sjh - mountain biking running linux vegan geek spice - mtb / vegan / running / linux / canberra / cycling / etc

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Wed, 26 Oct 2005

Ahhh bugger I slept in again, no wait I didn't - 05:37
So I woke up 20 minutes ago and thought, oops I slept through my alarm again and missed the morning ride (the weather was finally clear this morning too) then I looked at my watch and realised I had not. With day light saving this weekend it really is damn light this early in the morning, so by now it appears as though it is 7am or something outside (sound and light levels). Good to see I get to join in the ride and did not sleep through my alarm (or turn it off and roll over back into sleep).

Of course the fact I got ready for the ride then turned on my laptop and checked email and wrote to my diary rather prominently displays what a raging geek I am.

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Tue, 25 Oct 2005

Footpaths out to "get you" - 21:59
So I hear you wonder what does this yonder footpath upon which you may wander have to do with a complete understanding of yourself. Who knows, but I have to say the footpaths are not telling me anything. They just sit there all cememnty and solid keeping their secrets. I stop walking for a minute and ask the footpath "How's things Mr Footpath?" (This may be seen as sexist but I lost my book on footpath sexing so really have no idea how to work out what gender a given footpath may be so Mr it will have to be). You know what? the footpath doesn't even answer me.

I mean it could help us out so much if it did, a footpath is surely a useful source of information, I may in fact have been walking on the next Einstein of the footpath world. It would have saved us years of study if the footpath had told us putting our children on a diet of happy pills wont make them happy, instead scientists have spent years and untold monies trying to find out why drugging children up to their eyes with happy pills does not create happy bouncy children.

You know, maybe the footpath has a secret, it may know who stole this duck and is keeping quiet to protect the perpetrator. Hah I say, the duck stealing fiend has been foiled, the show must go on, and it did, the duck's understudy got quacking and was up on stage in no time.

There it sits staying silent and solid, it may indeed get you, it is after all a good listener, with nary a whisper of what it has heard repeated theron.

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Thu, 20 Oct 2005

Will a person of a diachronic persuasion be wary of wild animals? - 22:24
You can see it now, someone wandering down the street their heads lost pondering the origins of the German habit of joining words together to create really long new words, do they reserve some small part of their minds to look out for rampaging lions, elephant stampedes or vicious Chihuahuas? (okay so I admit the segue at the start of this post was just an excuse to use the word diachronic)

A book I was reading contains a list of suggestions for "Ways of escaping attacks from wild animals (probably)". For example to escape from an unfriendly lion they suggest.

Wait until the lion is five feet away and then ram a large pair of step ladders down its throat.

From the tone of that I am sure you can see we need more hints and tips in this vein or we simply will not be safe from wild animals as we walk the streets having diachronic thoughts.

Thus I have a few contributions to the cause.

  • Chihuahuas: feed them to your snake.
  • Aliens: Abduct them, get in first.
  • Poo slinging monkies: far too cool to be wary of, give em some peanuts (thanks to Juzzy)
  • Poo slinging politicians (ie all of them): Nuke them from orbit.
  • A Grue: Run, scream, struggle, and die a horrific death or open the curtains to let in the sunlight

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The problem with having clean bikes - 22:05
So I cleaned my road bike and my hardtail mtb on Sunday, both needed it fairly urgently, the mountain bike had not been cleaned since before the WSMTB 12 hour race in early September, the road bike for even longer (they do not get dirty so easily). The drive train on the road bike was half replaced so cleaning the chain rings to go with he new cluster and chain was a good thing. The hardtail drive train is pretty much cactus now too, but I cleaned it and will continue using it for a while.

Anyway the problem I have now encountered, after cleaning both frames, components, other bits, etc is the bikes look too good and I am wary of getting them out in bad weather. It rained again today and I had my mountain bike sitting in my office at work, with the rather lovely paint job I have on that frame it really does look good. As soon as I ride in rain or even dust it will not be so shiny and nice looking.

I suppose this shows I am somewhat bike obsessed, that I could sit and stare at my own bikes when they look so good, the clean drive train on the road bike appears almost jewel like and I even chose to ride the mtb to work today so as to avoid getting the drive train on the road bike messed up.

