Mountain Bike Championships at Stromlo

Last Saturday we popped out to Stromlo for the afternoon to watch the Australian Mountain Bike Championships.

The weather was not superb, we got rained on a bit, but not badly and we went prepared. What we weren’t prepared for was the sun, which despite being behind the clouds all day still gave me a bit of a roasting. Oops.

We caught the start of the Elite/U23 Men’s XC, and then walked up the hill once the race was going. We caught the field coming down Old Duffy Descent at the end of their first lap, and then saw them going up Cockatoo Switchbacks not long after that.

After a bit of walking we got up to Hammerhead, which was pretty packed, but managed to get a good spot right next to the main drop. Needless to say riding down that is insane.

I put a couple of videos up on youtube, some of the top ten riders, and one of the guys coming close to having an off.

On the second last lap we walked over to Luge to watch them riding down there which was educational.

Later on we watched a bit of trials, and some downhill practice, and then caught the Vets/U19 race.

Once again we went up to Hammerhead, the place to be. It was interesting watching them, only a handful were riding the A-line, and some were so ragged and on the edge you were always wondering if they’d make it. In contrast the Elites pretty much all looked solid all the time. And the live commentary from Andy Blair, consisting almost entirely of sledging, was good too.

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Posted by mike on Friday March 1st, 2013 | comments disabled

Mulligans Flat

Went for a really nice evening ride around Mulligans Flat last night. It was Meg’s idea after she went there for a work trip.

You can really tell the areas where they are keeping the roo population down, there’s so much more grass. Saw a bunch of wallabies as well as roos, and thought maybe we saw a Bettong, but it was probably a rabbit.

Posted by mike on Tuesday February 19th, 2013 | comments disabled

New Years Eve in the Snowies

After a pretty lazy Christmas Meg and I decided we should do something a bit more active for New Years Eve.

So we headed up to the Snowies for two days or so. We basically just did the Lakes Walk, over two days and two nights, and added a bit of a detour around the west side of Kosi and up Mt Stillwell.

On the first night we camped below Kosi, just around from Wilkinsons Creek. It was a great spot for watching the sun slowly dip down, we watched it all the way to the horizon, and then marked the occasion with a bit of Port out of a plastic bottle.

After many attempts I finally got a decent panorama, from a perch up on a rock. It’s best viewed full size, or if you view it on Google+ you can pan around.

The second day we walked around the western side of Kosi, and then up the south west flank to end up above the Lake Cootapatamba cornice. It’s not an area you usually get to, so it was really nice to have the time to explore it. Although there were a few scrubby bits, on the whole it was pretty easy going as long as you chose your route carefully.

After bagging the peak and running away to avoid the crowds, we had a nice lunch at the Snowy river. Then there was the inevitable trudge down the Kosciuszko road to Charlotte Pass.

Althought we’d parked there, we ignored the car and instead headed straight up Mt Stillwell. There’s a new looking track, that I don’t remember from previous trips, which makes it quite an easy walk.

After a bit of hunting around to find a spot out of the wind we put the tent up just a few metres below the summit and settled in. We cooked dinner and watched the sun go down, again with a splash of plasticky-port.

There was no attempt made to stay up until midnight, the real objective was to wake up for the sunrise. As it turned out that wasn’t all that hard, sleeping outside under the stars you wake up pretty easily when it starts getting light.

Luckily it was a superb sunrise, with some low cloud over the Monaro and the full disc of the sun appearing. Just half an hour later it clouded over, so we were pretty lucky to see it!

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Posted by mike on Tuesday February 5th, 2013 | 1 comment

Gibraltar Peak


Another great Canberra vista, the view from Gibraltar Peak. They’ve built a new track which goes through the forest and is much nicer than the old fire trail. And although they have put in a viewing platform it’s not actually on top of the peak, and is fairly small and unobtrusive, which is good.

Posted by mike on Thursday November 1st, 2012, tagged with | comments disabled

The Weekend

Went for a nice ride at Stromlo on Saturday. Meg did a very good job of avoiding a massive black snake which was relaxing on the track.

Today I felt like I was coming down with Meg’s uber cold, but Meg put me in the car and dragged my carcass out to Sparrow Hill. We did the new 10K loop plus a bit. We’d been out there once before but that was on our touring bikes, so it was great to get out there on a proper bike. It’s not as convenient as Stromlo but the riding is really nice and there’s so many trails to do.

