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Sat, 21 Nov 2015

Brinzio loop and Summit Fiore ride - 12:11

Looking over from the observatory to the Fiore summit (fullsize)
Though I had headed out solo to ride Basso Binda on the first Sunday I was there this ride I got to do with some company until the last climb and get shown one of the classic loops in the region.

My first views of Lago Maggiore and then back through Brinzio, then when we got back to Varese I decided to solo climb up to the summit past the Campo di Fiore and into the snow that was still around from the falls on the weekend. A rather pretty area for sure.

Images in my gallery from the ride ETC, Varese, Brinzio, Lago Maggiore, Brinzio, Summit Fiore ride.

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Fri, 20 Nov 2015

Alpe di Neggia ride in Italy/Switzerland - 12:28

Looking toward Switzerland from the top of the climb (fullsize)
I had a work trip to the European Training centre in Gavirate Italy in April 2012, while there I managed to get out for three rides and one solid run. On the rides I took my camera and was able to get some great shots. Definitely an awesome area to train in for many sports.

Recommended to me by Luke Durbridge who was at the ETC while I was there, this ride was from Gavirate over to Lago di Maggiore and then along the shores until I hit the climb and down the other side in to Switzerland than back through the valley past Lago di Lugano toward the border at Ponte Tresa above Varese. A great ride for sure and a nice climb, though I probably left it an hour too late as coming back it was dark by the time I got to Varese and I had not taken lights.

Images in my gallery from the ride Alpe di Neggia ride in Italy/Switzerland.

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Thu, 19 Nov 2015

Triple Triathlon 2015 - Wheres Our Swimmer - Mixed Pairs - 21:17

Tagging Milly for the Mt Taylor run (fullsize)
As I mention in the words I ended up in pairs this year again, racing with Milly after our swimmer for the event injured himself. Our goal was to have a fun day out in Canberra looking forward to the finish line and beers there. I think we managed that and enjoyed hanging out with all the others transcending the hills and lakes of Canberra.

Great to see Rowan have so much fun on course again, also Cam had an amazing day out with 12h15m solo and finishing third. Ben Crabb got to race again with his normal team before disappearing to the UK for three years. So many others were having fun and so were Milly and I (though the early shot of her before the swim start she does not appear so sure), looking through the event gallery on the Sri Chinmoy events site there are some good photos of everyone around too.

My words and photos are online in my Triple Triathlon 2015 - Wheres Our Swimmer - Mixed Pairs gallery. Good day out bring on 2016.

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Wed, 18 Nov 2015

Geoquest 2012 - Out Of Range - 22:31

Heading into the water with our tubes (fullsize)
When I looked at this album I realised I still have not published or added comments to my 2011 geoquest album. I guess that will be next. For now this was 2012 with Seb, Lee and Eliza up at Forster again. Before Eliza was quite so hooked on MTB near the end of her doing Triathlon we were trying to convince her long sill AR stuff is the best thing ever, I hope we did not scar her too much with the longest event she had ever done.

KV, Ben and Matt were our rather awesome support crew engaging in a bit of speed camping around the region and seeing us come past once in a while, thanks to them for the effort. It was a remarkably hard (well long at least) course this year and though there was no ocean paddling there was a bit of time in the kayaks. The event was a lot of fun as always, though I still need to sort out some of my insulin type and timing issues (as I was reminded this year when I had some lows).

My 2012 Geoquest - Out of Range gallery is online for anyone to have a look, I almost was worried I managed to get a photo of Eliza not smiling, however it appears not to have happened so all is right with the world.

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Tue, 17 Nov 2015

Hume and Hovell Ride Albury to Canberra 2012 - 21:38

A creek crossing on day 1 (fullsize)
This was a really fun ride, 3 days riding from Albury to Canberra on the Hume and Hovell track, a bunch of ARNuts and others, stopping overnight in Tumbarumba and then Tumut.

It was also not long after the Greenedge Call Me Maybe video came out so many of us spent a fiar proportion of the ride posing for photos and some videos miming the actions. I have never tried to edit the videos into anything together however you can see the poses in many of the photos.

The ride itself has a good variety of terrain, great views in places, confusing areas where it is difficult to follow the track and we all had fun. Photos and some words are online on my Hume and Hovell track ride 2012 page.

