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Fri, 30 Nov 2007

Maybe the good music can justify watching it - 14:34
As I mention from time to time I do not tend to watch tv much. The Tour de France coverage every July and sometimes a movie or similar if it catches my interest. In the past I have watched a lot of tv shows, I adored The West Wing for example (well until the end of season 4 when Aaron Sorkin stopped writing and producing) among others. Jane was telling me throughout the first season of Heroes that I should watch it as I would love the show, I never got around to even looking at the tv guide to learn when it was on.

This season I paid a bit more attention and programmed my mythtv box to record it every week. I also happened to notice a new version of the Bionic Woman was airing just before, so I decided to watch both shows. With the mythtv box I can of course simply copy the shows to my laptop and watch them wherever and whenever I get the time which makes it more pleasant than trying to be in front of a tv when they air. Anyway I am still watching both, even though arguably Bionic Woman is kind of average, heck it is no longer being written up at TWOP which generally means it is not grabbing much attention anywhere.

I am still sort of enjoying it for now, I wonder if I can claim I am still watching it for the cool music. A few weeks ago I was pleasantly surprised when they closed an episode with a great Ani song, then the episode that aired last night closed with a Dave Matthews Band song. You would almost think I had set the soundtrack for this show.

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BC promotion, or slow news day, you choose - 14:21
In a similar fashion to an article two years ago that was accompanied by a photo, today's news paper (Canberra Times) had an article with a photo of me. This time the article pretty much focused on the fact I am competing in a lot of BC events this weekend even though I have my arm in stitches. I have a scan (low res, however you can read and see it) of the article (with photo) uploaded for anyone who wants a look.

I guess the positive change here is the article does not make CORC look bad as the one two years ago had. Someone on the Bilbys committee already called something called "slab" apparently I should buy a slab for them as they noticed and commented on this first. I wonder if the warning that there would be something in the paper that I gave to 200 or so people yesterday gives me leeway.

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Thu, 29 Nov 2007

Practice with the non dominant hand - 17:16
The past few days I have discovered it may be worth spending some time getting used to using my non dominant (in my case the left) hand to do every day activities. As I am unable to move my right arm around much without pain, especially when it is near my head, I have had to use my left hand more.

Shaving, cleaning my teeth, eating with cutlery every day activities and yet I am pretty average and uncoordinated when doing these things with my left hand (not of course helped by the painful gouges in my left hand from the gravel). I wonder if it is worth working out what activities I really only do well with my right hand and trying to train myself to use my left reasonably well for them.

Interestingly Sam mentioned since having kids she has become far more able to use either hand for most activities, I wonder if this is common for most parents? I asked my mother and she said she never found that, instead she knows she is heavily right hand dominant and that never changed.

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Tue, 27 Nov 2007

Reasons not to road ride, or do not anger the crash gods. - 12:44
So more proof road riding is unsafe and it really is better to stick to mountain biking.

This morning I was riding out to do a Cotter/Uriarra loop on the road. With me were Bruce, Simon and Libby. Sue and Tony among possible others were likely to meet us out there.

We had just chased down Rob Burrell (he must have been going slow, dawdling along or something for me to be able to catch him) as we crossed Scrivner Dam. Simon had not done this ride with us for a year or so and was unsure whether we were turning right onto the bike path or heading up the road behind Rob to Cotter Rd. We always turn onto the bike path, however I had not said so verbally and Simon had not turned in early enough, I stayed out wide edging in until he turned and thought I would still make the corner.

I was turning and noticed I was heading right for the gutter, so instead of doing the sensible thing and stabilising then bunny hopping the gutter up onto the grass I thought, I can still make the turn, so leant into the corner more. This is when the large amount of gravel on the bitumen became a problem, my wheels went out from under me and I went sliding along the bitumen on my right elbow, thigh and fingers for a while until I ran into the gutter.

Overall I felt a bit winded but nothing seemed too bad, my bike has some new scratches and a few other small issues (this is the newish cyclocross bike too). Noticing the lacerations in my fingers (road gloves do not have the protection of full finger mtb gloves) I thought it best to head home when I sat up. I did however notice my right elbow was sore, so rolled a bit in order to get it off the bitumen upon which I was lying. This is when Simon, Libby and Bruce saw how deep the gouges were in my elbow and it was obvious I would need to go to the hospital emergency for them to look at it.

