Other online diaries:
Fri, 19 Sep 2014
Thu, 29 May 2014
Mon, 15 Jul 2013
My annual animosity toward ATO for their failure to provide open eTax - 21:31
I was happy to see some more information has been released, thanks to Andrew Donnellan about the underlying activity behind this lack of support.
Fri, 31 May 2013
The Annual May Zombie Post - 22:25
This is an easy one, Joss is kind of awesome, also this ad did not convince people to vote for Romney (which I think we can all be thankful for) however it is another example of how awesome Joss Whedon is.
Here is Joss trying to convince people to support Romney to bring about the Zombie Apocalypse. We all know Obama won, but it could have been close. I wonder if we need be afraid in a similar way with Abbott here?
In other Joss news, he is now on twitter, pretty cool. Joss Whedon Twitter.
Tue, 21 May 2013
Thu, 13 Dec 2012
Lots of Likes? - 22:22
I should get off the cycling posts a bit more *Marty* soon, maybe back to music a bit, I adore the new Pink album The Truth About Love, My favourite tracks so far are "Just give me a reason" and "Good Old Days". Lines like "I let you see the parts of me That weren't all that pretty and with every touch you fixed them" really are great, also using a male vocalist to balance the song (Just give me a reason).
Also there has been a new Ani album (Which Side Are You On) since I was regularly writing here last. And lots of other good music stuff to think about. Tomorrow *Marty* maybe.
Wed, 12 Dec 2012
Influence of riders - 22:36
It does not feature a mention of his visit to Canberra (I remember it was on the news here) and his subsequent visit to the national champs at Thredbo back in the 90s. It probably was not fascinating enough to have photos of him riding over tables in Weston park in the book. However he is definitely a rider that has featured heavily in my mountain bike world view since I got into mountain biking in 1992.
It is really cool to see stuff these days with videos of Hans, MacAskill and Peat doing rides (multiple generations of awesome rider in one ride). The easy availability of video now opens up a lot of great riding scenery and riders to be easily viewed but the book makes me think back to earlier times.
I was proud to own and ride a GT in the 90s and a big part of the reason was I was a huge fan of Juli Furtado (she made me want to own a Xixang, and I just found a recent Juli Furtado interview on Bikeradar I somehow missed in 2009) and of course Hans Rey influenced my love of the brand. Other riders back then (as an impressionable teen) definitely had a big influence on me. Tomac influenced all mountain bikers in the 90s, Indurain also featured heavily (though I never got in to road riding myself in the 90s, I followed the tour pretty religiously from 1992 onward).
Since I was volunteering at Majura when Cadel won National MTB Championships there I have been a fan of him, and of course now days I am a huge fan of Marianne Vos. I guess if I keep thinking about it I can probably pinpoint more riders over the years. I really like O'Grady and it goes without saying I am a Jens Voigt fan (are any cyclists not fans of Jens?). Though I suspect I am showing my cycling age pointing out how heavily the likes of Furtado and the Hans Rey of the early 90s influenced me. Still lots of fun to look back.
Tue, 11 Dec 2012
Practice good skills - 21:57
Talking with Ben about it there are a few interesting things to think about. Practice is awesome, however practicing bad skills is not (Lee points this out quote a bit). Many people get to a certain level of ability to ride stuff and then simply stop trying assuming they are good enough. However we can all get better (ask professional downhillers, they will be the first to admit this).
When I used to ski a lot I tended to always try to have at least 1 week of lessons every year up at the snow as it all helps. The weird thing is now I do not go out of my way to get mountain bike skills training myself, I think I really should look into this. Another point Ben makes well is sessioning things helps you improve, if you practice getting better and better on something a lot there should be a benefit. Do not simply go for a long mountain bike ride, instead head out and repeat sections of Pork Barrel or Double Dissolution, try different lines, corners, speeds, and everything. Also maybe time yourself doing stuff.
The next point is pump tracks also help a lot, if you have one near you make use of it, head out and spend half an hour riding around it. You have a concentrated set of repeatable corners and bumps and things to do and you can hone your skills a lot doing this. When I was at a conference in Ballarat early this year I visited a friend of a friend's place for a bbq and they have a pump track. We had a great time playing on that. There are some fantastic pump tracks in public places in Canberra too (Gungahlin and Queanbeyan both come to mind).
Learning good skills means trying to repeat things that are faster and smoother, and it also helps following good riders when they are working on smooth and fast. The other thing is to simply have fun on the bike, the more fun you have the more you want to be out there. Though better skills defintiely increase the fun. I really need to read the rest of Lee McCormack's books now too.
