at Nationals

Kurt and I and parent, Paul Owen, had a great trip to Levin with Gareth, Hamish, Cory and Glen to attend the National Secondary Schools MTB Championships. This was the first time we had taken a team and it was a great learning experience for the boys, all of whom will be back for another crack next year. They discovered how challenging the courses are and what sort of training they need to do. Phil and Gareth had luxury accommodation while Kurt and I and the three boys had a cosy time in the tent at the Levin Camping Ground! The guys were great company and learned a lot just by observing Kurt and I in action!

The highlight was Pizza Hut Pizzas in Levin and coffee in Bulls. Mr Bean on the last night was a bit of a struggle. Click here for the photos.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Three Day Odyssey

Hi readers. First of all apologies for not communicating but life has been very busy. I'll tell you about that next week. In the meantime here are the photos from the might three day odyssey myself, Lea, Kurt and Andrew went on. Brutal but awesome in a masochistic way.

I nned to rush off with Kurt to the Sec Schools MTB Champs in Levin as we are taking 4 studsents so enjoy the photos and I will give lots more stories next week. I know you can't wait. Click here for photos.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Mangakirikiri and Amokura - 2 Rides one weekend!

On Saturday morning Kurt, the Boss and I rode the Managakirikiri stream. It's a great 45k ride. Kurt and I took a dive out of the mud pool and I did one head first dive into a gorse bush. We decided to have two rides this weekend as we are preparing for the 3 day Odyssey.

On Sunday the same three, as well as newcomers to THE LIST Rachel and Ross, left the Boss's and met up with Brian and George at Woodlands school. We learnt that Teds and Aaron were leaving later and would catch us. I think they think we are a bit slow. Still no sign of Barry - the one who grissled the most about not being on THE LIST. It's an awesome ride up Amokura Road. We had to negotiate past a rampaging bull. It's moments like that that you wish cyclists didn't wear bright clothing! At our first stop the signs of problems began to emerge. Aaron (of course) discovered that his new chain had a sticky link so we spent hours trying to fix that.

We then split into a couple of groups while the repairs continued and agreed to meet at the next ford. Only 3 of us (me, Ross and Aaron successfully rode across the ford) which is disappointing because it was an easy one. At this point we discovered that Brian appeared to have a chian which was too long but we told him just to suck it in and get on with it. He wasn't going to need his small cog at the back any way as we set off on that relentless climb to the gate.

Just after we took off we heard the gunshot that meant Aaron (of course) had blown a tube. We had already started climbing so we were stopping for no-one. I climbed in 38 minutes which is my best yet. Ross drafted behind me until the last few hundred metres and got to the top first! The others followed closely behind with Rachel claiming that she hates climbing hills, though she climbed strongly in 50 minutes. (After the nerve and body shaking descent that followed she claimed that she hated downhills - no pleasing some people.)

Jared arrived at the top and then set off back down!!! to find Aaron. Guess what? He had two further punctures and now had no tubes. As the photo shows we inspected the tyre and found it had a hole worn through it. With great group thinking we applied a tube patch inside and then taped a piece of old tube (of which Aaron now had quite a few) inside the tyre and everything was now hunky dory.

The descent was difficult as it is very steep with tight hairpins as the photo shows and the rocks were big and loose!

We finally made it back to the Boss' for coffee and toast. Another great 50k ride!

It was great to see new list entrants Rachel and Ross turn up. Where are you Barry?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Another Day at Opotiki College

Despite an early night last night I was still exhausted from yesterday's ride - see previous post. Running a school is hardwork at the best of times let alone when you are a bit shagged. But it has been another great day - still plenty of issues to deal with (kids dodging, some disrespect etc - the run-of -the-mill when working with almost 600 teenagers) but there is a feeling of satisfaction when the team works so well to calmly deal with everything that comes our way.

I've just received data which shows the great work we are doing with literacy. Our 2006 Year 9 group arrived with 57% scoring in the bottom quartile in literacy assessment. Our testing at the end of last year reduced that to only 25% in the bottom quartile. This is an outstanding achievement and is a credit to first of all the English Department but to all teachers in general. No wonder our NCEA results are so good.

Most of the day was spent meeting parents and students to help solve little problems. I have been out of school quite a bit so I have also been busy catching up with staff. It makes for busy times. I have worked out that for the remaining 18 days of school this term I will be here for 10 of them!