Bruce, living closest rode home to get his car, Libby and Simon waited with me. A security guard (for the Governor General) drove past, pulled up and was good enough to provide sterile dressings an a bandage for Libby to use on my arm (though as a vet, she operates on Animals day in day out Human gore makes her a bit queasy, thanks for the help Lib). After this a few more drivers passing and a cyclist or two were all nice enough to pull up and see if we needed anything, even offering lifts and such. Bruce was on his way so we said thanks and that we were sorted. Also while waiting Julie happened to roll past on her way to a paddle session. Last night at stretching I obviously angered the Crash Gods when I mentioned to Julie I tend not to Crash often, especially not serious crashes. Julie did point out this morning it was obviously a silly thing to say, the Crash gods got their own back today. Though I am most fortunate not to be banged up to the extent Dave is.

Bruce rocked up and drove me to the Canberra Hospital, I sent my mother an text saying I may need a pick up from the hospital later depending how long it took. Then sent Danielle a text as I was a her place of employ, fortunately in no need of visiting her ward though (Intensive Care). When I got to Emergency I provided details and then the nurse (a friendly woman named Kate) took me in immediately to have a look at my injuries in Triage and see what needed to be done. The nurse knows Ben (who was a full time nurse in ICU until recently and is still doing shifts a bit (or coming into Socialise for 12 hours at a time as he explained to Kate recently ). So we talked about adventure racing and riding and stuff a bit while she cleaned me up and did what the doctor said had to be done.

After a while the Doctor ended up scrubbing out the wound and cleaning it well, sent me for Xrays to ensure nothing was stuck in there. At this point while waiting for Xrays Danielle rocked up to work and came to visit to see how I was, she had to run for a meeting and said she would be back later. I had Xrays and then sat to wait being sewn up. The shift changed around now and the new doctor coming along to sew me up happened to be Gwenda (fellow mountain biker and to some extent enjoyer of paddling activities, Dan Smith's partner for those who do not know her), so we were able to chat about mountain biking, paddling, Dan's crazy plans for things he wants to do and such, the Gravity 12 hour which Gwenda had done previously, but missed out on this year (travelling with young kids is a hassle for starters).

Anyway Gwenda did a great job sewing me up, Danielle returned, with a coffee for me (thanks Danielle) and got to watch the last few stitches, commenting my elbow looked like a raw steak. I need to go see my GP on Friday for her to review the injury and then again in 7 to 10 days for the sutures/stitches to be removed.

The good news is I can still race in the AROC night race this Friday (so long as I do not submerse my arm in water and can keep the elbow dry for the race) and can still compete with Danielle in the Urban Polaris on Sunday (Danielle's first question to me was You are still right for Sunday aren't you? )

I have not gone into work today yet (may or may not) and have a fantastic excuse not to do the ARNuts night run (had effort that it can be) tonight. I will see how I feel for the road ride tomorrow morning (Mugga Way loop this week). Next challenge is to work out how to shower without getting my elbow or the bandage wet. Mothing hurts too much currently, though Gwenda assures me the sutures will hurt and I should have my friend paracetamol handy (and maybe Neurofen around too according to my personal pharmacist (Gwenda's choice of words) Danielle)

Thanks to Kate, Gwenda and the rest of the TCH staff for processing me so fast and smoothly. Thanks to Libby and Bruce (and I guess I should thank Simon...) for hanging around and getting me to the hospital. Thanks to Danielle for the coffee and moral support (even though as Gwenda noted it seems she only wants me for my body (and its ability to ride on Sunday )). Thanks to others so far today for the text messages of support.

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Fri, 16 Nov 2007

Scientific test for the day, do bikes or riders float in fountains? - 10:37

Bike/Swim Transition Fountain
Maybe I thought I needed to practice a bike to swim transition, maybe I wanted to perform a scientific experiment as suggested in the subject, or most likely I was just an unco this morning. Of course I was lucky no one in my group of mountain bikers had a camera with them <g>.

Riding through civic on the way to some dirt for the mountain bike ride this morning I was mucking around a bit and thought I would try riding up onto the wall around the fountain in front of the Canberra Centre. My tyre slipped a bit and I tumbled straight into the water, it was actually deep enough that I was fully submerged and so was my bike. The first reaction from most of the riders in my group (apart from laughter) was surprise as no one thought it was quite that deep.

Anyway I discovered that neither bikes or riders float particularly well, I was lucky it was a warm morning as I was soaked for the rest of the ride and breakfast. The capture of the gps data to the left shows I got out and started riding again before realising my sunnies had fallen off into the water so I had to go back and wade through it again to get them back.