Mon, 10 Dec 2012
Sun, 09 Dec 2012
Thinking about context and scale in fitness - 21:59
On this weekend my friend David was once more competing in Coast 2 Kosci (I crewed for him last time in 2010), which is a 246km run from the beach up to the top of Australia. While he was out running Chris, Nathan, Aaron, Beth, Seb, Bleeksie, Ed, Matt, Roland, Paul and I set out to do a 320km road ride with 6500m of climbing.
To most of the population both these activities sound insane and crazy, even people who exercise a fair bit will think we are all loonies when they hear about some of the activities we get up to. However as Beth said when interviewed for an article about endurance mountain bike racing recently, it really helps to be surrounded by like minded people.
Sure Dave's run does sound a little crazy even to many of us, however the event inspires a lot of people and gets many in to bigger ultra running efforts, also once you do a 100km race it probably is not a huge stretch to start thinking about this sort of event. The same goes for the sort of ride we did, once you have done some longer hilly road rides like Fitz's Epic or Alpine Classic it is not a huge step up to go a bit bigger. (or be like Chris Thompson, he rode down from Charlotte Pass to meet us at 5:15am for the start on Saturday and then back up after the ride finish, why do 320km with 6.5k of climbing when you can do 400km with 7.2km of climbing?)
As many of us get most of our social life based around activities with the people doing them with us we all start to think it is kind of normal to be out having fun pushing our bodies for extended periods on weekends. Often many of us forget how little of this sort of endurance exercise the rest of the population gets up to. Aaron has a great t-shirt with the slogan "Hills Hurt, Couches Kill". It would be awesome if the population at large could get that stuck in their heads, no need for epic endurance efforts like we do, however the obesity problems in western society and the rising health costs due to inactivity are costing us all.
Of course the more people that get fit (if it happens) the smaller the gap between normal forms of exercise for us will be. Convince your less active friends to go have fun outdoors!
Fri, 09 Dec 2011
Thu, 03 Nov 2011
Fri, 28 Oct 2011
Lessons in sand groping - 19:13
Some of the things I would like to do next tine I am across there given a chance are: Ride out to Freemantle for brunch on the north side of the river (down the western highway maybe for a while), visit the maritime museum in Freemantle, maybe lunch at the Little Creatures brewery. Getting away from Freemantle just riding around the river sides for a while looks pleasant. Maybe trying to find some good vegetarian specialty eating places would be good too. Though I really enjoyed the Mexican food at Santa Fe on Hay st last night as it was.
I managed to catch up with Jeremy which was good as his time at lca this year was cut a bit short. Also we caught up with Dave Mac, and though I thought he would be away for 6 months he will now be back in Canberra next weekend so CHOGM no longer needs him and he can return to AV at PH.
CHOGM did not impact us too much, sure a few closures we saw as we skirted the city and a bunch of CHOGM security zone signs around the place but not much else. Due to our bodies being on east coast time we started work this morning around 7am so got that day's work done here (on a public holiday for the locals) pretty early which was handy.
I took a few photos, one I liked has an TLA S.O.Y which probably should not be said aloud with kids in the vicinity, I was amused by the fact it sounded like the Seagulls may get all vegan on people (Soy, etc).
Wed, 26 Oct 2011
Groping Sand? - 18:34
Michele and Rob will be over this weekend too for a family gathering, I will be home Friday night, still I was almost tempted to cheekily ask how we should go about groping sand while over there, is there some proper technique?
To practice this Perth thing I was happy to find Little Creatures Pale Ale on tap on Sunday when I was hanging out with COGS (Canberra One Gear Society) at Wilburs in Hackett. Who knows if Morgs and I are lucky we can catch up with Dave Mac tomorrow evening sometime and be able to sample some more of the local product.
Things to remember maybe, Qantas club membership Morgs had was helpful at Canberra, using the wireless to chase up some work and email while waiting for the delayed flight was a good thing. The flight to Melbourne was short, and they had fruit for us of a Vegan persuasion. Tempted to watch The Green Lantern movie (I am a comics geek after all) even though I am sure it will be woeful, maybe so I can at least criticise form a point of having seen it. (unlike The Titanic movie which I still refuse to see and continue to claim it is crap).
I hear from some Martin W that Perth has some very Nomad friendly riding too, maybe worth bringing a bike across on a future trip, you can ride something without much travel in the hills, but it is not recommended. He has contacts for the local club and trail fairies too which helps.
