Audax Australia
This is the umbrella organisation running long distance cycling events in Australia Their website includes a calendar of events.

A place where cyclist can keep track of their mileage and any number of other statistics, as well as an attached forum.

A set of discussion forums covering almost every conceivable cycling related topic.

Cycling Adventurer
The Cycling Adventurer has tossed in the structured life of an urbanite to explore the world by bicycle. A well-written site detailing how he came to cycling, and what he learned along the way.

Crazy Guy on a Bike

Bicycle touring journals from all over the world, including a couple of my own.

Johns Cycles

This is my LBS on the Gold Coast. While they cater more to the racing market, their service, advice and workmanship is the best on the coast.

St Kilda Cycles

Importers of all manner of things hard to find in Australia, including the legendary Schmidt hub dynamo & E6 lights.


Wonderings and wanderings out and about in Portland, Oregon, US

The Journey
The journey begins in Perth, Western Australia.

Lance Notstrong
The "other" Lance!

Ms Mittens
The Wired Cat on-line

Iron Gambit

Aussie Writer and Cycletourist
A blog chronicling the writing and cycling of a seaside baby boomer.

Up in Alaska
Jill's subarctic journal about ice, bears and distant dreams of the midnight sun.

The Kin Chronicles
Taking mediocrity to a new level of ordinary.

Riding and running with a vengeance.

London Cycling Diary
Pedalling across the capital since August 2005.

CouchPilot-2-BikePilot (Zin's cycling blog)
Living an adventurous life with Type-2-Diabetes.

The adventures of Crazy Biker Chick
... Including cycling, adventuring, cooking, knitting and ranting.

Redneck Espanol
The two wheeled Spanish redneck.

Treadly and me
"Work is something I do between riding my bicycle".

Womanist philosophy and theology. Cycling, climbing, art, single-motherhood and fire-twirling.

Adrian Fitch's random rambling.
A bit about cycling, a bit about genealogy, a bit about radio but mostly a lot about nothing at all.

Geo's big adventure
The life and times of Geo.

It's about the bike
Musings on the cycling life.

Various cycling tidbits.

Industry Outsider
A blog about bikes and stuff.

Tweed Coast Treadly
An old man's bicycle riding diary.

A cyclist's life in Tenerife
(Canary Islands).

Bike to work to live to bike
It's never too late to get back on the bike

Stupid Hurts
Just the random scribblings of a guy with a bicycle

I'm not drunk enough for this
Really, I'm not.

What can I say? Just read it.

Mozam's cycling adventures
A random collection of the things I like to do most, and mostly that is to ride my bikes, bicycles that is... My musings from competitive riding, long distance endurance to puttering around the neighborhood..

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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Staying home

I am not going out New Year's Eve (i.e. tonight). I am going to stay home and go to bed, then go for a ride tomorrow morning. To be honest I am really at a loss to explain all the fuss about this evening. Fireworks? Seen them all before -- and have seen sunsets that put them to shame. Watching the clock tick past midnight? Seen that happen before, too. Drunks brawling in Surfers Paradise (those who can still stand up anyway)? That happens every night. There isn't really much else that happens on these things, or at least there hasn't been on the nights that I have gone out. It's possible things may have changed, but every indication I've had from people who have attended these things recently suggests they haven't.

Frankly, I have better things to do.

End of the year

Apparently it's supposed to be a time to reflect. However, Mother Nature seemed to be doing a perfectly reasonable job of that this morning.

It was nice to get a last ride out to Tallebudgera Valley -- even if I stupidly turned off my computer for 12km and dudded myself out of some distance today. Not really the end of the world, but frustrating just the same. In anycase, I finished the year with 22,715km and a little over 163,000 metres of climbing, so I really can't complain. I have a much bigger 2006 planned.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Why do we love climbing?

This was a question someone asked over on bikejournal yesterday as a few of us (and yes, I was guilty) were setting climbing challenges for 2006. On the surface it seems quite a valid point -- after all, I live in a rather flat city. There really is no need, nor any reason for me to willingly or otherwise inflict pain upon myself by riding against gravity. There is certainly no reason for me to travel to the opposite end of the country to ride up hill (as in the origins of the above picture). So why do I do it?