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Mon, 16 Nov 2015

Australian Single Speed Nationals 2012 - Beechworth, Bushranger themed (sort of) - 20:33

Posing with Jeebus (fullsize)
Wow right now I am finding it surprising I have not been to the single speed nationals since 2012, (un) organised every year by a group of locals somewhere, sort of overseen by Australian Recreational Singlespeed Enthusiasts (ARSE). The 2010 Canberra SSNATS event in Majura Pines was heaps of fun, organised by Canberra One Gear Society (COGS).

In 2013 the event was in Cairns and though it sounded fun I decided it was just a bit too far to head up there for the event, in 2014 I tried and tried to talk friends into heading up for the weekend in Dungog NSW, however few of my Canberra friends were keen and I did something else that weekend (softie that I am).

I am still hoping the road trip to Wombat State Forest in Victoria will go ahead for the 2015 event. There was a ANZAC event in Rotortua over easter however I skipped that. This however is all getting off the topic of 2012.

I made it down to 2012, camping with McCook and having a fantastic weekend of mtb riding with the crew in Beechworth. The rather important aspect of beer was sorted that weekend and Bridge Road Brewerers in that town and they are possibly my favourite brewer in Australia.

The Beechworth mtb park is a great mix of interesting technical stuff and fun all in native bush, there were other ride options as can be seen in my gallery also. Photos and words from the 2012 Australian Single Speed Nationals are online in the link.

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Sun, 15 Nov 2015

Around the K 2013 - Cold morning and night lap of Kosci - 11:21

The awesome open views heading toward Kiandra (fullsize)
Like the other Round the K galleries, another great day out on road bikes, this was the first time I had made it all the way around the loop too. The photo I am using to the left here is a great example of the open alpine regions neat Kiandra, those who have only done the Jindabyne - Cabramurra section have missed out on this bit of riding.

Gallery from the day is online Around The K 2012 gallery and as I said in the last few links to Round the K, bring on the next one in a few weeks. I am as this appears out competing in Triple Tri in pairs though so wrote the post ahead of time and am letting it appear during the day, unlikely that it matters as I doubt I have many readers.

And I have just noticed as I went to do an entry for Monday 2015-11-16 that I had in fact already posted the link and a photo for the post today. Oh well laziness is an artform so it is staying here.

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Sat, 14 Nov 2015

Blue Mountains Six foot/TNF100 scouting trip Feb 2014 - 21:52

Jane loving the trail run down to Coxs river (fullsize)
Oops I realised I forgot to link to this one in my reverse posting of all these adventures, this was a weekend Jane and I headed up to the Blue Mountains for some running and to scout out the Six Foot course (made Jane more comfortable on the course (and as she finished 2nd in the race it probably helped)) and for me we were able to do the climb up Furber Steps (and a nice run along Federal pass including the giant stair case descent).

Though I did get to climb the steps in the Mt Solitary Ultra I had not at that time planned to do that race so I was happy to see them for TNF100 prep. We had a good weekend up there and it was nice to have a relaxed run to the river and back, we managed to see a number of people out for a Fat Arse run on the course too. My gallery from my Blue Mountains weekend in Feb 2014 is online here, thanks for the company Jane, hope to see you back on the trails soon.

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Fri, 13 Nov 2015

Happy Jacks and Jagungal wilderness ride on NYE 2012 - 13:35

David, Julie and Alex with Jagungal in the background (fullsize)
Alex and I had been thinking we should head up to near Jagungal and check out some of the trails through the wilderness there to ensure bikes could get through. This to ensure our planned route through for the next Canberra to Kosci Ride would work better than the previous one.

We decided to do a new years eve mtb ride on our single speeds in the wilderness around Mt Jagungal (the northern most mountain in Australia over 2000 metres). David and Julie came along for the fun, though I did not have my camera I was able to get my phone out easily through the day and get some good photos. They are all online in my Happy Jacks Jagungal Ride Album. Nice day out and and awesome way to finish off the year even though we arrived back in canberra tired and ready for sleep around midnight.

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Thu, 12 Nov 2015

ARNuts Victorian Cycling Holiday 2013 - 11:59

The boys on the trip overlooking Halls Gap (fullsize)
As I say i the write up, late in 2012 Alex, Lib and I started plotting a week of cycling in Victoria. Inspired to some extent by a cycling tips article, we added in mtb riding to the plan and decided to ask Bleeksie, Brooke and Aaron along for the fun.

We klicked it off with the Otway Odyssey mtb race and then did a bunch of awwesome mtb and road rides aorund the state. I was rather impressed with the grampians having never been there. Such a great week on bikes.

