Monday, June 12, 2006

Bikefest and more Linux tweaking

Bristol bikefest - another great small-scale mountain bike event. I rode in the 12hr solo event and it was a hell of thing.

They put together a nice course with loads of singletrack and attracted a perfect number of riders (maybe a 100 soloists... I'm rubbish at esitmating numbers). Even the start was amusingly low-key: we all rolled out to a patch of grass and the organiser shouts, "3, 2, 1, go!".

The cheer of the other riders, the unbelievable uncouragement from the marshalls, the funny announcer on the PA system, the cheers from the spectators in the arena - there was just a great vibe the whole time. As for the riding, it certainly felt pretty strange as the 7 hour mark went by. That's longer than I've ever ridden continuous and was still only just over half way. I was happy to keep it together for pretty much the whole time, fuelled by fig rolls and bananas on the course and oat cakes, peanuts, apples, and potatoes in my "real food" breaks. The potatoes especially were great, bringing back a section from a Terry Pratchett book

"I never worry about [religion stuff.] Never --ing give it a thought. I've got my potato."
"Oh, yeah. Keep it on a string round my neck." Mr. Tulip tapped his huge chest.
"And that's religious?"
"Well, yeah. When you die, if you've got your potato, everything will be okay."

"A potato can be a great help in times of trial."

and indeed it was. My only disappointment was that I came in at 11hr20min (plus a bit) and was lapping about 40min by there so I didn't push it to squeeze in another lap. My excuse (such as it is) was a puncture on the previous lap which cost me 10 minutes due to exhausted lack of co-ordination (even then I had to stop a bit later and put more air in).

All in all a top weekend, and next year I'm dragging some more people along :)

To linux hacking... I've had a spot of bother enabling dma on the optical drive of my Shuttle SD11G5. It uses a Intel 915GM ICH6M with SATA hd and an IDE optical drive. The way I had it set up,

hdparm -d1 /dev/hdc


HDIO_SET_DMA failed: Operation not permitted

which is no good because without dma, watching dvds and ripping cds both kill the cpu. Turns out that the solution is in the BIOS. In Integrated Peripherals/OnChip IDE Device, make sure that OnChip Serial ATA is set to "Enhanced Mode". Having done this, the cd drive becomes /dev/hda (it's no longer related to the hard-disk) and enabling dma works... woohoo! Now I can watch The Incredibles.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Too busy to blog

...and that's surely a good thing.

Singlespeed UK champs were absolutely ace. Hamsterly is a great place to ride and the atmosphere all weekend was like music festivals used to be (except without the music which was, let's face it, incidental to having a good time). Some tents, some booze and herbal cigarettes and 90s dance music pumping until the early hours. And then we rode a "race" on the Sunday. Tight technical singletrack on the first section caused predictable carnage from the outset; 1000ft of climbing per lap made sure we knew exactly how much beer (some free) and pizza (plenty free) had been consumed the night before; rocky descending kept it interesting on the descents and - amazingly - didn't kill any of the people riding fixed. God knows how. The world needs more of this - 100 odd people in a little bubble of their own, making fun.

It's not all about the bikes. On Tuesday, Sell Crazy proved that there's more to Bracknell than just the forest. Another grass-roots kinda thing the gig was really good fun. They play kind of indie/rock with vocal harmonies in the SoCal punk style. Or at least that's what my ears made of it. It's good to hear a band that can write songs. They get the hooks, they get the length and the complexity right. Generally, I like challenging music - Sell Crazy don't really get up in your face or confuse you but they do know how to show you a good time to go listen to them. Then buy their CD.

Next stop, Bristol Bike Fest. And maybe a rant to get off my chest about stupid project management courses... hmm.