We didn’t set any records, but I rode fairly well given I was trialing some new cutting edge footwear technology:

Posted by mike on Sunday September 23rd, 2012 | comments disabled

FAT32 Filesystem Archaeology

A while back I bought Dad an iRiver E150 so he could make audio recordings of my grandparents. It’s quite a nice little device and had been doing a fairly good job for a few months, but then all of a sudden some of the recordings wouldn’t play.

To cut a long and boring story short, I eventually discovered that the device had simply overwritten some of the recordings with others, ie. no I/O errors or anything nasty, just a software bug.

In the process I looked around for tools to examine FAT filesystems, and didn’t find much. If anyone knows of any I’d love to hear about them. In the absence of a proper tool I bodged up some code to do what I needed – and only what I needed.

I’ve thrown the code up in case anyone else finds themselves in a similar predicament. The idea is you dd the data off and point the code at it and examine it, it’s read only. It can dump the FAT, show you orphan clusters (with no dentry pointing at them), search for a value, and save clusters or cluster chains.

Massive thanks to the Wikipedia page on FAT.

Posted by mike on Friday February 17th, 2012, tagged with , | comments disabled

A long overdue Euro update

Our last blog entry, although a little hurriedly written was at least not too tardy, coming after only seven weeks of travelling. But that was three months ago, sorry!

So what the hell have we been up to? When we last spoke we’d just ridden to the Pyrenees from Bordeaux. We set up camp in Argeles-Gazost, a nice little town surrounded by foothills. That was our base while we watched two more stages of the Tour de France, and rode up the Col du Tourmalet, which was amazing and amazingly hard work!

From there we rode up to 900m and stayed a while in Cauterets, which we used as a base to do an an amazing two day walk through the surrounding mountains, including hiking up to 3000m, which is high!

We also rode up the Col d’Aubisque while we we’re in the mountains, another spectacular pass from the Tour de France.

A couple of trains took us from the Pyrenees up to Limoges, where we spent a great week with Jana and Pato and their crazy bunch of friends. While there we visited Oradour-sur-Glanne, site of a Nazi massacre, terrible but an amazing historical experience.

There was also much eating thanks to Pato’s amazing cooking skills, a wee bit of drinking, some climbing at the wall in town, and a great mountain bike ride around Limoges with Fred & Joanne.

After Limoges we headed off east into the Massif Central for some great riding. Never a flat metre but beautiful country, we spent about a week getting to Clermont-Ferrand, including a day walking up the Puy de Sancy.

Another train ferried us to Paris from Clermont-Ferrand, where we spent an awesome week. Our home was a little sixth floor apartment north of the river, which was just so perfect. We did some of the typical touristy things, but skipped some, like the Louvre, owing to the crowds. Great city, go there sometime.

Although by then we’d spent almost two months in France, we would have happily spent another six. Unfortunately I had to skedaddle because my visa was running out, so a TGV deposited us in Strasbourg from where we could ride into Germany. More details of the ensuing adventures in our next instalment, hopefully sooner than three months time!

Posted by mike on Saturday October 8th, 2011 | comments disabled

The story so far

Welcome to the very long awaited blog post from Mike & Meg’s Europe trip!

We’ve been busy having lots of fun and generally not getting online or updating the blog much, but it’s finally raining so here we are.

The trip started in late April when we flew to Hamburg. We put our bikes together in the airport and from there we rode maybe 150km to Kiel via Lübeck, over the course of 6 days. There are a few photos up here. We had great weather for April, cold but sunny and no rain, though some pretty stiff and cold wind off the Baltic sea. The riding was generally lovely, on nice tracks or quiet country roads.

In Kiel we met up with the lovely Emmy, and stayed at here cute place for a few days. We also met my folks who had driven from Frankfurt. After a bit of packing we managed to get the four of us in their car along with or gear and we started a three week tour of Norway. Originally we thought it would be nice to ride around Norway, but we’re quite glad we didn’t. It’s a beautiful country, but one best driven through!

We had lots of great adventures, too many to write quickly here. But we did a bunch of great walks, and drove some beautiful roads. We took a brilliant ferry ride down a fjord, for 4 hours (slow ferry), and drove way up North to the Lofoten islands, well above the arctic circle, and it was arctic!!

Of course I took a billion photos, there’s a rough selection up here.

After returning to Kiel we split up with mum and dad, and spent a few days riding with Emmy. The three of us set out from Lübeck and after getting me a new pedal (long story!) rode for four days along the lovely Elbe river. It was a really nice ride, and we would have kept going except Emmy had to get back to Uni to catch bats!