This is a bit of a meandering post I notice, in the end I did watch the Green Lantern movie. Surprisingly not as incredibly bad as I expected. Of course it was not as fantastic as the new Batman movies or anything. The climax was a little easy and short I thought after all the build up, however it was ambitious to show the Corps, and they actually came across in a similar manner to the comics at times. Anyway enough of this, I am writing this on Thursday morning now, time to find some wifi and if I want to actually say something rather than meander around write something new.
Sun, 02 Oct 2011
Googong multisport challenge 2011 - 21:15
Fortunately something worked as this year the largest field ever rocked up to the race on the shores of the 100% full Googong Dam at 10am on September 18. Compared with last year I was severely lacking in fitness, with no fast paddling whole year (and not much at all since Geoquest), not much running for a while and my bike strength feeling weak I was in it for the fun of the event and not expecting to do too well.
Results from the day are available, plus photos and an event report but once again I would like to say anyone who was not there missed out on a great event. The paddle was actually 10km for the first time ever which would have pushed out the event times, however not to the extent that I was 30 minutes slower this year than last year.
However the top three places put in an awesome race, Dave S was always likely to come away as the winner barring mishaps of the people there that day. Sean had a fantastic race I thought to make 2nd, and though I was in in 3rd until Seb caught me near the end of the bike (he was paddling something akin to a bathtub). I had obviously pushed too hard for my current fitness levels and began cramping on the second run on the first downhill (after needing to stop and puke a bit twice in the first run due to pushing my pace too hard). Still I loved the event and having a strong field there made it so much better. Thanks to all of those who were there to make it great.
Fortunately the Sri Chinmoy team have said they will be running it again so I hope to see this event continues to get more interest now, it is a great event in an area not many people go to visit and I am glad to see it will remain on the calendar. Oh and impressive effort from Aaron and Alex who both did the remarkably tough, steep bike leg on their single speed mtbs.
Libby seems to think the race should be held in Feb as a lead up to the Jindabyne multi sport, I personally disagree as I like having a reasonable spacing through the year of these events. Yerrabi in May, Jindabyne in March and this event in September is a pretty good gap and I am not convinced people would use it as a Jindabyne Multi training event (too short and intense for soloists to get great traing) and many of the teams are not really out there at Jindabyne for the speed/win so much as the experience.
Why does Ikea have such a draw on homemakers? - 19:08
I went there today with my sister as she has recently bought a place in Sydney and was looking for a few specific items for their new place. The amazing thing I find is I know a large number of people from Canberra who have made a weekend of coming to Sydney to buy some of their furniture and other items at Ikea.
Maybe I am coloured too much by my dislike of shopping, however Jane and Chris also are not big shopping fans, being in an enclosed mall surrounded by thousands of people throwing their money at the church of owning stuff almost made me feel ill. I know I avoid shopping as often as possible and really only rejoice in outdoor equipment shops and bike shops so I do not fit the target audience for a shopping mall, a shrine to consumerism.
Still after the hassle of driving to Rhodes, getting into the car park, getting through the mall crowds and in to Ikea the huge surprise was that seems to be the most crowded area in the mall. I guess it should not be so surprising, as mentioned I know people who travel from Canberra to buy there. Sure some of the stuff may be useful and there were a few examples of interesting furniture and other items to see, however the prices did not seem quite so amazing as I had been led to believe.
The thing I liked the most was the 35 metre square dwelling design they had on show, largely because I thought it was pretty cool to fit a fairly comfortable dwelling into such a small place, and there really should be more such places available to live in our Australian cities, though once more I run into the big problem I have in that there is not enough storage for outdoor equipment, 7 or so bikes, camping gear, backpacks, kayaking gear etc. I store my boats at the lake side, but all the other stuff has to go somewhere. If only 35 metre square dwellings were available in Canberra with a locked double car area for vehicle and gear as part of the deal, I may even be tempted to return to the pain and horror of Ikea to get European friendly small dwelling smart furniture.
I think all three of us were thankful to escape and have no intention of ever venturing inside again at the moment.
Sat, 01 Oct 2011
Try to remember what is normal - 21:28
This is a stark reminder that to many people a 10KM run is a challenge and something they can not just go and do any given day. Another strong reminder of why my sister often tells me myself and the majority of my friends are freaks.
Sure I go around telling people I am not particularly fit, this is because of relative comparisons. I tend to compare myself to friends such as Dave and Julie, so obviously I am not that fit really. Friends that think it is normal to run a 100 KM ultra marathon then back it up two weeks later with a 24 hour rogaine. They have been known to head out for 84km training runs.
