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Fri, 20 May 2016
UTA100 - The big dance through the blue mountains again - 16:48
Back at Ultra Trail Australia running through the Blue Mountains wilderness
I am still fascinated by seeing how I can improve in this event, after
running in pairs twice and now solo twice I signed up to come back this
year still seeing how much time I can lop off my lap of the
course. Though I continually claim I am not a runner with my mountain
biking and adventure racing background I have been getting out on foot a
lot since I got into doing this event. With an arbitrary number I apply
to the time around this course before I may admit I am a runner of 12
hours I as coming back to see how close to this goal I would get.
My first year solo in 2014 I was positive I would finish just now sure
how fast, thinking on the day I may take around 15 hours I managed 13:44
which at the time had me happy and a little surprised. In 2015 I had a
few things interrupt my lead up and not everything felt great so though
I hoped to go under 13 hours I was not sure, managing 13:15 was not what
I wanted but I got around the loop again anyway.
In 2016 I continued to not have a training program and simply work
toward goals by judging effort in my head and race schedule leading up
to the event. However most running science seems to suggest the more you
can run without getting injured the better. So on January 1st 2016 I
kicked off a running streak to see how long it would last. I managed to
run every day in 2016 until Wednesday before UTA100, so 132 days in a
row with a minimum distance of 5km. This included the days before and
after efforts such as the razorback ultra in Victoria and the Six Foot
Track marathon in the Blue Mountains.
I never really managed to get much speed work into my prep again this
year however had definitely upped my volume doing between 70 and 125km
every week of the year with most of it on trails with some good altitude
gain at times. I also remained un injured and able to run every day
which was great, even with the odd fall or problem I could work around
and keep moving through I was feeling good before the event. Due to my
tendency to waste time at the check points on course I also had my
sister here to support me this year so I would be able to run into CP 3,
4 and 5. Grab new bottles, have food shoved at me and head on out.
All was looking fairly good and I was sure I could go under 13 hours this
year the question remained how far under I could get. Then Wednesday
night before the race I got home feeling awful and shivering and needed
to crawl into bed early and get sleep, waking up Thursday I felt worse
if possible and was worried it was all over I had gotten sick and
nothing would help. I left work at 2pm that day and headed home to sleep
the rest of the day. Fortunately by the time I woke on Friday morning I
no longer felt so awful, and actually felt I may be able to run the next
day. I had stopped my running streak on Wednesday, no real need to
continue it and feeling so bad for two days definitely had to stop.
I arrived Friday afternoon, spent money with Graham and Hanny in their
store for some stuff I needed from Find Your Feet and headed to the
briefing. The welcome to country form David King was once again a
highlight of the runners briefing it is a fantastic part of the race
every year and really heart felt, genuine and funny. Met my sister Jane
at our accommodation and discussed the race day and estimated times
while eating dinner. Fortunately I finally felt ready to run again by
the time I went to sleep Friday night. I had a few runs the week before
with what I call Happy Legs where you feel awesome running and light and
happy on your feet. Though I hoped for that on Saturday I knew I just
had to get out on the track and keep moving well.
I was in wave 1 and starting at 6:20am, had a chat with my mate Tom
Reeve on the start line and then we got moving, taking it easy on the 5km
bitumen loop I had a chat with Phil Whitten who was worried after
stomach issues in six foot caused him problems he may have issues today
too (in the end he did alas), still it was nice to be moving and
cruising along the out and back before the steps. In wave 1 it was nice
and open and even the descent down Furber steps was pretty open. Ran
through toward the golden stairs feeling OK, never awesome but not like
it was going to be a horrible day out.
