Wednesday, March 28, 2007

New Wetsuit for open water swimming

Sunday was a grueling day of trying on six different wetsuits in two stores.
The same brand, same size, two different wetsuits would fit totally different.

Triathlon wetsuits are skin 'freakin' tight! It's like putting on a small pair of nylons over your entire body that is 3-5 mm thick. I have little bruises all over my body were I was trying to grip the wetsuit to pull up but instead was gripping my skin. Ouch! This on top of my healing sea lice saga.

I took it for a test swim at Parnell baths and have come to the conclusion that I am totally screwed It's like adding an additional five pounds to each arm, whereas I was once a stealth fast swimmer and now, with a wetsuit on, I feel like my arms are brick weights.

But at least I won't drown, since there is 5 milimeters on the torso it's like wearing a life vest. I couldn't sink even if I tried.

Here's a link to the Orca wetsuit I bought.

FYI - It's Adam's birthday today!

Sisterhood of the traveling fighter pilots: Battlestar Galactica

OK, if I haven't already said this before I will say it again. Battlestar is the best show of the decade. Yes... it is 2007 and I can't think of a better show, we don't even watch TV, we have to schedule it to download and watch later.

Anyway here's a great article on Battlestar.

I hope Starbuck comes back...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Auckland Lantern Festival and Sheepworld

A while back I went to the Chinese Lantern Festival. I can't believe how crowded it was it was so hard to move we left early. But here are a few pictures of the display. Also you can click here for some pictures of a little trip we took to Sheepworld, which was essentially, a nice petting zoo.

I went with Margaret and Darren

Monday, March 19, 2007

First Single Seat Glider Solo

Roberta has been getting on my case about posting to the blog so here it goes. I actually haven't been posting much because I have just been gliding on the weekends and not much else.

Gliding has been progressing nicely and last weekend I had my first solo flight in a single seat glider. On Saturday there was a national gliding awareness day called "The Big Day Up" where the public is encouraged to come out and give gliding a try. A lot of the club members came out and put their planes together for display and there was a lot of flying.

I talked to the CFI and got him to let me go solo in the club's Smyk PW5 which is a single seat glider. It has a really short wingspan and is a tiny glider all around. Supposedly it is like a race car compared to the Grob 103 Twin Astir that I had been flying.

All of the experienced guys on the field had been scarring the crap out of me with stories of how hard it was to take off with PIO(pilot induced oscillation). PIOs happen when you correct to get the glider on track but you over correct. Then when you correct for that correction you over correct. Then it just gets out of control. Each pilot told me different tricks to get over the PIOs in the PW5. Bracing my arms on the side of the plane, putting a finger on my wrist to steady it, trim it back for takeoff, just use two fingers on takeoff, stick hard back, etc.....

So I got mentally prepared for the flight and pushed the plane onto the runway and got in and waited my turn. This is always the time that I notice that I have to pee. One of the instructors came over and gave me a couple more words of advice and right before he left he said "And this plane crashes nice too".

With all the pilots and instructors from the club standing up watching, I did the takeoff and it was perfect. No problem. The lift was scratchy and I just got used to plane which was very quick and nice compared to the beast that I have been flying.

I came back in for a good landing and got cheers and handshakes from most of the pilots. Making the transition to the single seaters is big accomplishment for me. Now I just need to figure out how to keep the damn things in the air.

Roberta and I are going to Taupo down south for 5 days for concentrated gliding instruction. Roberta wants to get up to speed but doesn't want to spend the time waiting around at the glider field. I just want to get closer to getting my full glider pilot license. Should be fun to see that part of the country from the air.

Wish us luck.

Sea Bathers Eruptions

OK, you know how I was talking about training for the Xterra, Blue Lake swim portion of a triathlon? Well, I signed up for lessons with Future Dreams. I tried all last week to get a wetsuit rental lined up. I couldn't get that to happen, but the coach said to just show up. I was going to wimp out and not go, but Adam wouldn't let me. Great, it will be like the polar bear club, but I will have to do laps in the cold water.

I show up and I was surprisingly in shape. Basically it was a crew of 11 girls and 1 guy, I was in competition with the guy for first each time. (Pst..that picture is from futuredreams website).

Unfortunately I felt kind of itchy out in the water. I thought it was just the sea water in contact with my chlorinated swimsuit. Later that day I felt really tired and puky. Turns out I got sea bather's rash or sea lice. You get this when the larvae of jelly fish get caught in your swimsuit and get rubbed around like a scrub bush shooting you full of poison. It was great. I figured out why I was so dizzy driving away from the beach. Because I was SICK! So now I have a wicked rash covering my torso.

I've been told that this is a one-off kind of thing, I've been swimming in the ocean here and other people do it all the time without getting this rash. I'm going to give it one more try. If not I'm joining a soccer team.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Summer is over here, wah!

It started to get cold here again. Bummer. Summer was fun and not to hot, which was nice.

I`ve been swimming pretty hard training for the Xterra. I'm up to about 1500-1700 meters three times a week, which is pretty good.

The cats still have poopy butts so we took them for a couple of overnights at the vet so they can figure out what's wrong with their tummies. Tough shit is better than soft shit in this case.

Went to see La Clique last night. I think I am officially over my circus infatuation. It was good, but nothing new....Except for bendy man who dislocated his arms in disturbing ways. Right now I'm inspired to pop my knuckles, but that's it.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Poor Knight's Diving

Last weekend we took a trip up to the Poor Knights Island and went diving with Daren, Margaret, Steve and Holly. The first day was really great, saw lots of sting rays, big slugs, fish, eels, kelp. Obviously I'm not a biologist, or I'd be giving you all of the 'official' regional names. Basically lots of fishes.

We went with the Poor Knight Divers and I would recommend them to others. Their boat is really nice, the skipper gave some historical context of the area. Much nicer than the Crazee Diver boat I went with last time. There was some confusion about filling dive tanks, but Jill gracefully gave us 25% off our next trip. We also stayed at their cabin in Tutakaka and it was really nice, though not right on the beach it had a good view and was convenient to the marina.

Hopefully for Easter I'll go up with Margaret and Darren to dive the Rainbow Greenpeace Boat that was destroyed by the French.

Swimming the XTerra

Crap! It's been a whole month since the last post. I blame it on Adam.

Anyway, I'm getting nervous. I was asked to join a team to compete in the XTerra triathlon in Rotorua. I'll be doing the swimming portion. Basically I've been going to the pool about twice per week but I need to up that to at least 3 or 4 for the month of March so I won't drown or get kicked in the head.

Wish me luck. I've gained about 1.5 kilos (couple of pounds) since moving to New Zealand, and that is not OK. I think it's all of the dairy and Movenpik ice cream. And the desk job....