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Fri, 28 Oct 2011

Lessons in sand groping - 19:13
I still did not quite manage to learn the proper technique to effectively grope sand. Though I guess I do begin to see why the term is used, there is quite a lot of sandy ground around Perth. From the ground near Curtin Uni where is is significantly cheaper to trench cables under the ground than you normally expect to the sand on any ground bare of grass in other parts of the city.

Some of the things I would like to do next tine I am across there given a chance are: Ride out to Freemantle for brunch on the north side of the river (down the western highway maybe for a while), visit the maritime museum in Freemantle, maybe lunch at the Little Creatures brewery. Getting away from Freemantle just riding around the river sides for a while looks pleasant. Maybe trying to find some good vegetarian specialty eating places would be good too. Though I really enjoyed the Mexican food at Santa Fe on Hay st last night as it was.

I managed to catch up with Jeremy which was good as his time at lca this year was cut a bit short. Also we caught up with Dave Mac, and though I thought he would be away for 6 months he will now be back in Canberra next weekend so CHOGM no longer needs him and he can return to AV at PH.

CHOGM did not impact us too much, sure a few closures we saw as we skirted the city and a bunch of CHOGM security zone signs around the place but not much else. Due to our bodies being on east coast time we started work this morning around 7am so got that day's work done here (on a public holiday for the locals) pretty early which was handy.

I took a few photos, one I liked has an TLA S.O.Y which probably should not be said aloud with kids in the vicinity, I was amused by the fact it sounded like the Seagulls may get all vegan on people (Soy, etc).

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Wed, 26 Oct 2011

Groping Sand? - 18:34
So I find myself on a flight from Melbourne to Perth right now, heading across to Perth for the first time since 2003. This time I am heading over there for work for two days. Right in the middle of CHOGM which made finding accommodation and flights a challenge (fortunately I did not have to do that).

Michele and Rob will be over this weekend too for a family gathering, I will be home Friday night, still I was almost tempted to cheekily ask how we should go about groping sand while over there, is there some proper technique?

To practice this Perth thing I was happy to find Little Creatures Pale Ale on tap on Sunday when I was hanging out with COGS (Canberra One Gear Society) at Wilburs in Hackett. Who knows if Morgs and I are lucky we can catch up with Dave Mac tomorrow evening sometime and be able to sample some more of the local product.

Things to remember maybe, Qantas club membership Morgs had was helpful at Canberra, using the wireless to chase up some work and email while waiting for the delayed flight was a good thing. The flight to Melbourne was short, and they had fruit for us of a Vegan persuasion. Tempted to watch The Green Lantern movie (I am a comics geek after all) even though I am sure it will be woeful, maybe so I can at least criticise form a point of having seen it. (unlike The Titanic movie which I still refuse to see and continue to claim it is crap).

I hear from some Martin W that Perth has some very Nomad friendly riding too, maybe worth bringing a bike across on a future trip, you can ride something without much travel in the hills, but it is not recommended. He has contacts for the local club and trail fairies too which helps.

This is a bit of a meandering post I notice, in the end I did watch the Green Lantern movie. Surprisingly not as incredibly bad as I expected. Of course it was not as fantastic as the new Batman movies or anything. The climax was a little easy and short I thought after all the build up, however it was ambitious to show the Corps, and they actually came across in a similar manner to the comics at times. Anyway enough of this, I am writing this on Thursday morning now, time to find some wifi and if I want to actually say something rather than meander around write something new.

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Sun, 02 Oct 2011

Googong multisport challenge 2011 - 21:15
Sri Chinmoy moved the event a few weeks earlier in the hopes that being further away from the Scott 24 hour mtb race and to no longer clash with the Upper Murray Challenge. I have also been making an effort to remind people how awesome this event is in the hopes of convincing more to come and compete.

