Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Getting Worn Down

Today I did another one of the hard 2 hour roller rides, with two 30 minute drills at lactate threshold. I started "tired" and worked my way into it. I knew how to get through the drills, but clearly am feeling a bit of chronic fatigue. My weight is also dropping -- down to 70.7 kg at the end of this ride (dangerously close to the 155lb level I equate with peak fitness and being on the verge of overtraining and getting ill). Methinks that I'm on the edge. I hope I can make it to weeks end and enjoy the lighter load in my schedule next week.

Worked with Vicki today on my reporting pack for work. We dined upscale and recounted histories of the world. She gave me a good insight on people's feelings (all over the map) in Korea re: the continuing U.S. presence in the face of the North Korean threat.

Also saw another Herzog film today. Depressing! Can't recommend! I could only endure because I was riding the rollers. It did star my favorite actor from the wonderful film on Kasper Hauser -- about a lad who has been kept in a cellar all his life with no contact from civilization....and is then suddenly release. Ouch, civilization is hard on such buds.....

Monday, February 27, 2006

The February Rains

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
February means winter rains. The plants are happy; everyone else is just soggy.

Big base miles are going into the bike these days. Over five hours yesterday in the Berkeley hills -- much of it in cold rain. Brrrrr. Carrie and Jeffra are healthy women in these regards. They hack it just fine.....

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Alpine Dam

Finally back into the old California routine. We had good weather today so we did the first Alpine Dam ride of the year. Jun is in Hawaii, but Alan and Christine were at the bridge. Carrie joined us early on before peeling off to hook up with Jeffra to get her comfortable on her new mountain bike and the trails of China Camp. The plan is for those two gals to join me tomorrow.

I'm still fighting off a resurgent cold -- so was on a heart rate cap for double reasons all through the day....keeping below 130HR everywhere possible. Mellow group today so it wasn't too bad climbing out of Fairfax and gaining the 2000' to put us on the ridge. Light fog building along the ridge. A perfect winter mountain ride as it wasn't too cold or windy. Australia and NZ are good -- but nothing tops the loops out of San Francisco for ease of access to the best scenary.

My weight is starting to edge down now. Yesterday it was on the near side of 71 kg. That's only just over a kg from my ideal race weight of 70kg -- if I fall below that its generally unsustainable and I tend to get ill and have other setbacks.

Konrad left for Hong Kong and Australia / New Zealand -- so I've go flexibility in my schedule for the next two weeks -- which I'll need for the heavy mileage Smilie has me down for. It looks like 17+ hours this week, complete with intensity drills on most days. Just 8 weeks now until the race.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Jet Lag

I though I was just tired....but today I woke up at noon (after a restless night when I tried to go to bed too early). Consequently missed both my morning ride and my 11am with Vicki. Oops. Traveling west to east really cleans my clock. Had to do a tough roller ride tonight, including to 30 minute sessions at just below lactate threshold. Felt aok despite my mixed up schedule. Bummer to be indoors as it was crystal clear sunshine today.

Pete and I are talking about doing Karapoti next year -- with him having a goal of breaking three hours (putting him up there with the pros), and me getting down to 3 hours 20 (which would have won the race back in 1988 when I was a youngster). That's a big step up for the both of us.... We'll see -- one thing at a time.

Pete is Karapoti Famous

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
A pic of Pete surmounting Devil's staircase has made it to the top of the stack for the organization distributing all the pics of the race. What a stud!

Back in the U.S.

After a zillion hours on planes and seeing Pride and Prejudice for the 4th time, I have arrived back in the U.S.A. Up late now with jetlag. California is sunny and the flowers are showing their form. I hope spring is here...but the calendar says February. Less than two months to go to the Cape Epic!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Typical Maori Gravestone

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Beautiful carvings of art, along with photos and the freshest of flowers.

Colorful Maori Graveyards

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Beautiful and well attended graveyards here in the Mangere -- a predominantly Maori enclave near the airport.

Crazy Jumps

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
yup -- they've got stuff like this here on all the constructed trails in the forest reserve. Little wonder why the world championships are going to be held right here in Rotorua.

Fine Rotorua Food at Fat Dog

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
not far from another fine establishment by the name of "Pig's Whistle."

Zippy Central

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
a favorite with Anneke and the local mountain biking die-hards.

Anneke in Berkeley Hippier Gear

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Her belated xmas present!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Risk Rated Trails

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
The mountain biking here is so evolved that they've carved trails for every level of riders. The lower levels are for everyone in the family, and the higher are simply a recipie for certain death.

