Natty Dreads

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Woo!

Won a ebay thing and I've now a painfully hip Vulpine Harrington riding jacket in a delightul snot green. £60 but a bit better than that RRP of £190 and it's brand new :)

Probably more suited to riding a fixie with a big beard than my CX but it's nice gear. I particularly like the magnetic button for the neck top. Also around the age of 14 I was a skinhead, not a horrid punchy one but more interested in ska music and the clothes. As well as tonic trousers, tasselovas, button down shirt I also wore a bright red harrington.

So three decades on it's nice to be back wearing one.

Flipping Ada

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Doh!

Had this happen over the weekend, the crank arm fell off mid ride. It's looking very much that the holding pins at the top weren't properly fixed during a service a few weeks back :( There's a narrow band of torque advised for attaching the crank arm; too tight and the pins can shear off under strain and too lose it'll just fall off. I suspect they've tightened it by hand rather than use a torque wrench.

Luckily it happened pootling down an unbusy cyclepath on a Saturday morning rather than on some of the excessively hard / fast runs I'd done the previous week. And there was a cab office just around the corner that got me home safely. The guy at the local bike shop was really apologetic and I'm glad it didn't turn into an argument about who's responsibility this was.

After having a bit of a read around about different crank sets I've ditched the FSA Gossamer and ordered a nicer Shimano CX specific one.

So basically I'm an idiot. Something vital falls off my bike because of a less than perfect service and I show them what's what by shelling out a load more money upgrading the thing they broke.

GNNNNNNG.

Back In Black

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Horrendous weather for cycling last night but I got my cyclocross bike back from Spokes after being serviced.

It's been out of action for a few months so I've been on the racer for a while. It's been an interesting time; I've significantly up my mileage and that extra riding has improved my speed. And it turns out that's also given some perspective to really appreciate the CX.

Turns out it's a cracking bike. There's a load of differences (weight, geometry, ride comfort, disc brakes) but what stands out most is a feeling a lot more of my pedal effort is getting transferred into going a bit faster. It just feels really responsive at times when the Trek can be a bit sloggy.

The frame geometry means I'm nearer to the ground and maybe that's increasing the feeling of speed and acceleration. It's hard to objectively compare it to the Trek on the basis of one run last night in a near gale but 52 minutes for the trip home isn't disgraceful even in sunnier conditions.

Maybe it's just that a change is as good a rest but whatever the reason and despite arriving home drenched and cold it was with a massive grin all over my face.

Going to try for Arbroath and back before getting into work this morning.

N+1

So here's the worse thing. I'm now convinced I need an N+1, a carbon framed road bike with a better groupset :D With winter bearing in there's no point even considering getting something until the weather gets better but I'm going to start looking. Might have my eyes on some of the new, cheaper brands of power meters starting to hit the market.

Back To Montrose

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Great cycling weekend all in all and appropriate for a little reflection on where I've got to. Best indication was Sunday's 98km round trip to Montrose, back via Dundee. It's a route I've done once before but utterly wrecked me, I remember being wobbly legged for the rest of the day and completely good for nothing.

Sunday's ride was different; I tried hard but ended feeling chipper and had a relatively active remainder of the day (including a really nice trip to the Monifieth playpark with Suzie ans Charlie). Managed a small speed increase in weather conditions a bit more challenging than the balmy July day on the original run (28.4km/h vs 27.9km/h) :)

And I'd done a 75km run the day before as well. So all in all a little bit of a step up and also my longest distance in a week.

Pretty happy but I need to get a bit faster. 100km @ 30km/h average sounds like a good goal though I think that may have to wait until next year. The Scottish weather's starting to get a lot more Scottish as we move towards winter.

Cycling Weekend

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I've set some goals. This time it's cycle straight a 100km.

Not a biggy and I've allowed myself a few weeks to get there. This weekend was a good step towards that and an excellent cock up brought me with 3km of what I was after :D

I've cycled to Perth one before and quite honestly it was horrible. An idiotic misreading of the weather coupled with a overly light clothing saw me complete the ride colder than I've ever been in my life. Got the train back, it wasn't nice. This weekend was a bit more clement so I thought I'd give it a go.

My cycling does seem to have come on since the last try. A particularly vile hill that I had to walk my bike up last time got ridden and instead of heading directly for the nearest Costa for half an hour of shivering I turned around and headed back home.

What I hadn't got quite right was the distance, I thought it was a ~80km round trip to Perth but it's actually 96.7km :D Man, if I'd know a few spins around the block would have got me to 100 :D It's not a bad ride I guess. It did piss down horribly part way through and I don't have much hill experience so the slowish average of 24km/h isn't bad for a first try at this? 4 hours in total.

What I am happy about is it wasn't physically too bad. On Sunday I managed my quickest Monifieth -> Arborath round trip and it seemed really easy. I remember one half of this trip would be knackering demanding a solid hour in the coffee shop half way through :D

This week I'll continue upping my daily distance taking a longer route home and then give it another go next weekend :D Hopefully the weather will be good and it'd be nice to try the same route. Fingers crossed for something under 4 hours :)

Some lessons learnt:

  • I need to drink on rides of this length : nothing during but sank 1.5 litres of water when I got home
  • Food might be an idea: though I didn't feel hungry. I eat near to zero carbohydrates so the high energy / sugar snacks recommended by most sites don't appeal
  • Moar Podcasts: run out on the way home :)

Hello Perth!

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Ooofio!