Photos and a few words from the trip are online in the gallery Victorian Epic Cycling Holiday February 2013. Now we just need to work out the next such trip. I suspect a south east Queensland cycling trip could be the go for some time in the future. I know there is a bunch of great riding up there.

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Wed, 11 Nov 2015

Whungee Wheengee Canyoning - 13:08

A more open section later in the canyoning day (fullsize)
The previous ARNuts canyoning trip had been based on Mark's birthday, this time we all got up there to celebrate Alex's birthday. Another fun day out in the Blue Mountains with the ARNuts.

My photos from the day are on my Whungee Wheengee Canyoning page. I should not find it so amusing but I do that when the guides end up with a group of people who have fun in long AR events or 100KM runs and similar it seems to be a bit of a shock to them as they are used to clients that struggle with the hikes and harder bits rather than clients who are fitter than most people and simply get on with the harder bits having more fun the harder it gets.

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Tue, 10 Nov 2015

Sri Chinmoy Trail Ultra 2013 - 100 KM (first year) - 15:36

At the start line (fullsize)
This was the first year Sri Chinmoy had run this Ultra, an event now in the third year (and I again ran it this year in a team and once more doing 2 legs). In 2013 they had not yet decided on the increase by 1km every year plan, however the course already showed off Canberra really well.

Alex and I decided to Alternate legs, in retrospect probably harder than doing 2 in a row each, however we had a good day out, and this year I got to do 2 in a row to compare. Of course I had my camera out there and took a bunch of photos which are online in my Sri Chinmoy 100 2013 gallery.

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Mon, 09 Nov 2015

Around the K 2013 - Cold morning and night lap of Kosci - 11:21

Shadow selfie on the climb to Dead Horse Gap (fullsize)
As I so often say, this is one of the best days of road riding you can have, an awesome ride through varied terrain with lots of climbing and mountains. It had been snowing at Dead Horse a few days earlier and was cold in the morning and again in the evening. I left some of my warm clothing at the cars at Cabramurra and ended up regretting it as I had cooled down at Dead Horse Gap too much to keep going by the time Cam got to the top of the climb.

So I hopped in the car for the descent to Jindabyne while Cam finished off the ride. The others had all kept going earlier to finish off the ride. Still As I mention looking forward (though somewhat scared) to this year's day out. The photos and a few words from 2013 are on my Around The K 2013 gallery.

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Sun, 08 Nov 2015

Six Foot Track Marathon 2014 - 11:49

At the start line (fullsize)
I lined up for my first run at the Six Foot track Marathon in 2014. Many ACTRun friends have been doing it for years, this year I managed to get in and was lining up with them and other friends new to the race to have a run along the track to Jenolan Caves.

Jane and I had spent a weekend in the Blue Mountains ini the lead up to the race to get an idea about the run down to Coxs river and also for me to scope out the finishing stairs in the new TNF100 course. It was useful to scope out the first 15km of Six Foot, however come race day things were different (a lot more runners out for one).

As is so often the case I went out too fast and paid the price on the climb from the river and along the range. However it was still a great day out and I will be back for more (I did it in 2015, knocking half an hour off my time and plan to line up again in 2016). My gallery and a few words from the day are here in my Six Foot Track Marathon 2014 gallery.

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Sat, 07 Nov 2015

Mt Yarahapinni Run - Solo November 2014 - 23:58

Massive tree remains from logging operations (fullsize)
I was up near Macksville for a family trip and had some time spare one morning. I decided it would be good to head out for a run in the Yarriabini national park area. In 2006 Geoquest we had done a hike a bike up the side of Mt Yarahapinni and then a ride and split rogaine through the park. I wanted to head in and check out some of the region again.

The most obvious run to do was an out and back along Way Way Creek to the summit and back. With more time it would be fun to explore more. However it was a nice morning out and as I mention would be a pretty awesome half marathon course if it could be organised. Photos from my Mt Yarahapinni Run are online here.

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Fri, 06 Nov 2015

Kepler Challenge 2014 - Running in Fiordland NZ - 21:54

A ridgeline during the race, amazing views (fullsize)
As I mention in the write up a few friends and I had decided to head to Kepler Challenge in 2014. Marty heading back to defend his title, David, Julie, Bec and I heading over for our first attempts, Chris rocking up for the Luxmore Grunt.