In the bike realm I hang around with the likes of Ben Henderson, Andrew Hall, Ed McDonald, and their ilk and am well aware they will beat the pants off me on the mtb or road bike. My friends and I will happily go do a 15 km Tuesday evening training run at faster than 5 minute km pace chatting away with hills and bush in the dark. This is normal behaviour for us. Same goes for riding, a 70 km road ride before work of a morning or 2 hours on the mtb is not strange.
I remember thinking at Dave's bucks party a few years back there was no one in the room who would not be able to do a 100km mtb event in under 7 hours or a marathon in under 4 (or both for most of them). Now I admit I do a lot of exercise, and a large part of it is I love having fun outdoors, and the further you can go the more of the outdoors you can fit into limited time. I like being able to have some friend suggest some trip or event and know I will be able to say sounds good let's go do it. And I will be able to do this activity and get through it with confidence and not find it too hard.
These activities include things like: the 320km Jindabyne to Jindabyne loop via Khancoban and Adaminaby, riding to the top of Mt Kosci in two days from Canberra off road (camping overnight in the bush), 48 hour adventure races, 360km non stop mtb races, 100 km ultra marathon in pairs (half each).
Though I run a lot more now than I did around 6 years ago I have been reasonably fit since I got into cycling seriously at the age of 12 or so, thus I would never think it impossible to head out for a 10 km run. Nowdays I would not even consider it particularly difficult to decide to compete in a 25 km run tomorrow with no specific preparation. Thus it really is a wake up call to see these multi-month training schedules to get people to complete a 10 KM fun run.
A previous housemate who had been running a lot (more than I do) had competed in the bush capital marathon (and did very well), so decided to enter the Fitzroy Falls marathon, however a week after that he had also entered his first ever 100 km mtb event and the following week was heading to Tasmania for a 4 day bush walk. To me this sounded like lots of fun and I said he should go ahead and enjoy it. He claimed I was the only friend he had that did not think it all rather over the top. Again it reminded me how different so many of my friends are as many of them regularly do similar series of weekends.
Last year one of my sister's friends had spent a while trying to convince her to compete with her in a 5 km run, however Jane was convinced she would not survive the event and instead suggested a triathlon in a team so she would only have to do the swim legs (a sport she does at her local pool often), (I thought otherwise about her ability to complete a 5 km run, but I have to remember I filter these things differently). I think it a laudable goal to do a triathlon in a team, I have never competed in a triathlon by myself either.
It is a huge wake up call to be reminded that most of the population would struggle to do a 10km run without a fair amount of preparation and would struggle with a reasonably paced 30km ride around the lake or similar. I was interested to hear from a friend in Adelaide recently who took his 8 year old son for a running race, 6 km, the first time his son had raced more than a 2km event at school sports or similar. And from the sounds of it they both had a great time doing this together. It is good to see the children of some of my friends who fit into the similar fitness category to me as they grow up surrounded by people who consider this normal.
Susie and Phillo's kids will grow up thinking 24 hour rogaine events and marathon runs are what everyone's parents do and probably emulate their parents to some extent, I already see Sam and Ben's daughters doing so much cool stuff, such as CORC Dirt Crit events from the age of two and a half to family fun runs, or multi day hikes though Abel Tasman National Park in New Zealand. I do however have to remind myself often, not everyone is like myself and so many of my friends, it is a bit like when university educated people so often only hang around with others with similar backgrounds and then are shocked at the sentiments coming from people who have a completely different life and background.
It is worth remembering to celebrate the Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations of the people out there (to use a Star Trek term, IDIC) even when it is surprising to us.
Mon, 15 Aug 2011
Yell for Cadel, Australia's best ever XC mountain biker won the tour! - 21:38
I have been a fan of Cadel for a while, I guess since reading mtb magazines through out the 90s and marshaling at the mtb National Championship races in Majura Pines in Canberra when he won the title here. That he won the MTB World Cup series for two years in a row, has also won the Road World Cup series two years running, won the Road World Champs and now the Tour de France it is fairly obvious to all he is the most complete successful cyclist Australia has ever produced.
I still remember watching him lead through some of the single track at Majura in 1997 from where I was marshaling, seeming to be riding on smooth pavement through sections I rattle and bounce over, sure it was a shame when he left mountain biking, I am after all a mountain biker at heart, but there were as we all know bigger achievements in his future, there is nothing in the mtb world that could possibly excite a nation the way he has the last few years.
For the entire tour this year Cadel and his team seemed to be well organised, know what they were doing and went about everything the right way. Leopard also dealt with the race well, thus as Andy Schleck has said it definitely seems the best rider did indeed win this year. The final time trial was an incredible hour of viewing, seeing Cadel so focused and confidant at the start and then he almost won the stage and blasted away everyone else. Of course seeing him get air on a time trial bike was pretty cool too.
