Sunday, January 25, 2009

Weekly Wrap.

Well another week has gone by and that makes 2 for the year back in Melbourne and 2 back at work. So far the excitement is almost ... well ... it's almost...non-existent. I think I have made a terrible, terrible mistake over the Christmas and New Years break, that being having more fun than some (i.e. me) would say was 'Humanly Possible' during my holidays. Upon returning to my Melbourne reality the mundane nature of my existence here is thrown into sharp contrast. Oh well, all steps are being taken to change that so no use dwelling on it...again...i'm sure everyone is sick of hearing about it by now.

This week I got my car serviced for the year. I do so little driving (relatively) during each year now that I barely make it to the scheduled "X0,000km" scheduled service in any 12 month period. This was the 70,000km service and after driving to Adelaide and back over Christmas plus a whole heap of driving while there I reached 68,000 km. That's a whopping 8,000km 's total for 2008. Anyway, I organised for a loan car while my car was getting serviced and I got a brand new 2009 model, Peugeot 308 Turbo. This car was awesome and I really might have to go and get one when I deciede to get rid of my current car (2003 Peugeot 307) in about 2010.
here's some pics:

On Wednesday I played basketball again (at the ungodly hour of 10:10pm) and for the third week in a row WE WON!! We played so well it was amazing, we looked like a completely different team to the one that played last year. We moved well, we passed well, we didn't make a lot of stupid errors and we managed to capitalise on the stupid errors the other team made. So at the end of the 50 mins we had a very respectable win of 39 - 30. I was awesome as always and got a swag of baskets. I also think I have managed to get my sore foot problem under control with a elastic pressure brace. Foot doesn't hurt much at all anymore, even after playing.

Yesterday, I took the initiative and went round to my friend Dave's place in an attempt to spice up my saturday with the company of someone else in a non-work environment. I see Dave everyday at work and we both spend a large amount of the week determining how we can inject some excitement into the "Ringwood Weekends". Dave also lives in Ringwood like me and most weeks comes up with these grand plans about "Going to look at things he might want to buy". This week (on Monday at least) Dave was contemplating "A road bike", on Tuesday he was contemplating "Getting a car", Wednesday had him mulling over "ADSL and a new PC"..etc etc. You see how the pattern goes? Dave however has one flaw, he doesn't like spending money...on anything...ever. When he dies, he'll be buried in a big pile of his money because he'll still have it all. Accordingly, none of his contemplatory purchases ever progress past the "thnking about it" stage. Therefor whenever *I* go out to purchase stuff I drag him along so as (1) to get him out of his hermit hut and into the general population and (2) to show him that buying things can be fun. I arrived at his house and knocked on the door...he wasn't home. Hahaha I just find that so funny ... Dave is ALWAYS home and the one time I deciede to go there on a whim he's gone out. Anyway, a quick phone call and I discovered he was only 200m away at the shopping center near his house. Adventuring in baby steps :)

During the last few days at work there had been some full on discussions about biking and bikes in general due to about 100 different bike sale catalogs appearing in most peoples mailboxes. I got into a discussion with one of the bigger bikeheads at work about clip pedals on mountain bikes. Ever since my huge crash in Germany I have not been a fan of clipped pedals and shoes on mountain bikes because during my crash, my clips didn't release and consequently I got pulverised by the cocktail of steep hill, bike, speed and falling off. Ever since then I have been using standard BMX type pedals on my bikes because they are easier to save yourself from a nasty accident if you need to get your foot down. I've already had 1 near miss recently where the bike slipped on gravel during a turn and I was able to get my foot down to correct the skid and not crash. If that happened in clipped pedals I would have been nursing some new injuries because there was no way I could have unclipped my foot and got it down in time. Having said that, the BIG advantage of clipped pedals is that if you ever leave terra firma, say when you bunny hop a horse jump or launch yourself over a fallen tree etc you stay "Attached" to the bike (which is always a good thing when hurtling through the air) and can land safely on your wheels. Anyway, I was sort of convinced by the resident mountain bike expert at work (He "Races" most weekends on cliff faces) that clipped pedals are good and I should at least try them again. He suggested "Hybrid Pedals" which have a clip on one face of the pedal, and a normal face on the other side for when you want to ride in sneakers/runners etc.

With this in mind Dave and I headed off to look at various bike stuff at various stores. I was now keen to get some hybrid pedals and as a consequence some cleated shoes with which to use with them. Also if not cost prohibitive, a Fox Flux helmet (turn out it WAS cost prohibitive). We went to a few stores to find nothing that interested us really (Except Dave is now "Contemplating" buying a Bianchi carbon road bike worth about $4000..hahaha). One thing that did strike me (well, Us) is that the 2009 Giant mountain bikes are uuUuUuugly!! I found some really nice looking pedals at one of the stores we visited and I bought them. This store also had some Fox clothing on sale too so I also managed to get 2 biking tops for less than the price of 1!! woot. The bike store lady also gave me $10 off the total cost too :)

After getting the pedals out of the way I also had to get shoes. Having been present at some one elses bike shoe purchase recently and seeing what was available from Specialized (who made my bike) they were on top of the list for me. Unfortunately only one store in the area sells Specialized bikes (and "stuff") so if they were too expensive there I wouldn't be getting them today and would get them off the internet later. We went to the Specialized store and loked at the prices they were OK, but I had seen them cheaper on the internet. At a previous store I had tried on about 20 different pairs of shoes and rapidly come to the conclusion that sizes across brands were not conforming to any known standard. a 45 in one brand was a 43 in another and a 47 in a third brand??? This would make buying shoes over the interwebs impossible because the "correct" size would be anyones guess and brand dependant. So I tried on the Specialized shoes and found the right size. The shoes were SoOoo pretty and felt so good on. It was very apparent, very quickly that my current addidas mountain bike shoes were the wrong size for my feet now (as they HURT to wear after about 30mins of riding). With this purchase TOTALLY justified I bought them... $150 for such awesome shoes really was a no-brainer.

After dropping off Dave (who'd successfully held off and bought nothing...who'd have guessed?) I took all my loot home and proceeded to "modify" my bike to use the new pedals. A few frustrations ensued in trying to find "tools" (I knew I had some...somewhere...?) the deed was done and I eagerly awaited the morning to try the new stuff out.

So this morning I got up and got "biked up" and headed out on the bike. I decided to stick to the boring, flat, paved eastlink path for a while to get used to clipping in, clipping out and general riding with my feet stuck to the pedals. The biggest hurdle was getting "clipped in" quickly. When stopping at lights and stuff you invariably have to clip-out and when you can go again you want to be clipped in as quickly as possible because you need to pedal in order to move (der!). It was hard to gauge where the cleat actually was on the bottom of the shoe but eventually I was getting it right pretty much straight away. I felt I had re-mastered the "clip out" ankle flick pretty much straight away and wanted to try some "off road" action :)

I headed off eastlinks trail into the bushland and fire trails and tried my luck at getting some "air" between the ground and me on the bike on some of the parts of the trail that have jumps. All I can say is that clipped pedals now OFFICIALLY ROCK! I did some awesome jumps and landed them all perfect as my feet couldn't leave the pedals :)

Here's some random "out riding" shots from today:

Ride Stats -
Length: 23km
Time: 2h 34m
Avg Speed: 15.3km/hr
Max Speed: 51km/hr (Big fire trail hill)

Tomorrow I will go and ride on another trail that was the Commonwealth games mountain bike course. It's a bit of a drive away...but apparently well worth the trip. Stay tuned for that report :)

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