Labour weekend has a bit more significance for me than just a day off.
Going backwards: In 2014, Jeff Anderson from Jeffson Bikes completed a project we'd worked on through the winter. His bikes are always very special. Mine felt a little bit more special than usual.
The story started in autumn. After a very busy summer, it was looking a bit quiet, work-wise - the usual life of a freelancer and business owner. One way I always tried to insulate myself from that is to make sure I have a project or two lined up.
A bike build seemed a good option. Jeff was up for it in his usual enthusiastic way and Carl Patton, editor of New Zealand Mountain Biker, was keen on a yarn, with photographer, Nick Lambert documenting progress of the build for the magazine.
Jeff and I spent quite a bit of time lounging on the couch in his workshop discussing exactly what sort of bike we wanted to build…and putting the world to rights.
Cutting, polishing and welding steel are still some of my favourite experiences of all time.
The bike is a practical piece of art, jewellery, even, and still looks as good in polished steel as it did the day I picked it up on that Labour Weekend.
Two years prior to this, in the winter of 2012, my life had been dominated by seven weeks of treatment for cancer, then five months of recuperation.
Recovery was always about getting back on the bike.
With help from Cancer Society Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Lou James' Team Steel physiotherapy and Pilates programme (with Ian Loveless from Te Ngae Physiotherapy) and a rattly old static bike, by Labour Day I was feeling strong enough to throw a leg over my little old Santa Cruz Blur.
Sure, it was just flat track and only a kilometre circuit of the Scion Innovation Park. However, I did get to roost off some roots.
The following weekend we did a loop from home out to Waipa and the forest then back via The Dipper and down Nursery Hill to Long Mile Road.
Those 10km felt double that distance, even though I was down to 55kg and light on the climbs.
Rewind to Labour Weekend, 2010 and to the first Singlespeed World Champs run in New
Zealand (sponsored by Jeffson Bikes).
It was a glorious spring day with more than 1000 entries from all over the world, outrageous costumes and a big and very loud crowd of spectators. There were just over 600 entries from New Zealand.
Most of them single-speeded their bikes for the day (and probably never again) to be part of an event that really captured the imagination.
Coverage was worldwide and showed a very different side to Rotorua mountain biking.
One that still gets talked about.
Have a great day off on Monday. The weather forecast is fine and the trails in the
Whakarewarewa Forest are running fast and firm. Ride on.