I really hope this helps move Australian's recognition of bikes and cycling forward, the reception for Cadel in Melbourne on Friday was awesome, with St Kilda rd lined 5 deep on each side all the way along and then Federation square packed so full along with all of us watching who did not make it down. The media coverage across the board has been positive and pretty good. Now we can all hope for a repeat performance next year. Rock on Cadel.
Mon, 27 Jun 2011
Sat, 25 Jun 2011
Another (less drastic) health scare - 22:47
This morning I had the junior mtb skills class I have been instructing, during the class I felt early on my sugar level was a bit high post breakfast and for some reason kept focusing on that for the following hours. However upon finishing the class I did start showing many of the signs of low blood sugar (I think I even commented to one of the parents or to Matt that I thought I had low blood sugar), yet I did not eat anything as I still had in the back of my mind the idea I was high.
I then rode back toward home via Dickson, stopped in at Maladjusted to say hi to Mal if he was there, he was not and the last thing I really remember is sort of making my way out of the shop and thinking maybe I would have a coffee and cake at my rainbow dreams. The next thing I remember is regaining a good level of conscious thought on the grass next to the shell service station with an Ambulance parked next to me and Ambulance officers looking after me making me eat sugary things. They did not have to inject sugar into me so I was obviously responding enough they could make me eat and consume sugary substances.
It seems I rode out of Mals and somehow wobbled through to there, my guess is I fell off and someone kindly rang for an Ambulance when they saw me there. The ambulance station is at Dickson so I imagine the response was fairly fast. This was at about 1pm and I was in at Mals around 12:30pm I think. With enough sugary stuff consumed I quickly got back to a good enough state that I could make my way home. I also went into Mals and asked if they could tell me about my behaviour, they had been trying to convince me to eat and were worried so I was obviously somewhat out of it and vague.
The big lesson here was I remember noticing many of the signs of low blood sugar however I continued to ignore them as I had it stuck in my head my sugar level was high from previous signs close to breakfast. I should remember to pay attention at all times and not ignore current signs. Especially under exercise conditions I am well aware sugar levels can change quickly and I was not paying enough attention to that fact. I am lucky I did not hurt myself or come off the bike in traffic and also lucky someone noticed pretty quickly something was wrong and called for an ambulance.
Fri, 24 Jun 2011
Making a change - 13:46
However I have for a while been wondering if I should look into a change to see what other interesting roles are out there for work. Recently a role for a professional geek appeared at the Australian Sports Commission Bruce Campus (AIS) that looked like it could be interesting, so I applied for the position and after interviews was offered it. I am looking forward to being able to use my IT expertise in the betterment of sports for the nation and it looks like there will be some good projects in the area at the new job. I am not sure how I feel about leaving the ANU but I like the idea of a new challenge and seeing how I deal in a new environment with new people once again.
Thu, 02 Jun 2011
A surprising lapse in recognition - 15:15
So to point out why I had such a complete failure in recognition at the movies the other night I should provide some history. Since 1992 or so (when Lethal Weapon 3 was released, then the following year with In the Line of Fire and various following movies) I have been a huge Rene Russo fan. However I knew she had not acted in a movie since 2005 so was not really expecting to see her in any movie coming out in 2011. Thus sitting watching the Kenneth Brannagh does super heroes movie Thor last week I kept staring at the Queen. Thinking wow she is gorgeous, completely eclipsing Natalie Portman in the movie even playing a somewhat small role. However I kept trying to work out who it was, thinking it looks like Rene but assuming there was no chance it was her. Thus when the credits rolled and I saw I really had failed in recognition I was impressed and happy to see her back on screen.
There is an entertaining 3 part interview (part 1 here) on Jimmy Kimmel Live (a US talk show) talking about Thor, working with Brannagh, never watching her own movies and other stuff. (Fuck It Fuck It Fuck It, way to go Hopkins)
Thu, 26 May 2011
The Annual May Zombie Post - 12:43
The other thing to note is there is it seems increasing research happening in various institutions about Zombies. The Smithsonian has a good round up of some of the recent zombie research appearing in the field. That should do me until May next year, unless the Zombies get me (due to my lack of preparedness).
Wed, 25 May 2011
Dundeeism applied to running - 11:57
I was at a physio the other week trying to get an injury that had appeared better before the north face and overheard something that had me privately grinning. Another physio at the practice asked their client if they did any sport. The client said they were a bit of a runner. When asked what sort of runs they did the client said they would do a 3 to 5 km run occasionally.
