end of summer

Posted by: Ian on 1 April 2014

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The clocks go forward at the weekend so riding into the sunset in Centennial Park will have to wait until spring returns.

I don’t think this picture turned out quite as nicely as last year (which coincidentally had the same title).

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camelbak crud

Posted by: Ian on 7 March 2014

First off, this post should be prefaced with this quote from the CamelBak site:

Do not disassemble small parts of the cap JetValve. Disassembly of the plastic cap could lead to leaks or product malfunction.

As a longtime user of CamelBak Podium bottles I’ve learned two things about them:
1. They did in fact, improve on the traditional bidon and make them awesome.
2. They are a total nightmare to keep clean.

Since I don’t have a dishwasher, I’ve taken to disassembling the cap as far as possible to help clean it out. The process is pretty straightforward, and, as long as you are careful, non-destructive.

CamelBak 6

First off, give the silicone nozzle a good turn through 90 degrees. This then allows you to get a good grip underneath it to separate it from the rest of the cap.

CamelBak 5

Once the nozzle is off, grab a sharp/thin knife and slide it into the notch between the white collar and the grey bit below. With a bit of pressure you should be able to slip the blade in and with a little twist, release the white ring.

CamelBak 3

At this point, you should now have the cap, nozzle, white ring and blue diaphragm. Most likely you’ll also see everything covered with black gunk as well – time to get scrubbing!

CamelBak 1

Unfortunately, this is as far as you can go with disassembly – I’ve not managed to find a way to safely separate the remaining parts of the cap – a pain since the gap between the two parts is a prime spot for nastiness.

You’ll probably find the threads on the cap a bit gunked up too, so using the corner of a tea-towel, work it into the thread and keep turning the cap till you clean out all the gunk.

Once all the parts are de-crudded, I like to throw everything in a pot with a chlorine tablet and leave it over night, just to kill off anything that’s left. Give it a good rinse afterwards and rebuild.

One of the keys to easy cleaning is actually preventative maintenance – ideally take the bottles off straight after a ride, give them a rinse and clean before letting them dry. This doesn’t completely alleviate the nastiness though, as there is plenty of on-bike time for things to grow.

Since I started the draft of this post, I’ve seen that CamelBak are releasing a new version of the Podium bottle which will be easier to clean and have a removable valve.

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Posted by: Ian on 27 February 2014

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This little guy was hanging out in the shower this morning, so I relocated him outside where he could chase some bugs.

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sochi sportswatches

Posted by: Ian on 15 February 2014

I’ve been enjoying the coverage of the winter Olympics from Sochi this year, particularly the ‘Nordic’ events such as cross country skiing and biathlon. Watching the various biathlon events I’ve spotted a few of the competitors wearing a sports watche and since cross country skiiers are some fittest athletes I’d hoped to be able to see some of the data fields and see what was going on. Unfortunately the resolution wasn’t quite up showing everything, but maybe for Korea in 2018 we’ll be able to capture from 4k video instead.

First is Lukas Hoffer from Italy wearing a red Polar RC3 GPS. I think he’s showing local time in Italy given its about 18:25pm local time and Italy is 3 hours behind.


Slovenian Jakov Fak is sporting a Garmin 910XT, you can see he’s recording elapsed time, as his watch shows 39:23 and the graphic shows 2 (one minute) miss penalties for a total of 41:20.


Andrejs Rastorgujevs from Latvia is also using a Garmin 910XT. It looks like he is showing the time of day (18:22:58), which would match well with his starting time of 18:13:30.


The bronze medallist German Erik Lesser is wearing a blue Polar V800, and like Hoffer, his looks to be showing the time back home in Germany.


Finally for the Men’s Individual 20km, I caught Austria’s Simon Eder wearing a black Polar RC3 GPS. He missed a bronze medal by 3 seconds but this is one of the reasons I love these events; everyone collapses just beyond the line, completely exhausted.


