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Tue, 22 Dec 2009

Pretty average bar tape, a 7 month report. - 14:06
My new road bike, a 2008 model Kona Kapu in Orange I purchased in April, came with white bar tape wrapped up to just past the brake hoods. The bar is one of the new flat topped ergo style bars. Though as it is aluminium rather than carbon it will feel quite cold on chilly mornings. Due to my firm belief that white bar tape is almost as wrong as white knicks and the fact I did not want to get chilly hands on the bare aluminium I decided to get new bar tape for the bike.

I searched around trying to find orange coloured tape for a while and found the Lizard Skins tape in a good shade of orange at a shop here. The Lizard Skins tape had some good reviews for the tacky grip feel and seemed alright, though it was around twice the price of most traditional cork or synthetic cork tape. Now 7 months after purchasing the grip tape and putting it on the bike I have discovered the two major problems with it are that it gets dirty and the packaging recommended against using any cleaning agent other than plain water on it as it may deteriorate the grip. I can deal with this as it is sort of in the nature of grip tape to become dirty over time.

My bigger gripe is that I noticed the last few days that after only 7 months the grip tape is wearing out on some of the points I have my hands in contact with the bars the most often. Previously I have had grip tape last for 3 or 4 years before wearing out enough to require replacing so I am definitely disappointed in this and in the next few days will pull off the tape and put on some much cheaper cork tape in orange from a different brand.

[/mtb/gear] link

Fri, 11 Dec 2009

Paddle times improving all round - 15:49
This week I set a pb at paddling, 49m52s for the 9.6 km on the GPS (first time ever under 50 minutes). Randall also set another PB (second week running doing that for him) of 47:08 (I still have almost 3 minutes to gain there...), he is also getting closer to Brendan and other fast paddlers which is good. Danielle missed the time trial this week, however last week smashed her PB and wen well under 60 minutes for the first time, getting 58:59. It is good to see progress happening all over here, lets hope we can all keep it up for a while at least. Brendan has mentioned it took him 4 or so years to get to his speed doing a fairly large amount of paddling, none of us AR nuts really get the time to paddle more than twice a week most weeks though so do not improve as fast as we could potentially otherwise.

[/mtb] link

Mon, 07 Dec 2009

Cruisy weekend - 11:59

The lovely Taemas Bridge near Yass (fullsize)
Saturday morning I hopped on my road bike and headed out to Yass, a nice 3 hour, 84 KM ride which is always rather enjoyable. The reason to head out there was for Jeff and Pia's combined 30th and housewarming. The bbq/party was a lot of fun and I was able to catch up with many people I have not seen much of in a while. Thanks for having us all over guys, and what a lovely place you have there (especially with the views out toward open land from the yard).

I had been planning to ride back but a friend was keen to go paddling on Saturday afternoon so I got a lift back with Crash and headed out for a paddle, largely so my friend could get some more time in tippy boats.

Sunday morning I helped Bilbys do the timing at the triathlon on at the lake and had been sort of planning to go paddling again however ended up going home and napping for an extended period of time. So all in all a fun but relaxing sort of weekend. The Bridge in the photo on the left is one of the reasons I think everyone should go check out the road from Yass to Wee Jasper, a lovely majestic bridge across the river seemingly in the middle of nowhere.

[/various] link

Fri, 04 Dec 2009

Chameleon Pedals - 17:14

New pedals indoors (fullsize)

New pedals in the sunshine (fullsize)
On my way through civic today I had a flat tyre on the CX bike, so I stopped in at Onya to get it fixed, Gareth showed me these pedals I had to buy a pair of. After all my good flat pedals have gone walk about so I really needed new flat pedals. They look like plain pedals D may even like until you take them outside in the sunshine and they have an almost instant colour change. Rock on, will look just right on the pink hardtail during events I need to use flat pedals with.

[/mtb/gear] link

Mon, 30 Nov 2009

Cruising around the AROC Sprint on Saturday - 16:04

Selina, Celia, Mark and Randall at presentations (fullsize)
While Nathan, DaveS and Wayne were Moseying around the AROC classic course on Saturday just a little bit faster than the Mosey of Selina, Mark and Randall and that of Danielle, Matt and Gary. I was also out there cruising around with Ron and Tony. Strangely I was carrying a camera so took a few photos, my AROC Sprint Race 2 for 2009 photos are online. The results and race photos and stuff can be found linked from the event page at AROC Sports.

[/mtb/events] link

Tue, 24 Nov 2009

Kate Miller-Heidke live in Canberra last week - 11:29
What with my love of female folk singers, and especially of Missy Higgins piano work and what my sister refers to as my predictable enjoyment of female pop sort of music I guess it comes as no surprise I am a huge fan of Kate Miller-Heidke. She started an Australian tour recently and one of the gigs was in Canberra. Last Tuesday night at the Hellenic club I managed to catch the gig with my sister and her partner. The support act was Washington, I enjoyed their music and thought it a fitting support act for this gig. The song How to Tame Lions was very good, and I agree with the lead singer if everyone at a gig had one of the face masks on it would be even cooler. Thought neither Jane or I listen to radio much currently we both recognised a few other songs sung by the group.

The main act was of course Kate Miller-Heidke and her band, they came on and got going on some really good renditions of her songs, she also tended to talk a fair bit between songs and had some good amusing stories and anecdotes. Such as telling about the recent US tour, where they played the Facebook song on college radio stations a lot. However due to the fact they are publicly funded you can not swear, so they had to be rid of the obvious swearing "fucking fucking kidding me" etc, however the next when she sings "narcissistic arsehole", at one station they had a list of banned words, and said you can not say "ass" (American spelling and pronunciation) so she asked can we say "arse" (Australian spelling and drawled out) and he said it is not on the list so sure go ahead.

As much as I love the music some of the lyrics have been hitting a bit close to home for me, even though it has been almost a year the whole facebook song reminds me I am still trying not to remember a lot of last year so as not to be depressed, and of course the line in "Space they cannot touch", "I just hope I am good enough to keep you" still preys on my mind a lot as I wasn't. Still so long as I do not dwell on such thoughts I had a good time there and was definitely impressed by the live performance. They work hard to choreograph their performance on stage with movements and dancing and have a lot of energy. When the amps were playing up for a while Kate and Keir played 4 songs with just an acoustic guitar and singing which was a great recovery for the equipment problems.

[/leisure/music] link

Easy Chocolate Cakes - 11:21

Vegan Chocolate Cakes with Soy Cream Cheese Chocolate Icing (fullsize)
Last night I whipped up two vegan chocolate cakes, and because I had some vegan cream cheese left from Friday I made chocolate cream cheese icing for them. These are incredibly easy to make and have a very basic recipe. I used something very similar to this Vegan Chocolate Cake recipe though made the icing with Cream Cheese, Nuttelex, Icing Powder and Vanilla.

Anyone rocking up to the evening at Tilleys tonight will be able to sample these.

[/leisure/food] link

Wed, 18 Nov 2009

I doubt even we were the first... - 16:54
I was interested to see the claim about believing they are running the first tertiary exams run on computers, I guess I am interested because in Computer Science at ANU we have been running exams for first through fourth years and for masters courses for 5 years now. Including a first year course with over 150 students in comp1110 (first year), comp3300 (third year operating systems course), comp3310 (third year computer networks course) and many others. These exams account for 50 to 70% of the assessment in these courses.

As I said I would be very surprised if we were the first to do this in Australia too.

[/work] link

Mon, 16 Nov 2009

Triple Triathlon 2009 - 17:24

Dave and Julie finishing (fullsize)
I was unable to compete this year, but I got out there and cheered on my friends and took a whole lot of photos which can be found at my 2009 Triple Triathlon photos page.

I hope everyone racing had fun, I enjoyed following the race.

[/mtb/events] link

Thu, 12 Nov 2009

Yummy vegan lasagna, Lentil and Leek - 22:33

Lentil and Leek Lasagna (fullsize)
I was in the Oxfam shop a little while ago and while there noticed an Oxfam Vegetarian Cookbook. It looked interesting and I like buying Oxfam stuff so I bought a copy. Home sick today I was having a read through it and liked the look of the Lentil and Leek lasagna pictured above.

It is indeed a delightful dish, I enjoyed my dinner tonight. I did not use cheese (I instead spread some sesame seeds and olive oil on top of the white sauce. For the white sauce I used soy milk, whole meal flour and nuttelex rather than milk and butter). I highly recommend this lasagna.

[/leisure/food] link

Thu, 05 Nov 2009

Oh no fast - 13:30
Last summer when the lake was open and I was able to do paddle time trials a few times, I did not really go very fast, looking at my GPS records from December onwards I did not even go under 52 minutes for the 9.6km time trial last summer. So yesterday arvo I rocked up for the first summer time trial of the season at the river.

Thinking I had not paddled much over winter and I had not had many sustained efforts of 10km non stop I was expecting I would probably push the pace a bit to do 54 minutes. So imagine my surprise when, after wash riding a slower wash than I should have been paddling for the first few km and then going it alone I ended up doing 50:52 in the time trial.

Sure I am happy to have that sort of speed, however I must admit to being somewhat paniced that now over summer I should in theory get faster most weeks, I really will have to crack my goal of sub 50 soon I suppose. Eeek.

[/mtb] link

Sat, 24 Oct 2009

Cranks are not suposed to do this I think. - 20:36

One solution to increase right leg strength (fullsize)
Leading a ride today, pulled a gap jump and was a little bit slow, so landed a bit hard with my back tyre just clearing the lip. Suddenly found my left foot a lot closer to the ground than it should be. Oh a broken crank, only one year old. The bigger problem was as ride guide for a familiarisation ride I was not sure anyone else of the 23 people I was showing this course to knew the rest of the route for the ride.

Fortunately someone knew the way through to Mt Taylor on this leg and I was able to swing a lift with someone to get home rather than ride one legged from Stromlo home. Mr Milton I am not.

[/mtb/gear] link

Fri, 16 Oct 2009

A new discovery, ninja music - 13:25
Last night I was reading AFP's second recent on the issue of artists making money in the Internet enabled world, something she refers to as Virtual Crowdsurfing, all that makes a lot of sense to me, however I happened to note her mentioning doing an online performance with a musician named Matthew Ebel.

Out of interest I followed the links and then looked up youtube to learn about him. One of the first youtube videos I stumbled upon was Everybody Needs a Ninja, which is awesome beyond words. Go watch it now, anyway I listened to some other stuff on youtube, however mostly on the strength of the Ninja song alone I bought copies (mp3 download and two physical copies, all from cdbaby) of his album Goodbye Planet Earth. Listening to it on rotation in my ipod today and it really is pretty awesome. Creative amusing lyrics, good piano and other instruments/effects. I had a bit of a listen to the samples of his older albums, however they are a bit more main stream and less amusing/clever seeming, though still good I was not in the mood to buy them.

[/leisure/music] link

Mon, 12 Oct 2009

Scott 24 Hour Photos - 20:03
While out at the 24 hour this weekend I managed to take a few photos I have now uploaded to a page, 2009 Scott 24 Hour photos. I also provided bandwidth this morning for the Sportograf guys to upload their photos. They took 85,000 over the weekend, the best of set are already up and they should have the rest public by Wednesday sometime.

[/mtb/events] link

Tue, 06 Oct 2009

Googong Multisport Challenge, more Sri Chinmoy fun - 13:24
Similar to the Yerrabi race in May but longer and tougher, the Googong Multisport challenge was on this weekend. I went and competed again and had fun. So did a number of friends. Photos and other stuff at my Googong Multisport Challenge 2009 page. Thanks to the local Sri Chinmoy Events crew for more fun this weekend.

[/mtb/events] link

Wed, 30 Sep 2009

Rockbox freezes on ogg files fix - 17:41
After messing around with my ipod for a while upgrading it to rockbox v3.4 to see if it would play some ogg files it was freezing on I discovered a simple fix at last. If an ogg file has id3 or id3v2 tags it appears rock box will refuse to play the file. I had been wondering for a year or so why my violent femmes albums I ripped onto the ipod would not play, however was not to fussed as I was not listening to them overly much. However I ripped a new album I bought and was most annoyed to find I could not play it.

Happily now I have discovered this problem I have easily removed all the id3 and id3v2 tags form ogg files on the device with "find -name '*.ogg' -print0 | xargs -0 id3v2 -D" and hey presto I can now play all these files again easily. The ogg/vorbis tag remains intact, for some reason I had add id3 tags ticked in grip without restricting it to files ending in .mp3.

[/comp/software] link

Disappointed to learn that purple Vitasoy is not vegan - 16:33
I was somewhat pissed off at Vitasoy/national foods last week when I learned that the calci plus (purple container) Vitasoy is not vegan friendly. Some time in mid 2008 they changed the packaging slightly saying it had vitamin D added. I paid no attention to this, however some vegans are far more alert to this sort of thing than I am.

Last week I was looking for some information about the new Vitasoy cafe milk that is appearing in many cafes, I happened to come across some discussion on vegan forums about the calci plus not being vegan friendly. The vitamin D they began adding to the product some time last year is from a lanolin derived source (sheep/wool production industry), the forums referred to it as a D3 additive, suggesting Vitasoy if they felt the need to add vitamin D could put the effort into finding D2 based vitamin D which is not from the animal industry. Response from Vitasoy when they were contacted about this is that many of their other products remain Vegan friendly and they are investigating a reliable source of D2 for this milk.

