Saturday 27 September 2014

Recycling roundabout

A few years ago when I ran the Himalayan Stage Race in India, I had the fortune to visit Dehli and Agra (and revel in the congested 7hr / 250km drive between the two cities). There I realised what 1.3 Billion people means and also decided that as far as waste and consumption goes, there's little hope for us humans and our trash and the poor planet. There's just sooooo much of it!

Even so, I find pleasure in recycling and that itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny bit of hope that recycling my plastic, glass, metal and paper waste helps even a little.

At my previous home, I would put my recyclables aside for a friendly recycling collector, Gerald. I figured it was far more pleasant to find out what he wanted and to put it aside for him rather than for Gerard to have to scratch through trash for these items, which he then takes to a recycling centre to earn a little income. We had a good thing going. And then I moved (and Gerard moved on a short while later too - stable employment in the Northern suburbs at what I think is a furniture manufacturer; I hope he is still there - a really decent guy).

For quite some time there was a recycling centre at a local mall and I'd stop past every week or so to drop off recyclables. And then they disappeared it.

My local hardware store has bins outside - one each for the four recyclable groups; so totally insufficient for plastics. I phoned the people who manage the bins; their number was printed on the panels on the roofed frame housing the bins. It wasn't a very satisfying conversation. I've used it for a few weeks.

About two weeks ago I saw that the panels had been removed and the setup looks like it too is going to disappear.

So, I got online. In this day and age where the environment and recycling is so in, I can barely believe that in my area there are no recycling centres. My closest is a Pikitup Garden Refuse Site in Sandringham. Many of the Pikitup sites have recycling bins too. It's not convenient, but currently my only option. I was very impressed with the cleanliness and neatness of the site and the friendly guys who assisted me.

Pick 'n Pay has bins for batteries and light bulbs. But you've got to ask / hunt for it because it certainly isn't placed in easy view...

Yesterday I went to Makro. As I grabbed a trolley, I noticed that there were signs cable-tied to many of the trolleys promoting a Samsung electronics recycling facility - "Eat. Sleep. Recycle" were the words on the sign.

I asked two Makro guys where this was (I assumed it would be in Makro) and what electronics could be taken there - only Samsung, or any? They didn't know a thing about it (even though there were trolleys left-right-and-centre promoting this) so they took me to the Samsung guy in the electronics department. He didn't know, said he hadn't been told about it and suggested that I phone Samsung. It's enough to make me see red, green and blue.

"No," I told him, with a smile, "the signs on the trolleys are in this store to promote this service. You work here and you work for Samsung so you're going to phone them and find out and I'll come back shortly so you can tell me."

It was one of those days for me.

I went back a bit later and he took me to a container outside the doors where you can toss in any electronic products - and not just Samsung.

"See," I said, "now when other people ask, you know the answer."

I've just found this media release about Samsung's partnership with Makro (and DESCO - the recycler) on this e-waste recycling initiative and here's a list of drop-off points for South Africa.

Today I took an old happy-snappy digital camera (after about five years it had done one too many races and it had stopped working completely and Sony said it would cost more to fix than to buy a new one) and a printer (it has printing issues but can still scan) to the container. A car guard saw me and he wanted the goods. I told him of the issues and he still wanted them.

I figure that is recycling too.

My guess is that a lot more people would recycle if facilities were convenient, accessible and well managed. It really is easy to rinse containers and toss them in a tub to drop off once-a-week or two. It greatly reduces the amount of trash that goes into landfill. Like massively. And your eyes will pop at the volume of plastic in our lives -this is evident only when you separate your trash.

I don't know whether recycling everything I can is enough to save the planet... but it makes me feel better.

Little O mistakes

Ja, with FEAT on this coming Thursday, I'm a bit behind the times. Nonetheless, here's a bit of my O magic from this past Sunday.

