Friday, 26 March 2010

Do It Anyway...

Happy Birthday Flip.

Happy Birthday Clare.

Épernay... Look at moi...

Tomorrow I head back to the greatest country outside Australia. For Clare's birthday we are heading to Epernay in France.

According to Wikipedia:
Épernay (Sparnacum) belonged to the archbishops of Reims from the 5th until the 10th century, when it came into the possession of the counts of Champagne. It was badly damaged during the Hundred Years' War, and was burned by Francis I in 1544. It resisted Henry of Navarre in 1592, and Marshal Biron fell in the attack which preceded its eventual capture. In 1642 it was, along with Château-Thierry, named as a duchy and assigned to the duc de Bouillon.

More accurately, however, it's within the region that Champagne comes from.

I have a few issues with the Wikipedia explanation:
a) The Hundred Years War actually went for 116 years and was a series of different wars;
b) The French Royal Anthem is mostly about Henry of Navarre, yet Épernay resisted him- does that mean they should have their own renegade Royal Anthem? 'God Save the Queen' perhaps?
c) Francis I was born in Cognac. I see jealousy...

So despite what I see on Wikipedia and Google maps, I'm not sure what to expect. There are only about 25,000 people in Épernay, so maybe it'll be a quaint little town ruined by tourists looking for another glass of champagne (ie. us).

What I do know, however, is that it's no surprise they resisted Henry:

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Post Script in a Happy Tone

After I wrote yesterday's post I got an email from WE, a Swedish clothing label, which went as follows:

What do you want to do today?
If you could choose to do anything, no limits, what would it be?

Whatever it is (unless it's illegal), try to do it. Sometimes the need to break the norm and the daily habits get a bit overwhelming and the only way to cure that is to actually do something that you wouldn't normally do. The reason we're saying this is simple - we want you to be inspired, active and more than anything, happy.

I thought that was well said. A more upbeat version of what I said!

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the new Gyroscope album. I think this is the first single.

Gyroscope - Some Of The Places I Know album COHESION out APRIL 9 !!! | MySpace Music Videos

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

What Would you Say or Do?

On Friday it will be a year since Shane McConkey died while skiing/ BASE jumping in Italy. I just watched an interview with him that was filmed on 13th March 2009 and I wondered what he would have said or done if you told him he had 13 days left to live. I don't think he would have done much differently and that's a good way to be.

The thought of only having a limited time here is a morbid thought but it shouldn't be. I think we should all live like we have 13 days left- nobody could accuse McConkey of not doing that. We may have more; we may have less but we shouldn't go through a day without making ourselves feel alive.

Yesterday the 2008 24 Hour Solo Mountain Bike World Champion, James Williamson, died in his sleep at a race in South Africa. That's far from expected from an incredibly fit 26 year old, but it does happen and at the moment there's nothing we can do about it.

So get out and enjoy yourself and the time with your family and friends. Work out what makes you tick and do it. Work out what makes others tick and help them with that, too. Just make the most of it.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Preparation Is Key

I managed to get out for a good ride on Sunday- one of the first days of the year above 10 degrees and, pleasantly, the sun was also out. What was especially good about the ride was that it involved hills (which, on a good day, I love) and I rode with 3 other guys who are better than me.

I quite like riding with people who are better than me because it keeps the pressure on. It's all too easy to think you're tired and lay off the pace but when there's pride on the line you will tend to find out exactly how tired you can get without dropping the pace. I found out on Sunday that it's not just distance, pace, conditions or food intake that can determine how quickly you get tired, but also whether or not you spent 5 hours shopping down Oxford Street the day before...

On the upside, I got to know 3 other guys from the triathlon club I'm training with, found some more hills south west of London, and made a pact with myself never to go shopping the day before a ride.

If you want to see the route we took, you'll have to check this link because I can't work out how to embed a map with Garmin Connect (yet another corporation that has bought out and ruined a perfectly good, functional website because they couldn't make a good one on their own). Garmin Connect

While not big hills by any standard, it's the best I can get in the south of England, and I can tell you that on Sunday these hills were enough! Below is an elevation map that suggests I should have eaten more for breakfast...

Looking forward to doing it again.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Scratching The Surface

I'm looking forward to this...

STS Trailer 2 from John De Temple on Vimeo.

Julian Wilson is one of the best freesurfers I've seen so it's nice to see another vid giving him more exposure. I can't imagine a better vid coming out this year...

Sunday, 7 March 2010

The BMX craze is sending prices over the moon

From The Age Newspaper

AS MEN get older, the toys just get more expensive, but few would have thought the contents of a Pascoe Vale garage would spark a global frenzy.

Last year, Raf Merhi, 29, an Australian soldier on active duty, proposed to his girlfriend, Kafa, and decided to sell his collection of classic BMX bicycles to help raise the deposit for a house. Then the couple discovered Raf's collection is worth more than $300,000.