Fiordland is an amazing part of New Zealand, this in a country chock full of amazing outdoor places really was something special. I understand why this event is so popular also why the walk itself it so popular. We all had a great time there and though the trip was short it is definitely one to go back for some time.

Of course I had my camera with me and took photos so have some words with them in my 2014 Kepler Challenge write up. Thanks to Dave, Julie, Marty, Bec, Pete and Chris for the company. I hope to head back and do it faster in the future, fun indeed.

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Thu, 05 Nov 2015

Around the K 2014 - Another long ride in the NSW Alpine Region - 10:56

Brooke and Cam at the Scammels lookout (fullsize)
This has become an annual ride to get out on. With two options, the full loop which is 320km including 6500 metres of climbing or some variation we sort out so people can do a shorter ride and be part of the day out. (This year was 180 km either Cabramurra to Jindabyne or Jindabyne to Cabramurra)

We had a pretty solid group doing the whole loop Jindabyne to Jindabyne anti clockwise. The others we split into two groups of around 6 or so each and managed a car swap as we crossed paths (at lunch at Khancoban).

Due to doing too much running and not enough cycling, and my trip to NZ for Kepler the previous week, I decided to do the shorter ride this year. Photos and words from Around the K 2014 are online. Fun was had, now it is just over a month until the 2015 one so I need to get on my bike and get ready for it.

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Wed, 04 Nov 2015

Buffalo Stampede 2015 - 78km in the Victorian Alpine region - 10:19

Julie running back toward me at the top of Buffalo (fullsize)
This event was not in my original plan for 2015, though nursing a bit of a problem with my right aductor and glute I was feeling alright after six foot to do some big stuff. This turned out to be a tough day out, the incredible steep gradients on the first two climbs (and also on the way back the last two climbs and thus the descents on the other side) were something to behold.

That we did over 1000m of climbing in the first 10km of running, including 4km of flat at the start and a descent to the bottom of a 500m valley in the middle says something. This event lived up to the SkyRace tag really well. Also the victorian alpine region is amazingly pretty and Bright is a great town to hang around in.

Photos and a few words from my day out are here on my Buffalo Stampede 2015 page. Thanks to Paul for his entry and to Dave, Julie and Alex for the company. It was fun to catch up with Hanny and Graham down there too.

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Tue, 03 Nov 2015

Geoquest 2015 - Thats Cray - 14:38

Dane crossing a log in the dark for fun (fullsize)
I had a break from doing Geo for 2 years, I guess I got a bit hooked on running and was not keen to try to get a team happening for the event. It almost happened again, however some of the team members in Thats Cray were injured so Cam and I both got an invite to join in the fun.

Geo s always a good event and this year I really enjoyed just joining in for the fun and letting the others worry about Nav and a bunch of other stuff. I have to admit the lack of paddling in the last 2 years made that bit hard, however the event was a lot of fun as always and surprisingly felt pretty good all the way through. Maybe my running fitness helped me get through comfortably.

Photos and some words from the race are online on my Geoquest 2015 album. Thanks to Dane, Lee and Cam for the company, thanks to the awesome support crew and it was good to be back.

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Mon, 02 Nov 2015

The Sri Chinmoy Canberra Ultra 2015 - 102 KM with Wild Bill Bo Jangles and Crew - 20:22

The Wild Bill crew at the finish, KV, Gangles and Bender (fullsize)
I really enjoy Sri Chinmoy events, their attitude and encouragement for people to be healthy and active to have a better life and world through peace and those goals. Given a choice I try to do most of the long or multi sport Sri Chinmoy events. I had run in this event in pairs with Alex in the first year, alternating legs that year.

As I was planning to do another 100 not long after I was not overly keen on a solo entry, however at Gangles's birthday KV and I managed to convince him to compete in the event with us in a team of 3. This would be his first long run (over 20 km, doing the last leg) and KV was stepping up for the first leg (I had the middle two to get done). I got some celebratory t-shirts made up as Gangles' (Adam) middle name is William KV and I decided to call the team Wild Bill Bo Jangles and crew. (I promise it made sense to us)

So we got to join in the fun and run with many of our friends and other people on the day. I took some photos and they are online in my Sri Chinmoy Trail Ultra 2015 album.

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Sun, 01 Nov 2015

The Heysen 105 in 2015 - 10:25

A cool rock feature in the Myponga Conservation Area (fullsize)
I really have been taking a huge break from putting stuff online here. I have still been taking many photos while out doing fun stuff so even if I am not writing much else (I have been sucked into social media I guess) I can still upload the links to the various adventures I have photos and reports from.

