Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Broken cluster

Never broken one of these before, until this morning. Looks like it's 7-speed again for the wet ride home. Time for new cables, chain and mountains cluster, and a new flat-landers cluster. The Colnago seems to be wearing on other fronts too. When cleaning up after the miserable weekend ride, found a horizontal crack (not just a scratch) on the downtube where it is dented. Hopefully it is only cosmetic (paint). On a positive note, caught up with Nige yesterday arvo whilst he was passing through Sydney. He looks fit and lean (as usual) and is looking forward to the Alpes trip.
They don't make em how they used to.
The 23 and 21 snapped from the 19.

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Langles confronts paintball

It's been a while since I played paintball. My first attempt was not a happy one. In fact I vowed, "never again!". I spent the game separated from most of my colleagues on another team and could barely see anything due to my goggles fogging badly. It was cold wet, muddy, and I got absolutely hammered. One bruise in particular stayed with me for about three months, and I still have the scar on my arm where it broke the skin. [I would only recommend it to anyone on the basis that is gives but a taste of just how awful war must be].

Somehow, Gereral Chow (PhD student from the lab) twisted, talked it up, appealed to my more vindictive and macho side, and got me to wimper a just-audible "ok", during a moment of weakness (there was probably alcohol involved). This concession not only disrupted what would have been the "Jilliby run" weekend, in which the Alpes mob was to ride up to the Yarramalong valley and back over two days with backpacks, it also prevented me joining in a potential Wolgan valley climbing weekend (not altogether a bad thing, given my Wolgan record - 3 days on the rock, and three returns to camp waaaay after dark).

What a difference a paintball can make! Ended up having a great time. I prepared myself mentally with thoughts of how Terry Tate might approach such a mission ("It's gona be a lonnng day - woowoo!" - certainly worth a look for the uninitiated; My transformation during the morning was akin to Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant" road-to-Damascus anecdote (firstly extolling horror at the thought of - then the grooviness of, hangin with the undesirables and discussin "father rapin' n stabbin" etc). Put simply, had an awesome time charging through the bush, filth and stagnant mud, whilst dosing out a considerable hammering to other people for a change, even if some of them were occasionally on my side (Sorry Dave! - an occupational hazzard of paintball, and no doubt war in general). In spite of the recent rain, we got a lovely clear frosty morning with low humidity (= no foggy goggles), and everyone from the Department gelled as a team. The record will show that we slaughtered the opposition, in this case a similarly sciency mob from the Millenium Institute. Howzat!

General Chow, Dave Savalas, Yen the assassin, and Dave the reluctant
Post-match rehydration

In contrast, Sunday dawned once more with grey skies and what turned out to be my most unpleasant ride of the year thus far. Having decided to "laugh at the cold" in this new post-global warming era, I left a little under dressed - in the end taking the philosophy of starting cold a little too far. Once the incessant drizzle actually became rain, I quickly became chilled to the bone for about 1/2 of a bleak 3 hour effort. Ham was similarly fooled (only short gloves and, like me, no cape) although at least had multiple layers on. Only Bret and Greg had the sense to go full longs, top and bottom, and Greg won the badge for being best prepared with what looked to be an A-grade raincoat. There you go Kev! - graphic proof of a proper serving of A-grade English weather for the down-under fair-weather Alpes aspirants. Hope you got some short-sleeve riding in.

laughing no more

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Texas flood II

Texas Flood (cont):
"Well dark clouds are rollin' in
Man I'm standin' out in the rain
Yeah flood water keep a rollin'
Man it's about to drive poor me insane" - SRV

Well, it's official folks. Sydney has just experienced the second wettest June on record, and the month aint over yet. Another weekend washout - not to mention mid-week rain, has reduced our training to not very much at all. I took advantage of a torrential Saturday evening by poisoning myself at a workmates party, confident of being able to recover without guilt the next day. A bail-out text message was posted at about 4 am (I suppose mobile phones have their place after all). I awoke to a worse than expexted hangover and only light misty drizzle. The guilt I reasoned i'd be able to side-step remained as I thought of the guys burning up the M7, clocking valuable miles. As it turned out, a combination of factors contributed to no one heading out that moring. What guilt? Ham and I still managed to get out sunday arvo for a spin up and down Bobbin head, which involved passing the still swollen Browns waterhole wier. Alas, the rain has returned with gusto!

