Monday, May 29, 2006

Simple is good

Velcro is simple. Velcro is good. Why make a shoe like this

when the old design always worked? To launch a "new model" every year? I don't know, but I do know that my 3-strap velcro shoes lasted 5 years before the sole cracked. After about a month these new fangled shoes are being relegated to road use only. And the genius who invented a mountain bike shoe that doesn't come off your foot when the "M-lock buckle system" gets muddy should get his head examined.

Happily, Specialized offer "a version for those who prefer 3-strap closures" i.e. those who ride somewhere other than California.

Friday, May 26, 2006

And there it is...

Go riding and you find it. 10 miles each way on the road going to work and back; get home and switch to my mountain bike; set off into the rain. It was an awesome mid-week adventure: hauling my way through boggy mud and clay. Normal climbs verge on the impossible, singletrack becomes streams and a ride near home becomes something remarkable. OK, it all went wrong when my brakepads wore out over 15 miles from home, but I'll quite gladly give 9 miles on the road for the feeling of doing something out of the ordinary and the sheer joy I felt when I could see the lights of Risborough up ahead.

Go ride a bike :)

Monday, May 22, 2006

What's the point of it all?

The muddy footprints through the kitchen; the washing machine going 24/7; the OS map drying in the front room; the batteries charging in every socket I can get my hands on; the cycling shoes in the airing cupboard; the mud tyres fitted back to the bike with the recently un-seized hub.

Shit ride on Sunday, but there's all the same work to do anyhow. I'm going to keep blind faith and squeeze in a night-ride on Wednesday. "showery rain, becoming more persistent later" be damned.

Still, Funland is the best messed up telly out there and a good way to take your mind to a whole other place

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

3 Good Things

With those three, any week is a good week.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Endurance training mind games

40 mile ride today, real training for endurance riding. Just to make things interesting, I swung back past my house at about the 3 hour mark to look temptation in the face. Then up a 1:4 hill, and hello lactic acid. Felt pretty good though and there's slightly less reason to be scared of the Merida 100 in Rhyader. Even better, at the top of the 1:4, I managed a 180 degree turn from hopping on the spot which isn't easy when you're tired. A satisfying morning out, but I still maintain that The Chilterns features among the worst riding in the country... someone deliver me from the chalk, clay, punctures, and lack of technical challenge!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Gave blood, didn't faint

Which is a relief. 2 successful donations now since I did and we can say that it was an aberration. Waking up to find little old ladies consoling me when I'd just got back from a week of mountain biking in The Alps was embarrassing. Hooray for eating before the session and hooray for spinach generally.

Interestingly, my drained state and uninspiring day generally has given rise to an idea for a collaborative method of pruning the search space of web queries. Probably not going to be the next PageRank, but I've installed Google API to have a play.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Dyfi Enduro

In my opinion, the best mountain bike enduro out there. It rocked.

40 miles of real mountain biking where sometimes it gets hairy and sometimes it's just sublime. Incredibly friendly locals, great organisation and a free mug... what more can you ask for?

Too knackered to write about the ride itself, but that's a good thing.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Sound at last!

Yay, finally got sounds working on my PC.

Maybe it was a bit ambitious running Linux on a fancy Shuttle SD11G5, but I'm finally winning the war.

  1. Fail to get Debian to install because Serial ATA isn't supported by the installer, and the bleeding edge installer doesn't work.
  2. Second attempt, try to install using debootstrap from a Knoppix CD. Still difficult to get a sufficiently modern kernel working.
  3. Give up and use Mepis, which is great but I don't get any sound.
  4. Find out that despite having a Creative sound chip in the SD11G5, it doesn't have the ac97 part so the default Alsa ca_0106 driver didn't work. Need to upgrade to Alsa 1.0.11.rc3
  5. Yadda, yadda get the kernel source and compile Alsa.
  6. Wonder why the new module doesn't get installed properly.
  7. Discover the magic file /etc/modules/paths and add the location of Alsa to that
  8. update-modules
  9. Reboot
  10. Uncheck the IEC958 checkbox in the mixer and turn up the volume
  11. Listen to Eric Dolphy! :)
Hope that saves at least one person the pain I've just been through!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Created a blog

I guess this means I'm a total geek now.

I am not a singlespeeder. I ride a singlespeed mountain bike, and it's with 1 part irony and 1 part stubborness that I try to reject the stereotype. Havining said that,

  • Beard - check
  • Taste for single malt whisky - check
  • Muddy bike with one gear - check
  • Subscription to The Outcast - check
  • Conventional non-conformist - yeah, probably

Oh well, at least I now have a place to vent my drivel.