Friday, November 23, 2007

Back on the Road

Being picked up in 45 minutes to go cycle Lake Taupo. Am riding fixed, but have fitted a dingle cog to have a backup gear (giving 42/17 and 36/21 - oops, thought I had a 38). The route is famously hilly, although mostly the first half. Have no idea how things will turn out - how hilly is hilly? Either way, I'm down to the one bike right now (due to a bottom bracket failure on my favourite) so I'm girding myself up and determined to have fun.

Also have no crew to ride with, but surely will find some companions among the thousands enrolled. There is talk about organising a bunch of us in commuter getup, but who knows if that will pan out. Had hoped to organise a relay team from work and ride alongside them, but that sort of thing is not my forte.

Being on my own, I opted for bus and campground, but bus won't confirm space for the bike so have ended up getting separate lifts for it and me. I get there around lunch, and will miss having a bike to cruise round on all afternoon. Hopefully it arrives around seven, but I'm not optimistic. As for camping, this will be my first chance to try my new hammock(!). The campground requires me to use it hung from poles not trees, but eventually I couldn't resist and am leaving behind a 'normal' tent kindly lent to me. I am nervous whether it will offer the illusion of security in an inner-city campground, and provide sufficient space to sort my kit out before bed tonight. The ride kicks off at 7:15, so want a quick start. (Not that I had trouble being awake in time for today's pick up. Am quite excited.)

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Professional Sport as Pinnacle not Entertainment

The editorial at the front of the latest Practical Pedal caused me reflect on my objections to professional sport.

Professionalism was promoted for Rugby as a due reward for the effort required to reach the top and practical support necessary to reach even higher heights. (Let's forget for now about
the important aspect of keeping players from defecting to League.) That sounds good enough, but I see the heart going out for the game as it becomes just another entertainment for TV to package ads into. Perhaps the fact that fewer kiwis seem to play these days (is this true? If so it is as much a general cultural trend as any fault of the Rugby Union) makes it harder to see those achieving-excellence arguments as so relevant, but they do seem fair in principle.

Perhaps I can accept payment to support athletes at some level, but advise caution increasing with the popularity of the sport to non-participant spectators?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Harsh Chemicals

Heather has been playing with homemade deodorant, as she is sick of throwing out little plastic bottles. The internet is full of helpful pages, but some of them drive her inner chemist to despair.

Apparently using baking soda allows you to avoid harsh chemicals, but the same writers go on to mention that using too much can cause irritation. What did they think they would get when they put sodium bicarbonate in water?