a Sunday pacelineJuly 11-12, 2009. 320 km. I’ve done this ride a few times, but not for about 12 years. Went with friends. Fantastic. Saturday was very sunny and hot but Sunday balanced things out with thunder, lightning, and hail. We all rode strong, the bikes gave us no problems, and we had amazing hosts in Napavine who fed us well. It was great seeing Karl and Tamara in Portland. That’s a city with seriously good food and beer. Must return. More photos here.

Lions' Gate BridgePerfect weather, mass participation. Two coworkers and their friends/family joined me, also in pirate garb. And met some friends on the way, as usual. Yarrr.

Click the image to see some photos or click here for a video.

What a pain. All I wanted to do was speed up a video I shot. Apple dropped a bunch of features (including time stretching) from iMovie between ’06 and ’08. I only have ’08 and Apple no longer lets ’08 users download ’06. I tried other video apps I have. Norkross? Nope. Handbrake? Nope. FFMpeg? Nope. VLC? Nope. Much searching and experimenting didn’t turn up a solution so I resorted to the command line. Mencoder.

Here’s what I cooked up. It’s sloppy and the codec options aren’t thought out at all, but it worked and maybe someone else will find it useful.
mencoder original.mov -speed 1.4 -ovc xvid -xvidencopts vhq=1:pass=2:qpel:trellis:bitrate=1500 -oac mp3lame -lameopts abr:br=128 -srate 44100 -o new.avi

I’m sure this will work with mencoder in Linux and Windows also.

Pointa Vista CheckpointTranscendent, brutal splendor. My latest randonneuring event. Longest ride in one shot. Finished up just after 2 am this morning, having started yesterday at 6 am. My time was 20 hours, 8 minutes. We were allowed 27 hours to complete and almost 90% of us did. Great people, weather, and scenery. I rode most of this solo and made a few navigation mistakes in the dark, which cost me time to backtrack. I also let myself bonk several times without seeing it coming — I don’t have a problem staying hydrated and electrolyted, but eating enough calories is another problem.

The photo is of me at a mid-way control point. I’m impressed they caught me smiling! Words can’t describe the fun and the pain.

I deemed it time for a full wipe and Linux re-install on my 7″ toss-around laptop. These are notes to myself for future reference. Machine details: Asus Eee PC 701 with 4 GB SSD and 512 MB RAM. It was running Xubuntu 8.04 and 7.10 previously. I considered installing the latest Ubuntu Netbook Remix but reviews say that it is optimized for screens with higher resolution than the 800×480 of my 701.

  • in BIOS, set “OS Installation” to “Started” and ensure boot priority will see the external boot/install media
  • download 9.04 ISO, burn, and boot from USB CD/DVD drive
  • partition disk into single (4 GB) partition, no swap (avoiding excessive writes to SSD), but I do use ext3
  • boot from wired connection for first time (in case wireless drivers don’t work immediately)
  • set “OS Installation” to “Finished” in BIOS
  • remove or comment out the CD-ROM entry in /etc/fstab
  • to save some wear and space on the SSD, add these lines to /etc/fstab:
    tmpfs /tmp tmpfs defaults,noatime,mode=0777 0 0
    tmpfs /var/tmp tmpfs defaults,noatime,mode=0777 0 0
    tmpfs /var/log tmpfs defaults,noatime,mode=0777 0 0
  • add “noatime” option to the / entry in /etc/fstab (or replace whatever atime option is placed there by default)
  • under System -> Software Sources, enable all the interesting repositories. For me, that’s most except those marked “source code”. I enable notification of critical and recommended updates only.
  • run Update Manager to apply updates released since 9.04
  • under Settings -> Window Manager -> Style: reduce Title font to 8 pt. and choose the Smallscreen style
  • under Settings -> Session and Startup -> Application Autostart: turn off what you don’t need (e.g. Print Queue Applet and Bluetooth Manager)
  • right-click the top and bottom panels and set them to auto-hide to free up more screen real estate.
  • within Firefox, the del.icio.us and LittleFox add-ons are useful

From the moment I press the power button, I’m able to log in at the desktop login less than 40 seconds later. This is much faster than previous releases.

50 km into the 300 kmMy second randonneuring brevet was this weekend. The 300 km ride was harder than the 200 km. Who knew? Several ridiculous hill climbs on Promontory, Thornton, and Woodside humbled me out in the valley. The photo to the right is me happily rolling through White Rock and here’s one of me plugging up the 19% grade of Thornton in Chilliwack. Painful. Sublime. Very light sprinkles for the last few hours but otherwise comfortable weather. Including three control stops, two pee breaks, and a coffee/yogurt break, it took me 13 hours, 40 minutes to complete and I’m quite happy with how I rode, drank, ate, my prep, and how the bike performed. Plenty of nice people in the club to chat with and learn from. The rain and wind were torrential riding home afterward, but the belly full of nachos and beer took the edge off.

Robson StreetGreat weather for the ride and a big turnout. Rode with some coworkers and colleagues and, as usual, ended up bumping into several other friends along the way.

I took some photos and a couple of videos (1 & 2) with the BasketCam.

Earth Day, candlelight computingEarth Day, April 22, 2009.

One co-worker needed his lights on. We’re keeping the rest of the office dark. Yes, that’s a candle there. No heat/AC today either. (It’s nice & quiet!)

Did I ride my bike to work? Duh.

Rode my first official brevet yesterday, a 200 km route to start the spring series. Kept myself fed and hydrated and finished feeling really good in 9:12.  Joining a well-organized paceline at the end made a big difference.  Met plenty of nice people during and after the ride.  Randonneuring is great.

I rode the 100 km event with several friends on Sunday. Here are 1 / 2 photos someone else took. I’m in black with my back turned, friends next to me. Cool morning but warmest and sunniest day of the year yet. Actually got sun burned. We all rode hard and felt strong at the end. Great day and I’m happy with my performance. My time for the 107 km was 4:23, including a very generous control stop for food.