skullhead

Posted by: Ian on 10 February 2015

skullhead


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I’ve been a fan of Huck Gee ever since finding some of his designs on my trip to San Francisco a couple of years ago. Since I neither have the space nor the funds to get everything, I settled for a book of his artwork instead. For now.

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mr crackles

Posted by: Ian on 7 February 2015

mr crackles


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Since it’s just down the road, I thought I would give it a go today. Next time I’m going for the double-meat half-salad ‘manwich’.

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failure to comprehend

Posted by: Ian on 4 February 2015

Earlier this week, the Professional Drivers Branch of the GMB Trade Union, tweeted the following:

The document they link is this one.

It’s not exactly a well formatted document (it looks like the output from a rudimentary database querying tool), and one could misread the blue hyperlink as the title of the data. However, to do this also requires you to accept the concept that cyclists killed 430 and injured 25,000 pedestrians in Greater london over the space of 4 years. Yep, you have to accept that cyclist kill a pedestrian in London every three days, and not have that trigger a ‘I doubt that’ response. A stunning lack of rational thinking if there ever was one.

Now, I didn’t know anything about GMB Pro Drivers before today (and had to look them on up wikipedia), but a quick skim through their timeline rather suggests the ‘Pro’ in the name is not, as you might expect, for ‘professional’, but ‘for’, as in ‘for’ drivers, and against anything that affects drivers, and in their case, a particular dislike of cyclists.

Of course, like the majority of organisations like this, rather than retract what they said and just say they messed up, they quickly went aggressive, blocking people trying to correct them and proclaiming ‘Don’t shoot the messenger’. When the messenger delivers the wrong message because they don’t think, I’d say it is time to get a new messenger. At no point did the person looking at the information question what would sure be unbelievable to most people.

This is actually the document they should have tweeted, but since that shows bikes killing almost no-one, I doubt they would have, if they had comprehended what they were looking at.

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kurtosh

Posted by: Ian on 26 January 2015

Untitled


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Tried out a new cake shop today, where you pay by weight rather than per piece. It seemed only right that we got a selection of small ones to try and share.

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2014 in numbers

Posted by: Ian on 31 December 2014

Rides and runs have been collated, cross referenced and matched, it’s the last day of the year and I hopefully haven’t lost any records.

My stats for previous years can be seen here: 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Year Cycling Running Hours
2014 6371km/3,959 miles – 231 hours 937km/582 miles – 77 hours 309 hours
2013 8254km/5129 miles – 300 hours 806km/522 miles – 68 hours 368 hours
2012 5044km/3134 miles – 181 hours 1025km/637 miles – 91 hours 272 hours
2011 3859km/2398 miles – 141 hours 741km/460 miles – 70 hours2 221 Hours
2010 5277km/3279 miles – 193 hours N/A 193 Hours
2009 2591km/1610 miles 114 hours N/A 114 Hours
2008 1338km/831 miles – 63 hours1 N/A 63 hours

Riding

It’s been a pretty average year for cycling, I’ve been searching for motivation for much of the year, and think it’s finally coming back.
 
I was really happy to complete this years Rapha Festive 500 challenge, more-or-less finishing in six days, giving me a super easy ride for day 7 and a rest day today. Everyone I normally ride with was away from Sydney for Christmas, or not riding, so it was 18 hours of solo riding with sun, wind and rain (though fortunately very little rain).
 
The fatigue I’ve built up over the last few days will pass soon, leaving me faster and stronger, making it all worth it.

Ride Fitness 2014

My PMC chart for 2014, with the blue representing overall fitness. Generally pretty poor compared to other years (where I was above 50 for most of 2013, with a fair amount of time above 75), but at least its heading in the right direction.

Running

Running for the first eight months of year went really well, with my weekly mileage up to around 40km, long runs of 16km and a pretty decent pace. From around September, my focus switched away from running and I wound up just doing a run or two each week through November and December. Since I have half a mind to try at least a half-marathon distance next year, I will have to try and work in a reasonable plan, at least to give me an option to try 21.1km.

Pilates

Pilates each Thursday evening has replaced part of my previous Thursday evening rides, so I’ve traded some 20km a week on the bike for some additional flexibility and increased core strength. Ironically, none of the people who persuaded me to start Pilates have been for the best part of a year, so it’s nearly always just me and another guy each week.