Good news on the bike front is the hanger I needed for getting the rocky mountain rolling again arrived on Wednesday (along with a spare), thanks to Aaron for getting hold of these for me. I can now clean off the duallie, replace a few outers and cables (some are trashed anyway) and put it in the garage and avoid riding it due to it being too clean also.

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Reasons weight loss can be annoying - 11:19
So I have been heard from time to time uttering that I would like to lose some weight and get down to around 80 KG, I seem never to have mentioned this here, but hey some people have heard me say this. The primary reason being I suspect I can sustain that weight reasonably easily and it will mean I can climb a lot faster on the bike. Though considering how much riding I do, looking at the fact I have been approximately 88 KG for the last 3 years or so there is obviously some thought that has to go into the weight loss (or dieting maybe).

Anyway the Sunday night following the Mont I checked out my weight on the scales and was surprised to find I was 5 KG lighter than when I checked in the morning sometime a week before the Mont. Leading up to the Mont I was usually around 90 or 90.5 KG, even when checking in the morning (the time of day you are at your lightest, after waking up, or in my case after waking up and exercising for a few hours). After the Mont however I was, all of a sudden down to 85.5, at night too. With the plan of losing weight in order to climb faster this was a good thing, though surprising, I decided I had better hydrate well for a few days to ensure I was not dehydrated or anything, though as I had not competed in the race or done much strenuous for a while it was unlikely.

I thought I may as well work on keeping the weight loss going so I have been careful to eat less at all meals since then and it appears to be working as the last few mornings when weighing myself I have generally been around 84 KG, for the sake of cycling I hope I can indeed get down to around 80, however the problem I have encountered is my clothes fit even worse now. The main point of this post is to complain my clothes are all too big. I suppose at least my cycling clothing all still fits as it is Lycra style rather than baggy.

Sure pants and jeans and stuff purchased about 5 or 6 years ago have been too big to wear well for 3 years now, but the annoying thing is a pair of jeans I purchased about a month ago requires a belt to stay up now. I dislike wearing belts and thought I would be able to avoid them with this new pair of jeans, but noooooo I went and lost weight and have to wear a belt. Stupid weight loss. I also had difficulty sticking my tummy out and showing off a real beer gut when I tried to, so I am no longer a real Australian male or anything either due to lack of significant beer gut.

I will continue to work on this weight loss thing a bit as I really would like to climb faster and put in a much better performance in the three bike legs of the Triple Tri in a month (November 20th).

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They noticed we went quiet. - 10:53
Mikal just added to the blog entropy with his post about a work mate noticing how quiet some of us have been. I have to admit I was a little surprised when I saw there was only one post over night on ploa, I suppose this is, in part due to the fact Mikal has not been posting anywhere between 100 and 2^32 posts a day as he tends to when he is no sick and resigned and moving overseas and all that. I guess I have been a little busy this month also and have not really been making many posts.

I was however reading a rather interesting book last night that could be the source of many posts, however the book is at home so it will not be the source of posts until at least tonight.

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Wed, 19 Oct 2005

about:sjh updated - 11:59
I just updated the about me page linked from the top of this diary. Changing the status of the Linux conference section, changing my current bikes status, rewording a few things and adding in my hackergotchi and some links to other photos in part due to reading a weblog usability page by Jakob Neilsen I found linked on kottke today.

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Sun, 16 Oct 2005

Complimentary exercise? - 22:10
Good to see Leon still appears to be enjoying his cycling, he wonders what sport would be good to compliment the cycling and exercise the upper body. My suggestion would be kayaking, on flat water with a racing kayak it can be fun, faster than expected and a damn good workout. Of course using a slalom/rapids kayak is a lot slower than a racing kayak but they are likely more common.

I may be saying this as I need to get out and start doing some kayaking again soon (I have not done any for over 7 years currently) as I will need the skills up a bit for competing in a few upcoming adventure races. However unlike swimming it is no where near as boring, and unlike squash (which is anaerobic anyway) it is not high impact. There is a small problem of finding a kayak and paddle, however friends often have them, as do some outdoor clubs, such as the ANU mountaineering club.