For me I climb first and foremost for the scenery. Riding through the mountains offers wonders that just don't exist in open, flat areas. It's not only the views accessible from the mountains, but there are other things. Often it's the chance to watch clouds forming or breaking up from close quarters, perhaps riding through the remnants of a storm (I've done that a few times). It's also the business end of a lot of water systems, and there's nothing that quite matches the sound of rushing water when you're pushing your way toward the summit of the climb -- Curtis falls on Mt Tamborine comes to mind here.

Let's also not forget the physical release that comes from cycling up hill. There really is nothing quite like it. Pedalling up a long, steep climb is such an all-consuming activity that anything on your mind causing stress at a particular time is bound to be shoved aside, at least temporarily. I know that this has allowed me to perceive many situations differently in the past, and solve many other problems that I would not have solved otherwise. It's also a feeling of satisfaction about taking on a mountain and winning, although that's a minor benefit.

In the end, pain is only temporary (and not really all that bad to begin with), but the things I see as a result of cycling up hill often stay with me for much longer, forever in some cases.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Ghost gums

I'm not entirely sure that they are ghost gums, but in that light they seem to have that sort of appearance. This morning my latest attempt to escape the heat took me to Austinville. I figured I could go a little further on this morning's ride after the earlier start -- I had given up the attempt to sleep at around 3.45am. The dirt road in the final stretch (visible in the lower portion of that picture) seemed a little rougher than it was last time I was here (about a month ago). Looks like the storms may have taken their toll out there.

Some very minor flooding on one of the causeways offered some relief, but in reality it was never going to be enough water. That said, the air is always slightly cooler and cleaner in the rainforest -- perhaps I should have just stayed there.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Top 15

Here are my top 15 rides of 2005 (because I couldn't pick just ten):

15. Easter escape. An epic ride through the ranges to Ravensbourne National Park.

14. Salvation. Saving the memories from a failed attempt at an imperial double century.

13. Another Stunner The clouds playing games in Tallebudgera Valley.

12. Taming the lions. An epic ride on the Lions tourist road.

11. Oh what a night! The elation of discovering a glow worm colony, but how did I miss it for this long?

10. A real getaway. An exploration of the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

9. Mt Jerusalem. The day I finally strung together the climbs of Cudgera Creek Road and Mt Jerusalem -- something I will repeat often in future.

8. The king of inclement weather. What on Earth could propel a short ride to work into the top ten? 20 inches of rain!

7. Up -- the long overdue return to Queen Mary Falls.

6. Summer Rain An imperial century through the mountains should always be ridden in the rain.

5. All night century and companion Bike-Qld post. Just imagine an imperial century at night that includes flooded creek crossings, dirt roads, punishing climbs and stunning rainforest. Check out the companion post and tell me what are the odds?

4. Worth Framing. This was a day that just continually stimulated the senses, and ended in a beautiful place that I wasn't even aware of at the start of the day.

3. Keep telling me what I can't do. Someone said I couldn't ride across the Richmond Range between Bonalbo and Kyogle. Someone was wrong.

2. Springbrook after the flood. This probably would have been in number one, except that a 20km walk was such a big part of the day. Mountains, waterfalls, wildflowers, it was all there.

1. The Garden of Eden. The title of this ride says it all, the day I discovered the Garden of Eden (the real one).

What truly astounded me was the number of rides I had to cull from the list in order to get it down to 15. Springbrook alone could have had three entries, and none of the Repentence rides through Northern NSW made the list. To think that I'd been whining over at bikejournal about not meeting certain goals. The scary part is that next year promises to be even better, but more on that later.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Numinbah Nuked -- 100 UP!

Actually, it didn't quite happen there, but that was the biggest climb of the day. Ladies and gentlemen, I have finally completed the vertical century in 2005. It was bloody hard work in the heat today (35 degrees C). I actually had some company up to the top of that particular climb, there were a group who were out training for an ironman event of some kind.

I swear I didn't start it, but a couple of them fancied themselves as climbers, so what else is a vertical centurion supposed to do? I took the KOM points at Numinbah Gap (pictured above), but not by much. Then I continued on into the Tweed Valley after they went back. That was Okay for a while, but it was warming up. By the time I hit the climb to the John Hogan rainforest, it was 34 degrees C. This can be a tough climb, but at least there was a bit of shade today. It was also here that the milestone came up "officially".