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Texas flood

"Well theres floodin down in texas....all of the telephone lines are down" - SRV
Yes, its been a bit that way of late. For the second consecutive long weekend the heavens have opened, preventing as from clocking up the uber-miles on the bike we were aiming for - destination France. All of this amidst tales of Nige clocking mega miles in England and Kev getting saddle sores in Amsterdam. All things considered though, we are not doing too badly for the dead of winter - well, it's really only just started. The trick will be to somehow maintain the discipline to keep getting up on the cold Sunday mornings to come.
The causeway at Browns Waterhole is 0.5 m under

Browns waterhole in flood. It really was this dark!
I heard this one go at 3 am

Ham putting on a brave face before heading out


Shootin the breeze

Greggles battles with another puncture. We've seen a lot of the inverted white bike recently.

BT not sure what to do with a coffee this huge

Saturday, 2 June 2007

Cycletour avec backpack checklist

I jotted down this list immediately after returning from the 2006 Pyrenee trip, while such details were still relatively fresh in my mind. The list was written from the angle of what would be a good kit for a 2-week backpack trip, in contrast to the Lourdes trip where I really had too much junk.

Backpack; Mountain Designs Jetstream 35
Good simple pack although the side pockets (zipped) are not much use (too small). If you can find a similar one with larger elastic mesh pockets that would be an advantage. I would steer clear of double compartment packs - too much extra materials/weight. This time I'm considering leaving the bladder behind.

Riding stuff
1 helmet
2 knicks
2 jerseys (both short sleeve)
1 cape (long sleeve and waterproof. Bring in preference to gillet sp?)
2 pr cycling socks
1 pr short gloves
1 pr long gloves

Fixed to the bike
1 hamster honking horn
2 bidons
Forward and rear strobe light
Handlebar bag (Trek)
Zefal steel pump (DBL)

Handlebar bag
Shades in case
Map + plastic case
Camera - Olympus Digital mu720
(space for food)

Saddle bag
Thin cable bike lock with combination (6134)
1 pr tyre levers (michelin)
2 tubes
1 pr spare brake pads
1 spoke wrench
3 extra 9-spd chain links and pins
1 set allen key tools
1 sml phillips head screwdriver
pen-knife (small, with flat head screw and scissors)
couple of old rags
(most of the above can be grouped inside a heavy plastic bag)
Cape (already listed)

Civilian stuff
1 thermal singlet/short sleeve top, doubles as riding undergarment
1 comfy cotton shorts (civilian dress)
1 nylon shorts (for wash days)
2 T-shirts
1 lightweight long-sleeve jumper/fleece
1 beanie
1 pr sandles/shoes
3 undies (extra pair for travel)
3 hankies

Saddle cream (any moisturiser skin cream)
Glasses + case
Contacts + spares + solutions
Travel documents + Passport
Wallet + purse for coins
Charger for camera + Euro plug adaptor
Extra memory cards for camera
Razor + small mirror
Soap + toothpaste + toothbrush
1 crepe bandage
several large moist gauzes/bandages + band aides
small roll adhesive tape
pseudo-ephedrine + asprin + Vit C
vicks vapour rub (film canister)

Group stuff (for the full loop)
1 chain-breaker
1 15 mm spanner
1 small bottle chain lube
1 good quality HP pump (DBL)
1 good quality multi-tool with pliers (and possibly cable cutters)

General comments
In 2006 I didn't use arm or leg warmers at all. The alps will be colder. I will probably leave both behind. Just make sure your cape is a good one.

Make sure all your cabling, break pads and tyres are relatively new