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Fri, 14 Oct 2005

The incredibly cool Ximian Frisbee I wrote about in January is no more. I leant it to Mikal for a number of months so he could ask the lca2005 schwag supplier about getting them made for the conference. After annoying Mikal about getting it back for a while, he had apparently had it in his car boot and kept forgetting to bring it upstairs at DCS, he finally went to get it one day for me and it was not there. Catherine had thrown it out thinking it was not needed or supposed to be there.

Thus I no longer have an incredibly cool Ximian cloth frisbee, I wish I could find someone who sold these things. As I described in January it is a light weight nylon material with a canvas edge filled with ball bearings. Kathmandu makes a travel frisbee that is too thick and bulky, many many online sites mention dog frisbees, however they all tend to be similar to the Kathmandu one and are far too bulky feeling.

Does anyone know where Ximian sourced these from, or of a supplier somewhere that can still sell them? I would be keen to buy a few, probably good as Christmas presents or something anyway.

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Thu, 13 Oct 2005

Are the cakes surreal today? - 16:53
When you see a surreal cake, you know what I mean, something that looks suspiciously like a vacuum cleaner, that is infact an edible slab of chocolate spongy goodness, swinging through the trees in your local library. Do you ever think to yourself, I wonder who bakes those cakes, or does this sight only make you hungry?

If you do sit around pondering the identities and habits of those artisans of Daliesque though never fear I will not reveal the answers to any of what you wonder, you are most welcome to continue sitting there as long as you wish.

Lots of people have been known to use colloquial phrases such as "as dumb as a box of hammers" or "as queer as a three dollar bill" however there are some variations. "As queer as a one or two dollar bill" may indicate the speaker belongs within the box of hammers genome for example. If you look around there are more interesting examples of these colloquial terms anyway. "As queer as a football bat", "As queer as a bottle of chips", "As queer as a screen door on a submarine", "As queer as a lemonade sandwich". All of these are of course variations on As camp as a row of tents though with a more American bent.

All you need to do is think up something that is rather obviously strange or unusual, put it after "As queer as" and you will be able to start your own americanised homophobic colloquialism production business. This is surely going to be far more profitable than selling underpants.

If you are however keen to see bats used in football (either the black flying rodent like creatures or the sports person's arm extension) I have to ask why the heck not? They use them in ice hockey and the violence of that sport attracts fans everywhere, if you used bats in football the game would be more violent and thus attract much larger crowds, after all everyone loves to crowd around a train wreck out of some ghoulish fascination. Letting some prejudice show, if the increased level of violence manages to kill off a few more AFL, RL, RU or NFL style footy heads the world will be a better place anyway.

If on the other hand black flying rodents become a common part of the average game of football, those Daliesque chocolate spongy vacuum cleaners flying through the library will no longer be so surreal after all.

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Tue, 04 Oct 2005

2005 Mont Australian 24 Hour Mountain Bike Race, post 1 - 21:41
Most mountain bikers in Australia know, the 24 hour race is on this coming weekend. 2420 riders, 640 teams on track (including 170 solo entrants), around 5000 to 7000 people will be on site in Kowen forest over the weekend. This is the largest 24 hour mountain bike race in the world currently (and has been for the last two years also) if you look at it from the number of competitors all up or number of solo entrants perspective.

aerial campsite photo before the race
Kowen Campsite on the Sunday before the race.

By Thursday afternoon that will almost not be recognisable due to all the marquees and other equipment we have being put up there from today onward. Then on Friday morning we open the gates to the competitors (until that time most of them get in to the course for practice laps by riding 5 KM from one of the gates into Kowen) to come and set up camp, Solo entrants and possibly the pairs category entrants will be able to set up their camps in the open grass area. The schools teams also get to set up in one of these areas specifically set aside for schools. Corporate teams have a marquee provided as part of their entry (with gas heaters in them too) all the other categories (3, 4, 6) set up in the pines forest section on the top right.

The final information letter to teams, what is likely to be the latest map and the current rider list are on the CORC website in a recent news item.

