Sunday, April 26, 2009

Mountain bike race around Lake Hawea and personal responsibility

Over the last few months I've quietly been working on a timing database for a relatively new annual mountain bike race which was held yesterday, The Contact Epic.

The thing I love about this race is the way my friends Dani and Aaron, the race organisers, have put the issue of personal safety and responsibility squarely, where it belongs, in the hands of those competing: There are no pre race bike checks for the course which is between 90-125 Km around Lake Hawea and a long way up the Hunter Valley, and no check on clothing and food - just recommendations. The course is very rugged and with lots of ups and downs with a serious river crossing and nearly all is very exposed to the weather. My friends in Wanaka Search and Rescue do monitor the remote sections and it's an invaluable exercise on checking our communication systems.

The start was at dawn and incorporated with an ANZAC Day Dawn Service on the Hawea Dam. It was very moving as light fell on the mist on the lake, with a prelude of classical opera singing [which seemed to de-amp many of the athletes]. I stood there before taking this shot with my iPhone, contemplating how my grand-father and father who served in the Boer War and WW2 respectively, survived the horrors and how they maybe would feel now, on moments like these, when we increasingly honour their fallen mates to the tune of a sombre bugle call...
anzac-1.jpg

My timing crew...
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One of the first athletes home negotiating the height difference transtition into the Hawea Hotel's lovely back garden...
anzac-3.jpg

And the weather was great! 577 folk finished. There were some nasty falls this year which seemed due to drafting - where the person behind fails to anticipate the changing nuances of the track.

So after what was a 14+ hr. day for me, this morning I'm enjoying the rest and the warm weather preceding a few days of forecast rain.

There was a bellbird in these trees in my backyard just before...
anzac-4.jpg

anzac-5.jpg

And while a bellbird's chorus comes from heaven, you should check out the surprise singing of an angel here: Susan Boyle

... if you'd like insights into why this angel has rocked the Internet: Bob Cringely explains

Gregor, thanks for the "heads up" on Susan.

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8 Comments:

Blogger Ruahines said...

Kia ora Donald,
I always find the ANZAC ceremony moving and really have come to appreciate the growing dawn crowds over the last ten years or so. Though my dad served in the US forces, mainly in New Guinea, the day certainly makes me think of him and what those 5 years away from home did to him, and so many others, not to mention the ones who never returned.
Looks like a very successful race and I love the concept of those whom choose to ride accepting personal responsibility.
If there is any way in which I can help with the Clutha effort please let me know. I am working through a post on the Ruahine rivers now, and will include mention of it in there somewhere. I find it interesting to discover so many people are so quick to fall back on any objection to the need for more and more power as being NIMBY. Well, you know what, it is ALL our backyard and we should ALL be at the very least asking questions about what is really at stake here.
Have a great week Donald. I am off to the Taranaki for work, and hoping to get a walk up the mountain. Worth chucking the gear in the boot anyway!
Cheers,
Robb

April 26, 2009 at 4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My work this these last few weeks has taken me to te anau, christchurch and Im just recently returned from 6 days on stewart Island. such a variety of landscapes and all very powerful in different ways. The stewart Island experience was truly amazing and if I had a blog I'd no doubt be posting about it. I am a geat believer in life delivering just what is necessary at eh right time. This spell of travelling is making me so appreciate this part of the world I live in. Maybe one day I will enter that bike race. It's good to have ideas about things that seem impossible. Or at least it is for me.

April 30, 2009 at 3:25 PM  
Blogger Donald said...

Thanks Marg [if the above is you]

Yes, it's wonderful how life delivers, or how a teacher always arrives when needed!

Sounds like you've had a special trip about. Stewart Island to me is such a special place, and I hope it keeps improving. Ulva Island is a stunning example of what predator control can do for native wildlife, and there have been rumours of making as whole of the Island [Stewart] a sanctuary. This is such a wonderful vision, and gives me great hope.