Apart from them changing the packaging but not noticeably making it clear in any other way I am somewhat annoyed at a soy milk product with vitamin D added making it non Vegan. Anyone needing some vitamin D should go outside from time to time and get a bit of sun for crying out loud. I am unfortunately somewhat addicted to Vitasoy by choice and as they have stopped producing Vitasoy heart (yummiest soy milk around) I had since then been drinking calci plus. On my most recent shopping trip however I went to buying the green carton Vitasoy (fibre), I guess it would be better to try a few non Vitasoy products and see if there is one the behaves nicely (does not clump up) tastes better than So Good and costs less than Bonsoy.

I like the term a friend I was telling this to came up with, if they feel the product needs vitamin D as people consuming it do not have enough Vitamin D it should be called "Cave Dweller Vitasoy".

[/leisure/food] link

Fri, 25 Sep 2009

Astro cycling help - 22:15

Astro Road Assistance (fullsize)
To go along with my habit of bender dolls, robot dogs, cute animal horns, etc somewhere on all my bikes I was starting to notice the lack of something extra mounted somewhere on my new road bike. Fortunately while in landspeed records tonight I saw something that helped me fix this situation. With the dual advantage of offering some extra rocket assistance on the road bike and nicely accessorising one of my cycling outfits how could I pass this one up?

[/mtb/gear] link

Gear transport mechanism costs - 16:40
I finally got the car service I have been putting off for a while done. Last time I had it in there they mentioned the radiator will need replacing, so I got that done this time. Also last weekend while my car was locked in secure parking at my sister's place in Sydney with Matilda (double sea kayak) on the roof some retards came along and stuck a screw driver or something in the drivers side lock. Thus I needed a new barrel on the lock, this means to unlock the car on the drivers side I now use a different key to the one I use for ignition and the passenger side. I have had to deal with this on other cars in the past and it is a PITA.

I guess I should be happy whoever it was did not damage Matilda and that was the only damage to the car. Anyway the whole shebang cost AUD $1230, around $200 of that was on the new lock barrel and associated labour so not worth an insurance claim ($500 excess). Now I can go back to putting off the car servicing until I absolutely need to for a while, well apart from the two new front tyres I need that they did not do at the time.

[/various] link

Tue, 15 Sep 2009

Hard day in the heat at the Angry Doctor - 14:33
I put some photos I took at the Angry Doctor on line, none of them particularly good. Though showing off the awards ceremony for the spectacular efforts by Heather, Julie, Libby and Sam.

What with the worlds taking up a lot of time, and no real serious cycling efforts recently I have been continuing to rely on my base cycle fitness for all the bike efforts I do. This event came down to relying on that again. I do however think I made some mistakes. It was well over 30 Celsius down there for the race, I normally struggle in the heat so should have expected to here also.

I did not pay much attention to hydration or salts intake the day before of morning before the start. Then going out harder than I should have I was feeling good until at 30km I was hit with some nasty cramps. My reaction to that was to consume a lot of liquid. 2 litres of water from the camel back, one full bottle and two half bottles of sports drink (borrowed from others) all used up before reaching 50km. I took on two bottles of sports drink and 3 litres of water at 50km and used that all up by 70km going for 10km until the aid station with no liquid.

I did not overheat which is good, however with bad cramps for 70km and being unable to put much power down I was annoyed with my race. I probably washed too much liquid through my system, though being scared of overheating (and heat stroke type problems) I think maybe I should have tried to have more salty foods and solid foods instead of the mostly gels I used all day. Chips may have worked a treat or salty biscuits. Of course a heck of a lot more time on the bike would also help. I think this is something I should seriously concentrate on getting back before Jindabyne next year, some good bike form rather than relying on base all the time.

Anyway it was still a good event on spectacular trails, I am keen to repeat the effort next year.

[/mtb/events] link

Wed, 09 Sep 2009

British pollies at elite level to Australian pollies with rorts. - 16:50
So I notice many of the papers today have front page material about the Australian politicians needing to cut perks due to rorts in their use of available allowances.

What amuses me the most here is that the perk in question is the use of allowances to print/photocopy material for their election campaigns at the last federal election. Yes the amount that has allegedly been rorted is huge and election material should not be funded with public money. However I keep wondering if the British pollies may look on and think of the rorting abilities of Australian pollies as somewhat amateur. In May there was a lot of coverage of the British pollies rorting allowances and purchasing things such as moat cleaning or pornography. Though it was interesting to see some unique views on that situation at the time.

Oh and speaking of federal politics, I am happy to see I am not the only one who thinks our federal minister for sport (Ellis) is gorgeous.

[/various] link

Wed, 02 Sep 2009

2009 Mountain Bike World Championships in Canberra are finally happening. - 07:32

Ben Henderson practising the course (fullsize)
The worlds most incredible riders are all finally here for the Worlds. It is on and happening. I have been taking photos (and will continue to do so) while I am out there working on site (two weeks of holiday from work to do so).

Yesterday was the first race (Team Relay) which was won by the Italian team. I finally have had a few moments spare to upload my photos so far (though this has made me late on site this morning). My worlds photos are all on my 2009 Mountain Bike World Championships Photos page (no time to spell check this morning)

[/mtb/events] link

Sun, 30 Aug 2009

Kate and Ruth at the Folkus - 23:29

Kate and Ruth(fullsize)
On Friday night after getting home from another day doing World Champs work at Mt Stromlo I had the rather enjoyable opportunity to see Kate and Ruth playing live at The Folkus Room. They do not often play in Canberra outside the folk festival and they really are a wonderful pair of performers. My housemate Matt who is also a fan of their work came along with me and we got to enjoy a spectacular evening of music.

Early on they played Cindy Cindy which was wonderful. Kate played a cover of the Joni Mitchell song A Case of You which was really amazing, what an evening. I thought it was a little disappointing how few people were there as they are popular in Canberra. Though an amusing aspect of this is that most of the people in the audience were close friends of theirs and both there mothers were (eventually) at the gig and they had played in groups with some of the audience members.

I have been taking photos while working out at Stromlo on the worlds, however have not had much time in front of a computer recently so have not had time to upload them and comment on them. It will happen at some point soon.

[/leisure/music] link

Sun, 23 Aug 2009

Another ouch, Out at the worlds site today and Coraline is awesome - 23:00
On my way out to Stromlo this morning on the CX bike I unfortunately had more data provided to back up my theory that my CX bike is cursed. Riding into the bike path tunnel near Scrivner Dam I thought to myself on the wet bike path, hmm I may be going a bit fast here, as I finished the thought my front wheel slipped and I went sliding along the bitumen on my right hip. This is of course the same hip I went sliding on a month ago.

Right now I am seriously annoyed as it makes walking around and a lot of movements painful, I was almost back to being able to sleep on my right side, now I wont for a while. I once more will be unable to run for a few weeks, and can not put full power into the pedals for another few weeks now too. I also have this theory that the cyclocross bike is cursed. This is the only bike I have ever owned on which I have had crashes serious enough to stop me riding or doing other things.

Sure I have had other crashes, such as those involving the breaking of frames however I was still able to go out and do long hard riders or other stuff the next day without much pain. So far on the CX bike I have crashed badly 4 times, each time with the front wheel losing traction and ending up pretty badly hurt. Stitches at the hospital required from one such incident in November 2007, then last year I came off and broke my collar bone when the front wheel lost traction. The recent crash in the CX race meant a month of no running, missing some events and some serious pain. Now a repeat (though it does not feel quite so severe) today. I guess it is possible that something about my position on the bike combined with the geometry and handling of it simply does not suit my riding style and thus I just lose the front wheel badly form time to time. Or I could be blaming the tool.

I made it out to Stromlo of course and we got to work, getting closer to having all the pipes up to hold the bunting around the XC course. We put in some new rocks in a line on one section to make A and B lines, later while working near hammer head the Australian team came past. I took some photos of them practising sections (not posting online until I get faster Internet at home again). So we asked them to check out the new section later on and tell us if it worked and if the B line needed to be slowed or the A line changed. In the end we went down and fixed both up to the extent it should work well while the practised in front of us as we changed it around to ensure it was correct. As Dave said it was kind of fun to have the elites there as we built this to see how it worked at pace.

Upon getting home I showered and headed out to see a movie, Coraline in 3d. This (being a Neil Gaiman based movie) was something I had been looking forward to for a long while, everyone had said seeing it in 3d was worth it too. What can I say, it did not disappoint, scary and cool and fantastic and fun and incredible and sweet and fun and oh so worth seeing. The 3d was a cool experience too.

[/various] link

Fri, 21 Aug 2009

Where many of my friends will be next week - 12:36
So a lot of my friends I regularly ride bikes with will be over in East Timor next week for the inaugural Tour de Timor, this looks like an excellent event in the making and I would love to be there. The timing however was simply too close to the Mountain Bike World Championships which start on September 1st here in Canberra at Stromlo, there is a lot of work to be done out there next week and I am having the next two weeks off work to work out there with the other CORC people who have been putting in so much time and effort to bring this event to Canberra.

Still I wish Libby, Chris, Gary, Bleeksie, Cameron, and the rest of them an excellent time over there and I look forward to hearing how much fun it was when they return from their adventure.

[/mtb/events] link

The final product of yesterday's baking - 12:24

Vegan Tiramisu cupcakes, finished product(fullsize)
The photo on the left is of the 24 finished tiramisu cupcakes mentioned yesterday. They were a hit. Yummm.

[/leisure/food] link

Thu, 20 Aug 2009

Still not allowed to give blood - 17:35
So I have been hearing rumours from friends recently that the rule that means I am not allowed to give blood has recently been relaxed. Not due to my diabetes, reading the FAQ on the donate blood site mentions that insulin controlled diabetics should speak with them, however hints they probably will be able to.

The reason I (and also my Sister and Mother) are not allowed to give blood is that we lived in England for all of 1993, which is between the 1980 to 1996 period they rule out due to the lack of a vCJD test. (details here). Which it appears is definitely still a restriction. Unfortunate really.

[/various] link

Ahh cupcakes - 12:26

Vegan Golden Cupcakes pre Tiramisu (fullsize)
Will anyone ever tire of a cupcake? I doubt it. Here are 24 fresh (baked this morning after I got home from swimming before going to work) vegan golden cupcakes (from the VCTOTW book), this is the plain cupcake recipe, however tonight I will be making them into vegan Tiramisu cupcakes. Last time they were spectacular so I expect similar results this time, and I was able to get the dark chocolate coated coffee beans at the ANU Food Co-Op yesterday too so they may even be better.

This is of course pre preparation with the Kahlua at the ready for when I get home to do the vegan vanilla cream cheese icing and Kahlua/coffee mix. I am going over to a friend's birthday dinner tonight and offered to bring a vegan friendly dessert.

[/leisure/food] link

Mon, 17 Aug 2009

dc++ or new digital camera - 14:43

New Panasonic DMC-FT1 (fullsize)

Old Panasonic DMC-LZ5 (fullsize)

So I bought myself a 6MP, 6x optical zoom, panasonic dmc-lz5 in January 2007. It has been a good camera and has worked well for 2.5 years now. I guess one thing I found a little bit jarring is it seemed to have more sensor induced noise (it looked like a painting up close) in many photos. However on the whole I liked it.

When I have it with me in an event I tend to carry it in my jersey pocket, in a padded bag inside a dry bag. This makes the camera quite bulky (and heavier), it also makes it a lot harder to whip it out for a photo (have to undo the bags, get it out, put it back etc). At geoquest this year one of my team mates had a Panasonic DMC-FT1 (called the TS1 in US and possibly Europe) which is waterproof to 3 metres and shock proof to 1.5 metre drop. He was swimming with it in his pocket and getting it out to take shots in the ocean and simply kept it there where it could easily get banged up.

One of my housemates already had an Olympus camera she uses in races that is similar (waterproof and shock proof), this Panasonic one I was looking at came out this year and has some nice features, as I am still somewhat partial to Panasonic cameras (Crash's influence) I decided this is the one I wanted. 4.8 optical zoom, 12 MP, AVCHD (1080p) video recording, no moving parts externally. So I ordered it last Wednesday night and it came on Friday morning.

When water used to get into the drybag/camera bag while racing the camera would fog up and be useless for taking photos, this camera I can now keep in a pocket or neoprene pouch and let it get wet and it will still work fine. Also My test photos so far do not have the painted looking noise as the LZ5 did and the photos appear crisper. I like it, I also think Jane may like the purchase as I will give her the old camera as I no longer need it.

Of the photos on the left, the photo of the new camera was taken with the LZ5 and the photo of the LZ5 was taken with the new camera. A few other photos taken this weekend (3 paddling on Saturday afternoon and one at the Gravity XC race at Stromlo yesterday also turned out well). The new camera is effectively the same size as the old one, however as I do not need the camera bag or dry bag it will be more compact and easier to deal with.

[/comp/hardware] link

Wed, 12 Aug 2009

Dessert! - 15:37

Fresh Warm Chai Latte Cupcakes (fullsize)
Last night D, G and I went over to M and A's place for dinner. A asked me to do dessert. Before that request I had been considering making Vegan Sausage Rolls, with the Dessert request I decided on the rather wonderful Chai Latte Cupcakes from The Post Punk Kitchen. Pictured to the left are 22 cupcakes fresh from the oven last night. Everyone liked them so only one or two remain now. Yum.

