Archive for December, 2010

You’re so 2010

Posted in Stuff with tags , , , , on December 31, 2010 by brianestover

It sucks to be stuck in 2010 doesn’t it? Some of us are already into next year. We’re leaving you behind. You’re living in the past. Literally. Get with the program, 2010 is so last year. While most of you are going through your morning routine, I’m going to bed for the first time this year. Have a great New Year’s Eve.

Before I go to bed, I’ll leave you with some images of this year’s fireworks, Sydney style.

Now that I’m awake, I’ve added a couple more pics for those of you still living in last year.(forgive the shaky camera work please)

Zipp 1080- Scary Fast or Scary and Fast

Posted in Triathlon with tags , , , , , on December 29, 2010 by brianestover

Even though I’m on vacation, for you 17 faithful readers I’ll do a product review. Getting away from running shoes, for now, it’s onto wheels. More precisely the Zipp 1080. The deepest front wheel you can own other then a disc.

Zipp 1080

Until Zipp released their 808 Fircrest, the 1080 was one of their fastest front wheels. About :06 faster then their often praised 808 over 40km. But that speed came with a price. In anything other then mild to moderate cross winds this wheel is a bitch to handle. It’ll cause you to pucker faster then a prisoner who has dropped soap in the shower. The outcome of this wrestling match is often a question. Will you end rubber side up or rubber side down? I know I’ve been a bit worried on two occasions. More often then not though, I’ve ridden this wheel with nary a thought to handling. It’s when the wind grips it from the side and you start doing the swervy wervy that you notice it.

On courses without heavy winds this wheel rocks. It corners well, climbs well and tracks straight. It’s a no fuss stick it in the dropouts and go fast wheel unless it’s very windy. Best of all it makes that whump whump disc sound. If you want to go fast, and it’s not going to be extremely windy this is a wheel to think about sticking on your bike.

If you are a one front race wheel type of person, this isn’t your all purpose every race race wheel. With it’s stability problems in heavy crosswinds, I feel this wheel cost me more time then something with a smaller profile, like a Hed 60 or Zipp 404 or 808, would have. If you have a few different front race wheels and want something faster for those days with no to moderate winds, this wheel will help you get to the front faster.

My final verdict: A very fast wheel that will see use this next season. But I’ll also bring a smaller profile front wheel to races as security blanket should the forecast call for windy conditions. Or maybe I’ll bring the 1080 as the back up to whatever else I have for front race wheels. Either way, it’ll get raced on…selectively.


Posted in Stuff with tags , , , on December 27, 2010 by brianestover

The holiday beach trip is over and I survived. There were a few touch and go moments when the kids melted down but all in all it wasn’t too shabby.

Unlike the US where every point that had a cliff that stuck out over the ocean would have been developed, Australia has left the points around Mona Vale natural. In fact one cliff has a 3 tier dog park for dogs to run up and down in. Pretty cool for Clancey, whom we were dog sitting. Except he didn’t listen so well, so after the first day I refused to let him off leash.

Here are a few pics of what I saw everyday. It’s tough having to deal with this day in day out, but fortunately for you 17 readers (My how I’ve grown!) I was able to persevere and in fact, thrive.

The rising sun

From the bluffs

The only bad thing about Australia is the lack of an ozone layer. I’ve been using sun cream as they call it and still have gotten burnt two times already. The first time was just a strip down the center of my chest. That could have been operator error, I’ll have to ask my attorney. The second was on a cloudy day where I spent less then 75 minutes playing with the kids in the surf.

So if you are not reducing your carbon ozone eating footprint, you should figure out how to get smaller shoes. My arms would appreciate it.

Merry Christmas

Posted in Stuff with tags , , , on December 24, 2010 by brianestover

While much of the world is a sleep eagerly awaiting Christmas morning, or sitting down to Christmas Eve dinner, we have already started Christmas Day celebrations. Merry Christmas everyone.

While most of the house was asleep, I snuck out and took a walk down to the beach. Below are some photos from the beach.

Looking North

Across the Cove

Looking across the Cove

Then it was time to open gifts under the bookcase. Hey what can you do when you’re house sitting and there is no tree? But the kids still had a blast.

Presents under the Bookcase?

Then it was time to eat breakfast and walk the dog. I’ve really enjoyed walking the dog, even though he isn’t the best behaved dog I’ve ever walked. It’s been a long time since I’ve dog walked on a daily basis.

Merry Christmas all.