This amused me, I had this image of someone like Julie, David, Davo, Gramps, Flan, etc doing a Mick Dundee sort of thing, "That's not a run, this is a run!" with a 6 foot track, TNF100, or 10 hour training run sort of display. The whole problem with the image is that all these people are far too modest (which sort of increased the humour of the image I had in my head I guess).
Yet another example of applying Crocodile Dundee to every day experiences to provide humour.
Tue, 24 May 2011
Tue, 17 May 2011
Wed, 06 Apr 2011
Connection limiting in Apache2 - 16:01
Looking at the logs it was interesting to note the User-Agent was identical for each request even though it was coming from so many different ip addresses. So I had the situation of needing to limit connections to a certain type of file or an area on disk via apache so as not to have resource starvation and no download blow outs.
Looking around for ways to do this in apache2 there was not a whole lot of options already implemented, some per ip connection limits in one module, some rate limiting in another module, but no way to limit connections to a given Directory, Vhost or Location immediately turned up. Fortunately a few different searches eventually turned up the libapache2-mod-bw package in Debian.
As it says in the package description
This module allows you to limit bandwidth usage on every virtual host or directory or to restrict the number of simultaneous connections.This was the solution it seemed, so I read the documentation in the text file in the package, enabled it on the server and got it working.
To get it working pay attention to the bit that says ExtendedStatus needs to be enabled before the LoadModule line. Then you can simply place it in a Directory section in your main config file for a given vhost.
I configured it with the following section
ForceBandWidthModule On BandWidthModule On <Directory "/on/disk/location"> BandWidth "u:BLAHBLAH" 200 BandWidth all 2000000 MaxConnection "u:BLAHBLAH" 1 MaxConnection all 10 </Directory>Which says if the user agent has the string "BLAHBLAH" in it anywhere limit to 200 bytes per second and later 1 connection allowed from that user agent to this directory. I thought it worth while to put in a limit on all connections to the directory of 10 just in case the user agent changes and it will not starve the machine or max out the link.
Initially I had the limit of 10 without limiting the user agent more and the DOS was simply using up all 10 and thus no one else could connect to and download these items. Fortunately so far this seems to be working and I can monitor it for a few days to see the resultant behaviour of the attack.
Thanks to the module author this seems to work fairly well and was easier than writing a mechanism inside apache2 myself to limit the connections in the manner required.
Tue, 05 Apr 2011
Mon, 04 Apr 2011
Wed, 23 Mar 2011
I rocked up to compete in the Jindabyne Multisport Classic as a solo athlete for the fourth year in a row. This is probably my favourite race on the calendar, a gorgeous area to race through, really fun legs and a good attitude out on the course from everyone there.
In the lead up this year I have been unable to do much training from January 10 until the race day, with an injury and illness keeping me away from exercising much for 3 months I was definitely a bit underdone for the race.
All along I had ben hoping there would be a really strong solo field again, with the likes of Alex, David, Julie, Randall, Gary Rolfe, Aaron, Lee, Gary Rake, Ben Rattray all competing as solos. However for various reasons the only solos I knew who were competing ended up being Aaron, Lee and myself.
At the start line I was not looking forward to the swims, most years I have had a few months of doing at least 2 or 3 swims a week, this time I had swum twice since January 3rd and maybe 8 times since this race in March the previous year. I defintiely have to stay in the pool and put some serious time in to my swimming if I ever want to do this event really well.
1 Solo Female and 5 solo Men were at the start line, all of us obviously hoping to complete the day and have fun. Race start was 6:45am so we got going and I gave everyone entertainment or a cringe when I immediately went off in the wrong direction sighting on the wrong saddle in the distance while everyone else swam toward the first bouy. This was definitely a theme for me, going all over the place in the swims, in the end I lost 10 minutes or more to Aaron each time we did a swim through the day.
The first kayak following the swim is always a good leg to get settled in to the day and get used to the continuous moverment all day. This year my friend Kerrie (ENM as Gramps calls her, I think Awesome Nurse Muir is more accurate) had once again sepped up to the role of support crew for me, thanks to her for being an absolutely awesome support crew again this year, organised and keeping me moving well all day. She had me through al the transitions smoothly and encouraged me to keep going well.