The highlight of the day was meeting with my Aspiring Leaders group. We spent 45 minutes talking about how leadership must impact on improved student achievement, about the importance of clarifying our individual moral purpose when it comes to teaching and about how we can make leadership sustainable. We then decided we would focus in our next meetings on difficult conversations, sustainable leadership, professionalism and influencing teachers to help the school achieve its goals.

There is no better place to work than where you have people to have these conversations with! Bring on tomorrow!

Motu Magic

Sorry, no photos this week as the boss was absent with leave so we had no camera. Actually a camera would have been perfect to catch that wonderful, painful expression on Jarrod's face as I sped past him when climbing the Papamoa. It was similar to the look on Brian and George's face as I did the same!!!

Anyway, back to the start. Another Sunday, another great adventure. This time Kurt, Lea, Jarrod, Aaron and George met at Hanaia for coffee and we picked up Brian at Tirohanga store. We headed up the Mighty Motu Road to climb to the top of Papamoa and return - a ride of 72k. Leigh also did a solo ride to the top of the Meremere and back - 50k by herself which is a great achievement!

Jarrod and Aaron had gone for a wee bush walk the day before and claimed they were a bit tired. I led for the first 7k which I thought was a bit long as I waited for the next rider to have their turn in front. We hit the base of the Meremere together but soon separated as Lea set out on her own challenge to be the first to the top. All were left in her wake, but she didn't know that I was looking after those at the back, because I'm that sort of guy! Unfortunately, I continued to have seat problems as my quick release was not working and my seat slowly sunk to the bar!

The summit was totally clouded in and we continued onto the Papamoa after leaving Aaron to fend for himself dealing with a puncture. We hit the base quite a distance apart, but an awesome climb on my part saw me haul in everyone but Lea, but I was hauling her in! As soon as I caught her at the top she insisted we head down straight away to really rub it in! Who was I to argue?

Two great downhill rides saw us all gather at the 16k bridge to wait for Kurt who had developed into a bit of a heavy weight during the ride. Jarrod was unable to wait as he was in if I stop now I stop for good mode. On the way we had passed a group of children on a wide range of bikes. When Kurt finally turned up he announced that he might be stuffed but no kids on BMX bikes were going to beat him. At that point he discovered his flat tyre and the kids came past before he could fix it!!

We then split into 2 groups. The caring and sensitive Maurie and George stayed with Kurt to nurse him home while Lea, Aaron and Brian sped off in the distance. We caught them on the Main Rd trying to fix Aaron's broken chain. We were catching them anyway!!

Juice, coffee, passion fruit and muffins completed a great but exhausting Motu Meander.

That's my version of events anyway!!!!!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Blue Mountain Blues Chapter 2.

We've just climbed Gaskills Rd to the forestry gate and about to enter the awesome Blue Mountains. Little did we know that Destry and Glen would break a chain each and that my seat bolt would shear off. We rode for 3 1/2 hours but were out for 5 hours. Despite the dramas it was a great ride with some tough relentless climbing and some scary downhill. I think only 3 of us successfully rode the last bit of treacherous downhill - Jarrod and Aaron and myself (though I did have a fall near the top!) It was also great because of the turnout - the Boss, myself, Kurt, Lea, Jarod, Aaron, Brian, Hamish, George, Glen and Destry. The day before Leigh and Shirley attacked Meremere Hill. They are supposed to be the more sedate crew!

More photos of the ride if you click here.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Blue Mountain Blues

29k into an awesome 60k ride in the Blue Mountains behind Opotiki a loud bang and sudden pain in my nether regions signaled that my seat bolt had sheared off. Major personal damage was avoided and I collected my seat and other bits and pieces from the trail. A committee meeting on the side of the track resulted in a piece of string being produced and some ‘spare’ electric fence tape attached to a nearby post being procured. The seat post was dropped as far as it could go and we roped the seat on. Of course the 29k mark signaled the end of 90 minutes of climbing with steep and very technical downhill in front of us followed by a series of stream crossings before the final 20k sprint down the Pakihi Rd to Opotiki. You certainly don’t appreciate how much you use your seat for bracing (and sitting on) until you discover you can only use it sparingly. As well, having the seat 30cm lower than the best position makes for awkward riding. Team this up with the fact that the last time I went out with this group 3 weeks ago I fell off at speed (I was nearly in front though!) and broke a couple of ribs so it was quite a tentative ride down and out. Fortunately two other guys broke their chain on this particular ride, so our repair skills have been tested.