Whakarewarewa Forest Mountain Bike Trails

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Whakarewarewa -- now that's a mouthful. Its a Maori word -- and not a very long word by Maori standards. The word means "hot water source for cooking" -- due to all the thermal springs in the area.

Now there's another good Maori word: "Whakatane" regarding a beach to the north of here where a canoe landed and the men disembarked. The boat lost its mooring and began to drift off to sea. By custom, women were not permitted to touch the oars of a boat. But the boat kept drifting further and further away, until one stroppy stood up and said "Whatkatane," meaning "become a man!" and saved the day.

The trails here are some of the best in the world for custom built mountain biking. The world championships will be held here in August....

Another "Barrel" House

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
I finally got to see this house of Erik and Paulines. Like the Barrel, its got many round and wooden features. Great plant life here -- where trees grow about as fast as anywhere in the world.

Erik and Anneke

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Our hosts for Rotorua. Opening the Playdo that we provided for the B-day present.

A nice early morning after zooming up here from the Hutt yesterday. Past all the old landmarks -- the central island volcanoes, the desert road. Lake Taupo, and then over to the thermal springs (and strong smells) of and around Rotorua proper. Its been five years since I was here (for Erik and Pauline's wedding

Off to Rotorua for Anneke's 2 Year B-Day

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Pauline here (7 months pregnant with #2 on the way), doing the honors with Anneke.

No Worries

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Tom, Baz and Pete all in --- Glenn still out on the trail suffering. Baz had a flat and Tom a broken chain, so I got to catch up with both of them (they started 15 minutes earlier in the 30-40 year old category. Just like old times at Office Express. Tom was the founder of OE and Baz was the first (and model) Road Manager.

3 Hours 45 Minutes Later

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
A little more dehydrated and hungry -- but done. Amazingly, the time I finished in was almost exactly the same as what I posted in the first full year of the Karapoti (when I finished 4th overall). Unfortunately, the competition is much improved....so now I'm about 400th. Incidentally, the time Pete finished in (3 hrs 20 minutes) would have won the race in 1988.

Karapoti Race Start

Start Line

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Every Karapoti starts with a mad dash across the river. The race is limited to 1,000 entrants...broken down into age groups and the professional ranks.

Team Office Express

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Tom and Pete dug up some old Office Express jerseys (our first of 62 companies). My jesey a little big! Here we are getting geared up for the start of the Karapoti.

Meat Pies

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Though NZ has all yummies of the international world, its still possible to find the original staple of the country -- the Meat Pie (and in particular the Mince Meat Pie). I love (and lived on these). They can be procurred from any reputable petrol station.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Next Generation

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
All these Kiwis have been busy -- and not just on the farm. There's a new crop of kids from this crowd to replace us oldies. Diane, the original mother hen of Office Express is keeping an eye on all here.

Greg at Leisure Before the Karapoti

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Less than 24 Hours here to the big race. I've just picked up my number and goodies.

The Old Gang

Declan (now owns his own bike shop), Pete (my Karapoti partner) discuss hi-tech bike issues. Then Pat and Tom comment on Pete's attempt to capitalize on his meeting a German girl (who was invited on Pat's big boat) at Lake Taupo) into a rendezvous when we headed to Europe last fall for the Transalp. Unfortunately -- no payoff on this front.

Baz: Keen for the Karapoti

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Baz, fireman, huaband of Di, first road manager of Office Express, is keen to tackle the full Karapoti Classic tomorrow -- his first time. He's smiling now.... but we'll all have sore backsides soon.

View of the New Neighbors

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
I've got a bunch of new neighbors at my old house. And they've got a much better cable car than the one that services my prior abode.

In view is the Wellington harbor on a glorious day. I took the libery of riding all the way to the top of Mount Victoria.

Wellington Foods: Malay Curry

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Time was when you were hard pressed to find anything better to eat in New Zealand than a meat pie from the petrol station. But its all change now. Check out the good curry.

My Old House:302 Oriental Bay

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
My old house is the large yellow house with two triangles near the top roof, at the top, to the right of all of the apartments streaming up the hill. Those aparments have been added since my departure. Alas, my house, while looking more finished from the exterior, seems under drastic construction. It appears that its great weight is causing it to shift on its pilings. I saw that the retaining wall at the perimeter had broken and that there had been more than a foot of movement. Most unfortunate!

Welllington Food: Deserts

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Time was when you were hard pressed to find anything better to eat in New Zealand than a meat pie from the petrol station. But its all change now. Check out the good deserts.