On a more subdued note, Dave B had a nasty crash at the end of the ride and we had to get a car and drive him off to hospital. When I spoke with Julie a short while ago they had still not gotten in for X-Rays, it sounds like he was in enough pain there could be some fractures or similar around his hips/sternum/pelvis area.

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Wed, 14 Nov 2007

Another paddling pb tonight - 21:24
The BGCC 10 KM time trials have moved back to Wednesday evenings with the advent of daylight saving. I tried to do one the Wednesday following the Hawkesbury Classic, after all I had done 70 KM of road riding the morning before, a 13 KM run the evening before and a 45 KM road ride the morning of the time trial that week, I felt mostly recovered. As soon as I sat in the boat and started paddling my body threw a fit and said enough of this nonsense it hurts stop, so I only made it through 3 KM (most of which I did technique work during).

Last week I had some meetings to attend and the weather was miserable anyway, so I was not too upset to miss out anyway. By today it had been two and a half weeks since I had done any real paddling, so I was happy to get out and do the time trial. As can be seen from the graph I did this in 54:40 (the distance is only actually 9.4KM doing the double bridge to bridge loops) which makes me happy as it is another milestone to crack 55 minutes and it blew my previous pb of 57:19 apart. Still not anywhere near Randall's sub 50 minute times or the times of paddlers faster than him, however I am making progress.

Gee whoda thunk it, training actually does something, or sitting in a boat and paddling lots for 13 hours at least does something even if the frequent paddling sessions before that did not seem to. It is also interesting to see the downward spikes in the heart rate and speed which are obviously the times I stopped to have a drink (from a water bottle), it will definitely be more effective if I can manage to drink without stopping.

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Tue, 13 Nov 2007

Damn weird weather - 16:20
So as a conversational topic this is kinda like dropping a fart at a party. Well at least if you can be crude about it all it is, anyway I headed out for a run yesterday arvo and damn is it hot. You would finally think summer may be approaching. I was unable to hold the speed at 11 KMh and really had to back off and keep the heart rate under 160 most of the time.

However the last few weeks, when it has not been raining it has been freezing, everyone complaining how the weather did not indicate summer or anything like that approaching. I can not complain about the weather in Victoria at least, well while I was there it was good. I was down there on the weekend for the Gravity 12 hour mountain bike race and the course was the best I have ever seen it. Dryer than ever before, so for most of the day a bit skaty with some sandy or otherwise loose corners, then we had half an hour of heavy rain around 6pm so for the last two hours of the race the track was tacky and cornered as if on rails.

I was pleased to keep performance similar to last year with good consistency. Looking at the results my lap times between 35:14 and 37:17 all day, then the two laps in a row I did at night, where I had been told I should take it easy to avoid a second lap in a row, but came back in time for a second so went and did it anyway were 41:18 and 42:11 respectively (in the dark, deliberately going slowly).

As for the weather I wonder if we need to ship some down jackets to Cairns just in case the weird winter weather or strangeness spreads outside Canberra. Of course these are people that tell you to bring lots of blankets with you as it gets really cold at night in winter, down to *gasp* 15 Celsius *gasp* even on the cold nights. Oh no lock up the children how will a Canberran ever handle temperatures that low in winter.

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Tue, 06 Nov 2007

Another song that stops me like a brick wall - 16:57
Though the title references the lyrics of Asking Too Much I commented on a while back I am not talking about that song. Ani recently released a retrospective album containing a collection of her work spanning her career (The album is a double called "Canon"). As I already have all the songs on other albums you would think it may not be worth buying. However two things change this assumption, first I am a bit of an addict (of the 210 or so albums I own, 29 of them are Ani Difranco, more than 10%), however the main reason is there are some new recordings of some of her songs on each of the discs.

This is too much to resist for me, after all, the new version of Not A Pretty Girl on Girls Singing Night redefined that song for me. So when I had to get some stuff from the Righteous Babe store recently (some of the official bootlegs and another 32 Flavors t-shirt as Bruce's never arrived last year) I bought the album Canon.

What do you know, she did it again, not with all of the songs, but the new version of Napoleon is amazing. This however is a bit different to Not A Pretty Girl. I have always loved the song Napoleon, listening to the Dilate album this is a song I have often put on repeat, or while driving along in the car listening put the volume up stupidly loud and sung my voice off to. But oh my god this new version is incredible, it has a much more electronic rock sort of feel to it, it is a bigger feeling song, but whatever combination of things in it to change it has made it another amazing Ani experience.