Fortunately something worked as this year the largest field ever rocked up to the race on the shores of the 100% full Googong Dam at 10am on September 18. Compared with last year I was severely lacking in fitness, with no fast paddling whole year (and not much at all since Geoquest), not much running for a while and my bike strength feeling weak I was in it for the fun of the event and not expecting to do too well.

Results from the day are available, plus photos and an event report but once again I would like to say anyone who was not there missed out on a great event. The paddle was actually 10km for the first time ever which would have pushed out the event times, however not to the extent that I was 30 minutes slower this year than last year.

However the top three places put in an awesome race, Dave S was always likely to come away as the winner barring mishaps of the people there that day. Sean had a fantastic race I thought to make 2nd, and though I was in in 3rd until Seb caught me near the end of the bike (he was paddling something akin to a bathtub). I had obviously pushed too hard for my current fitness levels and began cramping on the second run on the first downhill (after needing to stop and puke a bit twice in the first run due to pushing my pace too hard). Still I loved the event and having a strong field there made it so much better. Thanks to all of those who were there to make it great.

Fortunately the Sri Chinmoy team have said they will be running it again so I hope to see this event continues to get more interest now, it is a great event in an area not many people go to visit and I am glad to see it will remain on the calendar. Oh and impressive effort from Aaron and Alex who both did the remarkably tough, steep bike leg on their single speed mtbs.

Libby seems to think the race should be held in Feb as a lead up to the Jindabyne multi sport, I personally disagree as I like having a reasonable spacing through the year of these events. Yerrabi in May, Jindabyne in March and this event in September is a pretty good gap and I am not convinced people would use it as a Jindabyne Multi training event (too short and intense for soloists to get great traing) and many of the teams are not really out there at Jindabyne for the speed/win so much as the experience.

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Why does Ikea have such a draw on homemakers? - 19:08
So maybe I am not the target market as I do not own my own home or tend to decorate or buy stuff for the place I live, but I now wonder why Ikea is so incredibly crowded and popular?

I went there today with my sister as she has recently bought a place in Sydney and was looking for a few specific items for their new place. The amazing thing I find is I know a large number of people from Canberra who have made a weekend of coming to Sydney to buy some of their furniture and other items at Ikea.

Maybe I am coloured too much by my dislike of shopping, however Jane and Chris also are not big shopping fans, being in an enclosed mall surrounded by thousands of people throwing their money at the church of owning stuff almost made me feel ill. I know I avoid shopping as often as possible and really only rejoice in outdoor equipment shops and bike shops so I do not fit the target audience for a shopping mall, a shrine to consumerism.

Still after the hassle of driving to Rhodes, getting into the car park, getting through the mall crowds and in to Ikea the huge surprise was that seems to be the most crowded area in the mall. I guess it should not be so surprising, as mentioned I know people who travel from Canberra to buy there. Sure some of the stuff may be useful and there were a few examples of interesting furniture and other items to see, however the prices did not seem quite so amazing as I had been led to believe.

The thing I liked the most was the 35 metre square dwelling design they had on show, largely because I thought it was pretty cool to fit a fairly comfortable dwelling into such a small place, and there really should be more such places available to live in our Australian cities, though once more I run into the big problem I have in that there is not enough storage for outdoor equipment, 7 or so bikes, camping gear, backpacks, kayaking gear etc. I store my boats at the lake side, but all the other stuff has to go somewhere. If only 35 metre square dwellings were available in Canberra with a locked double car area for vehicle and gear as part of the deal, I may even be tempted to return to the pain and horror of Ikea to get European friendly small dwelling smart furniture.

I think all three of us were thankful to escape and have no intention of ever venturing inside again at the moment.

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Sat, 01 Oct 2011

Try to remember what is normal - 21:28
At many times I really do need a reminder about what most of the population would consider kind of normal in the exercise realm. This became obvious over the last few months while reading the Canberra Times articles about the preparation for people training for the Canberra Times Fun run.

This is a stark reminder that to many people a 10KM run is a challenge and something they can not just go and do any given day. Another strong reminder of why my sister often tells me myself and the majority of my friends are freaks.