For the women’s race, I only snapped Anastasiya Kuzmina sporting a nice white and orange Forerunner 620. It looks like she has HR at the top and elapsed time on row two. Not sure about the bottom field though.


I’d love to see some of the data from these events – cross country skiers often have some of the highest recorded VO2 max values of any athletes, and the key to accurate shooting is composure and a low heart rate; a difficult proposition after some hard skiing.

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olympic drones

Posted by: Ian on 13 February 2014

While watching the slopestyle events on TV I’d wondered how they were getting the shots which tracked and panned at speed with the competitors.

Initially I’d thought it was the normal ‘camera-on-a-wire’ which you see bombing around overhead at lots of sporting events.


After a while though, I spotted something else darting around, and eventually I spotted the silhouette of a hexacopter stalking the competitors. Hard to tell what model they are using though from my non-HD sreencaps.


It’s nice to seem the coming into use for sports where they can get shots which would have previously required helicopters or cranes.

I’ve thought about getting one for fun, but here in Australia there seem to be some rather complicated laws, particularly as the flight path of the airport covers most of the city.

Once you are all set up though with a camera and drone, you can shoot some rather good video:


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chasing the lines

Posted by: Ian on 7 February 2014

One of the benefits of recording all my exercise is the ability to assess long-term trends and get some measure of my fitness over time. In the last few months I’ve taken to using Golden Cheetah as another place to store my records (I also use TrainingPeaks, but you only get the advanced analysis tools if you are a paying member, or you have a free trial code).

This is what the last few months looks like for me:

PMC Chart

Red is the ‘impulse’ from the exercise (i.e how tough it was), blue is cumulative tiredness (derived from the previous 3 weeks), green is the change in fitness (derived from the previous 6 weeks) and black is green minus blue (a measure of ‘freshness’). The chart is from Golden Cheetah, but is essentially the TrainingPeaks PMC by another name.

Things started to take a downturn in early December when I headed to the UK (and left the bike in Australia). You can see the few runs I did vainly trying to stilt the downward trend, (I reckon that even with a 12km run everyday the green line would have gone down) before the illness induced blank patch before and after Christmas.

Things are looking up at the moment with the green line certainly heading in the right direction. As you can see from left hand side of the graph, my fitness plateaued since you need to continue to increase training amount to increase fitness (as you get fitter a set workout gets less beneficial). I normally find at that point though, freshness improves, so I might be equally fit as a earlier, I’m less fatigued.

This week has been pretty hard work; since Saturday I’ve ridden 270km, run 40km and have another ~100km on the books for tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep up a similar schedule for a couple more weeks before taking more of a rest.

After I’m comfortable with 40km a week or so running, I want to work out how to run faster. Not quite sure of the best way to do that yet!

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Posted by: Ian on 5 February 2014

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Last week we made plain slice. This week, after spotting it in someone’s (unfortunately now unfindable, but cycling related) tweet we added salted peanuts this week; a wise move.

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a run around centennial park

Posted by: Ian on 3 February 2014

I’ve been trying to increase my run distances over the last couple of weeks, so I’m testing out ‘normal’ runs of 12km with the weeks ‘long’ run being somewhat longer (I’m thinking 16km as that works out as another lap of the park). Since the Superbowl was kicking off at 10am I wanted to get back for that (and before it got too hot). I chose the park today as I’d be heading in the opposite direction to most commuters, and once you’ve covered the 2km to the park itself its pretty quiet.

First off is getting to the park itself. The most direct and easiest route is down Anzac Parade on the shared path/cycleway. Most of the traffic is heading to the city in the morning so its easy to keep tight left and run predictably. The Ficus trees that line the path do a good job of pushing up the pavement on a regular basis and I spotted a council crew cutting and relaying some parts last week to remove the most hazardous.