So every part of this story sounds like I've had a shit time today but nothing could be further from the truth :D Decided to ride to Perth today, it's nearly 50km and the longest ride I've done so far in one leg. Unfortunately I'm an idiot that didn't check the weather forecast or look at the climb involved so the blisteringly cold stormy gale and 20% gradient climb near the was a bit of a surprise. Around 500m ascent in total. It's a lot for me :)

I've been plenty cold before, stuck in a summer jacket at a train station on the outskirts of Toronto in January and brushes with similar sub zero temperatures in Chicago, Alaska and Iceland. The double whammy of flight cycling gear and severe wind chill beat all of those. Utterly horrid. Didn't fancy another 50km of that and took the train for a return journey.

But even so. I loved it. Really really loved it despite a flair up of the recurring iliotibiabl band syndrome that's been hanging around like bad smell recently.

Is This Me?

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I google imaged searched for MAMIL (Middle aged man in Lycra) and got this. Yeah it's not really pertinent but it's confusing and made me laugh

Wow! Encoutntered my first cycling bellend today. Nice ride from Monifieth to Arbroath and I'm pootling along and suddenly there's a bit of shouting from behind me. Look round and there's some (even) old (er) dude behind me on a fat old mountain bike shouting:

“You're nay beat me on this track!”

So I get out of the way and spend the next mile or so mostly freewheeling. He keeps looking back and can see this. I'm not bothered about passing him but he gets over, looking well out of breath, and agitatedly starts waving me past. So I go past and now he's shouting:

“Getting the benefit of the slip stream then!”

This guy looks like a rugby player and is probably well fitter than me, he had legs like tree trunks, but I'm lighter and riding a bike that in comparison to his tank is barely there. And I wasn't even trying to race him.

I remember when I did the Edinburgh 10km and someone told me to look out for people in the same age bracket as me, they're mostly overly competitive twats and looking in the mirror that's a fairish description of my worse behaviour. But today I got a taste of how annoying that can be when you're on the receiving end. Ooooof!

So what did I learn today?

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Arbroath is further away than it looks on the map

Managed to clock > 50km in a day cycling (Ride 1, Ride 2 and Ride 3 ) for the first time today. A small 5km in the morning coupled with a 45km round trip cycle to Arbroath. The intention had been to to cycle there, coffee shop code for a bit and then come back. That'd have worked fine if I wasn't the sort of idiot who leaves the keys for their bike lock at home. So after 5 minutes of cursing I just cycled straight back.

Must admit I'm still enjoying this, only started in earnest 4 weeks ago but I've now built to a pretty solid with daily commute round trip of 20km per day coupled with a longer run at the weekend. I can feel my legs getting and times creeping up. The ride today ended with the longish climb up Grange Road and the big surprise? It was my quickest time so yet :) A jump to sixth in the segment leader board. In your face Vicki Maclean! :D

Cross Domain AJAX Calls - Empty Calorie Learning

I know about this sort of thing now and kind of wish I didn't. After quick change in how I'm organising my home project I hit a bit of a brick wall with this nonsense. Basically if your page is served to your browser from machine A then your web client can't make an AJAX request to a different domain.

Only it can through the horrid bodge that is JSONP which I got working. But then you find out all requests have to be PUT which breaks the idea of using http verbs to implement a [RESTful interface][REST. So I binned that and have ended up using OSXs built in install of Apache as a proxy to the game that all IO is done through.

And this is great as I'm not getting a better level of separation between my game app and the browser editor client with game only have to handle the REST api. Only the other thing I learned is Apple removed easy access to the Apache server they bundled and in turn had to learn a load of rubbishy rubbish on re-enabling it again and then how to set it up as a proxy.

Also I learnt some stuff about manipulating headers in Apache to allow CORS and also setting Chrome up so it won't moan about trying to do this kind of thing.

And did that move my home project along? No. Gnnnng. It's a shame in some ways, I had a fair bit of energy this weekend, used it up and don't have a lot to show for it development wise.

But On The Plus Side

There's always days like this I suppose and I did learn some a few awesome things. Had a brief look at various bits of JS middleware out there. This thing? it's an excellent thing! I want to eventually have some live shader editing and this will be perfect for it. KickJS already does that kind of thing and it works really well.

As the JS code I'm writing gets beyond a few hundred lines it's apparent some structure and organisation that the language doesn't naturally support. The way different bits of Javascript can know about each other is by polluting the global namespace with a a load of mess. There's a few formalised approaches to packaging things up which I found after playing about with my own solution. It was interesting reading about these, I'll likely go for CommonJS or RequireJS not sure which yet. In turn lead me to an introduction of the upcoming Harmony and tangentially about the imminent Coffeescript 2 release and its exciting Kickstarter journey.

I learnt a bit more about nice development environments for Coffescript and Javascript. After experimenting with have Guard auto compile things for me last week I'm now using Cake (yes, every language seems to have their own build environment, there was make, Ruby's rake so there's also cake of course for Coffeescript) after wholesale ripping off the really pleasant setup in this lovely demo app of Coffee Physics. It's so cool all of this stuff is easily available as source and so easy to learn from. So much great stuff out, just found a port of bullet to JS!

Actually when you write it down, on top of the cross domain nonsense I learnt a lot of good stuff. Not so bad then.

I Learnt I Don't Like Old Naked Men Commenting On The Fancyness of My Goggles

Went for a bit of swimming with Suzey and the boy at the local gym. Which was ace. Charlie's really come along and close to swimming completely solo. Right now he's just got a float to help him along but he's kicking away in the water and putting his head under with a boat load more confidence and verve that the last time we went.

In the changing room after a naked old man looked at my googles and said they were 'fancy'. And I really didn't like it.

References

Strava ride 1 Strava ride 2 Strava ride 3 Up Grange Road leaderboard JSONP Cross Domain AJAX Module Approaches Common Js Require JS Harmony Cake make rake Coffeescript 2 Coffee Physics KickJS Ace Code Editor Coffeescript2 Kickstater JSBullet CORS Chrome CORS Lion Apache REST