The rainforest at the top provided some relief from the heat (it was only 31C there), but it didn't last long. I was soon on the way to Bilambil. There aren't many climbs I hate, but that's one of them -- it's totally shadeless. I didn't want to unzip the jersey because I'm absolutely frightened of skin cancer, so I just had to spin in the heat and try not to bring up those muesli bars I'd eaten during the ride. Bilambil was slowly and painfully overcome, but I'm going to really attack it for revenge during the cooler months.

After that, the last 30km or so is through flat and rather uninteresting suburbia. The problem here, of course, is my usual desire to get it over with as quickly as possible -- I couldn't. A combination of headwind and heatstroke meant it was 21-22km/h all the way home. I couldn't even raise a victory salute at the end of the ride (note, it was nothing that couldn't be fixed by a cold shower at home).

So there it is -- 161,376 metres of climbing, or 161.376km, which, I believe, makes 100 miles. If there's any doubt, I still have another week to really make a bird of it. Now I need a new challenge -- I think I'll quit cycling forever and take up ballet.

One other thing to note from this ride: the town water in the village of Chillingham is crap, but it should be OK after boiling. Fortunately, in these conditions, boiling it just means leaving it in a water bottle for about five minutes.

Friday, December 23, 2005

50 days to go!

There is not a lot of excitement in this particular update -- I'm basically just sitting in front of a computer during my lunchbreak typing gibberish. To be honest I'm feeling a little frustrated at the combination of heat and time constraints that is preventing me from getting on my bike and just pedalling for a good solid nine or ten hours. It could take a while before I get that sort of time, given the way things normally are at this time of year, but I'll just have to see what happens. Right now I just want to get the hell out of suburbia for an extended period of time and explore somewhere.

I am consoling myself somewhat by the fact that today it's officially just 50 days until I land in Christchurch to pedal around New Zealand's South Island. Most things are already sorted out in respect of that, but there is still a slight quandry about which bike I should take. It probably arises because I haven't had a long tour on the hybrid yet (three day tours do not count), and the slightly lower gearing of the MTB could be handy in places like Crown Range or the Banks Peninsula where there are substantial climbs on dirt roads.

In other news, a "cyclist" yelled at me to get off the road and onto the footpath on the ride home from work yesterday. It was hardly a matter of concern to me as he didn't seem terribly interested in following me through the traffic to make it happen. Of course, there were various retorts I could have used -- "get a job" would have been accurate, but it only came to my mind later on. There was another retort that did come to mind at the time, but I'm glad I held that one back. After all, he might have taken the "offer" seriously, and I had to excrete out of that orifice later on. Seriously though, I'm just too cynical to be surprised by things like that anymore, and too arrogant to waste my time on them.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Road rage and the psychology of the bully

This is an excerpt from a post that I made over at bikejournal last week. It was one of the semi-regular threads about dealing with aggressive drivers, but a thread that started as a discussion on the legal issues quickly turned into a self-blame fest for "antagonising" drivers. You may be able to access the thread here, although the site may require registration to view that page.

There seems to be a certain automatic "blame the cyclist" reaction everytime a cyclist has a disagreement with a driver. Indeed, many cyclists themselves seem to have bought into it. This would seem a little unusual, as more often than not (although admittedly not always) the driver seems to be the aggressor in these cases, either by abusing/threatening/assaulting the cyclist. I suppose the blame arises simply because society finds it easier to just blame the victim, as this is usually an effective means of avoiding any obligation to take action over the incident.

I've had this sort of behaviour directed at me a number of times, always unprovoked. I've often tried to react positively, and have come to the conclusion that being conciliatory in this situation is like trying to be conciliatory to a schoolyard bully -- it just doesn't work. Consequently, these days I tend to just go about my business exactly as I was going about it before, and not let it concern me -- the same approach I used to take to schoolyard bullies. So far this latter approach has proven the most effective both in preventing the situation from escalating, and in maintaining my own piece of mind.