The attached photos show that the temporary repairs held up until the end.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

We've reached the end of week 4 of our new year. Though things are very much as normal I do feel we're in the best shape we have been for a while. We're certainly basking in a feeling of contentment because of those great NCEA results and there seems to be a wider understanding and, dare I say it, acceptance by the staff of what we're trying to achieve in this school.

Closer analysis of our results shows that we still have a bit to do to lift the achievement of Maori students. It is pleasing to see that Maori students do better here than they would elsewhere. It is also important to note that this is not at the expense of the achievement of all others. In fact, students of all gender and ethnicity are doing well. Only one non-Maori student left Opotiki College last year without at least NCEA L1 and this student was only with us for Year 9 and then a few weeks in 2006 as a Year 12 student. Our challenge is now to ensure that the situation with 25 Maori students leaving without NCEA L1 is improved. Te Kotahitanga will have a huge impact here.

Yesterday we had a great Teacher Only Day with world guru Margaret Thorsborne working with the whole staff on Restorative Principles. Once again I was spellbound. All staff I have spoken with found it very valuable. It was interesting that by morning tea time she was able to identify the couple of staff who were along way from being on board this kaupapa.

I firmly believe that the stuff that we are doing in this area will make for a better world. Teachers will benefit from a less stressful environment, Senior Management Team members wont be burnt out by being sacrificed on the detention pyre, students will develop and learn in a respectful environment where they will hone their emotional awareness and parents will feel respected. All who pass through our school will go on to take their part in the world, wherever that mey be, and be able to make a fine contribution as a result of their time here with us.

More Cellar Rats

I knew you would want to see these photos. The team is a bit confused because everyone believed that Maurie was going to run the last leg, but it appears his father has turned up and run it. We can tell this by the big forehead and very aged appearance.

Note the flash medals in the team photograph.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Outstanding NCEA Results

We're over the moon at Opotiki College as the students from 2006 have achieved the best ever NCEA results at each year level that we have ever achieved. At each year level our students achieved at above the national average. We are a decile 2 school which generally means we should be achieving at well below the average. In fact at level 1 our pass rate of 61% compared to the national average of 59% is not surpassed by any other decile until decile 6. At Level 2 our pass rate of 77% compared to the national average of 63 % is not surpassed by any other decile average at all! Our pass rate at Level 3 of 53 % compared to the national average of 51% is not surpassed until the decile 7 average. As well, our literacy and numeracy achievement of 90% is also not surpassed by any other decile!

Opotiki College is where it's 100% effort 100% of the time! Congratulations to students, their families and to the very hard-working and committed staff. Our town has a secondary school of which it can be extremely proud.

Swimming Sports

What a beautiful day at Opotiki College 2007 swimming sports.
Students made a real effort with dressing up in house colours and the house competition was strong. Participation was great and staff made a real positive contribution to the day. It was a bit of a bummer dealing with a couple of kids who smuggled some alcohol, but as with all such incidents the students will be given the opportunity to learn and to move

Monday, February 19, 2007

Cellar Rats Take on Taupo

Originally uploaded by m0rehu.
Opotiki Cellar Rats reached new heights while running and walking around Lake Taupo in the Round the Lake Relay. We completed our fastest ever time of 14 hours and 27 minutes and were placed third in our highly competitive grade! For the first time in our history we were summoned to the stage amid rapturous applause and widespread acknowledgement to receive a beautiful cap, a lovely pair of socks and a large bronze medallion designed to be worn with an unbuttoned shirt and tight short pants!

Once again organisation was superb with fine accommodation and outstanding cuisine organised by our manager Chris. The event was a challenge as we all wrestled with our own demons and faced the challenges we set for ourselves competing against previous times.

Rachel gave us a strong start walking us into 6th place. James took over and despite feeling out of sorts, he, like Rachel, ran a faster time than had been done before. The next two walking legs were completed by Bruce and Stacey and both also set new fastest times. Unfortunately, I was not able to continue the trend and ran a minute slower than the awesome record I set the year before! I did, however, bring up my UpnGo during the race and had a series of dry retches at the end as I reacted to the painkillers I was taking for my broken ribs (I had to get the broken ribs thing in!). Peter and Shane then ran the next two legs strongly (slightly slower than the fast times from last year) but we were now in about 5th place. However, to Bruce's disappointment we had now well and truly dropped the red hotpants team.