I got onto the fire road out Narrow Neck and realised I was probably a
few beats higher than I probably should be HR wise however decided to
stay with it and ensure I not push too hard on the hills climbs along
here. With the start out and back slightly extended this year it was
good to pass through CP1 in the same time as last year so on course for
slightly faster, however I would not have a proper idea of time ad how I
was going until Dunphys camp. On the climb from Cedar gap I noticed some
people around me seemed to be pushing harder than I thought they should
however that had nothing to do with me so I kept moving and hoping I
survived. On the descent down to the camp I had my left adductor cramp a
bit which seems to happen here every year so I have to manage it and
At Dunphys CP I had a chat to Myf happy to actually see her or Matt this
year (I missed seeing them here last year) and got moving aware I would
need to take it easy on iron pot to keep the cramps at bay. I got onto
Iron Pot and loved being able to say thanks to David King and his
colleagues welcoming us to country with Didgeridoo and clap sticks up
there, the short out and back made it easier this year and then I took
it really easy on the loose ski slope sort of descent down due to cramps
being close to the surface. Continued taking it easy chatting with other
runners as we went back past the outgoing track on our right and then we
dropped down to the bottom of the valley to start heading up Megalong
Looking at my watch I was probably behind time to do sub 12 hours
already at this point but would have a much better idea once I got to
Six Foot CP in a little while. I took it easy climbing the rd at strong
power walk and then managed a comfortable 4 to 5 minute pace along the
road into the CP. I got out of CP3 just before the 5 hour mark, this was
confirming I was unlikely to go under 12 hours, I expected I needed to
be gone from here in 4h40m to manage sub 12 knowing how I was feeling. I
grabbed some risotto and baked potatoes with salt from Jane to see if I
could eat these for some variety rather than sweet crap while climbing
to Katoomba. On the way into the CP I passed Etienne who had an injury
so asked her to see if he needed help when he got in (though that made
it harder for her to get to e in time at Katoomba, fortunately Etienne had
his parents there to help him out when he had to withdraw there)
Trying to eat the solid food was difficult and slowing me down so I gave
up by the time I hit the single track just before the stairs. I had a
chat with a blonde woman (it may have been Daniela Burton) and it was
her first 100 so I told her not to get discouraged how long the next leg
(CP4 to CP5) takes and to keep focusing on moving forward. I also had a
chat with Ben Grimshaw a few times on the way up Nellies as I was passed
by him while trying to eat solid food and then caught him again on the
stairs once I started pushing up there reasonably fast once more. We
cruised through the single track at the top passing a few runners and
got into CP4 pretty much together.
I had to refill my water bladder here as well as get two new bottles,
still with Jane's help I got out of here fast and left by 6 hours 30
minutes on the race clock. Though behind Ben now as he was quicker in
the CP. Now I was happy to hit my race goal of feeling pretty good at
Katoomba and still being keen to run which is always the way I think you
need to feel at this point as the next leg is the the crux of the race,
the half marathon of stairs is really a tough mental and physical
barrier to get through.
I headed along to echo point through some crowds on the walk way near
the cliff edge and it was nice to have some of the tourists cheering us
on, a few other runners were near by and we got through nicely. On the
descent down the giant stair case I seemed to pass a few people pretty
comfortably and then on to Dardanelle's pass and it was nice running
through there for a while. Of course getting down to Leura forest we got
to see some 50km runners coming the other way (a few asked me where I
was going worried they had made a wrong turn, when I said I was a 100km
runner they realised all was cool told me well done and kept going).
I caught Ben again on the way up the stairs from Leura forest and we
were near each other a bit for a while then however I seemed to pull
ahead on stairs a bit so over the next while I got away from him (he
caught me later in the race anyway though). Last year I had a diabetic
low blood sugar incident in this leg, somewhere just before the
wentworth falls lookout carpark I think. So I was paying more attention
through the day on constant calorie intake with lots of clif shot blocks
and gu gels. I kept moving well enough through this whole leg so that
turned out well. I Said hi to Graham (Hammond) who was cheering runners
on at the Fairmont resort water station and ran on for a few more
Running in to CP 5 on king tableland road I still felt alright and
managed to eat another three cubes of shot block there. I had run out of
plain water (bladder) again so had not had a salt tablet for a little
while. This year I had decided to run with more salt consumption and had
bought hammer enduralyte salt tablets, I was downing 1 or 2 of them
every time I ate all day which I think may have helped, though I still
had cramps around Dunphys that happens every year and I knew I had run
a bit hard early anyway (hoping to hit splits needed for sub
12). However even though it was a hot day and many people struggled more
in the heat than other years I seemed to deal with it well. However I
had discovered I struggled to down the tablets with electrolyte drink
from my bottles (high 5 tablets, usually berry flavour) so I needed
plain water from the camelback for them.
I got more food from Jane at CP5, re lubed myself a bit refilled the
bladder and got moving. I also grabbed a second head torch, though I was
carrying one already I liked the beam pattern more on the one I grabbed
here, though with full water, bottles and the extra torch I felt pretty
heavy running out of CP 5. Still just 3 hours to go now I expected. I
got out of there at 9h25m on the race clock which was good, thus if I
could have a good run through here I may be able to get in under 12h20m
(2h50m run would be nice for this leg at this point). I got moving on
the approach to the kedumba descent joking with a few others around me it
was time to smash the quads and say good bye to them as they were no
longer needed after this really. (only one short sort of descent to
Leura creek) I was asked if we needed quads on the stairs, my response
was they were a glute fest and allowed use of arms due to the railing so
who needs quads after Kedumba.
