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AIDS/LifeCycle 2011

I've been training hard in preparation for the big ride. Some stats:

Lost:~20lbs (~9kg)
Training:25 rides
Distance:1,187mi (1,899km)
Elev Gain:54,367 ft (16,571m)
Calories:53,553 C (224 kJ)

I want to thank everyone for helping raise so much money for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. I'm truly humbled by your generosity.

I'd also like to thank some of the awesome people who have supported me on this journey

  • Bespoke Bicycles SF
    • for my trusty steed, excellent support and service
  • Financial Distrcit Foot And Ankle Center
    • Dr Saunders and staff for custom orthotics for my cycling shoes
  • The Chiropractic Way
    • Dr Rob Murray and Tracie, keeping my spine in good shape
  • Studio GHB
    • Gib for aerodynamic hair improvments :)
  • Trisha Weir Fashion
    • for my glorious Betty Page devil outfit for the traditional day 5 "Red Dress Day"
  • Everyone that rode with me, all over the country side

and of course, my lovely wife Tanya, who put up with many early mornings and post-ride zombie evenings, and has supported me the whole way.

We leave on the 5th at 6AM and will be arriving in LA on the 11th. You can follow along with the webcast on the ALC website

I'll also be updating Facebook/Twitter along the way

Thanks again to everyone!

Say Uncle

I got the call from Mum today. My sister, Jesse, had a beautiful baby girl. So she's an Aquarius, the first one in our side of the family.

They haven't decided on a name yet but both Jess and the baby are doing well.

2 Months Since My Last Confession

Procrastination is a wonderful sport. It'd be an abysmal failure at the Olympics though.

I realised I still haven't uploaded my post about Burning Man (it should go up with this post).

What have I been up to since then? Lesse...

  • Liz & Virgil came to visit. After years of talking about it, we went to The French Laundry
  • I got a ticket to Chillits at the last moment
  • Tried a cigar for the first time
  • I'm taking over as manager of my team at work. Selling your soul apparently isn't as painful as I'd thought.
  • Dad came to visit. It's always fun to show people where we work and live and share why we're happy living in San Francisco
  • I bought a tenor ukulele and started learning how to play it.

Burning Mans

It's been a fortnight since we got back from Burning Man. The experience was some of what we expected and some we didn't. I'd go again but next time with a lot more preparation.

We arrived on the Monday at the beginning of a 12 hour duststorm. We'd heeded the warnings and had goggles and dust masks at the ready. After the first few hours we gave up on trying to wait it out and put up our tent. Luckily the camp we were with was stupendously awesome and had put up a car port. Everyone constructed their tents in the carport and then moved them outside and staked them down.

The time I spent making rebar candycanes was well spent. It took the combined effort of several people to hammer the damn things in. However the tent survived all three duststorms without even budging. Getting them out was...strenuous. The final solution was to bang on the sides with a sledge hammer then pour water down the sides. Let that loosen things up and then use a crowbar to twist-and-pull the 3 foot stakes out of the ground. Think of doing leg lifts while winding up a big clockwork toy. With lots more swearing and grunting.

Buying the more expensive 4 season tent was well worth it. We used the vestibule like an airlock and had only a tiny amount of dust in the tent, even at the end of the week. It did mean the tent was an oven during day as it had no airflow. The shade structure we bought didn't even survive the first duststorm, one of the poles bending under the stress.

Shade is key. Our camp put up a shade structure between the two RVs but part of it was only 80% blocking. Turns out the other 20% is still pretty brutal when you're at 4500ft. Most of each day was spent hiding in the shade and trying to snooze. Once the sun started to go down you'd want to get out and about and see as much as possible. This lead to only having a few hours sleep sometime before dawn. Then the big yellow scare ball in the sky would brutally wake you up by turning your tent into an oven. Rinse, repeat.

The photos don't really do the place justice. I took two cameras but didn't use them as much as I could have. I made the decision to spend more time looking at things directly and not through a lens. I feel I'll have a much better idea of what to take photos next time.

I would've liked have taken more photos of the various art works and art cars out on the playa. Next time, Gadget, next time.

Tea Minus Juan

We fly to Reno this afternoon, pick up our rental bikes and meet our fellow camp mates. Tomorrow we head out to the playa at dark o'clock and setup camp.

Then the fun begins...

Music In The Hills

The weekend just past Tanya and I went to 'Friends and Family', a music festival/campout run by Cloud Factory. We went last year as well, courtesy of our good friends Weaver & Andrea.

This year was epic. The lighting and sound for the main event on Saturday night were out of this world. The other events of the weekend were all lots of fun too.

Tanya dressed up as the Green Faery, with faery wings lit up with EL wire, and handed out Absinthe lollipops we bought from Lollyphile. They were very popular :)

This year we took advantage of a 25% off sale at REI and bought our own camping gear. We're going to Burning Man this year with the BloodyMaryLand camp so I wanted to test it all out first. A three day campout in a less formidable environment was perfect.

The instructions that came with the tent were terrible and the North Face website is an abomination. After clicking around I found the section with downloadable tent pitching instructions. Of course it's out of date and our shiny new tent isn't listed. Though it wouldn't matter if it was as the PDFs they do link to return a 404.

Even more fail. I found a review that mentioned the website for this tent It's a single page with no content. Woo.

North Face, you suck.

Dream A Little Dream Of You

I had an amazing lucid dream last night. I won't bore you with the details, you really had to be there.

It did however remind me to post about something that happened a few weeks ago.

I've recently gotten back into playing music again after a very long intermission. The idea had been rattling around in my head for a while and watching Tanya learn to play the ukelele became the seed.

I was still unsure if I had left it too late to start again. I happened to mention this to a friend who plays guitar. He made the very salient point that it's never too late to start. I was sold.

Fast forward several weeks and I am thoroughly enjoying playing my uke. I went and said thanks to my friend for the sage advice. Only he has no recollection of the conversation. I describe the circumstance. We were standing in a music store talking about music and....oh...hang on...that was a dream.

I realised it was a dream when I couldn't connect that memory with any others. How did we get there? Why were we both in a music store? Which music store?

Once I started probing the edges of the memory it was obvious it was a dream. Even now that memory is so vivid I wonder if he's just messing with me.

At least I'll be able to play my uke in the padded cell :)

A Tale Of Cocktails

Our first cocktail party/experiment after our Cocktail 101 course seems to have been a success. Many cocktails served and only one injury. The table in question has been severely reprimanded. Hopefully there will be no repeat performances from our erstwhile furniture.

Next step is scaling up these hijinks and finding a place to store all the booze.

Learning Day

Yesterday was a great learning day. I started a 2 day Getting Things Done course and then went to Bourbon & Branch Beverage Academy for a "Cocktails 101" course.

Both were interesting for different reasons and will lead to further personal development ;)

Instant Fanboyism

Richard Stevens from Diesel Sweeties and Meredith Gran from Octopus Pie gave a talk at work today as part of the Authors@Google series.

They were both really approachable and answered lots of questions during the talk. It's always odd to meet someone who's work you've followed for years but never seen a photo of.

Meredith gave out copies of her new Octopus Pie book and even signed them after the talk with quick character drawings. I was pretty stoked to get one. Meredith's artwork style is great and I love her story telling.

After the talk a bunch of people tagged along and had lunch with Richard and Meredith at Charlie's Cafe. It was really cool to just hang out and chat with them both.

I don't usually go in for the whole fanboy thing but these guys are awesome :)