Chris stepped up to the mark and like a true captain ran his heart out and almost equalled last year's time. He held on strongly to the fast athlete from 414. Joseph then attacked Kuratau Hill and when he finally got his knees, elbows and ankles going in the right order took us closer to teams in front and set a time faster than last year.

Joseph handed over to the unknown new member, Lisa "I don't like losing", who had an outstanding walk and powered through the field and past the grubby old man to walk us into second place. Captain Fantastic, Jared, then took off on his own personal odyssey and charged down the hill, along the swamp and into Turangi. He was unable to keep out the strong runner from 414, but he hung on strongly to him and had a gutsy slog into the wind. He missed James' record by 2 seconds but had us in a very strong position.

Our racing tuna, Ross, took off after the two racing sardines in front and set a new fastest time pulling away from the teams behind us. At the end of his lap he wished his wife a happy anniversary and Jo took off and held her strong starting pace through to the end. Unfortunately James was in the dunny when she finished which created a little confusion, but after a quick shake he was off.

James put all his demons to rest and ran a fastest time for this leg. He was now a happy chappy again. Joseph then strode up Hatepe Hill and dug deep as he took on his second big climb for the day. Bruce then had his second leg and with the attitude of "let's just do it!" started the charge towards Taupo.

Barry who had been waiting several hours to enter the stage got himself into the zone, donned his flash white cap, and strode out towards the airport. While he did not match Maurie's awesome record on that lap he kept out a fast attacking team from Bush.

Maurie took over the last leg as Jared was well and truly spent and completed the charge to the finish line setting a new leg record.

No-one had anything left in the bank. All had given everything they had. After a fine prizegiving overseen by kaumatua Hemi Crosswell we hit the party and danced the night away.

click here for photos

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Back to School

We had a great start yesterday. Don't tell the Ministry that we started the year early! Our powhiri was great with Vaughan bringing new staff and students into the warm embrace of Kura-ki-uta. After a brief assembly we got into things and the day ran very smoothly thanks to the hardwork of the two wahine. Senior staff stepped up well and assisted new staff to settle in. We finished the day with a hectic session in the Itiaki looking at mydesktop, managing email accounts, discussing behaviour management, using Integris to get timetables and classlists, checking NZQA for student results and accessing AsTTle to check student ability.

I attempted a run with Scotty and Kurt but had to turn around after 300m because the ribs were too painful so I consoled myself by changing my flat tyre which I had when I arrived in the morning!

The great news I have been able to share with staff and students is our wonderful NCEA results which are the best we have ever achieved. It feels as if things are coming together a bit and paying off - touch wood! 61% of Year 11s got Level 1, 77% of Year 12s got Level 2 and 54% of Year 13s got Level 3 - all well above national averages. 90% of Year 11s also got both literacy and numeracy as well!

Today is Waitangi Day and I came in at 9.00am to witness a session being run with our senior rugby players. Year 11 Dean Vaughan Bidois, Coach Louis Desbats, Rugby Development Officer Brent McKillop and Rugby Co-ordinator Debbie McKillop were here with almost 30 boys and discussing thei kaupapa for the year and how they can as a team work together to help other team members to meet all school and team expectations. It was a neat session to be part of and I applaud the efforts of the staff to align their kaupapa with the whole school.

Madness and Damage on The Meremere

On Sunday we drove to Motu and Andrew, Nicole and Brian rode biked to the kayak start and myself, Kurt, Lea, Peter, Hamish and the Teddy boys (Jared and Aaron) rode down the Motu Rd to Tirohanga. The highlight of the ride was all 5 (not Lea and Peter because they were a bit behind us on the downhill on Meremere) of us racing down the Meremere like mad banshees at 54kph, sliding out on corners and changing the lead repeatedly. The lowlight 150m from the end was me following Hamish around a particularly tight bend when he bailed so I had to go inside him only to find Kurt there. At high speed loss of control was the only option and I found myself bouncing along the clay berm inches from a 150ft sheer drop. I must have turned my wheel to avoid certain death which dug into the clay and was thrown onto the road at about 40kph. I was certain that I had broken my elbow and my ribs hurt. The elbow was just bruised, but I had to ride the 20k home one-handed! The ribs are buggered, most probably cracked and everything is now painful. Before we left the scene we noted that my bike track along the clay berm was 2-3cm from the edge!

Anyway we retired to the spa with a couple of beers and met up with Leigh, Marg, Shirley, Lucy and Mary who had biked from Waiaua Church to the top of Meremere and return.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Andrew "The Boss" Taylor grinding up a hill.