Wellington Foods: Bread

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Time was when you were hard pressed to find anything better to eat in New Zealand than a meat pie from the petrol station. But its all change now. Check out the good breads.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Wellington Wake-Up Call From Across the Bays

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Twas dark coming into Pete's Koro Koro pad last night. I have awaken this morning to find some damn good views back over the bay to my old neighborhood in Oriental Bay.

Koro Koro views

Pete saves the night

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Pete scooped me up and delivered me to his pad in Koro Koro well after midnight local time. Sure made Wellington feel like home again rather than the other side of the world.

Wellington NZ Arrival

I scooted out of Melbourne on the evening flight, arriving in Wellington just before midnight local time. I started looking at hotels just before I left -- and derned if everything in the city wasn't sold out. That NEVER happens in sleepy Wellington. Never unless a world yacht race is in town -- which just happens to be the case tonight. So I had to despertately email Pete from my Blackberry to beg for his couch in Koro Koro. Thankfully, the good lad got the message and was there at the airport to save my butt.

Here's info on the sailing race -- good pics of the harbor:

Its a beautiful night here in Wellington. Temp is comfortably in the 60s -- very SFish. Wipy clouds and a full moon. The place has a raw sense about it, which always makes me feel on the edge of the world.

Finished my History of England on the way over. I think I can now decently differentiate between the Whigs and the Torries. I'll now endeavor to read another (less slanted) history covering the same period just to get perspective that is not so biased as Macaulay.

Its been 5 years since I've been back to Wellington. This place feels a lot like home to me. It was a bit painful to drive by my old house up at the top of the cable car run at 302 Oriental Parade. The place looks like it has gotten some love. I'll try to loop by in on my warmup ride tomorrow for the big Karapoti race on Saturday.

Thaz the news...1:20 am here now so I better get some sleep.....

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Witches in Britches

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
I did not actually enter this fine institution, but thought the title "Witches and Britches" was worth at least a pic on my ride back from the northern reaches of Melbourne. I went for miles and miles and yet still never escaped the suburbs. That's the one killer on Aussie cities (same problemo in Sydney) -- the suburbs are nice enough, but they just sprawl everywhere. Not my style. But then, how could one pass up living in a city with a Witches in Britches offering.

My Favorite: The Kranski

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Perhaps the best thing about my return to Melbourne is access to the wonderful sausage treat: the "Kranski." What's in a Kranski I don't know -- if you have to ask, you don't have the proper attitude for Kranski enjoyment.

Now this is the only sausage that I eat with mustard rather than relish. Its not too spicey....and is also the one sausage I could eat sans bun. I'm not sure though that this is the bst training fuesl for the Karapoti classic....now less than 72 hours away.

Post ride at the Westin

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
All the wireless bandwidth a boy could want.

Accordian Doors

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
An old post office has been converted to shops and restaurants. The new layout makes use of the accordian door concept I hope to use with the breezeway at the Barrel. These doors all fold out of the way, transforming this hard boundary into a soft open zone.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Barrel Topo Map

Picture 1
Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
The topographical map for the Barrel has arrived. At long last, the boundary between my property and the Caltrans right of way is finally defined. Now the trick will be to see whether we can put a driveway in the plan along with all the tree planting.

Total area surveyed is about an acre. Next step is to submit dual plans to the county and Caltrans showing all our proposed landscaping initiatives.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Seafood Curry Lemak

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
You know you are back on this side of the Pacific when you can get get good curry lemak. Been a long time since I've feasted on these treats.

Moots in Melbourne

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Finally, a complete bike, including pedals.

Melbourne Morning Ride Along the Yarrow River

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
I'm still on North American time, so it was no problem getting off on a morning ride at 5.30am along the Yarrow River and then out to the ocean. Finally am feeling like I've kicked the cold and can spin the legs.

Twas nice having propper pedals again now that I've found my egg beaters. I had to slip back by the Melbourne boat house and return the pedals that I heisted yesterday when I couldn't find anyone working at the rental bike stand. I'm sure they were not missed as I removed them from a bike that had already been cannibalized.

