Sunday, July 09, 2006

Another infrequent brain-dump

100km races are getting kinda routine now, but the Builth Wells round of the Merida 100 was something else. 30+ degrees C, lots of climbing and a decision to ride more aggressive than I had at Rhyader would have made for a tough day out. As it was the organisers advised that we were only riding 84km and that there would be food+water at approx 20km, 40km, 60km. That turned out to be a lie and we rode 100km with food+water at 20km, 40km, and 85km. I can't really describe what that middle 45km was like. To begin with I was looking at my watch and thinking that I must be putting in a slower pace. Then, struggling across the baked dry and exposed hills, I reasoned that there couldn't be far to go before more water so I tried to drink more and stay hydrated. As it became apparent that I could make no assumption on how far the next stop was, it was time to start walking up the hills because I couldn't afford to sweat up them pulling my one gear. Riders nearby in granny gears gave me a bit of heart as they moved at little more than walking pace. After riding more than double the distance I had expected, since the last stop 4 cups of energy drink and 3L of water in my pack powered me over the hill back to Builth. It felt like the toughest 100km I've done, and the 7hr time (compared to 6:30 in the mud) confirmed it. Yes it's an enduro, and no-one said it was going to be easy but getting the distances so far wrong is just awful.

Unsurprisingly, I've had a slack week on the bike following that and the search for inspiration continues. 3 hours in the Chilterns felt like a gentle stroll and it was really boredom rather than tiredness that made me call it a day. Must find inspiration before the Selkirk 100km, followed by a week in the Scottish Border, follower by Trans-Wales. Maybe those should be inspiration enough.

More random Linux stuff... I got me an iPod Nano and it works great with mepis Linux. Downloaded an Ubuntu deb of ipodslave. Install with dpkg, fix dependencies with "apt-get -f" and then, as promised, Amarok supports it well. Ace. That means I can download...

Ignite and Neurosis - more splurging on new music. Since Ignite are playing London next Sunday it seemed like getting their new album would be the decent thing to do. They're still doing good. Bands that do straightup punk have got to be good or be dull, and Ignite are good so they fit into the small collection that is "punk CDs worth having". Neurosis albums take time but the signs are good so fingers crossed.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Wow... my feet finally touch the ground

It's gone mountain bike event crazy...

unexpected drafted into a SSMM I ended up doing the 24hr team thing again. I think I prefer the solo rides - there's something about riding round a field every 2 hours that reminds me of the apocryphal cure for teenage smoking by making them smoke until they're sick. You're going to camp in that field and ride every 2 hours until you get it out of your system. Ride, eat+drink, sit, ride etc. It's cool because it's big and you get to chill out with a bunch of bikers before and during the event, but it's not so fascinating when you've done it a handful of times. That said, riding the dawn lap where you get to see the sky turn from black to blue to gold, you get to see the dozens of little lights winding along the hillside where dozens are people are fighting their personal battles to keep the cranks turning, and you get to feel the sun's gentle caress before it becomes a scouring burden - that is a unique moment.

From there, it was some culture with John B Keane's The Field at The Tricycle in Kilburn. First a side-note: there are some references on the web to a place called CTJ Vegan Chinese Restaurant - there is a Chinese restaurant at that address, but it's not vegan and it doesn't even do good veggie food. I hear the meaty dishes are good though. The play was excellent. Tense, funny, endearing and well produced it made an excellent change from norm. The last thing I saw that was remotely like it was Ibsen's "A Doll's House" but a closer time period and a closer culture made The Field much truer to my heart.

Still more to say... but no time to do it. Story of my life at the moment