However as I got on to the descent and passed under the overhang I
noticed my legs were a bit off and I could not open up well, I thought
about it and realised I was probably low on sugar and needed to eat,
eating at this sort of downhill pace was a bit hard (especially as some
food was making me feel like throwing up (gels)). I thought I would try
to hang on until the bottom as I could walk up out of Jamisons creek
eating. However I needed to slow to a walk just after passing the Mt
Solitary turn off and down a gel. Then a few minutes later trying to run
still did not work so I had to stop and walk and eat for a while again
rather than descending at full speed. Doing all of that I was passed by
a few people (I think the woman who came 5th, the guy I joked about not
needing Quads with and a few others).
Oh well I should have eaten more while stopped at the CP or on the flat
at the top, oops, lost time (in the results comparing with people I ran
similar splits all day to I may have lost as much as 15 minutes here
with this issue). Once I got onto the climb out of Jamisons creek I ate
some more and focused on holding a reasonably strong hike, the people
who passed me were long gone and I could not motivate myself to push
hard to see if I would catch them or not. I was passing a number of 50km
runners by this point (I think the sweep must have been at CP5 when I
went through). They were fun to cheer on and chat with as I caught and
passed them, getting down to Leura creek was good as it was still day
light and I could get moving up there to the last aid and onto the
finish before I thought about lights.
Ben caught me a gain here saying he had really pushed hard on the
kedumba descent and he was looking good so sat a little ahead of me up
to the aid station. I refilled my bottles and kept going chatting with
50 km runners as I passed them. I got to the poo farm a bit quicker than
I expected (going on feeling as I was not looking at my watch much)
however it was good to finally be up on Federal pass not long after that
and this is where I decided to focus on moving fast. The last two years
I crawled along here and I think I lost a lot of time, I know last year I
had mentally given up so was crawling, the year before I think I was
just a bit stuffed by then. This time I focused on running whenever it
was not a steep up and on getting over to the stairs as quickly as
It was still fun cheering on the 50km runners and chatting with them as
I passed, I even saw some women in awesome pink outfits I had seen here
a few weeks earlier while training so it was good to cheer them on,
when I asked them about it they said it was them and they recognised me
(it's pinky they exclaimed) as I passed. I got to the base of the stairs
at 12:14 so knew I had to work hard to finish in under 12:30 but it was
time to get that done if possible. On the climb up the stairs it felt
like I was getting stuck behind 50km runners on many of the narrow
sections of stairs however it probably was not much time slowing up the
pace (one occasion a race doctor was walking up the stairs with a runner
just to help them get to the finish). I managed to get across the finish
line in 12:29:51 (57th overall) which was a good result all things
Thanks go to Jane for coming up from Sydney and supporting me all day,
Tom, Al and AROC for keeping the fun happening for all the runners, Dave
and co for some excellent course markings, all the other AROC people and
volunteers. David, Julie, Alex and others for company on lots of the
training the last few months. I have a few ideas for what I need to work
on next to faster on this course, however am thinking I may have a year
off UTA100 to go do something else. The Hubert race in South Australia
at the start of may looks like it could be awesome (running in the
wilpena pound area through the Flinders ranges) and it will probably be
good to develop my base and speed a bit more over time before my next
attempt to see if I can become a runner (crack 12 hours on this course).
UTA100 really is the pinnacle of trail running in Australia with the
level of competition, course fun quality, vibe on ocurse and the welcome
to country, the event history and everything else so I hightly recommend
it to anyone keen to challenge themselves. Even if so far this year the
event that has really grabbed my attention the most is probably the
Razorback Ultra, it is a very different day out to UTA100 so it is all
good fun to get outdoors and enjoy the Australian wilderness.
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.
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
Thu, 19 Nov 2015
Triple Triathlon 2015 - Where's 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.
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 silly 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.
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 fair 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.
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
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
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.
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
posted the link and a photo for the post today. Oh well laziness is
an artform so it is staying here.
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
weekend in Feb 2014 is online here, thanks for the company Jane, hope to
see you back on the trails soon.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
Trail Ultra 2015 album.
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
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
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.
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
Report and photos are online. Strangely I will probably be back next year.
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
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
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
Here is Joss trying to convince people to
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
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
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
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.
Thu, 13 Dec 2012
Lots of Likes? - 22:22
What makes *Martin* for popular blogging these days? I may just be stealing ideas
Seb, maybe I need to drop references to Marty in posts. Though I
could get trickier *Worthy* at it. Kind of like
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
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
Also there has been a new Ani album
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
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
(she made me want to own a Xixang, and I just found a recent
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
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.
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
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.
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
Sun, 09 Dec 2012
Thinking about context and scale in fitness - 21:59
Yesterday a few of us were out once more doing 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
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
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
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
Anyway all the photos I
took are online, fun was had.
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,
Jeff decided they had to attend
the SLUG meeting and are now not arriving
in Canberra until around 11pm.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.