CentennialPark 1

About halfway to the park you pass by the Sydney Football Ground and Sydney Cricket Ground. The SCG is currently getting a new stand (where the crane is); the SFG is just visible on the left. The little ‘Shared Path’ signs have been attached by Sydney Cycleways people to try to ease some cyclist/pedestrian tensions in the city.

CentennialPark 2

Once in Centennial Park, I chose to run clockwise laps, I had originally thought I’d do one each direction but decided against it. Just before the dog area (and prime Weiner Dog spotting location), you can currently try out the flying trapeze. They were just getting set up as I ran past; evidently early morning-trapeze is not a thing.

CentennialPark 3

Around the southern side of the park, you get a better view of some of the lakes (its around 12m lower on this side too). They might look nice on a hot day, but they often have signs up warning of blue-green algae and swimming is prohibited in the park too.

CentennialPark 4

Finally, after doing a second lap, it was time to exit by whence I came and go in search of a some post-run hydration.

CentennialPark 5

[This post could also be entitled 'where I try to get all DCRainmaker and fail'. However, I do include a photograph of tonight's food - homemade tandoori chicken from the recipe by Chef Biju. They tasted great, and four were just right, though I could have gone for five, or six, or seven...]

BBQ Chicken

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pedal revolutions on a ride

Posted by: Ian on 1 February 2014

Garmin users – ever wanted to know how many times you’ve turned the pedals over on a particular ride? Of course you could use the average cadence and multiply it out by time. However, if you are a Garmin Connect user there is a much easier way.

First, navigate your way to the activities page of Garmin Connect, then scroll across through the columns that are most likely hidden unless you use a ginormous widescreen monitor.

There you will find the ‘Total Strokes’ column, showing total revolutions recorded by the GSC10 speed/cadence sensor.

Garmin Activity

As far as I’m aware, its a minor bug/feature introduced into Garmin Connect at the time support was added for the Swim watch in mid 2012.

Unfortunately the SMD4 footpod doesn’t seem to allow total footstrikes to be recorded for running, but then again, its not the most useful metric to be gathering in the first place!

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lime pickle (in 6 weeks)

Posted by: Ian on 21 January 2014

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After an awesome UK curry at Christmas (something you can’t get in Australia, though I have tracked down some which are ‘decent’), I’m trying to make myself some lime pickle and this should be ready for stage II in about a month.

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stats 2013

Posted by: Ian on 19 January 2014

Another year has gone so its time for the annual review of my cycling and running.

My summary of 2012 can be found here.


Cumulative curves (from the excellent Veloviewer) this and previous years, the flat spots coincide with my trips to San Francisco in late July (where walking replaced running), and to the UK in December (where illness meant I didn’t run after the middle of the month).

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


I was very happy with the amount of riding I achieved, with 120 hours more than 2012, a good volume of that came early in the year with the form from the Festive 500 and great weather. Being fit was really motivating and was great to be able to take on a tough hard ride on a Saturday and still enjoy a ride on the Sunday as well.


With the increase in riding, there was a reduction in my running by about 20%. I would have liked to equal 2012′s distance but was only running twice a week during the winter so fell behind then. I had hoped to pick up a few extra km over Christmas, but a virus I picked up meant I didn’t run after mid December. Given my running volume (or lack of it), I was happy to set a new 10km PB for the Strava Anyway Challenge, with a time of 43:25.


In September I started weekly Pilates classes at The Pilates Lounge with a few other cyclists. So far its been enjoyable (if a little painful sometimes) and it seems to be helping with my flexibility.


2014 hasn’t started off too great – I’m lacking a bit of motivation so am just working on getting out on the bike or on foot to get back into the habit and hopefully start really enjoying it again. With luck i’ll find some form again and start racking up the distances soon.
  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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crustacean overlord

Posted by: Ian on 4 January 2014

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Ballina’s Big Prawn was rescued from destruction and granted new life with a paint-job and a tail!

I, for one, welcome our new crustacean overlords.

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