Lee was unlucky enough to fall out of his kayak in this leg and I passed him there, the SES boats were both in the final 800 metres of the kayak so had not seen him fall out, I yelled at one of them to go have a look, in the end Lee said a fisherman helped him get to shore to empty the boat before continuing on. On to the run, which has less climbing and stays closer to the lake than the old first run I was soon passed by Sal and a few other fast runners on teams (I was already well behind the really fast teams due to my pathetic swimming)
The first run leg is still quite technical and a lot of fun, and it leads in to what in my opinion is the best leg of the day, the first mtb leg is rearkably technical and suits me down to a tee, if only it were 30 km long rather than 8km. There had been a lot of track work done on the trails here and the return leg of this ride toward transition had been improved a lot, easier and shorter but a heck of a lot of fun. I saw Aaron at the shared section of track so he already had a 15 minute lead on me here, due to my complete lack of preparation I expected this theme to continue for the rest of the day, he was racing well for a first time soloist here.
On into the second swim, the worst leg of the day (2.5km of swimming) I labored through that getting passed by a whole lot more teams and caught again by Sharon the solo female, however into the paddle I was able to move fairly fast again. Through the paddle I headed out on the second mtb leg, hoping to get some food down, a problem with my water meant I could not get much down for the leg however still felt pretty good on the whole. I saw Aaron again now with around a 23 minute lead on me.
Through the day I was fairly close to the teams Desciples of Ming the Merciless and Followers of Ming the Merciless, some of the children of the team members are those I coach mtb skills every week and they were cheering me through every transition all day which was awesome support from them and lifted my spirits. I got on to the long run feeling alright, stopped for my normal toilet visit at the thredbo river picnic ground to ligten my load for the climb and headed on up the hill.
During the climb two women from teams caught me up and Lee also managed to catch up, I picked my pace up a bit to stay near them, Lee however had not bought any water or food on this leg and suffered mightily for it, so ended up dropping off the pace ocne we hit the waterfall at the top. I thanked the women for their company as I had to stop to stretch out cramps near the end of the leg and then ran in toward the transition for the long bike leg.
Most years this leg is one of the most spectacular parts of the race, up into alpine grass lands near the Gungarlin river, however due to the river being too full and boggy terrain near it they had to change the leg to a ride up the road from Sawpit to Charlotte Pass before a car shuttle down to the lake again at Creel bay. This changed the dynamic of the race a lot, I appreciated the rest in the car and sitting at the swim start for an hour, however I missed the lovely long mtb leg. I was able to eat some solid food again and watched Aaron do his swim leg before I started. Some friends lined up someone to kayak next to me for this swim to keep me going straight, thanks to Tara and Michael for all of that.
The last few years the final kayak has been very windy, almost a case of surfing or crossing large waves for much of the 9.5km paddle. I borrowed Mark's surf ski for this leg rather than my Time Bandit, it was still windy up near Charlotte Pass so I assumed it would be windy ont he lake. As it turns out this is the calmest I have seen the water in years at this time of day, however better safe than sorry, I completed this leg in around an hour and only had the 5.5km run to finish off the day. I got moving and immediately felt my core muscles in pain with the jarring of running. Amazingly my legs felt fine but I could not pick up the pace due to the pain from the final paddle and swim in my core muscles.
Still I had at least 30 minutes on Lee in third and knew Aaron would already be finished so I settled in and tried to finish as fast as I could without too much jarring. Just as I neared the finish, Zoe, Declan and all the other kids that had been cheering me on saw me and rode and ran in next to me to the finish which was another awesome show of support from them. Finished in just under 12 hours, or just under 11 if you take off the hour enforced stop before the final swim.
Thanks to Kerrie for being awesome and supporting me, thanks to everyone who helped Kerrie out through the day. Thanks to Aaron and Lee for the race and thanks to Prachar and the rest of the Sri Chinmoy race team for this event, such a lovely course and such a fun day out. Easier and prettier than triple tri and less swimming, all good things.
Good to see a strong performance from Sharon the solo woman coming in around 15 minutes behind Lee too.
You should all put this race on your calendar nex year, it will be the weekend before the 6 foot track marathon and probably not clash with Huskisson or the Willo MTB race either. Fun to be had up in Jindabyne in early march 2012.
Tue, 08 Mar 2011
Fri, 04 Mar 2011
Another attempt at the SLER - 10:28
I have been keen to go back for a while, so Alex, Bleeksie, Greg, Chris and I were planning to do the ride last weekend. We headed up there and stayed at the Snowgums Jindabyne unit. I had the problem of a sore throat for two and a half weeks leading up to the weekend and was simply hoping it would get better by the time we were there to do the ride. Unfortunately the sore throat deteriorated into a cold and I tried to start the ride. As we did the first few climbs up toward Thredbo I realised I was not going to be able to continue all the way. At what was a fairly easy pace I was falling behind trying to conserve myself, once I made the decision to pull out rather than do the entire loop I started wasting myself a bit more to keep up all the way to Dead Horse Gap.