I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had quite a bit of experience with schoolyard bullies (the kind of experience that comes only with being the smallest in the class). Fortunate, because it taught me a lot about people. The scenario generally works like this: Bully/coward (strike out whichever does not apply) encounters a situation in their own life they can't cope with. Bully/coward somehow realises they can't deal with it, and so, looks for a totally unrelated outlet they can use in order to try to compensate for their own deficiencies.

The psychology between the aggressive driver and the schoolyard bully is identical. The schoolyard bully picks on the smallest kid in the class because he figures they can't (or at least won't) hit back. The aggressive driver picks on a cyclist because he figures they can't catch up to him. If you don't believe me, try riding in a situation where you might be able to catch up to them (such as gridlock) and watch the attitude change.

Every day on the way to work I ride through gridlock in the so-called "rush hour" and pass hundreds (sometimes thousands) of cars. I can lane-split (which I often do), I can do anyone of a million other things, and nobody will even raise their voice. For all the abuse I've had directed at me by drivers over the years, I have never had a problem riding through gridlock.

Conversely, virtually all of the road-rage related problems* that I have had with drivers have occurred on quiet roads where there were few (if any) witnesses, and where they could step on the gas and get away without being hindered by traffic. Even those who found themselves hindered by traffic later on to the extent that I could catch up to them again suddenly went very quiet when it happened.

Clearly, these aren't poor souls who are upset about being "held up" by an evil, moustache-twirling cyclist. These are cowards with their own set of problems who simply perceive the cyclist as an easy target. No amount of being nice to motorists and politely asking them to return the favour is going to work, because ultimately, the problem isn't with the majority of motorists -- the problem is with a very small subset with a different psychology to the average motorist.

The real solution is going to come back to law enforcement. It's going to come back to the police taking cyclists' complains seriously enough to investigate, and actually prosecuting where appropriate. However, this is not going to happen as long as we have people (including cyclists who really should know better) trying to excuse, defend or (in some cases) even support this behaviour by describing it as some kind of desperate call for help from a poor soul that has been tortured by demons on two wheels.

However, nothing is going to be achieved by simply taking the easy option of seeking to blame the victim.

* I generally have more problems with drivers who are just plain incompetent than those who are overly aggressive. The incompetent tend to be greater in number, and far more difficult to predict.

Monday, December 19, 2005


I experienced something even more remarkable today, rarer than a sighting of Halley's comet! After all of my complaining about relentless heat and so on, I took a ride this morning in which the temperature literally plummeted to 12 degrees C. This is something that doesn't happen very often even in the middle of "winter", yet just three days before the longest day of the year, and it happened. Of course, I am not complaining by any means, in fact, I was still in short sleeves regardless. I was, however, slightly in shock at this totally unprecedented development. I might do some research later to see if there has ever been a "colder" December temperature ever recorded at Little Nerang Dam. I would be extremely surprised.

Sadly, it couldn't last -- riding to work 90 minutes later and it was up to 27 degrees C and rising. Still, it was nice while it lasted. Actually it was a really nice ride. I was still a little sore from the midnight -- I guess riding hard between 2 and 4 am really takes it out of you. I really need to take the camera out to Little Nerang Dam more often, just to capture a shot from the ride through the gorge. It's something I keep meaning to do, but it never quite happens. Maybe some day...

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The midnight century

The other thing that happened on Friday evening (or perhaps Saturday morning) was the midnight century at Ipswich. Actually, I almost didn't make it -- I was worried that Friday evening's downpour would flood out the train from Nerang, but that didn't happen, so I was on my way. I would have liked an hour or two to sleep before the ride, but time constraints put paid to that as well.

The ride itself got underway at a pretty frantic pace -- largely due to the high proportion of 30-40km riders who wanted to ride a century at that same pace. A couple of minor climbs in the Grantham/Laidley/Forest Hill areas put paid to that situation. Actually, I came into my own a little in that stretch. I'd been struggling with the pace early and even thought about dropping back before Rosewood, but once we hit the hills I started to feel better. By the first checkpoint at Forest Hill I'd somehow become ensconced in the really fast group, probably not ideal considering I was doing this thing on a Hybrid.