Potential buyers are descending on Melbourne this week after the first 50 bikes appeared for sale on eBay. One man has already boarded a plane in London, prepared to offer more than $6000 to secure a rare Kuwahara, the two-wheel star of the film E.T., while others are driving from interstate.

Indeed, an act of brotherly love turned into a week-long nightmare for Ralph Merhi, 28, who thought he was doing the right thing by putting Raf's collection of more than 150 BMX classics up for auction. He has barely slept for five days, after being inundated with calls from around the world after the first lot of 50 bikes went online.

''Dubai, London, New York, Japan, all over the US, Canada, you name it, I've had more than 3000 phone calls on my mobile this week,'' Mr Merhi said. ''The phone's been going off at 2am, 4am … I never knew there was this much interest in these bikes.''

As Raf is posted overseas, he asked his brother, who runs a hardware store called Renovators Delight Bargain Warehouse and sells a few excess items on eBay, to sell the bikes.

''Raf has basically been a BMX kid from the day he was born. He's been collecting them and fixing them since he was a little boy,'' Ralph says. ''Some of these bikes have 340, 350 people around the world watching the auctions. I haven't had a proper night's sleep since we put the first 50 online. The biggest mistake of my life was putting my mobile phone number in the eBay listings. Once someone has made a bid, you can't take it off. It's affecting my business. The phone just goes all day.''

BMX - Bicycle Motocross - dates from California in the early 1970s, when teenagers, inspired by Bruce Brown's documentary On Any Sunday, began modifying Schwinn Sting-Ray bicycles to look like motorbikes. By 1977 there were official BMX races in California and limited numbers of specialised bikes from manufacturers such as SE Racing, Mongoose and Redline.

By the 1980s the sport was a global phenomenon and BMX bikes with links to films and popular culture of the era command the highest prices.

Prices of these early bikes are being driven up by collectors, now in their 30s with disposable income, and chasing the dream bike of their childhood.

The 1982 Steven Spielberg film E.T. made Japanese-built Kuwahara bikes a cult classic, thanks to its famous scene of the young boy Elliott flying past the moon on a Kuwahara. An original E.T. model Kuwahara in mint condition can fetch thousands of US dollars. Raf owns five Kuwahara BMX bikes, including two mint E.T. models. Ralph has received offers of $6000 for each of those bikes already.

The 1983 film BMX Bandits and 1984's The Karate Kid popularised Mongoose bikes. Early 1980s Team Mongoose and Supergoose models, made in California before manufacturing transferred to Taiwan, are in high demand.

The auctions can be viewed at the eBay user name rwrightway2009.

Mark Hawthorne is a business columnist for The Age, and proud owner of a 1980 Team Mongoose.

Whoa, crazy week.

That was intensive... It's been a long time since I lived for one thing and one thing only. This past week has been just like that. Wake up early, study, go to school, come home, study, sleep. Just quietly, I've loved it but I couldn't do it for long. Anyway, all done now. Foundation exam passed and Practitioner exam awaiting results. Now I know how to dot the 'i's and cross the 't's when it comes to project work.

In other news, our cupboard needs a clean out, I think the spinach in our fridge is off, and UK TV really bores me.

The surfing world tour has started for the year and round 1 in Gold Coast has just finished. Taj managed to win- his 3rd in a row after winning the last round of last year and a warm up event leading up to Gold Coast. I would like to say that he can keep this up but I can't see him staying this focused. He certainly deserves it but I don't think he will. He hired a full time trainer last year (apparently only starting to train at all in 2008!) but I don't know if he has the hunger to need a win.

So for my annual "pick-the-tour-winner-after-round-one" selection, I'm going out on a limb and suggesting that Jordy Smith will take it if he can stay hungry. If he does it he'll be the first Saffa to win it since Shaun Thomson in 1977. My early pick last year was Parko (ended up 2nd) and the year before was Bede Durbidge (ended up 2nd) so maybe I should rename this my "pick-the-tour-runner-up-after-round-one" selection. Sorry Jord!

I guess now would be a good time to unveil my first BBQ Crew for the year. For those who wish to play along at home, the BBQ Crew is simply a list of surfers (past or present, male or female) who you would invite to your BBQ/ Braii/ Tea Party. Mine will always include Occy, Hoyo and Louie. That's a given. The greatest. End of story. My revolving BBQ Crew is as follows:
-Jordy Smith (for a stellar effort in round 1)
-Keg Bacalso (providing he can hold his drink)
-Freddy P (always good value but thinks he can out skoll me)
-Malia Jones (wouldn't you?)

-Dayne Reynolds (for that rocking those crazy boards recently)
-Owen Wright (he's the monster slayer!)

I'll leave you with the best bit of surfing footage I've seen for a long time. Cool soundtrack too...

Friday, 5 March 2010

I Am The Convenience Generation

Here you go Mum and Dad, an iPhone app to let me update my blog from my phone. Finally! It took too long to think of something worthy enough to justify turning the computer on, logging into my blog, typing the words, and adding pictures. ...and then there's the spell check...

I promise there will be more blog action now. Well, once I pass this exam.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone