Thursday, December 31, 2009

time to tally up

Well we thought we would ride today, but 200mm+ of rain has kept us in, so I might as well do the final tally for 2009
Jan 908.1
Feb 676.2
Mar 1196.8
April 838.6
May 1076.3
June 1034.0
July 1011.9
Aug 261
September 1186.9
Oct 922.9
Nov 954.7
Dec 970.9
total 11038.3

I will happy to equal that next year, but I'll go for a bit more "because I can"

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

happy new year and all that

Well tomorrow is the last day of the year, so I am going for a ride and I'll get my totals all posted and all that jazz then.

BUT - I went to see Avatar today and I am excited. Yes the movie was gorgeous, and the story was moving (actually, I work in a parallel universe where the forces of good in the form of environmentalists battle with the forces of evil in the form of geologists every single day, in a university department which gives new meaning to "interesting times") ... but I digress.

Did you notice the holographic maps??!! Did you see the ash falling into your lap rather than on the screen? Did you marvel that you didn't get a crashing headache? I think about 3D visualization all the time, and this just blew me away. It was comfortable. I suppose I have a very well trained brain, but the 3D was deep and rich and natural. 6 of us went to the movie (3 spatial geeks) and the 3D experience was variable, which I found interesting, but all found it enriching. And it was all about the movie, not the 3D.

I'll have to see the movie again. I got distracted by the movie. I want to look critically at the value of 3D to the experience. This is spatial visualisation at a very high level, and I am excited about how the very foundations of cartography have just shifted out from under me - again. Good thing I am a change junkie, because my work (and so my life) has just changed forever...

interesting times indeed!

Friday, December 25, 2009

seasonal (?) photos

Christmas eve dinner of papusa and home made extras. This is traditional somewhere, surely.

Chief quality control officer makes sure it is OK

We are SO not vegans, ribs are a Christmas Eve indulgence, sorry all you vegans!

Evidence of tiny reindeer! A Christmas critter snacked on fruit in the fruit bowl during the night, proof of tiny tropical reindeer for sure!!!
Who opened all the presents? I am a bit sad they are gone.... I see my time stamp is off by a day.

Merry Christmas

A very Merry Christmas to all.
Ride safe.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

in the mood

I have had three days off work now (the weekends don't count!) and I only rode on Monday (the lights amble doesn't count). Monday I did a good 55 kms, and I was a basket case of exhaustion all day. So I have taken time off to expend my energy elsewhere, and I am amazed at how good I feel.

Every weekend we ride, and I fall over in the afternoon for a profound short nap, even if I am sitting up. I thought I was just getting old, but now I have had a couple of high energy days off I am rethinking things. I think I am not hydrating well enough. I drink more than I ever thought possible, but I don't think it is enough. At work I get through so much tea trying to keep my energy up that I think I am OK, but really, I am not. So I will try to get more plain water through my system in the future.

So what does a cyclist do with unexpended energy?
Shop, clean, and cook! Yesterday I made rum balls, Indian inspired bits and bites and Vietnamese chicken meatballs. All of this was consumed by cyclists, along with bratwurst and champers, so today I did another round. Here are another, bigger batch of bits and bites (for the non-Canadians that is nuts, cheerios (the cereal!!) and fried noodles, spiced and crisped in the oven, recipe to follow) ; another batch of rum balls (made with wheatbix) and a jar of curtido for tomorrows Christmas eve dinner of American ribs and pupusas. When I took this shot I was making salsa roja as well, and celebrating a day facing the stove with a champers (well I am on holiday after all).

And then I stopped to smell the flowers, and admire the contents of a parcel from Germany.

Matthias Hoefner was my very first cartographic trainee from Dresden, and I still just love him to bits. He sent me this globe tin full of yummy biscuits, but for a Cartographer the real beauty of the inside is the celestial globe. Thanks heaps mate!


the christmas light ride

Start with champagne as the night comes on slowly. This is shortly after 7, the tropics doesn't do late evenings, not even near the solstice. Me and BoaB.

The ride organiser getting us off to a good start.
Nearly time to roll
Mixing with a home owner. He, his wife and their adult son were dressed up and greeting people with a bucket of lollies. This was one of the best displays of the night I think, but there were several really good ones. Pictures by Linda. Merry Christmas everyone!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

summer christmas

Yes, the summer solstice was yesterday, and today we did a slow and kid friendly evening ride to enjoy the christmas lights in the local neighbourhoods. Warm, soft. We had to wait til nearly 7:30 for it to be dark enough to roll out.

We went up and down streets, lights ablaze (Ay Ups are the best, no lie) and lots of glow sticks to make us super visible. Being on bikes you can interact with the home owners who are in their yards watching the 'tourists' enjoying the displays. We sang carols, and shouted "thanks" and "well done" to those who were out in their yards.

And cars stopped for us, and made way and were super nice. Christmas is grand.
We ended at our house, where I had laid on some food and a LOT of champagne. Thanks for my sister and her husband in Nova Scotia for the flowers. It was really a lovely evening and now I am truly "in the mood" for Christmas.

There may be more photos later, as usual I didn't take the ones with me in them!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

being your best

I got a great chuckle last week reading the comments from a guy who won a bike from the Fat Cyclist, that he was "the fastest 42 year old cyclist on his street", or words to that effect. I have thought about that quite a bit. It was a very funny line, but it also gave me a reminder of where I sit.

I am probably the slowest D grade racer in Townsville, but I have yet to prove that. I am looking forward to bravely having a go.

I am in about the best shape I have ever been in, ever. My butt is as shapely as when I was 20, maybe better. I think I may be the fastest 50 year old female cyclist on my street, but there is a runner at the end of the street I haven't ridden with, and you know what runners are like... maybe she is a bit more than 50...

So I am looking forward to being my best in 2010. I am not sure how my best stacks up against other people, but then I have never been competitive anyway. I'm shooting for a big number in 2010 for mileage, but I have to be realistic about it. Dare I dream of 15,000 kms?

With that in mind I would like to thank Mark D. Pankin, whom I have never met, but who created the spreadsheet for my mileage, and turned me into a demented kilometer hound. You can get one too, the 2010 version is now available at:

I am really grateful that he does this, because I am not an excel guru. Merry Christmas Mark and thanks for the nice gift of another year spread out as a blank slate, just waiting for the numbers. I'll try and keep them big.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

winding down to Christmas

Well the weather outside is delightful, we have settled into a pattern of cool strong sea breezes and a bit of overcast, the odd short sharp shower. Yes the cycling kit still splats when it hits the floor, but it is summer after all. The air con has been off all week though, and I am relieved.

It is a bit hard to wrap your brain around Christmas when it is summer. Yes there are lots of boozy parties, strange seasonal finger foods like cheerios
Which are like small red hot dogs, but not as nice. This is the one time of the year when you see them served in preference to snags (BBQ sausages). Tomorrow we will do the boozy lunch thing at work, and next week you should be able to fire a cannon at the Uni and not hit anybody, even I am staying home, I think this is the first time I haven't worked til Christmas eve but meh....

So I'll have time for some cycling! I intend to cycle, bake, nap, cuddle my dog on what is probably his last Christmas, and generally chill out. Bliss. Life is good.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

the air con

I try to live a green life. I don't drive a car unless I can't avoid it. We only own one car, and it is a diesel. If I can figure out how to brew up cane toads into bio-diesel I will be very green indeed. We grow herbs, fruit and veggies, use bore water in the garden, have solar powered hot water, live in a well insulated and shaded passively cooled Queensland style high house. I guess that is why I feel so guilty. I have shut up the french doors and flanged on the air con because I am tired of having wet hair.

With all the goings on in Copenhagen this week it is hard being not green, but it is summer and you don't have to suffer if you have a thick skin. While the protesters roar and the politicians try to find a map for prosperity on a threatened planet, I am using air conditioning. I apologise. Consider it use of the carbon credits I have earned through the rest of the year.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

jelly legs

As a solitary rider, it is really nice to ride with a big bunch on the Saturday coffee ride and see how everyone is going. I am relieved to report that lots of people, including some cyclists I suspected were actually cyborgs, are "knocked around by the heat".

Thank heavens, I thought it was just me. I am still getting good kilometres in, but less than I would like. I am just so slow. Time has forced it's way into my consciousness because I seem to need quite a lot of it to do my rides. Captain Slow, that's me. I got dropped by the coffee ride this morning for shit's sake, and I didn't even care. I sealed the deal by stopping at a park and filling my water bottle. If you are going to go it alone, at least be well hydrated.

So I am not training, I am in a holding pattern. On good days I will go hard. I am measuring out some possible training routes for when I ramp it up. Finding hills is hard, but I have some possibilities that work into my geography. I am riding every day, because a day without riding is hardly worth bearing, but I am respecting the heat, and what it does to a body. Sweaty and elated, but not fast.

Friday, December 4, 2009

the swallows

I cycle at speed, and the swallows converge upon me.
A cloud of beating wings, soaring hearts.
They swoop and lead my wheel like dolphins at the prow of a ship.
They lead, and I follow, knowing the way is safe.
And I am transcendent with joy.

time and space

I am pretty spatially aware. It comes with the territory of being a mapper for (dare I say it) almost 30 years. I know where I am, I know where north is (unless I am in a mall, where I am lost and confused). I know how far, but I don't have a handle on time.

Alberto has assumed that my careful log of distance has an associated log of time, but I confess I don't know about time. When I cycle, I enter a space/time continuum which consists of music=rhythm=distance. time=null. I am a distance person. There is no time. People always ask me "how long does it take" to do one of my regular rides. Until I started training, I had no idea. No time at all, really. You head out, find a groove, arrive at the end of the line, turn back, go to work. A half hour? An hour? Time is a convoluted thing. If you are in the groove it takes like, 15 minutes. If it is a suffer fest it takes a bit longer. If you arrive at work quite late, it is an eternal mystery.

Imagine my surprise that I am cycling hours, really! I had no idea, no wonder my legs are tired.

So I am a bit turned off training. I don't know if I am ready for time. I just want the perfect elongation of now, a ride measured only in effort and the pleasure of working the machine. Why deny yourself the drop into a black hole that is the perfect 30kms that lasted 10 minutes. Then you come through the wrinkle in time that is cycling and find yourself at the uni, blinking in surprise. What could be more perfect? What else is there? Who cares how long?