It was an interesting exercise in trying to hold the pace, but the group was surprisingly patient anytime someone felt the need to slow for a couple of minutes or so, and it was an absolutely beautiful night to be out. I really need to do more rides at that time of night, and build up some conditioning for riding at that time. 2-4am seems to be the hardest, as it's right at the bottom of the sleep cycle. That said, we just wound our way through localities like Coominya and Lowood, eventually on to Fernvale for the second checkpoint.

By now the sun was coming up, and my legs were really complaining. After the feed here, I basically abandoned my plans to stay with the really fast group and just set off at my own pace. With the sun now rising, I started looking for pictures to take from the ride, just a souvenir of the experience.

Perhaps surprisingly, I actually caught a couple of riders from the really fast group, who had also decided to ease off the pace a bit after 125km. We actually ended up riding together just for the sake of it. We basically regrouped in Marburg just to check the route, and one or two other things. Between here and Rosewood was the most beautiful part of the entire ride, the climb of the Marburg Range. The views here are surprisingly good -- surprising because the summit is still less than 200 metres above sea level.

After passing through Rosewood (again), it was now just a route-finding challenge. The one downside of this ride was spending the final 10km winding through the suburbs of Ipswich to get the distance, personally I would have preferred to have spent that 10km winding through somewhere else. On the other hand, this last 10km was hilly enough to put the ride over 1,000 metres of climbing, so perhaps it's not worth complaining.

The three of us found our way back to Queens Park, where there was already a barbecue on for the finishers. I was actually a little surprised that the kiosk next door wasn't open -- I would have thought they might have done some trade on a Sunday morning at that time, but then, it was Ipswich. The finish actually seemed a little low-key, but that's probably a good thing, and to be expected with people who have been up cycling all night. All in all, however, it was a thoroughly enjoyable ride, and I'll certainly be back for it in 2006.

Hopefully it's on the Saturday night this time -- I still harbour an idea of riding to the start of the ride, just for the challenge. Turning it into a 300km ride would be very, very interesting.

Do Never Test

Do never test my sunsets. Actually, it's been a while since we had a really stunning one, so perhaps this shot is overdue:

That was on Friday evening, shortly after we'd had 70mm of rain dumped in less than one hour.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Going soft

By now I assume everyone is aware of what happened in the Sydney suburb of Cronulla at the weekend. Anyone who hasn't heard of it need only do a Google News search for "racial violence" -- I'm too lazy to dig up a link to the original story right now. As usual, there has been all sorts of finger-pointing flying around in the media (who should probably take some of the blame themselves for all the "us and them" stories they seem so fond of). Rumours have been flying around on the Internet of retaliatory attacks by various groups as far away as Melbourne, and there have been further stories of inciteful text messages doing the rounds on the Gold Coast (nobody has texted me yet, but that may only be because they realise just how useless I'd be in a fight).

However, has anyone stopped to ask just why a brawl of that size can see so few people arrested? One report I heard on Sunday Evening claimed 16 people had been arrested (many of whom will be released without charge), which might seem like a lot, but it's peanuts when one considers that the first night of Schoolies' Week this year saw 35 people arrested in a relatively quiet opening (the same night has been over 100 in the past), and yet that particular event didn't see scenes anything like what happened in Sydney. It's not the first time violent events have taken place with relatively few people held accountable. One night on the Gold Coast earlier this year, two brawls involving a total of 70 people saw a grand total of just one arrest. One restaurant owner in Brisbane is even looking to get a council permit to have his own "police" patrol his street because the regular fights are driving patrons away.

There has been a lot of talk about new laws or curfews to try to prevent repeats of this sort of violence, but this sort of thing has never really been shown to be effective. After all, we already have laws against assault and related offences, breaking a curfew is hardly going to be of a concern to the perpetrators of acts like these. Sooner or later, someone is going to have to start holding thugs accountable for their own actions on an individual basis. Let's be realistic about this incident, it was not an isolated event. The comments from many of the local residents in various places indicate that this sort of thing has been going on for quite some time (albeit smaller instances), and too often both the police and the courts have failed to act appropriately to remove the offenders. Indeed, I know some people in Sydney who won't even leave their house without being accompanied by their very large dog.

