/* Blog goes here */

New Tyre
Great Circle Drive
Yak Shaving
Manually Editing a Boot Sector...
Twice in a Weekend
Lysterfield Alone
Sun May 20 15:49:12 2007

New Tyre

could have been inconvenient

We pottered over to Port Melbourne today. We stopped for a muesli bar (see? exhibits learning behaviour) before coming back. I was idly inspecting the furiously intricate rear suspension on my bike when The Observant One pointed out the tyre defect inches from my nose.

Sidewall Blowout "I don't think it's meant to look like that."

It held together for the gentle ride home, including a few extra kms as we took a short-cut. On the bright side, it could have blown ten kms from civilisation yesterday. And I get to buy a new one.

Sun May 20 14:49:51 2007

Great Circle Drive

and Western Plantation

Yesterday, after a frankly disastrous trip to Prahran Market, with a recovery via Vic Market (better meat for a third of the price), we were starting to run out of usable day. The Sensible Cyclist couldn't be persuaded to come and play, but I was allowed out. I threw the bike in the back of the car and headed down to the You Yangs. I hadn't been there for a few months, and I was looking forward to a change of scenery.

I parked at the bottom, put the bike back together and started on the long climb around Great Circle Drive to the Stockyards. It's about 200m in five kilometers. Except that four of those kilometers are flat or downhill. The climb is short and vicious. I dialled in the pain and started turning the crank over with sheer will-power. I stopped at the top and took a few pictures. Not true, actually. I stopped at the top, realised that 'd left the muesli bars at home, burst into tears and then took some pictures.

View fromm the top I saw this through a mist of red
You Yangs Trees Trees, with view

Once my vision returned, I started the descent. The road surface is nasty. It consists of rough washboard bumps covered in loose sand. The grip is terrible and the ride is painful. You can get some idea of how steep it is from the picture below. I let gravity take charge for the next three sections. On the first one, I didn't brake because I didn't need to. 25mph. On the middle one, I didn't brake because I didn't want to. 30mph. On the final section, long and steep with a brisk tailwind, I didn't brake because I was scared to. The world went into fast-forward. At 35mph the washboard feels smooth. I was hitting the top of every tenth one. Gentle curves become horrifyingly sharp. At 40mph I think I closed my eyes. The wheels were rarely touching the ground, and the bike's trajectory bore little relation to its heading. After a mile or so, the road levelled out and sanity returned. 41.8mph. Fastest ever, and likely to remain so.

Steep track Plummet.

I got back to the car in 38 minutes. Not bad for eight miles over a mountain.

After texting home, I headed down to the Western Plantation for a quick blat round before the sun set. I also wanted to have a play on the new banks and berms that have been built there. I was somewhat disgruntled to discover that the playground is being used as a campsite for a dog-sledding competition. No, people, Alaska is ten thousand miles *that* way. Not pleased. And do you think they're really going to scoop all the poop? Unhappy.

Deep in the trails I was pottering gently along at a reasonable speed whan I saw something interesting in the trees. I took my eyes off the track for a second (it was some sort of epiphyte, I think), only to be forcibly reminded of the need to keep one's eyes on the track as my right hand slammed into a tree. There's no substitute for idiocy.

Sun May 20 12:36:07 2007

Yak Shaving

nearly there...

I've reinstalled my operating sustem, restored my data from backup (yay!), and written a blog entry. Almost back on track. Except that I haven't uploaded any images yet. Fortunately, the GIMP is included in the distribution. I move some images from my camera onto the local filesystem, make a few adjustements and run a script to prepare them for web publishing. No ImageMagick. Whoops. Download source. Unpack. Configure. gcc can't create executable. No problem: apt-get install build-essentials. ./configure. make. make install. ./webify. ImageMagick can't handle .jpg files. 'Intellectual Property' insanity again. Nil desperandum. Hack the source code a bit, goof around uncommenting things. Try again. No luck. Think think think. The nice people at Ubuntu must have thought of this. Only I can no longer use the spiffy new feature that tells you what package a missing program is in, because the program is no longer missing. It's just non-functional. Edit $PATH. Ah - package is imagemagick. Why does this have to be case-sensitive? Have a rootle around in /usr/local/bin/. Delete anything ImageMagick related. apt-get install imagemagick. Run webify-images without first clearing out modified images. Damn. Delete the lot, go to main image archive, try to remember which files I wanted, copy back, rename, re-fix in GIMP, ./webify.

How did you spend your Sunday?

Mon May 14 00:27:44 2007

Manually Editing a Boot Sector...

...is rarely a good idea while drunk...

My spiffy new computer has been showing signs of a hardware problem recently. The windows partition has been bluescreening at boot with increasing frequency. It has reached the stage where booting fails more often than it succeeds. It looks like a trivial disk error affecting the XP bootloader. The Linux partition was unaffected.