[/leisure/food] link

Fri, 07 Aug 2009

Tracking down disk accesses - 14:02
In the last few days since a recent reboot (I normally simply put my laptop to sleep) of my laptop I have noticed a lot of disk access noise. One obvious one was approximately every 5 seconds I heard an access. Others were likely to be occurring also.

I started looking around to see how to track down the problem. I have used iostat in the past to give me some details about activity happening. However the problem with that is it does not tell you which process is doing things. Running top also is not any good as it does not identify io and it also does not show cumulative use/hits as iostat and similar tools do.

There is a python program called iotop I have not tried yet, also there are files in /proc now days you can laboriously work your way through to track down some of this information. However while looking around and reading some of the man pages I discovered the existence of pidstat. This program is fantastic. It can display accumulated disk,vm,cpu,thread information on a per process basis. This is a program I have wished I had for years.

So I ran pidstat -d 5 and watched to see what was writing to the disk so often. First I noticed the predictable kjournald. Rather than messing around trying to change commit interval for this I found there is a laptop-mode-tools package I should have had installed on my laptop. I have now installed it and enabled it to operate even when AC power is plugged in and now kjournald seems to be able to go for minutes at a time without needing to write to disk.

Next I noticed xulrunner-stub was writing often and causing the disk to spin up now it was spun down due to laptop_mode. This is firefox (or iceweasel in the debian case). I found details suggesting firefox 3.0.1 onward had an option to decrease the save/fsync regularity and that 3.5 and up should be even better. I installed 3.5.1 from debian experimental and found another page with 28 good firefox tips, one of which actually told me which about:config option to change to decrease the save/sync interval.

So the disk is not always spinning up or constantly accessing now, though there still appear to be a few culprits I could track down more information on in the pidstat output. Also I may want to play around with more proc settings such as /proc/sys/vm/dirty_expire_centisecs which can change how often pdflush sends stuff to disk and there are other suggestions around which if I think about may help too. Update: I also have since first writing this found a good Linux Journal article on what laptop mode does.

One of the reasons I am so excited about pidstat is it helps with my work a lot, if there is a problem with a mail server, or student login server or any number of other machines. Getting a read out of this information by process accumulated over time is really useful to work out what is causing issues and thus work on controlling and preventing problems.

[/comp/linux] link

Thu, 06 Aug 2009

Some standard sort of news from tests - 22:19
I had to have some blood tests done on Monday morning to have results ready for an Endocronology appointment today. I was interested to see how my iron levels and B12 levels were also. My cholesterol is at 3.1 (HDL 1.0, LDL 1.7 Trigs 0.93) so below the normal range of 3.5-5.5. HbA1C was a bit higher than last year but still in adequate control region (as it has been for two years now). Good to see my iron and B12 levels are healthy and not showing a current problem.

I was a little worried about my iron levels a few months ago, I have not been eating as much green leafy stuff with meals as I probably should and I felt a bit flat, I started having iron tablets, though not with tests at the time so not a good control, however they have B12 in them also I may as well keep having them regularly. With over 10 hours of fairly intensive exercise every week I tend to think I should be careful to have lots of iron and protein from dietary sources I choose to use.

Anyway I thought I would put this data on here, last time I could not find it the printouts I had again and wanted to know some of the numbers.

[/various] link

Tue, 04 Aug 2009

Internet down... due to phone company going bust - 22:27
Well that is kind of unusual. I was out at a function tonight, upon my return home a housemate mentions the Internet connection is down. I look into it and find the ADSL link is acting as if there is no phone line there. Then my housemates happen to mention that the land line has been unable to make outgoing calls for the past few days.

I try to make a call and hear a message from Telstra talking about contacting them, strange as the landline is not through Telstra. I hope online with the wireless broadband built into my laptop and have a look. The phone company the land line was with has gone into voluntary administration, Telstra took control of all the landlines and other things and has now disconnected them all.

I quite like the phone number for this landline, very easy to remember (something like 6363 8222, repetitive and not hard to grasp) so it would be nice to keep it if we can. However it would also be nice to be able to switch to a service such as Internode naked adsl and use a phone through that. However Internode do not yet do number porting from pstn from what I can find out. I wonder if a potential option would be to port the number to one of the VoIP providers in Australia that do do number porting and then use Internode naked to that.

Anyway I will get to have a bunch of time wasted tomorrow trying to sort this out and I am almost sure I will have to deal with Telstra somewhere in there, I wonder if I can book in for a dentist appointment as that would be a whole lot more fun.

[/various] link

Sat, 01 Aug 2009

N=N+2 more steel in the stable - 17:28

New Single Speed mtb(fullsize)

New Road Bike(fullsize)

In April, not too long after my house mate had gotten herself a lovely new light road bike I got to thinking about my road bike. For the previous year and a half since my Lemond developed another crack in the frame I had been riding the Cyclocross bike as my road bike. However Cyclocross bikes with road tyres on are sort of neutered not being used for their true purpose (being able to go anywhere, off road or on fast) in my opinion. So thinking how I wanted to run CX tyres on it more and use it off road more I decided to buy a new road bike.

I admit I was tempted by the ultra light weight carbon wonder bikes such as the full Ultegra Jamis Xenith that had recently appeared in the garage or maybe a Scott CR1. However I have a well known tendency to break bikes, and I am a self confessed fan of steel bikes. Mal happened to offer me a good deal on a 2008 (the orange coloured one, not the uglier 2009 yellow one) Kona Kapu steel road bike with full Ultegra. This is a lovely frame, with polished steel lugs and brazing rather than TIG welding to construct it. As they say (in the clever marketing) on the website "A beautiful, old school lugged frame that harks (yep... used the word "hark") back to when frames were meticulously crafted in only small batches by guys named Giuseppe."

And at 9.1 KG it really is not much heavier than a similarly specced carbon wonder bike (maybe 1 KG heavier, all of which is in the frame and steel fork). I am very happy with this new bike and it even continues a trend of orange gear and clothing I was going through about 4 or 5 years ago. I may soon put open pro wheels on this bike and put these open sport wheels on the CX bike, I changed the bar tape to orange as seen to the left and put my preferred saddle and more puncture resistant tyres on it. Lovely bike to ride I must say and no carbon in site.

The other new bike, purchased about 3 weeks ago is my self proclaimed fad bike. When I first built up my old single speed it was just from parts I had sitting around in the shed really. I thought at the time I probably would not like single speeding and would not long after turn it into a geared bike. I was wrong and discovered I really like riding single speeds. One of the things I really missed on my single speed is the disc brakes I was used to riding on other mountain bikes. Then recently when I began to notice the chain tension did not stay as tight as I liked due to the wheel slipping forward in the quick release tightened back wheel I was getting a little annoyed with my SS.

I could have simply put a bolt on axle on and kept riding it without that problem, instead I went and bought a new bike. This is my fad bike as I can claim it has five fads in one bike. First I thought I would try out 29 inch wheels, just for something different, then it is a single speed, fully rigid with Mary bars and disc brakes (the JohnJohn fad). What with this and the cyclocross bike you could argue many of my bike purchases in the last two years have been about making mountain biking harder for myself. However this is a fun bike to ride, the 29 inch wheels are not better or anything, simply different, and different can be exciting anyway. Long term I may become soft and buy suspension for it, also I am undecided on the benefit of the Mary bars, I may put normal bars with bar ends on it eventually also. Chain tension is kept on this with an eccentric BB which allows the discs to be mounted normally with no complexity.

[/mtb/gear] link

Mon, 27 Jul 2009

Ouch, good to have other options. - 15:14
I was able to get the CX bike running again, new chain, cluster, hanger and fixing the wheel. I also have a hub, spokes and rim to build a new nicer back wheel sitting in the shed at home. The cluster had a tooth missing on one sprocket, which if it had been ripped off before the hanger broke may have caused the hanger to break as I changed into that gear.

I got it all working again by the weekend just gone as Vikings (with CORC support) were running a Cyclocross race at Stromlo (sponsored by Maladjusted) and I was keen to have a go. Even though the top grade was won by three mountain bikers I think the course was well set up for Cyclocross bikes and the event was fun.

My ouch comes from a crash I had, cornering off the criterium track onto the concrete about to dismount to run up the stairs and my front tyre slipped and I went sliding on my right hip on the cement for a few metres. I have a large bruise and graze on my hip and am unable to put power through my right leg on the bike or walk normally at the moment. I kept going and finished the race (this happened at the end of my 3rd of 7 laps). I did however slow down a lot no longer being able to use my right leg for much more than ballast.

I guess I should be kind of glad I have swimming and paddling to fall back on this week as I am unable to ride hard or run at all for a few days at least. I will try a swim squad session tonight and hope I can get away with doing that. The tour is now over too so we can all start getting reasonable amounts of sleep each night again which helps recovery and ability to go hard in exercise.

Now I just hope I recover enough by Saturday to do the 8 hour Rogaine down the coast without too much pain. Bodalla state forest sounds like a nice (if somewhat hilly) area so it should be fun.

[/mtb] link

Sun, 12 Jul 2009

Snap! - 18:33
Riding to a meeting on Friday afternoon on my CX bike (Jake the Snake) I was turning onto Northbourne and accelerating when suddenly I hear a crunch noise and my back wheel locks up. Looking down as I skid to a stop I see my rear dearailleur jammed into the back wheel. The hanger had snapped, not due to a stick or anything, maybe a tight kink in the chain, very strange.

Getting my hands greasy and black trying to pull stuff off I eventually had to tie it all onto the frame and scooter my way home to grab the car. I bought a new hanger already, the derailleur was a bit bent however I think I have straightened it enough to work, the chain was now definitely bent so I will need to go and buy a new chain, also the back wheel suffered one broken spoke. I think I may finally build a better back wheel for this bike than the stock Aksium it came with, as I have an open pro rim and some spokes that should fit an ultegra hub in the shed I may do that soon.

Also I have just put bars and stem I like more (rather than the cinelli stuff that was there) on to the fixie, along with new black and white grip tape to match the panda on the bars. I fixed the front hub on my main geared mtb yesterday by putting two new bearing races into it, now it is smooth and no longer loose.

The other thing I was just trying to do was to see if I could get any more air out of the rear brake line on the new single speed. When I picked it up the rear brake could be held to the bar while pedalling. So I grabbed some Shimano brake oil and squeezed as much air as would come out easily from the hose last Monday. However the brake still comes too far in for my liking. However when I was working on it last Monday I must have stripped the stupid (anything smaller than 3mm is stupid IMO) allen key screw on the lever for bleeding so I could not remove it to try again today. Need to get a bike shop to swap the bleed screw now (and may be soft and get it bled at the same time)

I competed in the CORC XC race at sparrow this morning on the new single speed, all went well, except my rocking up late so I raced in sport C rather than sport B men. I started riding about a minute and a half after the field started. As I was starting late and riding a rigid single speed I thought it may not be completely unfair to be riding down a grade. However looking at the results I won the race. Ooops, I really should have been in my normal grade. (I could have raced single speed, it did not really occur to me at the time, and that would have been fairer, I would have come 5th or so with my time today)

Anyway Jake the Snake is off the road at least until I buy the new chain and get a new spoke for the Aksium. The other bikes are all reasonably alright though. On Wednesday night I changed the tyres on the new road bike to the Specialized Armadillos as I got sick of the Continental light weight racing tyres flatting so often. I should get back to commuting around the place on the fixie anyway rather than Jake so this is good incentive to do that for a while.

[/mtb] link

Fri, 10 Jul 2009

An easy to use cheap DVB-T USB dongle - 11:35
The other night at home we realised that the tv did not have digital tuning capability, thus with the Ashes starting we could not watch the tour coverage. As I am not at home at 6pm much I could not even watch the highlights package easily (repeated at 9:30pm on SBS2). Although my mythtv box at work can record this stuff, it had been playing up and not making scheduled recordings, and I had not fixed it yet. (finally started an upgrade yesterday, have not had time to see how it went)

Anyway I did not have time to go into town and buy a digital tuner to go with the tv, however the on campus computer shop has USB DVB-T dongles. One they had for sale (rather cheap at $68) is the Leadtek Winfast DTV Dongle Gold, which according to this page at the mythtv wiki works well on Linux. So I bought one, plugged it in, discovered that the driver is already in the 2.6.30 kernel I am running, the firmware linked to on that page first however was buggy, some forum posts suggested running the latest 4.95.0 firmware rather than 4.65.0 and it would work (it did).

After playing around with a few tv programs I settled on simply using xine which can tune into all the channels I scanned for Canberra. I am happy to say this works a treat and only took about 5 minutes to make it work. Of course if I make it to swimming tonight I may try to come back past the shops in Civic and buy a tuner box for the tv in the lounge room so everyone can enjoy the tour at home.

Though I do not watch tv much I have to say it is sort of exciting to have a tuner that only takes up a really small amount of space (the dongle, antenna and short usb cable extension are about the size of a small USB hard drive all up) in my laptop bag and works fine in most places like this.

