The Mont 24 hour Mountain Bike Race

Last Weekend Caroline and I participated in the Mont 24 Hour Mountain Bike Race ( at East Kowen forest in the ACT.
We were in a team of six – initially we planned to participate as three couples but as one of us broke his hand we got a replacement. Still three boys and three girls, though.
It was a great weekend of little sleep, lots of exercise and it started raining Sunday morning, with just four hours to go – so we had a little fun in the mud as well.

I tracked my first three laps with Sports tracker, of course, but the fourth one was too wet and I left the phone back in the tent.

I’m hoping to find more photos online, but for now, just this one:

Quickmail block

The Quickmail module for Moodle has been on the list of plugins to test and implement on the Moodle instance I worry about for a while.

I have now had a chance to play with it a little more and to understand what it is meant to do. As a result, I don’t think that it does what we want it to do. Read more »

Fitz’s Tharwa Challenge

here’s another crazy challenge that we set ourselves: We decided to ride the 105 km Fitz’s Tharwa Challenge. It’s not a race, it’s on-road and it goes a little bit up and down (1300 m of climbing). As an incentive we decided to raise money for the OCF, who work towards finding cures for childhood cancer. Thank you so much to everyone who donated!

For experienced road cyclists this ride probably isn’t too much of an issue, but it’s more than we have ever done. On the failed ride to the coast we did around 80 km in one day in about five hours, but it wasn’t as steep. A few weekends ago we rode out to Wallaroo Road, which is almost 60 km and includes a big climb. Last weekend we attempted to ride out to Googong Dam, but were thwarted by a police road block for some unknown reason. We rode up Red Hill instead, which was another big climb, but was not very long. But good practice anyway.

At least my bike thought so, as it developed a crack in the rear chain stay. I panicked just a little bit and started looking where I could borrow a cross country bike (I have never ridden a proper roadie before and wasn’t going to make the Challenge my first time). Luckily, Steve at work was able to TIG weld the offending crack (and some other bits) on Wednesday, so I was able to use my bike today.

After enjoying Stonefest (it was great. Operator Please, Xavier Rudd, Boy & Bear, PENDULUM were excellent – Stupid drunk racist guys were not.) in the rain last night we had a short but good night’s sleep and got out there in the morning. The rain, as you can see in the photos, stopped just as we started the ride this morning, which was lucky in a way, because we didn’t get completely soaked. We didn’t get wet at all. It was also bad, because it meant that I should have put on some sun screen…

It was a really hard ride. We got to Tharwa without too many problems but the way home, especially after the last checkpoint was painful. Caroline is a great climber, but I’m not really. But we made it! And now we’re sore.

I’m glad we did it, and we’ll do some more rides of this length.

CRX two and F600 cross the Great Dividing Range

We attempted to ride from Canberra to Moruya in three days last weekend. People have made this trip successfully in one day (for the very fit ones) or two days, so we thought we coudl do it with two overnight stays in the tent.

Friends of ours woudl pick us up in Moruya and get us back home.

On the first day we made it to the camp ground in Tallaganda State Forest and set up tent. Unfortunately, that’s where the good part ended: As soon as the tent was up it started raining and pretty much didn’t really stop all nihgt, and the next day.On day two we got ready to ride past Araluen to the second stop, but took a wrong turn and found ourselves up on the Great Dividing Range, completely drenched and demoralised.It turns out the map we had, and the additional Google maps printouts we had taken, didn’t show a turn that we should have taken. D’uh! So we decided to just finish the horrible climb and descend down to Captain’s Flat instead.

It’s an embarrassing, disappointing ride, especially as there won’t be a three day weekend for both of us again until the end of the school year. But we’ll have to do it again, and get it right, this time.

Here are some photos from when it wasn’t pouring, and here is the Sports Tracker log for Day 1,  and a partial Day 2 (I couldn’t get a GPS fix due to the weather)..

Lesson learn: if you have a GPS, just use it to check where you are as well. And don’t blindly trust the maps. A real trip computer could have helped, too.

this is the last straw – Picasa

Dear Google Picasa,

you are now dead to me.

For ages you have annoyed me wit hiding metadata such as comments, ratings and albums somewhere in secret files and folders, and you have made it annoyingly difficult to keep the photos and albums in sync on my several computers.

I managed to coax you into it by mapping and symlinking folders on network drives, and it worked, as long as I didn’t attempt to use you wile not connected to these network drives.

Now you forced me to update you in the middle of the night. I had been clinking ‘update later’ for days, and so you just waited until I was asleep.And now you had to rescan all my tens of GB of photos! why couldn’t you just remember the thumbnails? And where is my meta data? Where are my albums? you forgot all about them! you stink, Picasa! The only reason I had continued using you instead of the other programs I found, is that I got free photo storage with you. but that’s not enough of a carrot any more. Good bye!

I might still use the web albums part of you, but it’s so annoying to upload anything to there without the software, it’s just not funny.

Now… to retrieve all the information you lost for me, and to import it into Zoner Photo Studio: that keeps all the meta data in a more accessible format.

Canberra Times Fun Run

Today Caroline and I participated in the Canberra Times Fun Run. It’s a 10km run though Canberra organised by the Canberra Times and the Heart Foundation.

It was the first time for us to participate in a running event of any sort and so we were nervous. We have tried to arrange at least one, if not two runs per week for the last two months or so, but only ever reached a distance of almost 8km on our last run last Sunday.

We did however manage to finish the run today in very close to an hour. Our legs are sore, but we made it. I felt that running with others made it easier to keep going even with a stitch towards the 8km mark.I tracked the whole thing using the new Sports Tracker app, of course:

I thought the run was well organised, the roads were blocked for us and there was plenty of parking and water. There were a few things that didn’t work well, however: When we got to the start, we decided that we really shoudl go to the bathroom before running. The problem was, that there was only little toilet block , and so the girls’ line was already at least 30 people long (I had an advantage, the boys’ line was short). We, and maybe 10 other people missed the start, becasue we were still waiting in line. WHy didn’t anyone think to set up some portaloos at an event with 3000+ runners? Luckily the timing starts when you cross the starting line, so we’ll still find out how long we ran for.

It was fun, and we’ll try and do some more!

I’m sad missed the Moodle Moot

Yes, I didn’t go. I thought I should just put that out there, because I did have some people asking.

I hear it was a great conference, with lots of great people (obviously), and well organised. I’m sad I missed the opportunity to catch up with the Moodle community.

Instead, I went off to take most of my leave for the year to spend two weeks exploring Germany and a week to visit my parents in Luxembourg. I returned nine days ago, mentally relaxed, physically tired and inspired about a number of non-work related things.

/update: added link to photos.


I’ve been cleaning my office in preparation for the move to the building 7 basement (until end of October)…

this is all I have to show for it – aside from a nice and clean office, and a very heavy under-desk set of drawers, of course!


Maybe time for a new body and a 21.5 turn brushless motor? If only the ESC wasn’t that expensive.

quick post: a sign of things to come

I have a new bike! Read more »