A good friend of mine, Lisa, text me in July
and said ‘come on Steve; let’s do the Auckland marathon on October’
Silly me agreed and paid the $160 fee online. The following week I
went to Rebel Sports and brought some running shorts, a tee shirt
and some good running shoes. At home I put them on, loaded up the
iPod with some favourite tunes, done a few stretches and roared off
down my street. Well… I only just made it to the corner before I
almost collapsed. I was leaning up against a fence gasping for air,
it wasn’t even 500 meters from home, are you kidding. So I walked
back home and though I have only got three months to get myself into
some sort of shape to complete this Marathon. The following weeks I
ran and walked 3 to 5kms. Then in a month I was able to run 12kms,
so I was making slow progress. A friend of mine, Julie, brought me
some protein powder and vitamin pills, so I tried them. Finally I
was running 10km four times a week. The longest run I completed was
14kms, from home to Glover Park and back. It was a bit disheartening
at times but my head was in the right place. My breathing was fine
too (well after the first 2kms of each run, ha-ha) the problem was
my knees and hips. After about 10kms I’d get heaps of pain in my hip
joints. I Googled the problem and found that some good stretching
helped, and I even brought a tread mill so I could run in the lounge
on rainy days. Steve doesn’t like running in the rain. A week before
the marathon I had an accident on my motorbike. Trish and I were off
to Piha to take some photos and we came off around a tight corner.
We went down a bank and I was trapped for 35 minutes under the bike.
I managed to collect the handle bars on the way over and broke two
ribs (4&5) and punctured my right lung. I spent the night in
Auckland ICU and was discharged with some pretty heavy post-op
medication. I was resigned to the fact that my marathon (in 7 days)
was over. It was hard to breath and I didn’t want to take the big
breaths recommended due to the pain. During this week off, I did go
for a walk and a light jog and felt pretty good. My cousins from
Invercargill, Martin and Jude, were coming to Auckland to stay with
Cab and I the weekend of the run to see the Meat Loaf concert.
Martin runs marathons so I encouraged him to get a ticket of Trade
Me and run and support me. Martin managed to get a half marathon
ticket, as I thought I’d be lucky to even complete the half - but
I’d try. The half is 21kms and I’d only even run 14kms, so I though
21 would be pushing it in my condition. Well Sunday 30th
arrived and Martin and I are up at 4am and on the ferry to Devonport
for the start of the big run at 6.10am. I was feeling really
positive and good. The run starts and I’m off, before I know it I’m
past the 3rd drink station. 15kms wow this is further
than I have even run in my life and I was feeling really good. No
knee of hip problems, breathing was easy. Even my chest pain was
bearable, this was weird, I’m sure I would have been hurting by now.
I wondered if I had been caught up in the excitement of it all and
was going to crash and burn at any minute. I wasn’t as I was still
running my own race, at my own pace, I felt great. At the half way
mark I decided to continue and complete the marathon. The second
half was from Auckland City, along the water front to St Helliers and
back to the city, finishing at the Grafton cricket fields. It was
all flat and surely it would be easier that the first half… so I
thought. I ran past a guy holding a sign ‘Pain is temporary, glory
is forever’ it was so inspiring, I was having moments of complete
joy, smiling and loving it. I started to notice my legs more and
more as I past the drinking station at Mission Bay heading back into
the city (33kms I think). At this stage I was drinking power aid,
coke and water at every drinking station. I must have had a dozen of
each drink, during the run. Funny, with all that liquid I never went
to the bathroom all day. Only 5kms to go and I really started to
feel it. I stopped at a drinking station and my body was now
screaming to ‘stop running and walk’, and I did. I walked about 2kms
over the last 5kms and had very little left for the huge crowd at
the finish. My legs were like concrete and I felt ten times heavier,
each step sent painful vibrations through my body. I crossed the
finish line with a smile and wanted to collapse. It was amazing, I
made it; it was awesome to stop running too, believe me. I drunk
more coke and ate two bananas and received my marathon medal. Martin
was there at the end and gave me a huge hug and congratulations –
awesome mate to have your support. I hobbled back to the car and
home to a nice hot spa and a couple of Summer Ale’s. Jude was
looking after Cab and lucky dad got lots of hugs and kisses.