The main advantage I find is I at least can easily find the links to refer to without needing to see a directory listing on the website. In this case I headed down to Adelaide to hang out with friends there and also run in the Heysen 105 run. Feeling the need to do another 100km ultra this year and the short holiday in Adelaide helped attract me to this one. Report and photos for my Heysen 105 2015 run are online.

Nice part of the world and I had fun both in the event and hanging out with friends in Adelaide. The coopers brewery tour is also rather excellent.

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Fri, 19 Sep 2014

The Surf Coast Century 2014 - Anglesea, Victoria - Surf Coast track and Otway ranges - 16:58

Near Bells beach around 18km into the 100km run (fullsize)
Earlier this year I competed in The North Face 100 km run in the Blue Mountains, it has a fairly large amount of climbing (over 4000 metres) and though it is remarkably pretty it is a tough day out. When a friend suggested doing the Surf Coast Century I thought why the heck not, less than half the climbing and I have never spent much time in this part of Victoria.

Report and photos are online. I was happy with my time, had a good day out and definately have to hand it to the locals, they live in a beautiful place. I also got a PB time for the distance by a fairly large amount (almost 3 hours faster than my TNF100 time)

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The Coastal Classic 2014 - Otford to Bundeena in the Royal National Park - 16:46

Running along a beach 10km in to the event (fullsize)
I had the opportunity to run in the Coastal Classic two weeks ago, Max Adventure do a great event here by getting access to the coastal walking track for this run and I recommend a visit to this track by anyone looking for a great coastal walk or run.

Report and photos are online. It was a really pretty run and I had never been along the track so it was a great day out.

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Thu, 29 May 2014

The North Face 100 2014 - 14:55

Running up the six foot track (fullsize)
May again, almost a year since I posted anything here pretty much. Oops. I have been doing stuff and taking photos so really they should be easy posts that do not require me to think much. This one for example, I ran in The North Face 100 recently.

Report and photos are online. Strangely I will probably be back next year.

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Mon, 15 Jul 2013

My annual animosity toward ATO for their failure to provide open eTax - 21:31
I wonder if I should try installing etax on wine and see if I can do my tax return that way, or just fill it out on paper in my annual protest to the ATO (going on the assumption it must cost ATO more to process paper based tax returns than eTax based tax returns) that they still make people buy a broken non-free operating system of some description if they wish to fill in their tax return electronically. If I were not so concerned at the environmental waste of the idea and of the Australian government giving even more money to a US company for no good reason (Microsoft), I would have thought about buying a computer with windows installed for using it once a year simply to do tax, then claim the entire cost against tax. I hope by next year ATO may have caught up with the ABS (The Australian Census is completed online) in allowing someone with an open source web browser such as Firefox to do their tax on any platform.</rant>

I was happy to see some more information has been released, thanks to Andrew Donnellan about the underlying activity behind this lack of support.

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Fri, 31 May 2013

The Annual May Zombie Post - 22:25
So it could be the fact I have been somewhat slow in updating this recently, or it may even have seemed I was infected by the zombie virus, however there has been a distinct lack of Annual May Zombie posts for a while. Time to fix this.

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.

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Tue, 21 May 2013

Another ride to Kosciuszko (almost) - 11:30

Open Alpine Spaces (fullsize)
I have not been putting photos and links up on my diary from rides and stuff happening in the past year or so much. I really should get back on to doing that. It has made it hard to find the reports when I want to find them.

A group of us planned to try the ride to Kosci in two days again, like we tried in 2010. We had a bit of a route change this time and a larger group of riders.

With two groups of riders and a bit of route confusion at some points we got through the first day pretty well and relaxed into the overnight camp at 3 mile dam again. Day 2 was likely to be harder but more straight forward. We made it through almost to Guthega but ran out of time to ride up to Charlotte Pass and on to Rawsons for the walk to the summit.

The ride is spectacular and has reminded me I should get up to the snow on XC skis again for some more time in the mountains in winter in these areas. I also think if I try this ride again I will ride a bike with gears, the single speed was somewhat challenging often.

Photos and more words here.

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Thu, 13 Dec 2012

Lots of Likes? - 22:22
What makes *Martin* for popular blogging these days? I may just be stealing ideas from The Seb, maybe I need to drop references to Marty in posts. Though I could get trickier *Worthy* at it. Kind of like subliminal milk carton blogging, Posts from The Seb appear to be kind of popular on Beth's blog. Fortunately Beth does not mind *Marty* so much, unlike the Milly/Freya FB post "like" wars.