Overall

2014 could have been better in general terms as well as fitness wise. However, I still got in a fairly decent amount of quality hours in, and am looking forward to the future (which, at this moment comprises a bottle of Bulmers from the fridge, and a BBQ).
  1. From April, my bike was on a boat for the previous months
  2. Also from April, when I started running.

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post ride espresso

Posted by: Ian on 13 December 2014

post ride espresso - beans by Cafe Hernandez, new cup by @kanimblaclay


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Ethiopean beans by Cafe Hernandez, new cup by @kanimblaclay

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gigantauchocolat

Posted by: Ian on 13 December 2014

The Garmin had to be included for scale. #Gigantauchocolat


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i needed some coffee beans so ended todays ride at the excellent Cafe Hernandez on the Kings Cross/ Potts Point border. Not only do they roast on-site, they have been open 24/7 since 1972!

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mushroom mushroom!

Posted by: Ian on 22 November 2014

mushroom mushroom!


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Our old favourite breakfast spot shut a few months ago, so today we tried out the cafe that has replaced it.

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research for caekwars

Posted by: Ian on 20 November 2014

research for caekwars


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Oreo Cheesecake is a thing – who knew! Also, green tea frappe is pretty awesome!

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not a jellyfish

Posted by: Ian on 20 November 2014

not a jellyfish


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X-rays are cool, not everyday you get to see inside your own head.

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know your enemy: HRM anomalies

Posted by: Ian on 15 November 2014

One frequent complaint from people using heart rate monitors for their running and riding (but most often riding) is anomalous data. Typically in the early part of a ride you might see periods where your heart-rate is recorded much higher than it actually is, and the issue often disappears after a few miles.

To understand where the majority of these errors come from, it is a good idea to understand how an HRM works and what it is measuring. Before affordable optical sensors such as the Mio Alpha, a HRM consisted of an elasticated chest strap with two sensor areas and a small transmitter pod. The two sensor areas detect minute variations in electricity generated at each heartbeat, relay it to the pod which in turn processes the signal and transmits it to a watch or bike computer via a protocol such as ANT+ or BTLE.

Knowing how the system works puts us in a better position to understand what external factors might influence the data -it’s no longer a’black box’. In this case, the electrical readings picked up by a strap is very small and therefore susceptible to interference from other, stronger electrical fields. It also helps to have an idea of what numbers might be right – a four hour ride with an average of 182 bpm or 60bpm after you’ve blasted up a climb should ring alarm bells.

The man-made fabrics used in modern sportswear is very prone to generating static electricity through friction or flapping in the wind, especially in times of low humidity. Have you ever taken heard the crackle of static as you pull on or take off a jersey? These currents massively outweigh those created by your body, and effectively jam the sensors ability to pick up your heartbeat. These artefacts often disappear after a few minutes of riding as sweat helps mitigate the static, though on dry cold days you can be plagued with it all ride.

I’ve been using a three part approach to control bad heart-rate data, and I have to say it very effective. While I still get artefacts, they are very rare, and normally because I forgot something.

Gels

  1. Conductivity Gel – This improves the electrical circuit between your body and the sensor; the better the connection, the more signal and less noise will be delivered to the transmitter. This cleaner data is also easier to process with far less artefacts in the data stream. I picked up this 500ml off eBay for $18, and given how little I need to use, I’m expecting it to last a couple of years.
  2. Anti-static Spray – Available from fabric shops (and some supermarkets), a few sprays almost completely eradicates rogue static electricity from your jersey and undershirt. Bear in mind that on very low humidity winter days you might need more than other times of year1.
  3. Polar Strap – I’m not sure if this helps reduce bad data, but I have found it lasts much better than the Garmin versions, which I seemed to be replacing every 9 months or so. It should be noted though that Garmin consider them ‘consumables’, so they should be expected wear out2. The Polar model takes the Garmin pod without needing any modification and has worked great.

The combination above have worked very well for me over the last few years to minimise bad heart rate recordings. The outlay is probably less than $30 for a year or more worth of consumables.

  1. I have been known to dump a little water onto my jersey in the area of the strap too if I forget the spray.
  2. HRM Strap death is normally denoted by sections of flatline low or zero hear rate rather than spikes

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WYMTM

Posted by: Ian on 7 November 2014

WYMTM


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‘What You Missed This Morning’ is the subtle art of trolling your friends with a photo. ‘WYMTM’ stands for ‘if you’d gotten up early/ if you weren’t out drinking last night/ HTFU/ what if it rains on race day?’ and others.

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