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Carrying food - 14:34
Interesting to see Crash was a little bit bonked for the finish of the ride this morning. I am lucky to have a bit of general fitness in my body currently. I am still not riding well due to hardly having ridden my bike in the last year or so, however I have been running a bit recently which has helped me lose some weight. Also my general all round high activity level (paddling and other stuff) means I can still assume I will not struggle too much with most efforts.

However none of this will really help anyone when they bonk, I am sure Crash can recall a Cotter/Uriarra loop or two years ago when I went backwards really badly with no food. Also he tells a story about an ANZAC day epic years ago on which part of a power bar seemed to reanimate one of the riders. Partly due to being diabetic and partly because I learnt the hard way while riding I always have at least three muesli bars with me while riding further than basic errands around town (either in a jersey pocket or in a camelback). The camelback I run with has two gels in it, my paddling PFD has a few muesli bars in it.

Admittedly it always comes as a surprise to hit the wall and run out of energy, as Crash suggests we normally do this ride without any food (I know I almost never have any food before going out for anything up to 2 hours in the mornings), however the few times I have needed it I have been most thankful to have it with me.

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Sun, 04 Nov 2007

It almost makes me want to learn Russian - 18:50
Though I have not seen the movies yet, a few of my friends have told me the movies Night Watch and Day Watch are pretty good. So instead of seeing the movies I went out and purchased the three books Night Watch, Day Watch, Twilight Watch and read them. Unfortunately the fourth book in the series is not yet released in English, as I suggest in the post title, it almost makes you want to learn Russian. Though there are no release dates I can find record of, I suspect the translation of Final Watch will be released in January (matching up with the every 6 months schedule of the last three books), I had better wait for that as it will be easier than learning a Language <g>.

These are really good books, fascinating use of magic and mythical creatures in modern society. No idea what makes me like them so much but I did, one thing I find strange is the marketing blurb on them all suggesting it is like JK Rowling in a Russian setting. I have to say, it really isn't. Sure the marketing is probably just trying to convince more people to buy it, however the focus of the books is more adult as are the themes and stuff happening in them. Though they may suit readers of Rowling it is obviously not a direct overlap, as I personally do not find the Harry Potter series hard to put down. Though I have all but the final book in the Harry Potter series in my possession, and have had them all for most of the year, I have still only read the first 4 books (I read these 3 or 4 years ago borrowing them from a friend) and do not feel a strong need or inclination to finish them at the moment.

On the other hand I rushed through the three watch books in less than two weeks. No idea what this says, but I do think they are a great read.

Looking at the wikipedia entries about the films I am a little disturbed by how much they appear to actually differ to the text of Night Watch, however I suspect treating them as related but seperate works would mean they will still be good to see.

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Mixing up the legs a bit - 18:22
The triple triathlon is coming up in 2 weeks. As usual I am entered in a team of three, however this year we thought we may make a change or two. Shanyn is alas busy with something on Sundays this month so is unable to swim, I think we have managed to find another swimmer, however this has meant we have changed the team name (32 Flavours will be back in action next time we are racing in the traditional team).

Another change we made is for Bruce and I to swap 2 of the legs, as I have been doing a bit more running recently, and Bruce bought himself a new road bike so has been out on the bike a lot. We decided to swap the last bike and last run legs (assuming of course the final swim is in Lake Tuggeranong so the second last run has a break before the final bike leg).

So I decided I should head out and see how I went running the 13 KM final leg of the triple tri. I drove over to the YMCA yesterday afternoon and then rode my single speed across to the tunnel under hindmarsh, locked up the bike and a backpack of cycling gear and went running.

I was not fast, and probably never will be, however I managed to hold sub 5 minute KMs for all but the steep up hills which meant I was able to run alright over the 13.4 KM leg (see GPS data here, it is good to see I kept speed and heart rate remarkably consistent here). I completed the run in 1h10m, however from the lady denman drive underpass I was running along with another competitor out training on the leg and chatting to him, so I could probably pick up my pace there a bit. That is unlikely to be a concern though as I will be somewhat worn out and a bit dehydrated form the first two bike legs of the day and thus could be a bit slower running no matter what.

I have the Gravity 12 hour mtb race in Victoria next weekend, I should probably try to head out for a running lap of the course on Sunday morning. I am also seriously contemplating using my cyclocross bike for the second bike leg of the triple tri this year. That leg has less steep climbing than the others and not much single track (though with the Mt Stromlo facility open there should be more single track in play) so it could suit a cyclocross bike well.

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