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.

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Wed, 12 Dec 2012

Influence of riders - 22:36
More bike themed stuff, today I received a birthday gift from some friends that really got me remembering some of the awesome mtb memories over the years. They gave me the Hans Rey 25 years or riding adventures book (it can be seen at the top of this page currently) which is an amazing book and I really love being reminded about many of the Hans Rey things I have seen/read about/etc over the years.

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.

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Tue, 11 Dec 2012

Practice good skills - 21:57
I seem to be sticking to riding related stuff again, big surprise. I have been reading a rather awesome book Ben L loaned to me. Teaching Mountain Bike Skills by Lee McCormack. It really is an excellent book, helps back up a lot of the things I recall learning when I did my first level PMBI qualification. However it also has some great new tips and ideas. All of this again gets me thinking of ways people can and can not improve their bike handling skills.

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.

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Mon, 10 Dec 2012

Around the K in a day - 18:34

Only 100km to go (fullsize)
Who would have thought, doing some long rides before stepping up to a really long hilly ride does help get you through it. Though I would like to think it is mostly the awesome bike that did it (it is all about the bike after all I hear).

I made it around the loop this time, 320km, 6500m of climbing. Not as impressive as Chris with his extra 80km and extra 700m of climbing, but I am not as impressive as Chris anyway so no big surprise. The photos from the day are at the normal sort of place. Around the K in a day 2012, one of the most fun and interesting road rides in Australia. Or as Beth said after finishing the day "The most epic, spectacular and amazing ride I have ever done".

Alex has said from time to time how much he loves this ride, it was a shame he was unable to come along. We will probably head back this time next year anyway, a good annual ride to do. In the image to the left I used the photo I took on Saturday from the same place as the one I used last year (two entries down in the diary). However image wise one I like is the three from Geehi over the years.




I think these three photos show a nice evolution of bikes I used on this ride all from the same lovely river crossing at Geehi. Though I suspect Nathan and Bleeksie wondered what the heck I was doing when I pulled up to a stop there for no apparent reason on Saturday.

On another note, I commented on this in a photo comment, however Ed joined in the fun for the ride, Andrew H on the other hand went to a wedding (well okay he cycled up to the top at Thredbo too), who will be sledging who for being soft this week I wonder? Though Andrew may have gotten sick of the faffing at the first cafe stop and headed off on a solo mission sooner than Ed, so maybe he needs to do this ride by himself?

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Sun, 09 Dec 2012

Thinking about context and scale in fitness - 21:59
Yesterday a few of us were out once more doing the Round the K ride, I took photos again and will post here when I have uploaded them tomorrow sometime. (also I am sure there is a bunch of other stuff to start putting her again from this year). During rides like this I again begin to think of scale and how we have a different perspective to many people.

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!

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Fri, 09 Dec 2011

Around the K in a Day - 10:26

Only 100km to go (fullsize)
Though I have previously been calling this the SLER loop/ride that does not make much sense as that was only what we called it on the 2004 attempt. The moniker a few people have been using recently makes a lot more sense. Around the K in a day.

The course is 320 km on road with 6500 metres of climbing (and descending) spread around the loop. Some of the best scenery in the Australian alpine region that is easily accessible and a fantastic day out on bikes.

We did it last time in Feb though my diary entries for it were a bit later. It seems the standard timing for us these days is to get around with a 5:15am start and finishing around 9 to 9:15pm. This time we had two half hour stops for food (Adaminaby and Khancoban), a shorter stop at Cabramurra and a few water refills from mountain streams.

I still did not make it this time around, I did feel I was able to however was riding a lot slower than the others on the hills. With a 20km climb to go before rolling mostly downhill to Jindabyne we managed to find a lift for me up the hill so the others did not feel bad leaving me behind as it got dark. Still a wonderful day out on bikes and I am keen to try again. Looks like we may try again on Feb 18, or Feb 25th (though I think I would prefer 18th if everyone can manage that weekend).

Anyway all the photos I took are online, fun was had.

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Pubbage and no business talk - 10:23
So a few weeks ago Pia asked if we had planned any social gathering on the friday night before ghosts for the people who had arrived in Canberra already. By social gathering she of course meant rock up to a pub and chat.