The Best and Worst of Runs

Posted in Stuff, Triathlon with tags , , , , on December 22, 2010 by brianestover

I love running through parks, on trails really anywhere that I’m not traffic fodder. This morning I roll out of bed, put on the shoes and head out the door. Mosey down the street, skirt under the M2, bushwhack my way onto the trail and off I go into Lane Cove National Park.

I’m rolling along, owning all the other runners I see and hit the turn around point. Double back until I get to a fork in the road. It was V shape, why people call it a fork I don’t know. I eat with a fork. My fork has multiple tongs. Maybe way back when, they only had two tongs in their forks. Anyway I digress.

In this V, shaded a bit to the right of the V actually, closer to the path less traveled stood a sign. Not just any sign either. A sign marking the way home along a trail I’ve never run. Perfect, my out and back has just become a loop and it’s only 4k to civilization.

After about 20 minutes, I get that sinking feeling. First I’m running faster then 5 min per km. Second, since I’m running faster then 5 min per km, I really should have run into civilization by now. I know my math skills are not the best, but on this I was fairly certain.

On ahead stands a friendly guy (hopefully) with a chain saw. I run up to him and see he works for the park service. Perfect. He whips out his map and shows me how to get back. The long way. I run up some big ass hill that has me wheezing only to get to the top and see a sign that says your destination is 12km ->. I really needed to go <- according to the stream I've been running against and a few other things I knew about the general area. So 12k in that direction or loop back and take the sure fire way home.

Being the super smart guy at times that I am, and realizing that my 50 minute long run is almost 70 minutes long at this time, I choose Option Retrace Steps. Now I run down the hill, run past the friendly guy who is using his chainsaw, through some hopefully non-poisonous bushes because friendly guy parked his truck on the path taking it all up back onto the main trail, up some gigantic hill make a snap decision to turn left when I should have gone right, up another gigantic hill turn right up another gigantic hill. WTF is up with all the gigantic hills?

Now although I've never run this street thanks to my last fork in the road decision, I know more or less, well less actually, where I'm at.

Once I run through the train station it's only 7 more minutes home. My 50 min run has become 1hour 45min, which is the worst part of this run. My 4 year old niece informs me as I walk through the door that "I told Daddy you were lost and we should go find you". Then runs away from me because she is anti-sweaty people right now.

The worst part is I want to go run some errands in the city and it's a 2km walk to the train station. Quite honestly, I'd rather go take a nap.

Since I’m Swimming

Posted in Stuff, Swimming, Triathlon with tags , , , , , , on December 20, 2010 by brianestover

Might as well go big or stay home. Yesterday we headed to the Sydney Olympic complex. It’s huge, everything is in one place, all the venues. Easy to get around and close to where I’m currently staying.

Inspired by the legends who swam there before me, and after playing with the kids for 90 minutes in the pool, I went for a bit of a workout.

It dawned on me during this workout. Not having kids, that you have to keep from drowning all the time and who insist on being throw over and over and over and over, is like cheating. It was all I could do to swim decently. My stroke was falling apart faster then a F1 race car that slammed into a concrete wall. My arms and chest felt like someone had pummeled me. Having kids is hard work, work that I should not under take I’ve decided. It’s only 9:30am and I’m already thinking it’s nap time because I’m still wiped out. My sister thinks we should take the kids to the park. Unbelievable.

Mom, Dad, I’m sorry for being a difficult kid. It never dawned on me then that pushing the boundaries was making life more difficult for you guys. My bad.

Enough of that, though. The Aquatics center is huge, awesome really I’m just at a loss of words as to how cool this place is. Kids area with multiple slides, buckets dropping water on the kids, multiple hot tubs. An 8 lane LCM (long course meter) warm up/down pool. A 10 lane 50 LCM competition pool. A diving well/water polo pool. A fitness center with treadmills.

So when words fail, let pics take over. Sydneyer’s I’m pretty jealous. This is the best done aquatic center I’ve ever been to in my life. As a former swim coach, I’ve been to a ton of aquatic centers over the years.

The Competition Pool

Warm Up / Down Pool

Kids area

Diving & Water Polo pool

New Zealand

Posted in Stuff with tags , , , , on December 19, 2010 by brianestover

I’m back from my side trip to New Zealand. I have always heard everyone say it’s a beautiful country. Don’t believe the hype. It’s beyond beautiful. I think they took the worst scenery and put it in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy to keep tourism down.

Got to Auckland a few hours late thanks to a computer crash at Air NZ. A very big thank you to Show Pony aka Peter who took me around that first afternoon. We swam in an awesome 60m salt water pool. Then it was fish and chips on the beach with his soon to be wife. What an awesome day.