[/comp/hardware] link

Wed, 08 Jul 2009

One power house with no team? - 20:46
Looking at the photos from the TTT at the tour last night it appears every photo of Silence-Lotto on the stage report has Cadel on the front of the train. So sure we all know he has been let down once more by a weaker team at the tour, I also admit I have not watched the full live coverage of the stage. I do however begin to wonder, did Cadel end up doing a huge amount of the pulls for the whole TTT and then pulled away from most of his team mates in the last km. That appears to be riding harder than the effort by Cancellara at the end for Saxobank.

I really feel sorry for Cadel, now with so many strong Astana riders way up in the standing it looks like it will be a difficult task to gain time.

[/mtb] link

Success with WPA2 - 17:58
After spending far more time than I should have I have finally found a working configuration for the ANU WPA2 secure wireless on Linux. I spent a lot of time reading seemingly endless Ubuntu forum posts going on about problems that could be wpa supplicant, network-manager or kernel driver based issues. Bugs concerning various complaints were being assigned to any one of those three things.

Due to concerns that my driver for the iwlagn driver could be bad I upgraded my laptop kernel to the Debian sid 2.6.30 packages, I also then downloaded the latest wireless kernel drivers and installed them. Also the three programs mentioned, iw (new interface to wireless stack in Linux), crda and wireless-regdb.

Eventually I am not entirely convinced those things helped, many forum complaints for Ubuntu and other systems said network-manager had issues and to try wicd. My initial efforts with wicd failed. Eventually while reading some efforts someone else had made to work out what was happening on their system I saw someone using the rather simple iwlist tool to scan for the capabilities of the secure access points.

When I did this I notice the ANU-Secure access points all advertised the following.

IE: IEEE 802.11i/WPA2 Version 1
    Group Cipher : CCMP
    Pairwise Ciphers (1) : CCMP
    Authentication Suites (1) : 802.1x

I had previously been trying TKIP and WPA2 when I tried wpa_supplicant alone without a manager on top. WPA2 and RSN are aliases for each other in this instance. Anyway with the new drivers and the sid wpa_supplicant I was able to get a wpa_supplicant.conf with the following to work on ANU-Secure.


#   priority=1

Then I looked through the wicd templates for one that had the minimum needed and noticed the wicd PEAP-GTC template had the desired fields set. So now in wicd I can access ANU-Secure from the desktop with no problems. I really should test out older drivers and some other configurations, also try out network manager again I think. Works for now though, I can finally stop wasting so much time on this.

[/comp/linux] link

Mon, 06 Jul 2009

Riding, Tour and hanging out in Sydney - 16:07
A good weekend was had in Sydney, got there around 9:30pm on Friday night after passing through Tahmoor to pick up a new bike (details later). Saturday morning I headed out to John and Lel's place where we were going riding, having a bbq, lots of great coffee, watching the tour and saying good bye to JJ and Lel as they are heading off to England.

Getting back to Jane's place around 4am I slept in until 10am when we went for breakfast at Naked Espresso in Newtown. Great food and I am intrigued to try their Vegan friendly pizzas sometime too. Then in the afternoon we made out way out to Bondi and hung around with the cousins (Nick, Jack, Ash and Jack's son Tom) which was good.

[/various] link

Thu, 02 Jul 2009

A regression for WPA2 - 18:20
So for a while I was wondering why I could not use the ANU's WPA2 secure network from my laptop. I had heard reports that some Ubuntu hardy machines had worked. I run Debian unstable and a on this laptop.

I thought maybe there was some problem with my laptop hardware and maybe the iwl4965 chipset simply would not do it under Linux. However searching online suggested I should be able to make it do WPA2.

Thinking maybe the Ubuntu people had done it right and Debian was missing something I tried booting a Jaunty live cd. I also discovered the rather neat feature of suspend to disk (hibernate) in that you can hibernate your computer, boot off a live cd, use it, reboot and have your existing session come right back up normally on the next boot.

Anyway I booted up Jaunty and tried to authenticate, still failed in a similar manner to my Debian installation. Out of curiosity as I had heard of hardy working I booted my laptop on a hardy live cd. So network manager and iwlagn driver combined on either Debian sid or Ubuntu jaunty had failed to authenticate. Ubuntu hardy on the other hand, using an older version of network manager and the iwl4965 driver in the kernel worked fine. WPA2 authentication and use on the ANU Secure wireless network.

So now I need to find out where the regression has happened that means WPA2 is broken in more recent releases of the software (kernel drivers, wpa supplicant, network manager) on either Debian or Ubuntu.

[/comp/linux] link

Wed, 01 Jul 2009

Sydney again this weekend - 16:49
So this weekend I will head up to Sydney again. This time for a send off for a friend moving back to England and then hanging out with Jane on Sunday. Last time we found some pretty yummy Vegan friendly food, I hope we find some more new and interesting food this time round. Hope to have Sunday breakfast at Naked Espresso in Newtown as I forgot the name of the place last time and we ended up elsewhere.

Some mountain biking on Saturday at the send off, probably no exercise Sunday (unless we go swimming) (unlike last time), still it should be nice even if I have to deal with Sydney.

[/various] link

Mon, 29 Jun 2009

Lots of time on foot - 11:09
Yesterday I carried my Garmin in a jar in my backpack so I now know I did 42.8km in the 4h47 minutes spent moving during the metrogaine yesterday. In the end we came in 14 minutes late. After our score was adjusted for the loss of 140 points we had 830 points.

Early on in the event my camelback bladder burst when I slipped walking down off Mt Ainslie and landed on the backpack. Fortunately our course was taking us around 500 metres from my house so we made a detour 20 minutes later and I got a new bladder and changed out of my soaked jersey. Later on on Black Mountain we made a small nav error coming down from the summit trail looking for a 40 point control. We started looking for it too early above the fire roads. It took us about 8 minutes of searching and looking at land features to realise they did not match, look closer at the map and realise we had to head down another 100 metres in a gully to find the control.

Paul was a strong team mate and we got through the day well, today I hurt a lot I can definitely feel I did something on the weekend.

[/mtb/events] link

Sat, 27 Jun 2009

Some races this weekend - 17:01
Today I went out to sparrow hill and raced in the CORC 3 hour race at Sparrow Hill, it was kind of fun. Though my lack of long rides in the last year or two shows, I was pretty good for 2 hours keeping my speed up and heart rate above 150, then my last two and a half laps I just did not have any oomph left in me to go hard. Still a good event, huge turnout, thanks to Paul, Sue, Sherri, Russ, etc for putting it on and to Kent and Bec for the coffee and Leanne for the food out there.

Tomorrow I will be doing the 2009 ACTRA Metrogaine with a friend Paul. As Paul is fit and keen to have a good crack at it I suspect we will both be pushing ourselves pretty hard for the 5 hours of the event. Ahh well I need to do more stuff like races this weekend to HTFU from time to time I think. Fun has been and will be had.

[/mtb/events] link

Fri, 26 Jun 2009

ROUS exist, how cool - 14:08
An unusual seeming pet but I was excited to see that it seems R.O.U.S exist for real. Anyone out there want a 100lb rat as a pet? (ahh princess bride moments that could happen for real, what entertainment there is in the world)

[/various] link

Tue, 23 Jun 2009

Some amusing cartoons in The Australian - 16:29

The Australian pocket cartoon 2009-06-23
Two days in a row now I have had a good laugh at the small pocket cartoon on the front page of The Australian newspaper. Today was the the cartoon on the left, yesterday was Rudd suggesting Swan can at least use the ute to clear out his office.

In the context of the cartoon today it is interesting to see the Sauce bottle language has gotten some international coverage.

[/various] link

Fri, 12 Jun 2009

Fairy Geo - Geoquest Half 2009 - 12:12

The snake I stepped on (fullsize)
Okay so the name Fairy Geo may not be entirely fair, however I heard Pete (from Entropic who won the half) start using the term (largely due to the Fairy Bells at Hells Bells) and I liked it. This year I had no plan to enter the full Geo, so when my cousin Scott asked me to be on his team I was kind of interested. Largely because the race was not at all daunting or challenging sounding to only do the half with a team not trying to go faster than the full course teams.

So I went up there last weekend and had a fun 29 hours of racing. Both my team mate Greg and I took photos which I have uploaded to a 2009 Geoquest Photos page, thanks to Scott, Greg and Su for a good race. Many thanks to Kim and Terry for support and I hope everyone enjoyed it, I did.

[/mtb/events] link

Wed, 10 Jun 2009

Reasons for O pants - 14:33

Evidence of forgotten equipment (fullsize)
At home I have Orienteering pants, Gore Tex gators, Cycling Leg warmers and a few other options for covering my legs when Rogaining, or racing. These are all good items of clothing to have and most useful to keep your legs from getting too scratched. It helps even more when you do not leave them all in Canberra when heading off for a race.

Look at the photo and guess what clothing I left in Canberra this time round when I headed up for the Fairy Geo. My shins and other calf are also pretty bad, though none of the rather impressive lower scratch from sliding down a rock, which admittedly I would still have through O Pants. Maybe I should have had lists and more effective packing for the race. Still it was fun so what does it matter if I have battle scars, I hear chicks dig scars anyway...

[/mtb] link

Wed, 03 Jun 2009

Raining on those adamant computers - 15:38
This morning I headed out for the road ride as i tend to on Wednesday mornings. I had 10 minutes spare once I was dressed and ready to go so I switched the laptop on to check the weather forecast and radar. The Canberra radar was broken so I looked at the 256km image from Sydney. According to that image there was no rain (even light rain) near Canberra.

As I stepped out the door to get the bike from the garage and head out riding it was pretty damn wet with some precipitation falling. When I got to the ride Ron pointed out that my checking of the weather radar for conditions was a very geeky way to see if I should ride. I admit, through my extensive testing of the claim that it was not raining I had pretty much decided the claim was false by the time I got to Dickson.

We went riding and got pretty wet and cold anyway, however I was amused later to hear that Simon (jokingly I am sure) has on occasion checked the weather radar from his iphone while actually out riding in a group and claimed it was not raining due to the radar image even when the experienced evidence at that point in time said otherwise.

Of course computers are never wrong so we must believe what they say...

[/various] link

Mon, 01 Jun 2009

An interesting languages comparison - 15:45
I got the link to this from Tony and it is interesting to see the results of these tests. The speed, size and dependability of programming languages uses code from the Computer Language Benchmarks Game to generate some information comparing many (72) different languages.

Back in 1999 and 2000 I put a pretty trivial example of a single problem being solved in multiple languages online. In this case scanning html for entities, largely because I was mildly interested in how different languages and the different implementations of them may solve the same problem and the time it would take. I say mildly interested because it is such a trivial example and because I did not put much effort in. (I was amazed a few weeks ago to get an email from someone rerunning these to see if recent Java implementations had caught up to c yet).

The person who wrote this speed, size and dependability post put a lot more effort in and actually was able to draw some interesting conclusions about languages and how they work and develop over time. For the geeks out there I recommend having a look.

[/comp/prog] link

Thu, 28 May 2009

The Annual May Zombie post - 17:46
Keeping with the tradition I guess I should do something about zombies this May. It has been strange to watch, it seems zombie news has been jumping out at me all month, from seeing a friend post a zombie referencing photo and some mention of a zombie group somewhere on facebook to the various metafilter and boingboing zombie links this month.

However a recent post on boingboing has got to be the best so far this month, in the fun ilk of Randall Munroe's limerick db (hilarious stuff there) is a large collection of Zombie Haiku. To win a copy of the game Plants vs Zombies (also appearing on there this May) readers were asked to submit Zombie Haiku in the comments.

And remember

Brains are delicious,
However, I must warn you,
Shotgun blasts are not...

[/various] link

Tue, 19 May 2009

The reboot worked - 13:18
I mentioned a while back after seeing some movies that I was keen to see another one to see if the reboot of the universe worked. I saw the new Star Trek last night and what can I say, on the whole it rocked. The characters really came across as we would expect them to.

Bones was my favourite TOS character and in the new movie, Bones is awesome and cool and completely and utterly what I would expect him to be like. I was entertained to see Chris Pine even got the slouch in the captains chair looking like TOS Kirk, Scotty was great and even though it bought the characters together in a different way it all seemed to fall out well. I tend to agree with many comments suggesting the Uhura/Spock thing was a bit weird, but it did not detract from the rest of the movie too much.

I saw the movie with a friend who was not particularly keen on seeing it, but thought it was potentially going to be good, she was blown away with how much fun it was and how good the movie was. Definitely worth seeing I think.

[/leisure/screen] link

Mon, 18 May 2009

2009 ACT Cyclegaine - 16:15
Yesterday Keith, Danielle and I competed together in the 2009 ACT Cyclegaine. I took some photos (not many) I have uploaded. I think we came 4th over all and 3rd mixed team (just a bit behind Wayne and Matt in mens, behind Randall, Selina and Mark in mixed and a long long way behind an on fire Chris, Nathan and Heather also in mixed).

A fun day out on the bikes in perfect Autumn weather and enjoying the Cotter Dam/Pierces Creek area in ACT.

[/mtb/events] link

Sat, 16 May 2009

One handjob ready to roll - 18:22

Ready to roll on the handjob (fullsize)
I am doing a cyclegaine tomorrow, however I rode the pink bike on Friday morning and had some problems with the setup, so I finally spent a few hours today and moved all the bits across to the new frame. Here it is ready to roll.