This is a great photo of Andrew putting in the hard yards on our day in the Redwoods on Sunday. Myself, Leigh, Thomas, Lucy, Margaret, Andrew, Tine and her sister, Brian, Michael and Hamish and Scotty and Faith went to the Redwoods for MTB and trailwalking. There are many new tracks there that I had never ridden before and they were wonderful - lots more drop downs and technical stuff and plenty of opportunity to get some air. Every one had a great time as you can see by clicking here and looking at the

photos. Hamish slashed his calf on his big chain ring and then bust his rear deraillieur. We had to take it off, shorten the chain and make temporary repairs, which we did well with a little help from a passing bike afficianado!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Maraenui Clubhouse

On Sunday had the first bike ride in a couple of weeks. Andrew, Lea and I rode from home to the club house in Maraenui where we were joined by Leigh and Margaret who drove up. We were hosted by Bev and Ted who had a Swiss visitor. Pete was there and cooked a breakfast of bacon, french toast, grilled bananas and tomatoes for all of us on the awesome BBQ in the photo. We also had coffee made from water boiled in the thermette! After breakfast someone had to drive the car back so that Marg and Lea could bike so Andrew and Lea had to bike back without my company! More coffee and a spa completed the final day before work started again.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

McNaught's Comet

Originally uploaded by m0rehu.
This photo is the first in a set of 14 that tracks the path of McNaught's Comet on the evening of 19 January from my front gate. The different colours are because I tried different shutter speeds. Click here to see the full set.

Northland Holiday Site

Originally uploaded by m0rehu.

This is the view of our private beach from our bach where we stayed with Kurt and Hine and Kurt's old buddy, Matt. Waitapu came with Lucy, Sam, Leigh and I. Unfortunately Thomas had to stay at home for work! The bay is called East Bay which is just east of Tauranga Bay at the mouth of the Whangaroa Harbour. It is immediately west of Mahinepua and slightly more west of Matauri Bay.

We had 9 days there with it raining on 2 of them. The rest of the time was perfect apart from the fact that there are no fish anywhere near here. We fished off rocks at all different times of the day and different tides, with different baits, with berley, with and without sinkers and we fished off kayaks in 2 different bays, we surfcasted off 2 beaches and Kurt, Matt and Hine went out in Bill Hall's boat. We put back 7-8 small snapper, lots of hiwihiwi, caught one kahawai for bait, one octopus and one small trevally which we turned into raw fish.

This was a magic spot and was a great holiday with excellent company.

The highlights were hanging out, watching Sam get turfed out of the kayak twice in big waves in an attempt to go fishing with me off the far point in the photo and persisting so that he was successful on the third attempt, trying to fish, visiting Bill at his great house in Tauranga Bay and hanging out.

Click here to view the full set of photos.

Sam has a great set of photos from the trip. I will put a link. In the meantime I am sure if you go to his site from the sidebar here he should have a link already.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

McNaught's Comet

The comet as viewed from our gateway on Thursday evening.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Bathing Beauties

Spa pool is now working! Note the beautiful staining of the timber! oh, and the two bathers!

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Alien Visitor

Mat from San Francisco arrived and dined on mussels and BBQ steak and fine red wine. We met him when we stayed with Kurt and Hine in San Francisco and it's great to catch up with him again. We are all about to head to Matauri Bay for 10 days. I feel the anticipation you are feeling for the photos and stories from Tai Tokerau. You'll just have to wait!

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Spa Pool

Spa pool construction took only two days because it was approached in typical bull-at-a-gate manner. The main reason why it went so well because Lucy was an awesome apprentice. She lugged bits of wood and measured and squared accurately. She also came up with clever ways of covering up my mistakes.

I was particularly impressed with the development of my 'builder's crack' as the job progressed. It resulted in the fine creation pictured here.

The final two photographs show the almost finished creation and the view you get when sitting in it!

Night Time View

And the view from the deck at night is just as awesome! Full moon over the sea at Hanaia.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Mud and Golf

Proof I did the slide! That's me in the white T Shirt.

Yesterday Lucy and I had a round of golf. We have joined the local club which might force us to play a bit more often. I warned Lucy that I would thrash her, which I did over the first 9 holes by 3 shots. Unfortunately there were another 9 holes to go and Lucy just pipped me by 3 shots! This gave us a tied score, but somehow I still had to buy lunch. The embarrassing bit was that we shot 127! At least there is a lot of room for improvement.