Cheers

Donald

April 30, 2009 at 8:32 PM  
Anonymous marg said...

oops yes sorry it was me. Not intended to be strange unidentified responder

April 30, 2009 at 10:22 PM  
Blogger Donald said...

No worries. Nice to see you calling in again :)

I've been regularly reading the blogs of your sisters, but not commented yet. It's been a bit busy, and in fact I'm just catching up on reading right now. I have a habit of following a fairly full reading load!

G'night

Donald

April 30, 2009 at 10:28 PM  
Blogger Ruahines said...

Kia ora Donald,
I thought I had left a comment here but it obviously failed on my end. I had written that ANZAC day here in Palmy has been a real pleasure to witness the growth of the dawn parade over the last ten years or so. When I stand there and watch those old soldiers I can't help but think of my own father, though he served in the US Army. The sacrifices these guys who returned made was pretty enormous, and only recently has it been "okay" to actually talk about things and not be seen as weak or unmanly. I recall as a little boy naturally curious about war and guns and pestering my father with questions. When she had a chance my grandma cornered me and got good and close to my face and hissed, "leave him alone, good soldiers don't talk". Just the way it was I guess.
The bike race looks like a great success, and love the concept of personal responsibility.
I have been traveling as well, with work, and will be spending the next month or so back and forth between here and Taranaki. A very beautiful area, and they tell me there is a mountain there someplace! Didn't see it this week through the cloud and rain. I have quietly stashed my tramping gear in the boot of my car. Have a great day Donald.
Cheers,
Robb

May 1, 2009 at 8:07 AM  
Blogger Donald said...

Hi Robb

I'm not sure what happened to your missing "post". I do have moderation turned on, and am sure I published, but who knows. A moments tiredness can have effects!

>> If there is any way in which I can help with the Clutha effort please let me know. I am working through a post on the Ruahine rivers now, and will include mention of it in there somewhere. I find it interesting to discover so many people are so quick to fall back on any objection to the need for more and more power as being NIMBY. Well, you know what, it is ALL our backyard and we should ALL be at the very least asking questions about what is really at stake here.

Thanks - it all helps. I'm thinking to inc. this in my next post - some pictures etc. all in aid of getting it on folk's radar. There'd be a lot to be said for NZ nullifying the contract to supply power to the aluminium smelter in Bluff [Comalco ?], as I'm sure we could make more of a return on this energy by it being sold to ourselves. I'm tempted to say that it'd be good to sell it cheaply to our own businesses, but they just waste it, so it might be better to re-think that one, but none-the-less use it for NZ! However I asked the question of a politician at a public meeting here a few years back held re. concerns about Project Aqua on the lower Waitaki. The hall of 300+ folk went very quiet as the concept sank in, but as I knew would happen when I asked it, an answer was avoided. It'd been asked before and for some reason those who serve democracy do not want to go there!

I guess we'll never truly know how we've been affected by our dad's being at war for several years, but it's worth pondering as I know for sure it affects how we perceive our being males, and handling feelings, and parenting of our kids follows on from that basis. When the US went to Iraq I saw an interview with a young US soldier on TV, and he was so open and honest about how freaked out he was. He'd only been there 3 weeks, and the thought struck struck me "my goodness my dad was seven years in that sort of environment with those feelings!", and back then home was much further away!

All the best in Taranaki

Cheers

Donald

May 1, 2009 at 9:22 AM  
Blogger Shirley Goodwin said...

Hi Donald,

Thanks for dropping by my blog. I haven't done much blog reading lately, though I've tried to keep up with posting. I found the quilt symposium very tiring, with my ankle (the one that got broken) giving me trouble (and still is). I've decided that I want to spend more time teaching my craft and making art, so I'm working on a bunch of ideas to make that happen. I'm hoping to come down to Central soon for a long weekend with my friend Bronwen (I think you met her briefly) so will try to catch up if we do.

May 2, 2009 at 2:11 PM  

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