Furthermore, it isn't going to stop here either. What is truly needed to put a stop to this sort of thing is for the Australian legal system, from the police right through to the judges in the Highest Court in the country, to take a stand on violent crimes. It's time to stop listening to lame excuses like "the other lot were doing it". At present in this country, a person will receive a longer sentence for insider trading than for murder (excepting the really high-profile cases when the media jumps on the bandwagon), this is hardly a deterrent. It's a sad indictment on a country's national psyche when killing someone is considered a lesser crime than "beating the system".

There are, of course, other issues to be resolved. The whole "us and them" approach people in this country have toward immigrants is extremely immature, and really should have been bred out generations ago. It's all well and good (and probably quite accurate) to blame the media for it, but they alone aren't totally culpable here -- those stories wouldn't sell so many newspapers if people didn't already have some underlying feelings in this area. However, first and foremost, it's time to end this country's cavalier attitude towards violence, and that starts with some serious sentences for the perpetrators. Until that happens, the situation will continue to deteriorate.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

This time I'm really back!

So I didn't do the planned century ride today. Actually, I probably could have done it, but I really didn't feel up to it this morning. Later in the day, however, the frustration at not riding began to build, so I decided to do something about it. I headed out for an evening ride, starting at 5pm. 12km in, pushing into a headwind while still trying to escape suburbia I was feeling like crap and on the verge of giving up on it. Finally I managed to stick at something long enough to get some rewards! I started feeling better as I headed south, and the two climbs on either side of Bilambil came with a feeling of "Geez, this isn't so hard". I hit the John Hogan rainforest too early to see any glow worms, but it was nice to do the pilgrims' road in twilight for the first time ever.

The main attraction was coming back on Urliup Road. After the initial 2km climb it's narrow, winding and dirt through the rainforest. Actually I was a little excitable initially, and this caused some problems on a couple of corners. I got my wits back, aimed the beam of my super-powered headlight a couple of degrees lower to deal with this section, and started to really enjoy just being alive. I just love this little dirt road. No matter how many times I ride it, I never tire of it. It doesn't matter where else I've been on a ride, I always love coming back this way.

Just after the dirt I saw a weird light coming toward me. I've no idea what it was, or even if it was real, but I actually braced myself for an impact which never came. Weird. I did eat another muesli bar shortly after that. Even riding back through suburbia after the ride seemed enjoyable (apart from that idiot on the scooter at Miami). It really was a beautiful night. Maybe I was just meant to do this ride tonight.

There also seemed to be a lot of animals around tonight. I saw a wallaby, two cats, a big dog that darted out in front of me, and a number of frogs that seem to like running under my front wheel. I think it's time for a public service announcement here -- it's canetoads that I want to kill, not frogs. All in all it's turned into a satisfactory weekend, even if illness initially prevented me from getting all the things done that I wanted to get done. Roll on the Midnight Century!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Good news/bad news

This month looks like turning into one of those good news/bad news jokes right now. The good news is that my back stood up to the climb of Springbrook this morning without any problems. The bad news is that this virus that I picked up earlier in the week is still with me, and just doesn't seem to want to go away. I'm sure I only made it up the mountain today on sheer guts and determination, since I didn't seem to have any power. At times my pedalling style seemed like I was literally winching myself up the mountain, and there was a lot more sweat than usual (even by Queensland standards). That said, the time to get up didn't seem to be overly excessive, so maybe it's not as bad as I thought. I'm still undecided about tomorrow's century ride. I may delay it 12 hours and go for another ride at night instead.

As for today's trip, I decided to visit Goomoolahra, a picnic ground near a waterfall that I haven't been to for a while. Not far from here is the walk to Bilbrough's Lookout, which I did in 1997. It was pretty rugged, but very beautiful back then, and I'm keen to do it again, however, I suspect it may have been closed. I'll think about having a closer look at some point in the future, right now I really want to do it again.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Reports of my demise...

Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. Seen on a sign outside a school at Mudgeeraba on a ride this morning: "Thanks for everything Chris, enjoy your retirement". Now I know I've been a little off-colour in the last couple of weeks, but I think that announcement may have been just a little premature. Just for the record, I'm still on course to complete 100 vertical miles for the year, and still a chance of cracking 23,000km for the first time ever.