There will be a few interesting items this year but I should refrain from mentioning these until after the race, things that seem likely at the moment are ABC news rocking up to do a piece on the race on Saturday (apparently ABC news is the most watched tv show in Canberra), due to ABC being there Win is likely to show up also, possibly others. SBS people will be around the race also, along with Jim Trail (who does work for the SBS Cycling Central show each summer) who is of course racing and doing various commentary things for us and for others. (on 2CN radio in Canberra tomorrow at about 11:45am Jim will be interviewing Trent Lowe about the event and other stuff too).

The ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope will be out there doing the race start, Simon Corbell (ACT Planning Minister) will be competing in a team. Various Australian Olympians and other highly ranked athletes such as Lisa Mathison, Trent Lowe, Sid Taberlay will be there.

And you know why all this happens? Because it is a whole heap of fun. I will try to upload some words and photos a bit over the next week form the event, I am not competing this year so who knows how it will work out, I will however not have much time in front of a computer until next Tuesday though.

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Shiny new wheels - 18:29

The silver wheel label, changes colour with different light (full size)

The rear hub, showing off the Miche cassette (full size)

Both wheels, the label is in a different light (full size)
Since my road bike front wheel blew up the day before the Alpine Classic this year I have been borrowing a front wheel, first from Alan and then a spare one Ben had sitting around.

About two weeks ago I pulled another spoke hole on the Mavic MA3 rim on the back, I then grabbed the front wheel that had blown up in January and pulled the rim from it to put on the back wheel. However I decided it was finally enough, I really should go ahead and order the wheels I had been avoiding buying for months. Another contributing factor was my rear hub has been getting worse, for about a year now it has made some funny noises, been in need of a serious service and had the freewheel start to fail (both becoming a fixed wheel breifly and not locking until after more than half a crank rotation).

Pictured above, Campagnolo Centaur 32 Hole Hubs (I chose Centaur as they are a whole lot better than Veloce, effectively they are the same hub as the Record hubs), Mavic Open Pro rims (not my first choice, but the price for the complete wheel set was too good to turn down) and DT Competition double butted spokes. The cassette which I have on there is a Miche 11-28 (lots of gear range) 9 speed cassette I purchased with some of the lca2005 gift voucher.

I am a fan of standard wheels, 32 spokes, good quality components, these should last fairly well, the tension feels a bit lower than I expected, however if they go a bit out of true after a few weeks I will wander in and pay Ian Downing to rebuild them, though expensive that would make them far more bomb proof then anything else.

I bought the wheels for AUD $550 (including postage) from BikePro in Victoria. This is a great deal, usually a pair of Centrau hubs is around AUD $350, Mavic Open Pro rims are around AUD $120 and the DT spokes would normally be more than AUD $1 each.

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We hooked another one - 16:26
Good to see MRD is now hooked on mountain biking. Just a few days left now until the biggest 24 hour race in the world (based on number of competitors, around 2450 people entered, 170 of whom are riding in the solo category) the Mont Australian 24 Hour Mountain Bike Race is on this weekend in Kowen Forest ACT.

Unlike some previous years I am not competing this year and am instead taking on more of the on the weekend event management tasks, after being involved with planning the event for a number of years I thought I should help out Russ and Dave and CORC in general on the weekend too. So I have taken from tomorrow through to Monday next week off work (inclusive) in order to be out at the event centre getting stuff set up. At least all the work will be worthwhile once we see how much people enjoy the race.

There are teams and competitors coming from all over the place so obviously MRD could put this on his calendar for next year as a good goal, get in a team at the Mont.

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Sun, 02 Oct 2005

Gale Onomatopoeic? - 16:09
On Friday evening I was somewhat surprised to learn that The Wizard of Oz character Dorothy has a surname. Sure I suppose I should have guessed that, but I really never thought of it, and now find it somewhat surprising, the surname is "Gale". When I read this I thought to myself it is almost onomatopoeic, what with her being carried off to Oz in a hurricane. However I did not think to myself "Gale" is sort of onomatopoeic in this context, rather I thought that name is kind of like that word for words that sound like what they mean. Obviously I was unable to remember the term onomatopoeic.

So I searched for the correct term and came across the answer at a rather neat website, Ask Oxford. Somehow associated with the OED this site has a lot of useful answers and other resources that would be useful or interesting while writing. The FAQ section alone answers a bunch of interesting questions and there are various other sections that are interesting also, such as a list of disambiguations of commonly confused words.

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