Sure I go around telling people I am not particularly fit, this is because of relative comparisons. I tend to compare myself to friends such as Dave and Julie, so obviously I am not that fit really. Friends that think it is normal to run a 100 KM ultra marathon then back it up two weeks later with a 24 hour rogaine. They have been known to head out for 84km training runs.

In the bike realm I hang around with the likes of Ben Henderson, Andrew Hall, Ed McDonald, and their ilk and am well aware they will beat the pants off me on the mtb or road bike. My friends and I will happily go do a 15 km Tuesday evening training run at faster than 5 minute km pace chatting away with hills and bush in the dark. This is normal behaviour for us. Same goes for riding, a 70 km road ride before work of a morning or 2 hours on the mtb is not strange.

I remember thinking at Dave's bucks party a few years back there was no one in the room who would not be able to do a 100km mtb event in under 7 hours or a marathon in under 4 (or both for most of them). Now I admit I do a lot of exercise, and a large part of it is I love having fun outdoors, and the further you can go the more of the outdoors you can fit into limited time. I like being able to have some friend suggest some trip or event and know I will be able to say sounds good let's go do it. And I will be able to do this activity and get through it with confidence and not find it too hard.

These activities include things like: the 320km Jindabyne to Jindabyne loop via Khancoban and Adaminaby, riding to the top of Mt Kosci in two days from Canberra off road (camping overnight in the bush), 48 hour adventure races, 360km non stop mtb races, 100 km ultra marathon in pairs (half each).

Though I run a lot more now than I did around 6 years ago I have been reasonably fit since I got into cycling seriously at the age of 12 or so, thus I would never think it impossible to head out for a 10 km run. Nowdays I would not even consider it particularly difficult to decide to compete in a 25 km run tomorrow with no specific preparation. Thus it really is a wake up call to see these multi-month training schedules to get people to complete a 10 KM fun run.

A previous housemate who had been running a lot (more than I do) had competed in the bush capital marathon (and did very well), so decided to enter the Fitzroy Falls marathon, however a week after that he had also entered his first ever 100 km mtb event and the following week was heading to Tasmania for a 4 day bush walk. To me this sounded like lots of fun and I said he should go ahead and enjoy it. He claimed I was the only friend he had that did not think it all rather over the top. Again it reminded me how different so many of my friends are as many of them regularly do similar series of weekends.

Last year one of my sister's friends had spent a while trying to convince her to compete with her in a 5 km run, however Jane was convinced she would not survive the event and instead suggested a triathlon in a team so she would only have to do the swim legs (a sport she does at her local pool often), (I thought otherwise about her ability to complete a 5 km run, but I have to remember I filter these things differently). I think it a laudable goal to do a triathlon in a team, I have never competed in a triathlon by myself either.

It is a huge wake up call to be reminded that most of the population would struggle to do a 10km run without a fair amount of preparation and would struggle with a reasonably paced 30km ride around the lake or similar. I was interested to hear from a friend in Adelaide recently who took his 8 year old son for a running race, 6 km, the first time his son had raced more than a 2km event at school sports or similar. And from the sounds of it they both had a great time doing this together. It is good to see the children of some of my friends who fit into the similar fitness category to me as they grow up surrounded by people who consider this normal.

Susie and Phillo's kids will grow up thinking 24 hour rogaine events and marathon runs are what everyone's parents do and probably emulate their parents to some extent, I already see Sam and Ben's daughters doing so much cool stuff, such as CORC Dirt Crit events from the age of two and a half to family fun runs, or multi day hikes though Abel Tasman National Park in New Zealand. I do however have to remind myself often, not everyone is like myself and so many of my friends, it is a bit like when university educated people so often only hang around with others with similar backgrounds and then are shocked at the sentiments coming from people who have a completely different life and background.

It is worth remembering to celebrate the Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations of the people out there (to use a Star Trek term, IDIC) even when it is surprising to us.

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