So, I took a backup. If you can read this, the restore has succeeded.

Then, I started goofing with some low-level utilities to see if the disks were OK. Since they seemed to be, I let Windows have a go at fixing the problem. This is probably the fourth time I have trusted a Windows utility to do anything more important than set the clock. I remember why, now. The utility starts, and says 'Rewrite Master Boot Record?'. The only option is OK. Rather than hard-crash the machine there, my booze-addled brain sends a 'click' signal to my fingers. Whoops.

On the plus side, the rewritten boot record seems to load XP reliably now. On the down side, my Ubuntu partition was completely inaccessible. Hey, ho - another 650MB download.

I'm now at a position where I can start putting the whole thing back together. In three or four hours time, I'll be exactly where I started. Isn't progress wonderful?

In other news: No lack of ram, so we ate rack of lamb (I am so very, very, sorry for that). I can still cook an awesome cheese sauce. Also, personal best on the full Lysterfield Loop - 66 minutes.

Why not go and look at some pictures?

Sun May 06 23:24:54 2007

Twice in a Weekend

42 miles (also 20'21")

My tales of marsupial abundance from yesterday tempted the Less Obsessed One to come and play today. We went to the top car park for the first time. There's a tiny bit of tarmac with parking for a few cars, and a huge area of gravel with a firmly locked gate. Winter, you see. No one goes biking in winter.

I had airily promised the presence of kangaroos. After a quick hack down the competition trail without a sight, I was sanguine. After we'd done Red Gum and Middle trails, I was getting anxious. Then, as my promise was disintegrating with every revolution, I got lucky. As we came to the top of Hug trail, The Observer spotted a kangaroo thirty metres away. We stopped to take pictures. After a minute or two, as the bleeding from the eyeballs subsided (it's a long climb) we spotted more. Then some more. Soon, we were surrounded by them. It's amazing what happens when you stand still and quiet in a forest.

Kangaroo rubbing paws To cute to eat. Almost.

After we'd taken a few shots, we finished the climb back to the car. While others grabbed the long lens, I was let off the leash.

First, a quick warm-up, then a fast lap of the competition trail. 20'21". Ahem. Personal best. Smugness. Ignore the bit where I was thrown off the pedals and nearly stacked it at speed. No crash, no foul.

Then, after no break at all, a slow, easy recovery circuit. Gently up the hills. Sensibly down. Barely any bleeding from the eyeballs. At the end, I was ready to do it again, faster. 23'47". There's a lesson there. Not an inspiring one.

So I did another ten miles of singletrack at nosebleed pace. For the fun that's in it. And I promise no more kangaroo shots for a bit.

Sun May 06 16:59:24 2007

Lysterfield Alone


Saturday's weather was rubbish - heavy showers, grey overcast, strong winds and cold. Rather than have me moaning and drivelling around the flat all day, The Senior Partner handed me the car keys and dispatched me to Lysterfield Lake, with instructions not to come back until I'd had enough. How cool is that?

Because I was on my own, I took it easy. I started out on the complete circuit. About a mile in, the rain started. A short, heavy shower to get me drenched, then interminable grey drizzle. Lovely.

The trails were a bit slimy and greasy, with occasional patches that promise to become mud swamps. It was a bit like England in August.

Muddy puddle Delicious

As I hammered up to the competition circuit, I started to see the kangaroos. Lots of them. It was about 3:30 in the afternoon, and they were starting to begin their main afternoon nibble. The grass is exploding after the recent rain. It's a good time to be a kangaroo.

Kangaroo running Boing.

After the usual long grind up the switchbacks, I was hurtling across the long traverse at unsafe velocity when I startled one about three metres from the track. It started running alonside me. It overtook, crossed the track in front of me and went to join its friends. I may have been braking a bit, but when I looked down, the speedo still said 20mph. Those buggers can shift.

I slowed down a bit after that, although the product of heartrate and actual speed remained about constant. A couple of hundred metres on, I found myself among a group of over 20.

A group of kangaroos It was like this on all sides

A rider passed me while I was taking photos, but I caught him up and we did the Hug Trail and Blair Witch in company. When I'm out alone, I prefer to be within screaming distance of someone else.

I'd kept the pace down, owing to mud, kangaroos and being alone, so I was a bit surprised to finish the loop in 72 minutes, just three outside my record. It was still well before they close the park, so I did most of the circuit again. 21 miles in total. Then I went home and had pan-seared kangaroo fillet for supper. Really.

Sun May 06 16:34:58 2007


sublety, where art thou?

I haven't blogged for a while. We've been having too much fun smashing things up online. My partner in violence, Audacity, found a rather spiffing sword. Since she doesn't use swords, she gave it to me.

Warmaker sword warcraft Over to you, Dr. Freud.

email BurbleChaz

Last modified: Thu Aug 31 22:46:12 AUSEST 2006