Next up was trying to drive on the wrong side of the road, in a 6 speed manual transmission. Problem solved and I loved that there were no stop signs for me to run. All round abouts and give ways. Brilliant and yes, I’m having a beer to celebrate that fact! All of NZ should have a beer to celebrate that fact in fact.

The rest of my time in NZ was spent in the rain. I was soaked from head to toe for four solid days. Of course it didn’t matter when I was swimming in the Pacific or running along the beach. It did matter when I was trying to find dry clothes for the next day. It was a constant struggle to keep a day’s worth of dry clothes. When you only packed 3 days worth and you’re there for 4 days, well you can see where that is going.

This is how wet my typical day was spent. At least it wasn’t cold.

All in all a great side trip. Thanks again Peter for helping me with some of the initial leg work and your suggestions for my route. I’ll leave you guys with a couple of scenery pics.

Sun and Fun

Posted in Stuff with tags , , , , , , on December 13, 2010 by brianestover

The Beach. Sun, sand, warm temps and cool water. What better paradise is there? I’m about to try another country to see if there is something better.

My little nephew, while not the biggest fan of the cold water, loves the sand. Or more precisely loves to play with his digger in the sand. He dug holes for two hours. Talk about self sufficient.

Today we went to a Christmas party. Once there we went lawn bowling barefooted. Bare feet, sun, beer, grass under your toes and bowling. Now that’s a Christmas Party! To cap it off, on the way home we got to witness one of my niece’s infamous meltdowns. I’ve heard about these from my parents and from her parents, I’ve even seen some little breakdowns here and there. Today though, the ice melted, the tears flowed, the sniffles came and went and came back, she was gasping for breath and wailing. Oh my the wailing was impressive. Her parents on the other hand, weren’t as impressed with her ability to cry as I was. In the course of the car ride, she had her blankie and her dolls taken away for a couple of days. Haha.

Now the only thing left is to figure out my beard thing that I’ve got going on. It’s beyond fuzzy, but not Taliban style. It’s itchy and scratchy. When I run, it seems to collect sweat at a much greater rate then I’m used to having on my face. Right now, the internal debate is raging. To shave it all off, shave just my neck cleaning it up or let it grow Taliban style. Option 3 would be good, but I’m not sure I can handle the scratchy scruff. Not a grey hair on my head. Now I know where all my grey grows. Maybe I’ll just go with a mustache.

The Big Spider Stroll

Posted in Random Stuff with tags , , , , on December 10, 2010 by brianestover

So quiet it was this morning when I awoke. No one else was up. It was early, the morning was cool. I decided to take a walk, explore the hood, get a lay of the land, see my surroundings. While I was scanning the headlines, drinking my tea and getting ready to go on a walk, I spied my niece tiptoeing into the room where I’m sleeping. She was creeping ever so quietly then suddenly, she stopped. She realized I wasn’t there. You could see the gears spinning in her head. Where is he? She was scanning the room, head swiveling right then left then right, looking rather confused. So I whispered to her, and watched her break into a huge smile as she came running over. Not quietly either. Since every one else was asleep I suggested we go for a walk.

Off we strolled to the park. She was very concerned that I wasn’t wearing shoes and insisted we turn back… the end of the driveway. Over her protests, I convinced her that my feet are fine to walk down a few houses without shoes. On the long journey back I spied a spider. Other then the tarantula spiders I see in Tucson, this is one of the biggest I’ve seen.

Of course we, um I mean I, had to take a picture of it. So here is today’s clue for the fabulous prize I have for some lucky winners.

Since my niece obviously inherited my good looks here we are at 6am on our long walk.

Where Am I?

Posted in Triathlon with tags , , , , , , , on December 10, 2010 by brianestover

I’m off for the rest of the year travelling. Where you ask? That’s for me to know and you to guess. The winner gets a prize. A prize of unbelievable value, one that most people would hesitate to accept. A prize so wonderful even I am at a loss of words to describe it. The first three people to guess where I am win (drum roll please)……………………………..well I can’t just give away what the prize is just yet, but beer is included. And if you know where I am, you are not allowed to play. But if you are in the know, you are automatically a winner of the prize. There is enough to go around.

It’s nice to know that that where ever I am bad triathlete fashion abounds. After stowing my gear, Dad & I started walking around. What did I see? Something that shouldn’t be taking place out in public. The horror! I tried to shield my eyes. Instead I swung my backpack around quicker then you can say fashion mistake and whipped out my brand spanking new, never used camera and fired off a quick shot. A little fiddling with the picture to edit out most of Dad (the one not in compression socks btw) and the landmarks that might possibly give away where I’m at, change the colors a bit and presto, you get bad fashion. Say it’s not true.