Well I did it… a marathon – tick the box Steve! I feel so great to
have set a goal and achieved it. Very satisfying and still very sore
a few days later… Pain is temporary, glory is forever.
Semi final, Eden park 16th Oct 2011. All Blacks
winning against the Wallabies 20-6
An awesome time at the Rugby (Especially because the AB's won)
Cab and I made it to Eden at 7pm, (two hours before the kick off).
Found our seats, and they where awesome (Class A). Sat beside a
French supporter with a few poor Aussies around us. Mostly Kiwis
cheering for the AB's - the roar was deafening - bloody awesome.
A huge thanks to Rich and Lisa for the tickets. Cab and I will
never forget this day. So generous and typical family care and love.
Now the AB's just need to knock over those French buggars!!! Go
We went to fly back home to Auckland on Monday, but got snowed in
and the Queenstown airport was closed. However we made the most of
it and had a great few days in the Spa B&B in Frankton, We even had
a fire place in our bedroom AWESOME. Cab played for days in the snow
with a mate. A real highlight for the school holidays. Oh and work
picked up the tab :-)
An awesome panoramic view of the 'Scenic ski run' from the White
Star lift to the Cardrona base hut. Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown are
seen in the middle of this photo in the distance.
Steve's new 2010 StarVmax Yamaha bike - Cab ready to ride.
Star VMax is one of the most unique and extreme motorcycles ever
offered from a Japanese motorcycle manufacturer. For the 2010 model
year the VMax is a special order model, I got number 117 out of 150
sent to NZ and Australia.
2010 Vmax Specifications
310Kgs (683 lbs)
Fuel Injection with YCC-T and YCC-I
liquid-cooled 65° V-4, DOHC, 4 valves/cylinder
Torque @ RPM:
17kg/m (123 lbs/ft) @ 6,500 Rpm
+/-273 km/h (170m/h)
Horse Power @ RPM:
200 Hp @ 9,000 Rpm
StarVmax, 1700cc, 200HP, 275km\h
When Adam called me up for
a quick ride on the
Yamaha Star VMAX, I said, “Sure why not, I could use a nice
cruise to relax.” Two days later I was at the Tauranga shop to pick
up a 2010 model. Adam told me all about his ride to the office on
the VMAX making crazy screeching and engine noises while jumping
around the shop using words like “insane,” “un-friggin-believable,”
and “oh my god!” in his usual frenetic and excited demeanour. Ok,
Adam, so it’s quick for a cruiser, but let’s not get carried away
here. I figured it must have been a while since he has been on a
ZX14. As I pulled away from
the shop I decided to see what Adam was so excited about; I wacked
the fly-by-wire throttle to the stop and – “OH MY GOD!”
Let’s get straight to the point. This bike is fast, brutally fast.
The 1679cc V-Four mill pumps out a rear tire destroying 197
horsepower and 122 lb-ft of torque. Once the adrenaline high wears
off from that first crack of the throttle, riding the VMAX becomes
an exercise in responsibility and restraint. It’s like riding a
loaded gun. Be careful where you point it, and when you pull the
trigger, you had better mean it. The VMAX makes the longest straight
on your favourite mountain roads ridiculously short, brings far way
objects near in short order, and basically blurs space and time.
Although the engine is by far the standout feature on the Max, the
chassis is also impressive. The brakes are just as strong as the
engine. A Brembo radial-pump master cylinder mated to 6-piston
calipers grab dual 320mm front rotors, while out back a single pot
caliper goes to work on a 298mm rotor when your right wrist has
bitten of a little too much. Brake feel is strong and progressive,
and the ABS doesn’t kick in until it’s absolutely needed.
Bending into the corners the 685 lbs of the VMAX become apparent.
Turn-in is a bit heavy feeling, but once leaned over the sled holds
a line with no sign of flex or wallow. The suspension is balanced
and compliant when the road gets less than ideal. The neutral
upright riding position is comfortable and will feel familiar to
cruiser and sport bike riders alike.