The Streets of Melbourne

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Are full of blonde gals and very very tall guys

The Heat is On

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
the beaches of Melbourne were cooking today for my 3+ hour ride that attempted to thwart my jet lag. I felt pretty awful for the first hour, but better thereafter. Melbourne is much as I remember it. Its less spectactular than Sydney, but charming still. Sort of like the relationship between Portland and Seattle.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Boyz

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Last Night Out in Cabo

Flights and Movies

Have just touched down in Auckland after having flown up to SFO. Burned up the time with movies:

- Pride and Prejudice (second viewing)
- History of Violence
- Broken Flowers
- Lords of War
- Proof

The last four I had all wanted to see. Of the many I would say I found History of Violence to be the most potent and original. It is always interesting to hear a telling to a tale of dual lives (or former lives), from which we cannot escape, though per chance we can find some arrangemet with. Interesting here is how the arrangement requires the complicit participation of the family and local authority....and how each of these comes to terms with the situation. Gripping flick. Broken Flowers was predictably sad....and Lords of War was just plain predictable (and I found Proof also to be predictable).

First time back in NZ in 5 years....though of course this is just the airport. Everything is a bit more like America in the world (the more that I travel now). That was definitely true of Cabo San Lucas....which is merging with East Palo Alto. Like the Accidental Tourist with William Hurt, travel is becoming more and more like being at home. The world is less and less about where we are, and more about what we do, and choose not to do.

Material and media pleasures are all becoming more generic and the center and more find combed at the periphery....but this is no longer so aligned with geography. I just had my breakfast here.....and it could have been anywhere.

Newer markers of identity matter more and more that "place" in physical terms.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Last day in Mexico

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Headed to Australia .....

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Longer and Longer

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Grows Sasha's Hair. I'm not the best at combing after a bath for her. I like the messy look....

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Big Squids

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Caught off the coast of Cabo San Lucas in the Sea of California.

Rendezvous with Ruth and Ephram

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
They arrived in Cabos two days before us. We did the big rendezvous tonight. Now I'm surrounded by three doctors ... and yet still no sign of an end to my sore throat.

Sasha on a Night Out in Los Cabos

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
First full day in Los Cabos. Oddly enough, the whold wharf area looks much more like Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco than it does like Mexico.

We took the boat taxi to Lover's Beach (calm waters) which is directly opposite Divorce Beach (rough waters).

I'm still down with a sore throat so will take a rest day tomorrow and pass up the local shopping. No cycling as the rentals are in a far away town, and I'm too punk to make the pedals go around in any case.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Los Cabos Wheels

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Two wheel (plus a third) styling Los Cabos, Mexico style.

Jack & Greg En Route to Los Cabos

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Both look like they should have taken a later flight.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Bark

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Late this week, I met with Claudia and Cameron in conjunction with my board duties for The Bark Magazine. Its been a good year -- finally breaking the $1M mark in sales. Its the first six issue year (up from four). Hope folks keep subscribing as this really is the New Yorker of the dog world. You can visit www.thebark.com for subscription info.

This year there are possible plans for a TV show on building the ideal dog park. Wish I had more time to spend on these projects....!

Raumuji's Shed

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
In honor of Ramuji the cook, we have been building out the "shed" to include a full bathroom of its own -- which can also be accessed directly from the gardens.

Finally a beautiful day of sunshine here, but alas....I am sick with a sore throat and chest cold and need to take a day of rest before heading to Mexico. Dern.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Skeggs Point

Took Gordon and Jeffra to Skeggs Point today -- a well known mountain biking spot on the Penninsula. We met Carrie and a friend of hers there who is an iron-man training partner and headed in. There's been a lot of rain, so these alternately steep and twisty trails were slick. The terrain was a bit much for Jeffra, who's riding my squirrely Specialized, so she and Gordon bailed early. We went out for another lap. No big tumbles today.

I dropped the Moots off for a big pre-Karapoti race overhaul, and the boyz at Monte Velo gave me a loaner -- an aluminum full suspension disc-brake machine. Much more of a true downhill bike, so I look forward to giving this a go in the Marin headlands tomorrow. That will be my last true training day before I hit the road for Mexico and Aussie.

When One is Not Enough

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
Our Sasha dear is showing her OCD self -- organizing the whole play park

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Barrel Plans

Originally uploaded by Greg Kidd.
We are getting close to submitting plans for the Barrel buildout for the study and library and carport. Mona (the architect) and Masoud (the engineer) came by tonight to show me the latest. Who knows how long it will take to get a permit. The goal is to show that we are not adding any net indoors space. To achieve this, we are submitting a demolition permit for the old mini Barrel -- even though its already well gone!

The main feature of the new buildout will be the "breezeway" -- which is open space (where the big "x" shows....and will ultimately have folding doors so that this space can be both indoors and outdoors depending on the weather.

The top left view is from the south, and the bottom right view is from the east. The lower levels will eventually be closed in to hide the car parking (but we can't ask for more indoor space on the permit plans).