[/mtb/gear] link

More evidence of the hard life of a mountain bike - 12:40
So I stripped down my geared mtb today in order to change over to the new frame and looking at the old pink frame it really does show evidence of a lot of hard use. Similar to my comments in October 2006 with even more KM put into the bike.

[/mtb/gear] link

Fri, 15 May 2009

Lake water testing and areas - 11:41
Over summer (and now into winter this year) there are regular water quality tests of Lake Burley Griffin, testing for Blue Green Algae or other hazardous things in the water. The National Capital Authority manage the lake and provide media releases with the water quality test results. (for example the 14th May 2009 Release)

The thing I noticed is if you do not know the boundaries of each area of the lake or what the parts of the lake are called these may not make much sense. So I went looking for maps, I found some descriptions of the regions on the Wikipedia article which helped. Still no good map was found until I stopped searching for terms such as tarcoola reach on the natcap site and Julie pointed out to me the page on their site about Lake Burley Griffin and Surrounding Parklands.

The map available on that page is not really large enough to read all the writing on it, however it shows enough detail to get a good idea of which areas you can use from lake closured. I have copied it to my server as the file is hidden behind some javascript view thing otherwise. I would love to see a larger version of this image (or a scalable version) if anyone knows where it is (possibly on display at Regatta Point I guess).

At least for now it appears we can still paddle down Yarramundi Reach from Yarralumla bay. If we get a bit of rain over the next few days and the weather remains cold we may even have the Algae levels lower enough to use the whole lake again for paddling. I am making this post largely so I remember where to find a map of the lake showing me what the names of the various areas are.

[/various] link

Thu, 14 May 2009

More open source required in government - 12:36
With the Diebold voting software fiascos in the US and other areas the past few years there has been a lot of proof that any voting systems on computers should be open source (even though governments around the world have not yet cottoned on to this). A few years ago (June 2005) I commented on some DUI charges being tossed out of a Florida court due to the lack of open source code available for the breathalysers. I followed on with mention of problems with speed cameras in Australia playing up also.

Today Schneier had some information on breathalysers that due to court orders finally had the source made available for some analysis. This is not the same breath test system as used in the Florida case from what I can tell at a glance (this was a New Jersey case), however it definitely opens your eyes once more on how crap closed source software can be (and yes I admit lots of open source software can also be crap) and you will have no idea, and no way to fix it. Any software used in law enforcement in such a way that it could be so incorrect or wrong and yet still cause someone to lose their licence or gain a criminal record really should be opened up, at least to the agency/government/force using the software, if not open to all people.

[/comp/ip] link

Tue, 12 May 2009

Mothers day, how mum turned out to be a strong paddler - 11:14
The last few years I have been to get Mum to come paddling with me at the Mother's Day Mayhem paddle race BGCC runs. Last year I had her convinced to come along until I broke my collar bone and the doctors said I could not paddle for 3 months. I discovered I could paddle again a week before mothers day however Mum was already booked up for a Golf competition she could not get out of at that point.

So this weekend past I finally was able to go and participate in the Mother's Day Mayhem event with her. I drove out to her place at 7:30am and made her pancakes (she fortunately quite likes pancakes I can eat made with soy milk, ground linseed and no eggs) then after breakfast we went over to Yerrabi pond where the event was being held this year as Lake Burley Griffin was still not open to secondary contact use in the river near the club shed.

Due to some confusion around the days paddling I was not sure if we were racing or just going for a leisurely paddle at first. I also did not know if we were paddling around the edge of the lake hugging the shore or coming back past the start area. So we started paddling and I saw the other boats go off with people paddling hard, so I picked up my pace and Mum simply matched. Way to go Mum.

After turning around the first island I started heading across the dam wall to hug the shore all the way around and another boat knowing where we were supposed to go headed back on the shorter course, so I turned there and caught back up. Mum was able to hold my fast stroke rate for almost the entire 2 km and we ended up coming home first. Way to go Mum, for someone who had never kayaked before and had not paddled a canoe for more than 20 years I was impressed.

After the paddle event we went back to Mum's place and then headed out so I could treat her to lunch.

To finish off the day I headed out to see Wolverine at Dendy with some friends. Fun and entertaining movie, nothing spectacular but good to watch none the less.

[/various] link

Fri, 08 May 2009

A new bridge should be more useful. - 15:22
I have been seeing all the discussion in the paper and other places about the potential new immigration bridge in Canberra for a few years. (I will not link to it as I do not like the currently mooted location, a quick google can find the website). I really can not see a reason to have a bridge (even one that will be pedestrian/cycle access only) from the NMA to Lennox Gardens.

I am firmly in the camp that if money and construction effort is to go into a pedestrian/cycle access bridge across the lake in Canberra it should be somewhere that genuinely would improve the cycling and pedestrian access to parts of the lake and Canberra. I know it is not visible from the centre of the city area or from central basin but I must say the only location that makes much sense to me is for a new bridge to go from Black Mountain Peninsula to Weston Park. Either of the crossing points on this map would be good.

Having a bridge across here would speed up access to many parts of the lake and Canberra and provide more route options for self propelled people to get around the city that would actually be useful. The other major advantage is that sail boats do not race down toward Yarrmundi reach thus the bridge may not have to be high enough for large sailboat mast clearance. However it is a much shorter span so it would be a lot cheaper no matter what height it had to go to.

Update: I have since first posting this heard that sailing does sometimes happen as far down the lake as the Governor General's place, thus a bridge built here would still need to accommodate masts passing under it. The span as noted is a lot shorter so it is still going to be cheaper here than at the currently mooted site.

[/various] link

Wed, 06 May 2009

Reminders and bugs - 17:16
It is probably a bad thing, but while working on a Solaris system a fair bit recently I am reminded how much my head does not grok Solaris. I am so used to Linux and the Linux ways of finding information out about how to make it go that when I try to do things in Solaris it feels very foreign.

As for the bugs thing, I think there is a bug in the Ubuntu 9.04 libnss-ldap, I found a problem where it was not reading something configured by the install from ldap.conf and I need to do a little bit more testing before submitting a bug report.

[/comp] link

Mon, 04 May 2009

Mad about you or ACT Treasurer? - 21:50
Is it just me or do others also think the ACT Treasurer bears a striking resemblance to Mad About You's female lead?

Especially with the stock photo of Minister Gallagher the Canberra Times uses fairly often such as is on the back page of the Canberra Times news section today.

[/various] link

Sun, 03 May 2009

My first Yerrabi Multi sport - 20:22
This is a race I have been keen on doing for a few years, however for a few reasons was unable to the last few years. I finally got my chance today, it was a perfect Canberra day, cold enough to go hard but sunny and calm. The results are up already along with a photo gallery.

I rode my cyclocross bike in the race and I think it was a perfect choice for this course, I managed to do the 28KM bike leg in just over 1 hour including transitions and felt pretty comfortable for the entire leg. My total time for the race was 2h8m (for a 4km run, 5km paddle, 28km mtb and 4km run) which I was fairly happy with. Fun was had, thanks to the local Sri Chinmoy Race Team for another good event.

[/mtb/events] link

Sat, 02 May 2009

Check sooner next time - 18:04
As D is getting back to the house tomorrow, Matt and I agreed it was time to turn the heating on for the winter. So I went to do that today and found it would not turn on. I mucked around resetting the unit many times. Turned the mains power off for a while. Tried a few more resets, even climbed into the roof to have a look at the unit and see if there was a reset button on it.

Previously we have had a number of problems with the heater in the house, though the one here now is a fairly new gas central heating unit so probably should not play up. Still stumped for what was wrong, I was reading the manual from the website for the heater and the error code was saying something about it not being able to light the heater from 4 attempts each time.

It finally occurred to me to go outside and look at the gas meter, and well what do you know the lever on the meter had the gas coming into the house turned off. You know what, heaters really will not light when there is no fuel available for them, kind of funny that. Next time I may try to remember to have a look there sooner, no idea why I just assumed it was still turned on from last year (though I do not remember ever turning it off).

[/various] link

Fri, 01 May 2009

Lesser exercise week - 21:14
After the fun wet and windy ADE last Saturday I had Sunday off exercise as the wind and conditions got worse I thought. This week on the whole I have had a lesser exercise load then many recent weeks, often recently I have been doing two sessions of some description most days. This week I have kept it at one until today.

Monday I headed out for a fun paddle in Matilda in the cold with one of my house mates, Tuesday I did the Bilbys track running session, Wednesday I did the morning road ride, Thursday I did the morning swim squad. Finally today I did the morning mtb ride and tonight did the evening swim squad. Feeling pretty good, will probably do a road ride tomorrow and then on Sunday I am competing in the Sri Chinmoy Yerrabi pond multi sport race which should be a bit of fun.

As for why I tend to be doing two things on many days the last few weeks I do not really know, I have no current goals in mind, though I guess it suits long term goals, I can simply tell anyone who asks why I am out exercising that it is Jindabyne Multisport prep. Today I also entered the Angry Doctor 100 KM mtb race AROC run in September which will be a nice wind down a week after the World Mountain Bike Championships are over in Canberra.

[/mtb] link

Sat, 25 Apr 2009

Anzac Day Epic 2009 - 22:09
I missed the ADE last year, due to a broken collar bone and being up in northern NSW for Matt and Amanda's wedding on Anzac weekend. However in past years it has been a really enjoyable ride (I did not take photos in 2004). So today I was again happy to join in the fun that was the ADE.

My GPS trace from today is a nice 71km, I have not yet uploaded any photos, however Morgs has some online to show off the cold and wet and the fun too.

Turnout was reasonable considering the conditions, though the lack of Crash and JJJim was strange. People there were

Matt - Ibis carbon goodness
JJ - Ibis carbon goodness
Chris W - Ibis get it
Sim - GT Dually
Steve - Steel hardtail
Deathmarch - Steel hardtail
McCook - Reign
McD - Epic of carboness
Adam, EHCW - Trance
Morgs - Nomad.

Fun was had.

[/mtb] link

Thu, 23 Apr 2009

How many problems are ignored - 12:29
So I just opened a tub of soy life soy yoghurt and found a large chunk of mold inside the sealed container, the tub is still well inside the used by date. However it would require so much effort to return it to place of purchase or send it in to the company that either produces (in this case) or imports it that I have chucked it in the bin and ignored the issue.

I do wonder how many people tend to do this, unless you get a repeat failure from some brand a few times it is far easier to simply go on with life and not spend the time making a customer complaint with such a small value item. It is only as the value of a failed item increases or the ease of making the complaint decreases that you would make the effort. Of course everyone will have a different graph of where these things go and the area under which you would make the effort.

[/leisure/food] link

Tue, 21 Apr 2009

Another change to cache_timestamps for perl 5.10 - 11:28
Upgrading this server to lenny I finally have perl 5.10 on the system, this caused a problem with my blosxom plugin cache_timestamps. Using File::Find I previously had a sub routine wanted defined inside a scope with some variables available in that scope. However on upgrading to 5.10 this no longer worked.

It used to be something like this

   my (%h1,%h2);
   sub wanted {
      $h1{$File::Find::name} = "someval";
   find (&wanted, "topdir");

However when I changed to perl 5.10 though the assignment seemed to work (blosxom runs without -w or use strict enabled) if I tried to display %h1 inside wanted or tried to use it like a hash I got a weird error "Bizarre copy of HASH in refgen" at the line of code I tried to use the variable as a hash. Looking at other uses of File::Find it seems everyone used anonymous subroutines from the call to find. I have changed the code to do the following.

   my (%h1,%h2);
   find (sub {
      $h1{$File::Find::name} = "someval";
   }, "topdir");

And now the hashes are in scope and not some so called Bizarre copy any more. The code for the cache_timestamps plugin can be found here and details about cache_timestamps are in my comp/blosxom category.

Update: found some details, rather than searching for the error message I started searching for variable scope changes in 5.10. Found this page talking about state variables being available in 5.10 as my variables are not persistent across scope changes.

[/comp/blosxom] link

Sun, 19 Apr 2009

Morning run in Sydney - 09:14
So because I am in Sydney for the weekend and still wanted to do some exercise I asked my friend Zoe if she was keen on a run somewhere over the weekend. She said she was keen to head out with the Sydney Striders for their Iron Cove Bolter run and cut it short to have a 20 km run. This sounded good so we headed over there this morning for the 6am start.

Starting with the slow group we had a pleasant 20.7km of running at 5:40 pace chatting with the people there and enjoying the cool nice running conditions the morning had dished up for us. Now for the rest of the day in Sydney after some good morning exercise.

[/mtb/events] link

Sat, 18 Apr 2009

Some Sydney food - 19:17
As it was Jane's birthday recently I thought I would find the first weekend I could and head up to Sydney to hang out with her for a weekend. As Jane is a big fan of breakfast out and as I liked the chance to find some more Vegan friendly eating while up here we have eaten out for breakfast and lunch today.

First off we headed to a place in Newtown called Macro Cafe, the coffee was alright, although it was not a Vegetarian place they did have scrambled tofu for breakfast. Jane had a mushroom dish which had goat cheese and some other stuff, according to her it was remarkably not good for the ingredients. My scrambled tofu was alright but something was off about the spice or way it was served and it was not as good as I come to expect in many Melbourne Cafes.

Lunch on the other hand was had in Glebe at Iku Wholefood on Glebe Point road, a chain of stores around Sydney (10 all up), they are a Vegan cafe, with a whole variety of interesting and yummy mains and desserts ("cheesecake" made vegan with tofu and other yummy ingredients for example). I had a rather yummy tofu pocket and a pasta based fritata. Jane had a bean and rice dish with two different flavoured pinto bean dishes, the sweet potato and arame was really good and the pinto bean tomato casserole was also enjoyable. Yummmmmmm.

I wonder what we will do for breakfast tomorrow...

[/leisure/food] link

Mon, 06 Apr 2009

First 24 hour race since February 2006 - 11:12
Well that was interesting, due to being involved with organising CORC events and generally only travelling long distances for Adventure Races or the Gravity 12 hour, I had not competed in a 24 hour mountain bike race since February 2006 (when I raced in the NZ0 24 Hour race in Rotorua, NZ). So this weekend I lined up to compete in the 24 hour race out at Sparrow hill that had nothing to do with CORC.

I was in a 4 person team with Marea (with whom I have competed in Polaris many times), Ian (Marea's partner, who has raced the Scott 24 hour solo and other such things) and an ex Canberra now Brisbane mtber Ged. All was going fairly well until Ian after doing 1 lap on Saturday decided he just could not get his head around the idea of racing 24 hour races any more and wanted to simply do other riding, thus he was not keen to ride any more. This left us as a 3 person team.

I headed out for my 4th and 5th night laps doing a double at around 10pm with our new race plan to do doubles until around 4:30am then singles until dawn and maybe get a friend, Dave A, to ride some laps on Ian's bike in the daylight. However while I was doing my double lap Marea and Ged decided we should rest overnight. I was not incredibly keen on many more night laps so we all went to sleep for a few hours. In the end I rode 6 laps, a total riding time of around 5h40m and felt alright afterwards, though a little bit flat and energy drained today.

Paul set a fantastic course and the rain dump on Friday night was perfectly timed, there was no dust all weekend and the course was tacky and cornering was fast and secure the whole race. I rode one lap on the single speed, however with the chain coming off three times I discovered I needed to take a link out of the chain to get enough tension into it, I did not feel like doing that so rode the geared bike the rest of the time at the race. I was reminded that a duallie would have been faster as you can keep full power down the whole time over bumpy terrain, however it was one of the best hardtail courses around anyway especially with good line choice.

[/mtb/events] link

Mon, 30 Mar 2009

Recent movies - 15:06
I have seen two movies in the last week or so, first was Watchmen a week or so ago and then last night Duplicity. I liked them both quite a lot. Watchmen had some patently silly scenes and some things that did not quite work, however on the whole I liked the effect of the movie. Even at 2h40m in length it felt a little bit rushed trying to tell it all, however it does make me stop and think about a lot of the stuff they wanted to push through, the style of the film was interesting too, I think they did the 1985 and the historical montages well and also brought through the characters well. Strangely being a comics geek I have never gotten around to reading Watchmen.

Duplicity was also good, I have a habit of spoiling movies and have to work hard to stop myself spoiling this one. I think it is let down a bit in that it is a little bit hard to care about any of the characters, however the twists are fun and the premise is entertaining and carried out well. Next on the movie agenda I think I will in fact make the effort to go and see the new Star Trek movie, I did not bother seeing the last one, however I look forward to seeing if this reboot of the universe works somehow or not.

[/leisure/screen] link

Tue, 24 Mar 2009

Swimming injuries - 17:00
Continuing my tales of silly injuries, today I have nasty bruising on my left hand from swimming last night. One would think at swimming speeds (rather than high dive from 10 metres up speed) water is fairly harmless and soft, thinking that you are quite correct. The lane ropes at the pool are unfortunately less soft, in a squad session trying to stick to the left of the lane I have a habit of not keeping my arms quite high enough on exit from the water and hence whack my left hand often on the rope.

In the lead up to Jindabyne I noticed my left hand was often swollen on top from this making my bike gloves feel tight on my left hand. I am sure I will stop getting this bruising as much as I swim more and get more used to being in the pool over time.

On another note, I was glancing through some old entries on my diary and noticed one that fairly nicely shows how little I ride these days compared with times in the past. As noted the other day I have not done many days over 100km in the last 18 months (the ride up to Corin on Sunday just now was fortunately another one clocking in at 105km). Back in September 2004 I commented on getting my km count up from a week of only riding 230 km during the Monday to Friday week, so I headed out on the weekend to clock up 281km (175 on road bike and 106 on the mtb) over the two weekend days for a week total of 511km.

[/mtb] link

Sun, 22 Mar 2009

Hanging bikes or using shed space effectively. - 18:48

Bikes on the left (fullsize)

Bikes in the middle (fullsize)

Bikes on the right (fullsize)

Bike hooks (fullsize)

So when Danielle moved in to the house here recently the number of bikes increased, then another new housemate moved in who also has some bikes. I finally needed to get around to making the storage of bikes and access to them in the shed more effective. I have been thinking of doing this for years and with lots more bikes in the shed being used I finally got around to it this weekend.

I have 4 bikes I use daily (hardtail mtb, cyclo cross/road bike, single speed mtb, fixie road bike) and another hardtail mtb in working order. I also have an old unisex pub bike sort of thing in the shed and my old road bike sans front wheel, so 7 bikes to get out of the way somewhere. Danielle has 3 bikes in daily usage (dual suspension good mtb, hardtail mtb and new road bike). She also has 2 older bikes she will soon sell. Matt has 2 bikes in daily sort of usage (mtb with slicks and a road bike).

Allan and other friends have erected hooks in their bike rooms or sheds to hang bikes up by a wheel and they then take up less space but are all still easily accessed. I had a look at distances needed between bikes and worked out I can probably hang 12 bikes along one end of the shed. I should dispose of the old pub bike thing and also do something about my old road bike (frame needs repair so not using it). Also I will probably soon loan my spare hardtail mtb to a friend for an extended period. However I have them all up there for now as proof of concept for 12 at once.

The hardware I bought was 2 3 metre lengths of wood to screw into the shed roof beams (cost $15 or $7.50 each), 12 hooks at $6.32 each a packet of 9cm screws (only needed 8) for mounting the wood to the beams ($22.97) and a packet of shorter timber screws for screwing the hooks into the timber ($9.23) and 3 metres of clear vinyl tubing to fit around the hooks to protect the rims. A total cost of AUD $135.01 for the lot.

I bought this at the hardware store yesterday (a mountain biker hang out it seems as I saw Morgs and Joo there and later also so Madge there) and after getting home from a road ride today put it all together. Works a treat as you can see from the photos. Thanks to Danielle for the help putting it up there.

[/mtb/gear] link

Fri, 20 Mar 2009

My geek credentials in question - 17:38
I have been rereading some of my Terry Pratchet Discworld books the last few weeks and I realised I have not read some of those I am likely to enjoy. Vimes and watch books tend to be my favourite and yet I do not have Thud! or Night Watch and have not read them. Others I expect I would like that I do not have are Making Money (I liked Going Postal so expect I will enjoy this), Thief of Time and Interesting Times and the two alternate format books Faust Eric and The Last Hero.

I own two of the witch books but have never yet been able to read more than the first few pages without getting bored and putting them down, so I doubt I have any interest in those I do not have. Anyway thinking I should attempt to rectify this lack of ownership involving some good Pratchett books I headed out to Canty's second hand book shop in Fyshwick today to see if they had any of those I do not have to buy. Alas it seems their Pratchett stocks were low as only two of the YA books were there and nothing else. I guess it is probably time to trawl through some of the other second hand book shops in Canberra, if only I can find the time.

I wonder if my geek credentials should be called into question for not having them all?

[/leisure/books] link

Thu, 19 Mar 2009

Jindabyne Multisport Classic 2009 - 17:28
Last year I wrote one of my longish and reasonably detailed reports about this race. This year I managed to finish the event solo, however do not feel like writing too much about it. As always the Jindabyne Multisport Classic (they called it a classic, even the first year they ran it...) is a fantastic event. After being pulled out of the water more than 11 hours in during the final swim unable to breathe and cramping up last year I really wanted to finish.

Fortunately I did, though I did not speed up much on last year. I felt fantastic for the first 6 or 7 hours of this race, then sometime during the long run up to sawpit I no longer felt I had enough left in the tank to go hard. I had been hoping that pacing myself I might finally feel I could start putting some effort in at this point, however I was unable to get my HR over 130 for the rest of the race and pretty much crawled all the way to the finish.

Once again my worst leg was definitely swimming, compared with good swimmers in the solo field, such as Alex, I lost almost an hour. Looking at times for excellent swimmers such as Shanyn I lost more, however I can not imagine I will ever swim as well as she does, and I was racing solo anyway. My current plan, rather than stopping swimming again until I start getting ready for this event again next year is to continue to go to at least one coached squad session every week.

On a seeming tangent now, I notice in my GPS/HR training data that since I bought the Garmin in August 2007 I have the distances of all sessions I have done (riding, running, paddling) listed to inspect and view the maps and data from. In that time I have only done a session in which I travelled more than 100KM on 6 occasions. This is pretty pathetic when you consider how easy it is for me to do a road ride over 100 KM. Two of these sessions were the Hawkesbury classic paddle race in 2007 and the Jindabyne race I just finished on Sunday. So I think we can see when compared to how I used to do long road rides at least once a week, generally a longish mountain bike ride every fortnight or so my riding is definitely down on what it once was. Sure I kayak and run now days but none of them tend to be longer than 2 hours very often.

Getting back to the race I think my body just was not ready for more than 6 hours non stop and was not working as well as it could after that time. Also the multi discipline nature of the event was something I had not prepared for well in the lead up. For next year I will definitely need to do more long stuff and make sure I am feeling more ready for such a long stretch out there at intensity.

I must thank my support crew, Kerry, for her help all day. She did a spectacular job and was organised all day and got kept me going despite never having done support like this before, also thanks to Ron for helping her out most of the day. Without their help and some generous help from many others I would not be able to do the event solo.

I did do more swim training before the race this year and I think it showed as I was able to get out of the swims reasonably fresh feeling and was not even the slowest solo competitor in them all. The long ride though I was once more crawling through it, really is spectacular and I recommend it to any mountain bikers who like epic feeling bike legs and big hills and alpine country. The long run is also though a really lovely walking track and when not suffering worth admiring.

Race coverage wise, I have a few photos on my camera but am being a bit lazy to upload them. Sri Chinmoy's gallery page for the event has a fair few (those with me in them are finishing the second bike, transitioning to long run, start of first run, background behind Libby running, start of fun (techy) bike leg, running through Thredbo river picnic area, first swim start with Julie and Alex and getting out of a swim.

There are good shots there of Alex (who won solo mens) and Julie (won solo womens) and a lot of my other friends up there racing. Also there was a professional photographer up there, Greg Long and his event photos are pretty good.

Anyway I enjoyed the event and have a definite interest in trying to do better next year, a spectacular (and hard) day out. I still think more people should enter, it is more fun than Triple Tri, shorter legs, better scenery, something different (though triple tri is itself a lot of fun). Also more solos would be cool (lets hope Zoe, Danielle, Libby and others may be keen to enter next year so it is not just Julie in womens).

[/mtb/events] link

Thu, 12 Mar 2009

How could I say no - 13:17

Sassy Pink Handjob (fullsize)
My primary geared bike, the bender bicycles steel mtb has now undergone two fixes, the paint job looks kind of ratty and I notice Richard recently retired his KHS steel HT. I have put a lot of hard riding onto this bike and though still nice to ride I had been from time to time looking for another frame just out of interest.

Then I saw this Cove Handjob, in my size selling for AUD $480 in sassy pink colour. How could I say no, it arrived this morning. I probably should not swap the frames before the Jindabyne multisport race on Sunday, after all riding a new frame I am not used to with different geometry and feel may not be the best idea. Tempting to do it now, but I will probably wait until next weekend.

[/mtb/gear] link

Fri, 06 Mar 2009

New not leather work shoes - 15:49

Non leather Salomon work shoes (fullsize)
Usually a photo such as that to the left would appear in my mtb/gear category, however although they are a Salomon walking shoe with the Salomon quick lace system, I purchased these to wear at work.

Because I am lazy and often tend to be changing into bike shoes and back into work shoes a lot during the day I like having slip on shoes at work. Thus most sneakers with laces annoy me. However to get a pair of slip on shoes that I can wear at work with shorts or jeans means I am limiting my choices a bit.

However the other problem I face is I do not want to buy a new pair of leather or similar animal product based shoes. My running shoes, cycling shoes and other shoes I tend to wear are all synthetic. Vegan Wares in Melbourne do not have a slip on shoe that is not formal looking and thus nothing I would want to wear at work.

I already have some Salomon shoes and like the lacing system for ease and speed of use so it occurred to me I could probably wear them if I could find a pair that were not to obviously an all out racing/running shoe. The XA Pro 3D running shoes come in black so were one option. However I noticed the Fury and the Fusion 2 models on the Salomon website both had non leather uppers and the quick lace system. The pair that is available in Australia (Fusion 2, the more expensive model) is a walking shoe, they do not look quite so much like a running shoe and thus I thought I could wear them for work.

They cost a bit (AUD $225) but hopefully will last a while and they satisfy my requirements.

[/various] link

Thu, 05 Mar 2009

Missing swims - 16:46
Most weeks recently I have been getting along to the Friday evening Bilbys swim squad and other than that getting out for a swim on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This stems from doing lake swims on those days, then when the lake was closed for swimming I simply kept those times at the pool by myself. I have stretching class at lunch on Monday and Wednesday. On Wednesday evenings I do the paddling time trial, and as I swim Friday evening I do not want to do extra swimming that day.

This week I have not been able to swim on either Tuesday or Thursday, though I had been planning to, I simply ended up with too much stuff I was doing out of the office on both days, a lot of it for CORC, that I could not justify being out of the office for a whole additional hour for a swim session. I should have made the effort to swim on Monday after work, however hindsight is always useful this way. A week and a half to go before Jindabyne now, I just have to hope I am relaxed and comfortable enough with the swimming to get through all three and not lose pace too much.

I suspect the hardest will again be the final swim just trying not to cramp and make it through that one will be a big challenge, I already tend to cramp up very easily swimming and once more staying hydrated at Jindabyne will be a constant battle.

This week the Wednesday night paddle time trial did not happen at the club as molonglo reach was also closed to secondary contact sports. A few of us were hoping to do a time trial on the rowing course on the lake as that is open, however it was one of the windiest days in recent times yesterday and there were white caps on the rowing course so when we got there it we were not venturing out of the safety of the sheltered areas.

The normal paddle time trial is 9.6km on the gps. The rowing course is 1.8km so 6 laps of it (3 times out and back) would have been 10.8km, so if it had been nice and calm it would have been a tougher race than we normally do. Ahh well maybe some other time that will work as a replacement race.

Even though there was no group run on Tuesday I still had a good run from home to the top of Mt Ainslie and back via Dickson ovals. That I was able to keep running all the way up and hold a reasonable pace (even though HR was above 170) actually makes me feel I should be alright on the long run at Jindabyne next weekend.

With the long weekend coming up, I hope to get a few good sessions in, Sam is keen to do some long stuff on Saturday (maybe a run, a paddle and a ride if she can leave Ben with the kids for that much of the day, we will see). I was keen to do the AROC urban race on this weekend however almost none of my friends seem to be interested in it this year which is most unusual. Danealle and Danielle are doing it but everyone else seemed a bit hohum and are off doing other stuff.

[/mtb] link

Fri, 27 Feb 2009

Still not running enough - 11:44
I know the runs at Jindabyne are short, however I still need to do a bit more in the coming two weeks to be in better shape for them I think. After coming back to Canberra from Tasmania I did not run much for two and a half weeks as it was too hot. Right now my running form is pretty bad, on the ARNuts run with Mark and Heather on Tuesday, doing a pretty easy sort of pace and not doing too many stupid steep hills (a surprise when Mark is on a run, what with his claim that there is no such thing as a bad hill) and my pace was really low for where my heart rate was sitting.

Wednesday afternoon at the paddle time trial the wind was pretty nasty and slowing everyone down a bit, then I got a 50cm stick caught in my rudder somehow and the boat was not steering properly. So I stopped to get it out, thus my pace was way off, so I kept t slower for the rest of the time trial and was 3 minutes slower than the past two weeks. (actually 4 minutes slower if time stopped is included)

Yesterday's swim however felt pretty good, well by that I mean my lats and forearms were sore afterwards, which I hope means I am working my arms better in the water and getting more forward motion happening. I do not feel up to a lunch time run today, so will need to head out for at least one longish run on the weekend I think. Probably going to head out on the road bike in the morning, to see Libby's new road bike and to do some hills. Tomorrow arvo I want to make it over to Stromlo to check out some stuff at the Stromlo Running festival, I may ride there for that. Nothing else is set in stone yet.

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Wed, 25 Feb 2009

Stardust comparison - 10:56
I have often said how I am a huge fan of Neil Gaiman, when the Stardust movie was released I went to see it and loved it, however I had never read the book. I bought the book just before Christmas (not the illustrated one) and this week finally got around to reading it. Last night I read until I finished and was up too late to get up at 5:30am to head out for the road ride.

It is interesting to see how much the stories diverge in places and yet how they tell the same story well and also how good they both are. The stories are different and the movie definitely has a slightly more Hollywood sort of end. The book, though short, provides a lot of detail that can back up the movie well, it also deals with conflicts differently. I also think it makes more sense at the end how Tristran and Yvaine travel together (although the movie does not explicitly say that did not happen, so again it is just an extra detail that may not have made sense squeezing it into the movie.

The flying ship is not quite such a large part of the book, however I think that is partly because they had Robert Deniro in the movie and wanted to do a lot more with him. Anyway I love both the book and the movie and recommend them both highly as good entertainment.

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Thu, 19 Feb 2009

Same as last week. - 11:28
On the weekend I did a 90 km road ride and 10 km run on Saturday, was reminded I need to do a bit more running before Jindabyne. Swim squad Friday evening was a tough work out but I got a lot out of it I think. Sunday morning I showed a cousin who had come to Canberra for the AROC around Stromlo. Fun couple of loops around tracks out there. It was really windy and threatening to rain so did not paddle on Sunday.

On Monday I was lazy and did not do anything except stretching class, Tuesday I did not get time to do a pool session, ended up doing the ARNuts run in the evening. Wednesday I missed the road ride as I had to take Mum to the airport, I did however do the paddling time trial. The interesting thing to note here I thought is my heart rate. In the run on Tuesday night my average heart rate was 156 with a max of 181. However in the paddle on Wednesday for 51 minutes I had an average heart rate of 165 with a max of 172.

What is fascinating about this is I usually find it hard to get my heart rate up when paddling, on the Thursday evening paddles I tend to have trouble getting it over 140. However put me in a racing situation and I paddle with it up much higher. This is just more proof that racing situations really are good to force you to get real intensity that is not easily simulated in training. Time wise I did the exact same time for the 9.6KM as last week, almost to the second, 50m58s this week.

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Thu, 12 Feb 2009

Getting close to 50 again. - 13:26
So the paddle time trial yesterday I managed to do 50m57s which makes me happy, though I did a fair amount of wash riding, it does mean I am getting down near 50 minutes again. Last year in February and March I managed to get two sub 50m30s twice. Given I have until day light saving is over to get under 50 minutes for the time trial I should hopefully be able to do that in the next little while.

The fast paddlers in the club tend to suggest you need 4 paddle sessions a week to really improve, focusing on technique in all of them even when doing a hard session. I do not quite do that many, largely because there are other disciplines I also do, so I doubt I am going to be doing the time trial in a K1 in 44 minutes in the next year or two as these people are. However I should be able to crack 50 minutes which will be good.

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Wed, 11 Feb 2009

Late out the door - 14:56
This morning I woke up for the ride at 5:35am, realised I needed lights and felt a bit drowsy (only got to sleep after midnight due to reading a bit after helping a friend do some moving). Went to put my Garmin on and it said low battery, fine should be no problem, I have done a few hours exercise in the past with it past low battery status. I obviously forgot to leave it plugged into the laptop for long on the weekend after two three hour sessions.

Got out the door, realised I need more clothing and went back in for another vest. Got back out and on to the bike when I noticed the Garmin was blank, oh well it was not going to last, no record of the ride today for me. Went back in and put a normal watch on. By this time I had squandered any time to make it to the ride start on time so chose a route that would meet up early in the loop for todays road ride.

Got there and let the fast bunch go, hopped onto the medium fast bunch, due to feeling tired I was more in the mood for something I would find cruisy than for a hammer fest. Had stretching class at lunch, reminded myself I need to do more hamstring stretching. Will do paddle time trial tonight in La Muerte, hope next week D and I can do the time trial in Matt and Amanda's double ski and see if we can improve much on our TK2 time last week of 53m19s. In La Muerte I am still not down to the 50m10s I was doing last year before Jindabyne, however I am getting lower again, down around 52m10s two weeks ago, hope to crack that in the cooler weather today.

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Mon, 09 Feb 2009

Exercising in the heat. - 11:24
Saturday Jan 31 I headed out on the ride to Yass and back via the back roads (gps map) which is a lovely ride, however on this day the temperature got up to 38 degC. It was fine riding out there as we arrived in Yass around 9:30am and it was only 23 degC or so. However the ride home was somewhat brutal, we stopped for a swim at Uriarra Crossing, then by the time we were at the top of the third sister climbing out we were dry. Upon making it to the Zoo/Aquarium I needed to hide in the shade under a tree while Anne got some cold drinks from the aquarium to restore sugar and cool down a bit. I still managed to get along to a bbq at a friend's place after the ride and then went for a quick k2 paddle with Danielle, I was however quite tired from riding over 160 KM in that heat.

Thinking about the previous weekend I should have known I would struggle in the heat, however Saturday morning just past I headed out with some AR friends to do a 100 KM road ride, due to the heat we shortened it by 10 KM and mixed it up a bit (map here), though the pace was fairly high for riding in almost 40 degC heat, I definitely struggled to stay with the others more than I normally would. I had however decided a morning exercise session would be better than the 20 KM state paddling round happening on the lake from midday onwards. The heat just got worse as the day wore on, then the winds picked up. I wandered down to BGCC in the afternoon to learn the race was cancelled half way through due to dangerous conditions and that the wind had been a problem.

I had already decided to attempt the 30 KM Burley Griffin Bash paddle race on Sunday rather than the 20 KM marathon state round on Saturday. A 9am start rather than Midday in this heat sounded much better. So I rocked up on Sunday to do the 30 KM race. I was running late so started 3 minutes behind everyone, having thrown some sunscreen on at the last second. I had only 1 gu with me to eat for 3 hours of exercise, this would prove to be my undoing. Having just thrown sunscreen on my right hand was slipping on the paddle for the first 10 KM and I was not holding the paddle as well as I should. I was doing alright for my first 20 KM with splits of around 61 minutes for each 10 KM on the gps. However I had my gu at 18 KM or so and also accidentally paddled about 1KM more than I should have not knowing where to turn around at one point.

By 24 KM I had run out of water so was able to refill my 3 L bladder from one of the rescue boats, however 2 KM later the lack of food did me in, I was starting to hypo or something and was unable to paddle and was losing balance. At this point I realised I was not going to make it back. I started heading for a lake shore but fell in. One of the rescue boats grabbed me and we loaded myself and my boat onto it and I got a lift to the finish. The main problem here was I really should have had a lot more food with me for three hours of exercise. I know this full well so do not know why I thought I could do it this time around, simply because paddling is lower intensity over this distance than I would do if running or riding.

The temperature on the lake felt nice however as soon as I finished and was back on shore it was obviously around 40 degC again, fortunately the heat has finally reduced a bit over night and so far Monday has been a nice temperature, it is forecast to stay this way for the rest of the week which is good news.

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Mon, 02 Feb 2009

Ani Difranco back in Canberra, what a great gig - 22:22
I knew she had not toured Australia, and especially to Canberra for a while, however I just checked back through my email and I discovered it has indeed been 5 years since Ani was last here. I saw her in the Canberra Theatre back on February 28th 2004.

Today I was lucky enough to see Ani perform again, once more in the Canberra theatre. What a fantastic concert it was too. Her opening act was Mike Kelly from a group in Melbourne (I can not find any more information online). He had a good voice, looked some what Johnny Deppish and on was a good opening act.

I may be biased, heck I know I am, Ani is always fantastic to see live, tonight was no exception. She had her current backing band of Allison on drums, Todd on upright bass (and a miniature Piano tonight also) and Mike on percussion.

The set list was really good from my viewpoint, opening with Little Plastic Castle, also including later on two other songs from LPC (still my favourite Ani album) which were Gravel and Swan Dive. She closed the night with Both Hands which of course is the opening song on her first album (which she also used to close her last concert in Canberra back in 2004). She played a song celebrating the Barack Obama election which I had not heard but had a good vibe and showed how happy she seems to be to be rid of Shrub.

A number of songs from the latest album (Red Letter Year) worked really well, Present/Infant, Alla This, The Atom (which she stopped during without remembering the lyrics or something, which had some happy cheers and lots of support from the audience), Way Tight and Red Letter Year.

A few other songs were played, such as Names and Dates and Times from Puddle Dive, Shameless from Dilate, Evolve from Evolve, lag time and modulation (one of her two songs about forgiveness she claimed on stage, rather than her more normal song saying you fucked up to herself or someone else) from knuckle down, Swim from Educated Guess and You Had Time from Out of Range. Ani also was responding to the audience well, joking around, telling stories, interacting really well and impressing the heck out of us all. I almost wish I had done what I used to whenever she toured Australia and bought a ticket for the Sydney gig also. I just did not have the time to get up there tomorrow. This was however most excellent tonight. Also reminding me I have not spent enough time with the latest album to really get to know it as well as some of the older stuff.

One of the more amazing things about this concert was I had not been checking Ani's website every month or two like I used to, she had not toured Australia for so long I must have not kept it in mind. I had no idea she was touring until I opened my Christmas present from my sister Jane and found the concert tickets. Jane of course was worried thinking I had already purchased 18 tickets and was hell bent on being there. What a fantastic gift and most appreciated. Thanks Jane, surprising me with tickets to see my favourite artist performing here for the first time in 5 years, way to go.