After the Elbe we headed to Berlin, where we were put up by the lovely Bosses in their lovely 4th floor apartment, which is bigger and much nicer than our house! We spent a day with mum and dad looking around Berlin and visited tante Hilde, who was in fine form and seemed pretty happy to see us, especially Meg because she’s so pretty.

Mum and dad headed off to Poland and the two of us spent a week camped in the center of Berlin, and generally just gadded about, it was really lovely. It was also Meg’s birthday, which we celebrated by getting her a new pair of climbing shoes, going to a nice cafe, a big chocolate shop and finishing the day with a giant schnitzel and brat kartofeln in a cute little restaurant.

From Berlin we trained too Aachen, from where we spent 4 days riding through Belgium to Brussels. Seeing as we had no idea and no map, the ride through Belgium went fairly well, though we did ride through some of the least salubrious parts of the country it seems.

In Brusssels we were excellently looked after by Tom & Amanda, including a very interesting and fun trip to a local war memorial that ended at the Soccer club drinking 8% trapist beer with the Mayor. Not to mention lots of lovely food excursions, and some great driving experiences thanks to the locals intersecting approach to road safety.

Wanting to get into France in time for the Tour, we caught a procession of trains down to Tours, on the Loire. Then spent a hot but fun week riding along the river past chateaux, and then inland to catch the first two stages. The Tour was awesome to see, and completely hectic and crazy as you would imagine!

After the Tour we rode and trained to Bordeaux, via the seaside town of La Rochelle, which was great to see. Bordeaux was also beautiful, and amazingly busy and seemingly affluent, we fit right in.

The last three days we’ve ridden overland to Pau, on the edge of the Pyrenees, over some interesting country, and over our first decent hills with gear on the bikes.

Hopefully we’ll get around to uploading some photos soon, I’m sure you’d all love to see them! But if the weather stays as good as it has been it could be some time!

If you’re a fan of the Tour de France, and of course you all are, keep an eye out for us on stage 12 and 13, hopefully we’ll have a good posy!

Posted by mike on Wednesday July 13th, 2011 | 1 comment

Climbing, and a wee bit of cooking too

Back in February we drove out to Namadgi with Andrew, Penny & Adam, hoping to get in a spot of climbing at Orroral Ridge. It was not to be said the weather gods, although it was just cloudy down in Canberra, it was raining fairly convincingly up in the hills.

Plan B was to do a spot of bouldering at the Deacon residence, but not before we’d stopped to pick Blackberries, and scrumped a few apples on the way too.

The end result was a great afternoon of bouldering, really we did, interrupted by a feast of home made bread thanks to Adam, and followed by home made Blackberry & Apple pie. Nice!

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Posted by mike on Thursday April 21st, 2011 | comments disabled


After Woodford we popped down to Brissie for a few days to hang out with Dan & Michelle. As usual we arrived covered in mud and smelling like wet dogs, but they’re used to that by now and barely even noticed.

We spent a bit of time relaxing and generally hanging about. Dan & I managed to get one of his nerf rockets stuck in a tree, and then got the cricket ball we used to knock it down stuck in the tree, and finally got them both down with a soccer ball. Serious stuff.

There was some gourmet cooking, with thanks to Jamie Oliver. We drove out to Redcliffe, and got to stick our feet in the sea, which seemed more like a river to me, a big river for sure.

The main event though was climbing at Kangaroo Point, which we’d brought gear up for and stashed with Dan on the way to Woodford. We spent an evening and a morning there, the best times for the heat. Our dodgy print out of routes gave us a rough idea, but the locals were really helpful and gave us our bearings.

We started with a 12 or thereabouts, which was easy enough, and gave Dan a nice easy start I think. After that I think we did a 14 and maybe a 16, which were good, though I was starting to add 1 or 2 to the grades in my head.

As the light faded the spot lights came on. Although obviously better than it being dark, it was pretty darn weird. As you climb up, with the spotlights below you, you increasingly can’t see your feet because of the glare. Perhaps though it’s my fault for not climbing routes that are sufficiently overhanging and so consistently lit.

In the morning we did something else I’ve forgotten, and finished up with the excellent Halva (16). It is one of the star routes of the crag and I have to agree. Again I think we’d probably call it 18 down south, but maybe I’m just not used to the rock type. Anyway it was a great route. Dan didn’t quite finish it, but made a very good attempt, including a major detour onto what was definitely harder ground, all good fun. Meg said it looked hard, but then cruised it.

And so finished a great little trip to Brissie. Little did we know, just a few days later the whole place would be under water!

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Posted by mike on Thursday April 21st, 2011 | comments disabled

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