I want to do this ride so hope to return later in the year or next year and gt it done. Once I left the others I returned to Jindabyne, bought a newspaper and rested for most of the rest of the day. Slept for a few hours, read the paper and waited for the others to finish the ride.
After having some of the pies from Funky Pies from 42 Cafe in Nimitabel in December I was keen to have some more, I had not gone to the Canberra stockists. However I noticed on the funky pies website that the Jindabyne Bowling club sells them, so I headed there for some lunch. Vegan pies with a good variety, what could possibly be bad about that. It turns out they no longer stocked them, however there were a few left in the freezer so the chef prepared them for me, a little old and dry, however still tasty I was happy with that for lunch.
As for the ride, the guys hit Khancoban around 10am, Cabramurra by 2pm and Adaminaby before the bakery shut. Chris had started to pull away as his gearing made it difficult to climb slowly. Chris finished the ride by 8:10pm and the others pulled in at 9pm after a 5am start. Good to see, solid riding effort, I was jealous but with the Jindabyne Multisport classic 2 weeks later I did not want to make myself even sicker and possibly be unable to compete.
Fri, 25 Feb 2011
The Waifs live - 11:59
Vicki performed an awesome version of Sun, Dirt, Water with just her and the upright bass player on stage. Josh took the lead in some of the new material with a kind of gospel bent. Throughout the gig I thought Donna's voice often seemed to be overpowering the rest but it did not sound that strong during her songs. Still an excellent night of live music, such a shame we do not get to see them more often in Australia now (like we used to when they were at the national every year or other similar appearances). They celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Waifs next year which is pretty impressive just to think about.
Tue, 22 Feb 2011
Egos Like Hairdos at another AROC sprint - 15:50
Wed, 16 Feb 2011
Olive Clips - 20:02
Fortunately one of my friends discovered they are called "Olive Clips" in Australia and are somewhat readily available at boating supply stores around the place.
Sat, 05 Feb 2011
New toy - A netbook with great battery life - 15:43
I have been reading about various netbooks for a while, and finally I realised I have a good laptop for the things I need a laptop for provided by work. However when travelling it is handy to have something less important and expensive, with better battery life. Everything else can be easily dealt with. The Samsung series of netbooks regularly had the best battery life mentioned in reviews, so looking at the models in stock at JB Hifi the NF 210 was claimed (by Samsung) to have 14 hours. Most Linux reviewers of it seemed to suggest 8 to 10 hours was the norm. So I headed over to buy one.
For AUD $437 I got a 1 GB RAM, 250 GB hdd, Atom N445 dual thread (I think) netbook with a 1024x600 screen and a huge battery life with the 6 cell battery it came with. At lca I was able to leave the (rather minimalist) power adapter where I was staying and just take the netbook, it easily lasted the whole day open during all talks and using wireless the whole time plus some other usage.
Gnome power battery status suggests 12 hours from 100% charge with the screen on minimum brightness, right now I am typing this outdoors with the screen at 50% the battery is at 50% and the report suggests 5 hours remaining. I installed a standard Debian Squeeze netinst install off a usb stick and downloaded an identical set of packages (almost) to those on my laptop, no need for a restricted environment as it is a fairly powerful computer anyway. Pretty much everything has worked well under Linux, the only slight complication was the need for a ppa samsung-backlight deb to control the backlight from the keyboard. The backlight seems to go dim on no use even when those options are not selected in gnome power manager so also something that could be investigated.
Also Paulus bought one and had a few problems with it freezing due to the closed wireless firmware on resume from suspend it seemed. I have had one lockup (possibly related) but it has not been a problem. The wireless driver does need to be reloaded on resume from suspend before it works (easy to do) but that is something I may be keen to look into at some point. I should not be surprised though how easy it was to have a capable working Linux system, that is often the norm with hardware these days (especially with much better/broader driver support than any other operating system).
For getting around the place some light work (compiling, interpreters, emacs, web browser, etc) it is a capable system and not lacking. I am a happy purchaser, even though my first one had to be returned within three hours of purchase due to a failed hard disk, since then it has been excellent.
Mon, 31 Jan 2011
Going to the theatre during lca in Brisbane, keeping up the tradition - 16:11
The show was largely very good, however I thought the first half was much stronger and more entertaining than the post intermission stuff. Also the US American bent and style was a little too much, it seemed it would have been easy to modify it in a few places to make it Australian and retain the humour and subject matter of the play accurately.
Still an immensely fun musical. Interesting to see the theatre has performed the Terry Pratchett adaption play Maskerade previously and in October/November this year will perform Monstrous Regiment which could be worth the visit to see.