In recent weeks I have, however, been a little frustrated by my inability to escape suburbia. Don't get me wrong, it was nice to attend a couple of concerts and resting up for a little bit probably did me some good. It also helped that the scar I reopened on my left forearm in the crash actually healed better the second time around. However, something has been missing, those few moments to escape the monotony of concrete, to escape the short fuses and prickliness of society, to escape the insanity. This morning, that opportunity came from Little Nerang Dam. The picture below, while perhaps not as spectacular as some of my others, captures that moment, the moment of a glimpse of the outside world. Now I have my chance to explore it once again.

Monday, December 05, 2005


Seen on a bus shelter at Currumbin this morning:

By the time another bus comes, another Queenslander will have been diagnosed with skin cancer.

Now, I know these guys have a serious message here, but have they ever heard the phrase "that isn't saying much"? On the Gold Coast you could just as easily say "by the time another bus comes, another Queenslander will have seen Halley's Comet... four times!".

Yes, I am in a slightly bad mood, largely due to the heat, and partially due to cancelling yesterday's ride. I decided to rest my back for another week before taking on any mountains. That decision was, of course, assisted by 35 degree temperatures and a slight fever (probably a result of the heat). I did go out this morning for a quickie before work, and I'll have another tomorrow bushfire permitting. I'm hoping to finally crack imperial century number 30 this weekend, and right now I'm leaning toward making it a night ride.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Blown away

Last night I finally got to see Sarah Blasko after the original August show was cancelled. It was definitely worth the wait. I was already aware of what she could do after hearing a live set on Triple J earlier in the year, but last night was something completely different again. When she walked on and started to sing All Coming Back, a kind of awed hush fell over the crowd (the venue was sold out incidentally), the likes of which I've never seen before. There was cheering in the short instrumental sections between vocals that the arrangement of that particular song allows, before the crowd would once again fall silent when her vocals started again, clearly not wanting to miss any of it.

She had basically walked in as if she owned the place, and from that moment she did. Some of the other highlights included At Your Best, Cinders, Perfect Now and her version of Cold Chisel's Flame Trees, which totally owns the original version. Then there is that voice, I really think she could sing the telephone directory and make it sound beautiful. It was truly an amazing show, and I'll be making sure I get to the next show she does in Queensland.

As an added bonus, I actually got to meet her briefly after the show. I was a little nervous about it, but she is a very nice person. I had ended up buying some souvenir mittens at the gig because all of the other clothing in my size was sold out by this time. I'm sure they will be useful in New Zealand in February/March, but the fabric they were made of meant that the attempt to have them signed didn't really work out. In anycase, we had a laugh about it. The only regret is that I didn't bring a camera (I wasn't sure this particular venue was the right place). It would have been nice to have had my picture taken with her, although on the other hand, the comparison would have made me look even uglier.

It's also worth mentioning The Devoted Few, the band who were on before Sarah. They're actually quite good themselves, and definitely worth checking out. They had one particularly fanatical fan at the front of the crowd, he ended up trying to get them to take requests. At one stage he offered an "inducement" -- $5. It all appeared quite amusing to everyone else (including the band members), I'm sure that guy's friends won't allow him to live that one down. All in all it was a great night.

I just noticed that there are no ride photos on the front page for the first time in months. Hopefully I can rectify that tomorrow.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Two in six days

Up until going to see Oasis last weekend, I hadn't been to a concert in two years. Tomorrow night I finally get the chance to see Sarah Blasko, which will make it two concerts in six days. Actually, I would have done something similar two years ago, except that by the time I'd realised The Shins were playing in Brisbane, I was already committed to starting my Tasmanian tour that weekend. Incidentally, the band that I did see in December 2003 was Gersey, who are supposed to have a new CD coming out soon apparently.

With a bit of luck my back will be up to a decent ride this Sunday. If so, I might head up to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and explore Obi Obi Gorge and somewhere around there. The climb of the Blackall Range near Maleny is a decent one, and beyond that the terrain is likely to be equally rugged. On the other hand, I need to get back into some semblance of form for the Midnight Century.