It’s difficult to find any faults with this bike, and if I had to
nitpick I would have only a few gripes. The beautifully sculpted
aluminium air ducts that supply the air to stoke the VMax’s fire hit
me right in above the knees on the inside of my legs. I like to
squeeze and push a bike around with my knees, so I noticed this
immediately. Your riding style most likely differs from my MX
derived habits, so I doubt it will be an issue for many. The super
cool info display is too low to be useful most of the time, as you
have to take your attention from the road to see what’s happening on
the small LCD screen. The VMax is also very thirsty. The 4 gallon
fuel tank will only get you around 100 miles at a time under the
best circumstances. I experienced a blinking empty warning after
just 77 miles. None of this matters, however, when you can lay down
a smoking strip of rubber as long as Texas is wide any time you get
Jafa was our cat who was killed on our road
Sunday 17th April. Jafa was about three years old (human
years) and like most cats, had an awesome personality. She wouldn’t
really meow but more purr when she talked. She loved us and we loved
her. Jafa had the run of the place and we paid dearly owning her, as
her diet was nothing but the best food and lots of hugs and love.
She would sleep on my lap and I wouldn't move until she was awake lol.
Over the past 3-4 months Jafa slept with Cab at nights and even
slept all day on Cab’s bed. The afternoon sun would stream through
onto Cab’s bunks and made for a lazy day of rest.
Saturday night I turned off the TV ready for
bed and got reminded by Jafa that it was time for her feed. She used
to hang around the kitchen at nights and block me from going up the
stairs, as a reminder that it was ‘feed me time’. I put a can of
food in her bowl and instead of hoovering it down; she followed me
back into the kitchen. This was strange, so I got down on my knees
and gave her a really good tickle and pat. She loved me rubbing her
ears and whiskers and belly. She started to purr really loud and her
grey fluffy hair started to fall out and a bit tickled my nose so I
gave up lol. Such a cutie. I finally said “good night Jafa” and went
upstairs to bed and Jafa went to her food. The following morning I
got up before Cab and fed her, but she didn’t run down from the
stairs or through the cat door. I thought this was strange. I told
Cab and we started to get concerned a few hours later. I had a quick
look outside for her and called for her. After lunch I thought I’d
look down the driveway and walk along the street. My heart dropped
as I saw what looked like a cat a few houses up the hill. Sure
enough it was Jafa, she had been run over and someone had placed her
gently on the grass verge. I felt instantly gutted and picked her up
and spoke to her. I gave her a cuddle and kiss and carried her home.
I went upstairs and sat Cab on my lap and told him I had found Jafa.
We cried. A very sad day for the Knowlers as a little more love had
left us. Cab didn’t want to see her but later did and gave her a pat
as we lay her in the ground. We made a little memorial to her and
screwed her name tag to the garden shed.
That night Cab and I hugged and cried again and
then Monday morning Cab came in and we had more tears and cuddles
and remembered her again. It was sad not to have her around my feet
looking for food and cuddles that night and Cab struggled with
Monday morning feed time. Cab has a really cool idea of getting a
paving stone and carving in Jafa’s name and the date she died.
A sad time for the Knowlers as Jafa was a part
of the family and will surely be missed. I know Carol and Toto
will miss her dearly too. RIP Jafa – you were the coolest little cat
I’ve ever known.
2008 - The Knowlers new kitten called Jafa (named by Cab, 'Just another fluffy Aucklander')
Jafa and Toto playing on the driveway. These
guys are great mates and there is always heaps of Toto’s white fluff
all around the place where the wrestling gets a bit serious
occasionally. A funny pair to watch.
Very sad for Toto.
Jafa never got so well fed with a pack of biscuits. Jafa's last resting place.
Cab and dad camping at Hahei
for the second week in 2011. A great 7 days with friends and
adventures. Every day, swimming in the sea and lazing around at the
beach. I got to read most of a book and even brown the skin in some
places. One day Cab and I went on a Kayak tour from Hahei to Cooks
Beach, stopping of at Cathedral Cove for a fancy coffee. We paired
up with several Aussies and had a bunch of fun with them. At one
point we all held onto one-another's kayaks and the tour guide and
myself (being on the outside) held up a tarp and sailed the team
downwind, cursing along at several knots.
Our camping setup and dad having a scuba dive at Gemstone Bay around
to Sting Ray Bay. Got to see one sting ray but the best view was the
French mum sunning herself on the beach lol. It was a hot day for