Anyway, though I live about 50 metres from All Bar Nun I only really go there about once every three months if that, and dont really go to pubs much. Too busy mtb riding or something I guess.

I said sure lca crew and other ghosts attendees in Canberra by friday night could rock up to All Bar and sit around chatting about all things unrelated to lca and LA.

So now the reason for this whole spiel, the amusing part is, Pia and Jeff decided they had to attend the SLUG meeting and are now not arriving in Canberra until around 11pm.

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Out of Range at the 2007 Geoquest Adventure Race - 10:23
As mentioned a few times the report from Geoquest 2007 has been a while in coming, pretty much all involved in the team have now seen it and have no problems with it. In it are 99 photos, 5 videos and a fair chunk of text. We had fun and I am hoping to be back next year for more of it. Thanks to Bruce, Danealle, Craig and Brendan for racing and big thanks to Jane, Zoe and Jaymz for supporting. Also Gran and Jude were fun to have around the race.

Anyway for anyone who wants to have a look here is our report from the team Out of Range at the 2007 Geoquest Adventure Race. Enjoy.

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Yell for Cadel, Australia's best ever XC mountain biker won the tour! - 10:23
I know it has been a few weeks, however I have not exactly been on a blogging rampage, what with having my first ever month of no entries here. However I should start writing again and this is something of note for sure. How exciting it is that Cadel Evans won the tour!

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.

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Through the pearly gates in a 200 mph fireball - 10:23
Anyone who recognises the quote probably has already guessed I watched Top Gear last night (the expression about going through the pearly gates in a fireball seems to be a favourite of the presenters). I agree with so many other viewers that this is a funny show. Heck I tend to have an almost negative interest in cars and yet this show has me laughing along throughout most episodes.

I remember watching the old series with Clarkson in it when I was living in the UK in 1993, though at the time I paid some small interest in cars (such as watching Ayrton Senna in F1 races) I do not recall Top Gear being so amusing. I suspect they really ramped up the humour of it when they changed the format and started the new series in 2002. My amusement at the pearly gates expression has me trying to think of a few expressions for how various people may want to go, somewhat macabre maybe but I am trying to think of it in a similar manner to my Fairy Tales in the key of Klingon post. Alas nothing comes to mind yet.

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Ghosts starting to gather - 10:23
This weekend the Ghosts of lca meeting is happening, for those of you outside the lca world (ie most of you) each year we gather some of the organisers of previous conference organisers and some LA people at the venue for the coming conference to talk to the new organising team and work out stuff for the conference.

Anyway this morning Mark Tearle (LA Treasurer) arrived in Canberra at 6am on the red eye from Perth. AJ (Anthony Towns) will be arriving later today, as will most of the other people attending from outside Canberra (Michael Davies, Anand Kumria, Ryan Verner, Pia Smith, Jeff Waugh, etc, etc). This is going to be a pretty busy weekend.

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My software works too well, change it back - 10:23
I have upgraded a few of the systems at work recently to a far more recent image, this one based on feisty (users get to choose what environment they log in to though (kde, gnome, something else, etc)). A short while after putting the image on James' desktop he wandered over and asked if I had doubled the size of the swap partition. When I said that had not changed he was almost amazed as he said around half the memory used before the upgrade was now in use.

It appears the profiling and lower memory foot print work various gurus in the kde and gnome and similar camps has paid dividends as there appears to be a pretty big drop in usage and memory leaks here and everything feels a bit faster all of which is good news. Not that I have done any real testing but perceived feel is relevant to some extent in a computing environment.

The most amusing thing here I thought was my interpretation of how he asked the question, it sounded almost as if something was wrong. As if James was saying "my computer is not using enough memory, and is running to fast, fix it, make it as slow and hoggy as it used to be". I guess at least he was not about to request a change to a computing system that seems to constantly get slower and more user unfriendly with every major release.

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Caffeine and glycogen storage, maybe the roadies have it right - 10:23
There is an article in the Canberra Times today referring to a Melbourne study on some endurance cyclists measuring glycogen storage in muscles when caffeine is consumed immediately after a ride until exhaustion session.

The professor in charge of the study at RMIT is John Hawley, a google search turned up the article in question. It is quite a common practice among cyclists to head to a coffee shop after a ride, though most of us do not consume 6 cups of coffee and a loaf of bread, we do consume some food and coffee at these gatherings fairly often.

Good to see we can even claim the post ride coffee is part of our important training schedule and recovery plan.

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