Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Flypast

I am not normally one to look back on the year and reminisce, but there again, I have never chronicled the goings on in my humble little existence before either. So with that thought in mind lets look at the highlights(that I can remember) of the year two thousand and ten in numbers.

Two- The number of children I started the year with..........and ah, yep just checking, the number I finished it with!

Five- The number of bicycles that I have been able to collect over the last year. 3 MTB, 1 Road and 1 hybrid.

Two thousand four hundred and fourty- The number of kilometers that I rode the above bikes for this year.

Ten- The number of official Mountain bike races that I competed in this year.

Nine- The number of official Mountain bike races I finished. Damn that Mebbin mud!

Two- The number of times I went over the handlebars this year.

Seven hundred and twenty eight point eight- The number of hours that I spent with a Boeing 737 strapped to my back. Yes, that is over 30 days.

Ninety five- The number of nights that I was able to sample the hospitality of some 3 or 4 star hotel on a layover. Hey, it saves wear and tear on my mattress!

Three- The number of home brew batches that I put down. I did have quite a bit of assistance with drinking them. Thanks to those selfless individuals that saved me from drowning under that 150 litres of beer!

Two- The number of months that passed without a drop of alcohol passing my lips. Cycling influence there.

Eighty Six- The number of times I drew on my white work shirt when my damn pen failed to retract!!

Twenty five- Way too small a number for the times I was able to ride with friends this year.

Ten- The number of mince fruit pies I ate in the last few days.

Three- The number of kilograms that my mass has increased by due to said pies and a little christams cheer.

ONE-  loving and supportive wife that lets me do all of the above. Without her backing up there would be no time to acheive much at all. Thanks Rebecca.

Here is to another great year in Twenty Eleven and may the skies continue to be safe, the mountain biking flowing and all of my family and friends remain healthy and happy.

See you next year.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Who ate all the pies?

Well, I managed to survive another christmas. A family christmas at home this year with no travelling meant the comfort of being in my own home. This is the first in nearly ten years for us and it was nice to have my family around. It did entail some collateral damage though. Due to the requirement to eat far too much rich food and sample way too many fine (and not so fine) drinks, my waistline was an early casualty. Coupled with the deludge that Queensland has endured over the last few weeks, curtailing any exercise involving two wheels I am starting to puff just walking up stairs! Not good. On the up side, santa was very kind to me this year. He must have checked my undie drawer first as my sock and undie count was zero, while my new digital SLR camera count was 1! Woo hoo!!

To set the scene, about twelve months ago I purchased a mag trainer so that the weather would not interrupt my training schedule.
Well, after one ride on a "go nowhere bike" I very gently pushed it into a corner. I definitely have an issue with putting the hurt on myself yet not benefiting from being outdoors. Fast forward to the big wet of 2010. I have been shuffling my ever increasing girth around the house, looking sideways at the trainer, thinking "yeah, I should" then "no way, the boredom will do my head in".

What to do? There will be no MTBing for a while yet. Way too wet still. Do I really want to pedal my heart out only to go nowhere? Do I need to? Er...well yes, probably!

Too much of the above demands that I do something. Luckily for my sanity the weather report is finally inaccurate. Instead of the precipitation that is forcast, my alarm wakes me to partial sunlight! Yes sir, right here in the sunshine state. Real sunshine.

 So I saddle up. The road steed will suffice today. I don't normally stop during a road ride, but today was an exception. Here is the view from Cornubia toward Mt Staypleton and that folks is sunshine, albeit weak, but sunshine nonetheless! Speaking of weak, that is how my legs felt today. It is surprising  how quickly fitness fades away especially when it is overwhelmed by way too much good food and perhaps a little too much neck oil. Actually, is there such a thing as too much good food?


Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Well, it is that time of year again. Time to eat too much, drink too much and not to ride too much. I hope you can all take some time out to enjoy the holiday and all it brings. A small shout out to all those who have to work tomorrow. I hope it is all direct tracking and speed cancellations.

Best wishes to anyone who reads this drivel and I hope Santa has something cool for you. Fingers crossed for some big boys toys.

Friday, December 17, 2010

When will the riding start again?

I am guessing that this question is on the lips of most mountainbikers on the east coast of Australia at the moment. The amount of rain and almost unprecedented flooding is great news for the health of our river systems, but bad news for the plucky MTBer. Trail damage, component damage and fungal growths from being constantly wet have all conspired to keep a lot of us sitting on our backsides for far too long now! There is going to be an explosion of trail shredding once the rain decides to stay away.

Work has also been playing a hand in sidelining me lately. The bi-annual simulator session had been looming in my near future and finally materialised.

Much refresher study and contemplation has paid off. I am through for another six months. This time around day one consisted of a flight from Jakarta, Indonesia to Perth, Western Australia. A Volcanic ash encounter about one hundred nautical miles south of Soekarno-Hatta International airport caused multiple malfunctions on the aircraft. There was an actual happening in the 1980s that raises the hair on the back of your neck when reading the report. The upshot for us was an immediate turn back to Jakarta with one engine failed due to pyroclastic adhesion inside the engine and the unknown life expectancy of our still running engine. The engine very kindly held on until we made it back to Jakarta safely.
Day two is the fairly standard base check with an engine failure on takeoff in 125 metre visibility, a single engine hand flown approach. No runway sighting, so go around and try a different approach with a single engine landing and an emergency culminating in a passenger evacuation. Easy peasy!

I need a good ride, so please, no more rain for a week or so.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thunder Struck

Arcing out of Sydney the other day with a majestic, yet menacing line of thunderstorms approaching from the west, there is no better feeling than the weight of responsibility lifting when you spot an opening just made for a 737.

Hell week ahead with sim and a line check. The silver lining is four weeks away from it all from next sunday. I love my job, but sometimes you need your personal space.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Build it and they will come

It has been far too wet to ride off road here in south east Queensland for the last few weeks. The next best thing is to get out into Cornubia Forest and help build some of the trail network that has recently been approved by Logan City Council.

This first new trail has unofficially been called Donkey Kong. Hey, we need to call it something so we all know what trail we are talking about! I must admit to not really remembering what Donkey Kong, the 70s/80s game was about, except for the angry ape throwing barrels. No apes or barrels spotted so far in there. Well, no barrels anyway. There are however some stunning little vistas from the higher ridges.

To give you, the potential rider/walker/runner an overview of what to expect, the trail starts out quite business-like in that it needs to gain altitude so as to be able to traverse the higher slopes at acceptable angles. This means some leg work will be required in the first five hundred metres or so. Then as we approach the higher ground we have incorporated a few flat rest sections which will be finished off with a dilemma section. The dilemma will be to either watch the trail or to look down to the east and take in the forest view! Safety first or daydream? You decide. Once you reach the top you will have travelled about 1.3 km and climbed approximately 150m. Pay your dues going up............grin like an idiot (ok, talking about myself here) going back down.

Of course all of this is but a glint in the eye of a few dedicated trial builders and the LCC officials at the moment.......................but it is growing, slowly..............I helped grow about fifty metres of it on monday morning.
After...2 hours in the outdoors.

The trail is skipping ahead as difficult pinches are approached and crossed. We are waiting for the heavy materials such as recycled wooden bollards and concrete posts to arrive so we can turn these tough sections into properly built, benched trail supported by retaining walls that will stand the test of time.

Look out on MTB Dirt and other media for a trail building day. While not set in stone yet, when these days come around it will be a great opportunity to come along and get your hands a little dirty. The satisfaction of riding trail that you have built with your own hands is highly underrated! Who knows, we may be able to organise a BBQ and cool drink afterwards ;)

For another perspective on the trails, check out Jimmy's Blog.