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Tue, 27 Jan 2009

Mobile woes, in need of a phone protector protector - 17:37
So when I switched to Optus sometime last year I bought a small Samsung phone at the time of the switch. I kind of like my Telstra remote area tick samsung 3g phone so thought the cheap Samsung would be alright too. This was not the case, the interface and general use I found the phone lacking (Samsung B100). Then I happened to see the Nokia 2630 in early December, the thinnest phone made by Nokia. fairly cheap and as I am most used to a Nokia interface over any others probably easy for me to get used to.

I bought one and at the same time bought a plastic protective cover for it as I seem to be able to kill phones easily. I keep them in my pocket during the day and also in a jersey pocket while cycling. Then around 2 weeks later on Christmas day the plastic protector broke on the face where the keys were, also some cracks were developing in the sides.

I wandered into Civic on Boxing day and bought a new protector, plus I saw a cool pink case for the phone so purchased that to match my laptop, mountain bike, kayak, etc. Then I used some of the special small tools at work to unscrew the old case and put the new one on. The new protector went on and I hoped it would last a bit better. This alas has not been the case, last week at LCA the case cracked apart around the edges with many cracks all around.

I am obviously in need of a mobile phone protector protector. I went into civic just now to buy something and the phone accessories shop that used to be on the ground floor in the Canberra Centre where I bought the pink case on Boxing Day is now gone. I thought about a mobile phone sock, however think that would not be good as I tend to have my phone in my cycle jersey pocket and exposed to sweat a lot. I have tried a silicon case, this does not protect the screen, also it ripped trying to pull it over the card plastic protector.

I wonder if another brand of hard case may do the job, I am a bit reticent to look for a leather phone cover as I do not want to use such an item. I am also a bit weirded out by the sudden dissapearance of the accessories shop in Civic (YIT Technologies), though it was in the middle of the corridor, I am sure it has been there for quite a few years.

[/various] link

Thu, 22 Jan 2009

First run in Hobart - 09:11
So I have been a bit lazy this week, not running in the mornings before the conference starts. This has largely been due to being up too late every night with other conference delegates.

I finally got out for a short (just under 40 minutes) run this morning, I definitely found some hills, and looking at the google maps there are a lot more to be found if I head out for a longer run. I am hoping I can do something a bit longer tomorrow morning.

The map with HRM and timing details is here the straight map is here.

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Tue, 20 Jan 2009

Sirens Vegetarian restaurant in Hobart - 15:08
With no formal conference related stuff on last night I thought it was a good chance to try out Sirens Vegetarian restaurant in Hobart. Stewart and Davyd (also Vegans) came along and bought friends (a bunch of mysqlers and some of Davyd's friends. Also Donna and Peter joined in with Andy, Pascal and some locals in tow).

I took some photos there last night but they really do not show off the place well. It is a nice location on Victoria st down near the water, the restaurant decor is very north african feeling (morocco, egypt, or even turkish I guess). The food was really good.

We started off with a fresh baked flat bread accompanied by fresh made dips. I had an Asian inspired (with a miso soup or something) mushroom dumpling dish for main and then had a vegan Trifle for desert. Others had a roast much room with avocado tequila dish, or a pasta dish that looked good (though was not vegan) or a few other options.

They also coped well with a sudden large influx of people they probably did not expect on a Monday night, I booked for 10, we had maybe 20 all up on top of the non conference people that would have been there anyway. Anyway if you are looking for some good food in Hobart give it a try. They have no web site however are easily found via google.

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Mon, 19 Jan 2009

Great campus accommodation for lca - 11:19
I thought it was worth commenting on how good the residences accommodation we are staying in for lca this year is. UTas has these buildings which are like apartments, 6 bedrooms (remarkably spacious with good desks and storage) around a shared kitchen/living area and bathrooms. I recall seeing a similar thing for UTS students in Sydney, and ANU has just finished having some built in the University lodge area between ANU and civic (though they are over $300 per week from what I hear for students).

The view from high up on the hill out over the bay is great, the accommodation is roomy and clean and I think the best lca accommodation yet for the general punters.

[/lca] link

First miniconf talk - 10:24
I went to Paul McKenney's talk about parallel programming being hard at the kernel miniconf. A good part of it is when he kept reminding us that refocusing and changing your problem so it can be applied to certain restrictions is a good way to think about things.

Of course there were entertaining parts, such as the dining philosophers and partitioning them so we have Non Uniform Philosopher Architecture. Also the toilet paper that was a good representation of a cache miss, though there were not two rolls of toilet paper so we did not have a dual core problem. Good talk though.

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Sun, 18 Jan 2009

In Hobart - 22:23
Left Canberra this morning around 10am. Had lunch in Melbourne with a mountain biking friend. Arrived in Hobart around 4:30pm, Neill, Anthony and a bunch of other lca delegates were on the plane also. Got to the colleges and checked in. Briefly tried to alleviate the email withdrawl. Wandered down the hill to a bar (Metz a little bit to night club sort of feeling to me) with Crash and the other Canberra crew staying together at the colleges. Had a good dinner, now back up the hill.

A good return so far to lca, bring on the rest of the week. Oh and speaking of hills, I feel the need to pass on the rather entertaining (and I think possibly accurate description of Hobart) I heard (and that I think makes for some good tough runs this week).

If your feet are not wet, you are standing on a hill.

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Thu, 15 Jan 2009

Upgrades to the breast cancer bracelets - 19:35
I broke another pink silicon breast cancer bracelet today, so went home to get one of the new ones. I was happy to notice as I put it on they have improved the design.

If you see the photo in the link above you can see the NBCF bracelets all tend to break in a similar place. I noticed the other week that splits were forming where there is a letter N in the writing. Now the new improved design has no writing indented into the bracelet, the lettering and ribbons are all raised off the band. This should stop them from breaking as easily. Of course maybe I should simply stop removing it as often as I do (showering mostly).

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Poor impulse control or cool things at office works - 19:12

Shiny Officeworks purchases (fullsize)
So today Mikal and I wandered into Braddon today to buy some hardware for the LA Mirror, to get some disks we went to office works and bought two of the AUD $177 WD USB drives. While we were at the store I was distracted by the items in the photo to the left.

I saw the cancer council suncream on a carabina which I thought was a great idea, when racing or out doing stuff I often forget to apply suncream as often as I should. If it is hanging off my pack somewhere my team mates and I can easily get at it and use it. Also it gets it out of the pack, and the bottle can be refilled.

My pink and purple gel pens in my rogaining/navigation/map marking pencil case are running low, but even without this I could not resist the impulse to buy some new ones cheaply next to the cash register. Also they had the cute 1 GB purple usb key for $5 and the 2 GB white one for $10, at that sort of cost these items are pretty much disposable and it is always useful to have a few around (I broke another 2 GB one a few days ago).

As Mikal commented, I need to work on my impulse control when shopping, or stay out of shops.

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Tue, 13 Jan 2009

Sort of lazy - 11:24
I seem to be on a somewhat lazy week, after the ride on Saturday I have not done much. Mowing the lawn last night does not count as exercise, nor does sitting in the kayak on Sunday morning doing Triathlon support.

I am doing a 1.2 KM lake swim at lunch, and will do another on Thursday lunch (and Bilbys swim squad on Friday evening), however I have a meeting tonight so will not be running. I Had stretching class at lunch yesterday so did not head out for a run. Tomorrow I have stretching class again so another day with no run.

Next week I will be at lca in Hobart all week, staying no where near a pool (on campus at UTas in Sandy Bay) so the only sport I will do next week will be running in the mornings I expect. I have the Bilbys road ride (fast bunch) tomorrow and the paddling time trial (10 KM) in the afternoon, then the Friday morning mtb still this week. However I am not feeling I am being particularly active this week (or will be next week), especially with Jindabyne looming. I remember last year in the lead up to Jindabyne I had been doing three sessions of exercise a day some days (yes doing a Julie training load).

Ahh well maybe I can get off my hiney and get stuck into it when I get back from Tasmania.

(update: I forgot two sessions, both on Wednesday, and another update, I forgot CLUG is on a week early because of LCA and I am missing the thursday evening paddle. See I told you all I was being lazy)

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Sat, 10 Jan 2009

Ride in the Brindabellas today - 16:49
Hopefully Sam is not bad luck for others training with her. Last time I organised a ride to help Sam with her Otway training Tony had a crash and we had to take him to hospital and he had some surgery on a hand a week or two later. Today, seemingly not as serious, but nasty none the less. Jules did a superman to ground surfing transition off his bike at speed. He is apparently feeling a bit better now home, cleaned up and resting.

Anyway apart from the incident the ride was good, 80 KM, some good solid climbs, good company, good views, fun descents. Some photos and a gps map link are online from this brindies ride.

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Wed, 07 Jan 2009

Tiramisu Cupcakes - 18:29

Tiramisu Cupcakes (fullsize)
Yet another recipe from the Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World book. These Tiramisu cupcakes looked heavenly. Which Kahlua and Coffee dribbled into them and a vegan cream cheese vanilla icing and covered in chocolate shavings and cinnamon, cocoa and coffee beans they really were quite divine.

[/leisure/food] link

Tue, 06 Jan 2009

No paddle this morning - 12:36
I had planned to go paddling this morning. My road bike had a flat tyre with a slow leak, so I did not want to take it to work. I hopped on my fixie at 7:40, planning to be on the water by 8am and off the water just before 9am and at work by 9:20am. However as I crossed Northbourne avenue I remembered why I had been avoiding riding the fixie, the quill and bolt in the stem had stripped and I was unable to tighten the bars enough to stop them rotating away from pointing straight ahead.

Paddling plans scuppered due to not thinking I would be safe riding that bike (and I did not want to to ride a mountain bike over to the boat shed), I headed home, fixed the flat tyre on the road bike, shaved, and headed over to Maladjusted to get a new quill and bolt for the Cinelli stem on the fixie (Cinelli bars are not a standard road bar width, they are a bit smaller so you need to use Cinelli stems with them, at least this is the case with the old Cinelli stuff I am using on the fixie).

Got to work at 9am in the end anyway with the fixie back in working order (and the tyre properly seated so not about to pop and go bang with the bead sitting out as it had been. Last year one of the ARNuts Tuesday night runs we did when it was hot was to run from Weston park to Black Mountain Peninsula, swim back across to Weston park and have a bbq with any and all ARNuts who ran or just rocked up.

I termed this a new and interesting variation on the classic triathlon, the legs being Run/Swim/BBQ. We had a number of people who were specialists at the BBQ leg rock up last year. Fun was had by all involved. Thus this arvo we are trying it out again. Should be good to cool off swimming in the lake after a run in this heat.

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Mon, 05 Jan 2009

Getting a start in Jindabyne preparation - 14:33
After being so sick last year when I attempted the Jindabyne Multisport race solo, added to the fact I had not done enough swim training in the lead up to the event. It was no real surprise that I was unable to complete the race. I should be fairly impressed that I managed to stay out there for 11 hours and make it to the final swim on a day I should have stayed in bed sick all day.

However I want to complete this event solo, I am definitely lining up again this March. I got back into the pool for some swimming just before Christmas, and will continue with pool sessions and some lake swims over the next two months. Matt, Amanda, Danielle, Ben and I had been sort of planning to do the ride to the coast again this Saturday just past. However the logistics were getting a bit hard. Talking with another AR friend, Mark, we discovered many of the other ARNuts would be down in Jindabyne (Dave, Julie, Heather, Jules, Alex, Sal, Mark, Celia, Randall, Shannon) so the 5 of us thought we may head down there and do some out of Canberra exercise also.

I rang my ski club and was fortunate to discover the Unit in Jindabyne that we have was empty so the 5 of us headed down there to stay and took with us mountain bikes, running shoes, kayaks and road bikes. We did not go as big, long or hard training wise as some of the others, but we did have a fun weekend. Early Saturday morning we joined some of the others to do the second run leg of the race from the Thredbo river picnic are up to Sawpit, with a loop out the other side of the road and back. I forgot to wear my GPS/HRM for this and the mtb ride we did later that day, however it was a really nice run, so much easier and more pleasant than my previous experience of it 6 hours into the multi sport race while sick and on a really hot day.

That afternoon I dragged a bunch of us around the first mtb leg of the race, the technical leg. I love that leg, however we probably should have head out for a ride on some of the less technical but still mighty run single track in the region between the dam wall and east Jindabyne as it would not have been quite so intimidating to the others and we would have gotten a longer ride in. That night a few of us watched a DVD of the movie Run Fat Boy Run, which is kind of entertaining, though the marathon pace for the front runners is completely unrealistic.

Sunday morning at 6am Amanda set off to ride to Charlotte Pass. Matt, Ben and I set off at 6:35am for the same ride. Holding a nice slightly under tempo (for me) pace we all completed the ride up and back down with riding time of 3h30m (data link) for the 84km. Danielle and I then headed out for a short paddle in Matt and Amanda's double surf ski to begin getting used to the feel of that boat.

Not too much activity to knock us all flat but it was nice to get out of town and do some stuff and it was good to scope out two of the legs for the mullti sport race.

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