Rob and I are not what you’d call ‘sporty types’, but last weekend included cycling, rugby and a trolley grand prix.
On Saturday we hired bikes for the day and cycled east along the Auckland coast towards the bay of St. Heliers. This came about after I was asked about our hobbies and, not wanting to sound like the inactive culture seekers that we are, said we are keen cyclists (read: own bikes at home). We followed through with the idea and it turned out to be a great way to see a bit further out of the city. We made a stop at Mission Bay and arrived in St. Heliers for lunch (would recommend Annabelle’s).
St Heliers is a quaint suburb with a medium-sized beach, which was pretty quiet for a sunny Saturday. We arrived back into central Auckland with plenty of time and decided to rely on my phone navigation to direct us to Mt. Eden. This led us up steep, residential hills in the afternoon heat when I was starting to tire of the rock-solid saddle of the mountain bike. Faced with (what may well have been the last) giant incline to Mt. Eden, we gave up and lay down on Auckland Domain.
On Sunday morning we experienced our first All Blacks match, watching them play France on their ‘European Tour’ (which seemed to also include Japan?) We gathered around the TV with the Kiwi family we’re staying with and their friends. I have a basic grip of the rules – that they pass backwards, regularly scrum for the ball and how they score – but not much beyond that, which seems to be an extensive list of infringements. I’d like to say that I learnt lots by watching, but I’m not sure I did, beyond being reminded how aggressive it seems to be and how little the game is actually in play. Nevertheless, it was enjoyable and the All Blacks won. Next week they play England, so we’re planning to make ourselves scarce.
After the rugby we headed back to Auckland Domain for the Red Bull Trolley Dash Grand Prix 2013. This was a free, family event with 40 teams from across NZ entering their lovingly hand-made and creatively themed trolley racers to make the downhill run of the track. Hosted by Jono and Ben (NZ’s answer to Ant and Dec) and complete with celebrity judges, we were struck by the scale of the event. We watched most of the entries on a large screen in a festival feel set-up. The teams’ themes extended well beyond their trolley-design and we were treated to short pre-race performances from storm troopers, Despicable Me minions and smurfs. Provocative entries came in the form of team ‘North Korea’ and the second-place team ‘Cook Me Some Eggs’ (a line from NZ film Once Were Warriors). Team Zoom Car Wash took first place after storming the track in 45 secs.
Following the competition we stayed sitting in the sun for the eclectic sounds of Wellington band Fat Freddy’s Drop. which rounded off the afternoon pretty nicely.