My club, Adventure Racing Club, hosted the bush O event at the Hennops Trail venue North of Jo'burg. It's a great area with a good mix of terrain and distinct features. I wasn't involved with the planning, just with the on-the-day helping so I was through at the venue really early to set up start, finish and registration, with assistance from other club members not involved with the planning.

I only started running just before 11 - it was already plenty warm out.

I found the terrain to be pretty decent. A lot of the open ground was pretty runnable and some was very runnable with few rocks. There were also some steep climbs (many close contours) and I was a total lazy butt, walking them.

Overall my navigation was exemplary. But I did have two wee wobbles.

Here they are:

Control 4 to 5

Fairly straight forward and a short distance of maybe 150-200m between the controls. My initial line was A-ok, but just short of the actual control location. There were also a few other cliffs around, that were not boulders (I've drawn them in red). I came down and when I saw the cliffs I totally expected to see the control. Curious... nothing.

I actually thought I'd overshot so I backtracked thinking I'd missed the right cliff. I then stayed on the correct level, walked past my previous point on top of the cliff and within a metre or three saw the control. Doh!

Control 11-12

I know, I know... what was I thinking! Clearly a no brainer too...

Here's what happened. Follow with me.
Leaving Control 11 - no problem. Easy. My options were to go to the left or the right of the ridge. Note the cliffs marked - thick black lines (no, not the path), the boulder cluster (sold black dot) and knolls (brown dots) and boulders all over (quite big ones in reality). It was a clear feature. I decided to some up from below - nice, pleasant terrain.

I must have come up very near the control but I was not yet looking for it. If you draw a straight line along the ridge, it looks like the control is just to the right of it, at the end, eh? Well, it wasn't. Thinking I had the wrong boulders, I dropped down a bit, saw the fence and headed up.

I figured that since I'd messed up from the bottom, I'd correct my alignment from the top. Truth be told, there wasn't really anywhere here to hide the control that I shouldn't have seen it. But, you never know.
So, I tracked along the right-hand side of the ridge (coming from the direction of 11) and ended up in the same place.

There was another guy with me here - he'd come from on top - where I'd initially approached from below.

Then I started thinking... if the control is clearly not at the end of the ridge, to the right, where could it be? Look at the contours... And the contours show the control at the end of the spur - a cliff and boulder cluster marked. So I went to the end of the spur... and found the control. Clear as daylight.

There were a few controls from here to the finish - all in close proximity.

I drank all my water out there, had a good glug when I came in and headed out again to collect controls - penance for wasting time on two very easy controls. hahahaha.

Wednesday 17 September 2014

A Fair experience

On Saturday Staci and I did our first crochet stall at a fair and it was a pretty good experience. The Vaaloewer River and Country Market is a new, annual fair in the village of Vaaloewer, just upstream of Parys.

The market didn't have a lot of traffic but nonetheless we had a some sales. Not a lot, but some. Our friend had the stall next to us and she didn't have that many sales either.

Of the people who did come past... they were generally really sweet and delighted to have a wide range of headband colours and flowers to choose from. A few stood out: like the one lady we noticed some time later walking around the market wearing her navy headband with its white daisy and she looked amazing. Another lady bought a flower to pin on to her hat; another bought a mint green headband and pink rose-like flowers and she put it on immediately.

Another lady bought a large flower as a brooch for herself and she wanted another in autumn colours for her daughter, who lives overseas. So we whipped one up there and then for her - she chose the colours and came to fetch it some time later. She was delighted.

We received a number of compliments too on our work, especially from women who crochet too. That's always nice.

For the rest, we so enjoyed parking off on our camp chairs, chatting to each other, other people and friends who stopped past.

That night both Staci and I enjoyed watching dvds at our own homes with nothing in our hands - for the first time in two months!

I'd do this again but definitely not with any regularity. It's a huge amount of fun but time-consuming work.

We've still got stock so we're looking at other fair options and may also have an open day for friends and relations as we'd put them off getting flowers and headbands until after the market.

What is meningitis?

Adventure racer Rika Viljoen is currently in hospital with bacterial meningitis and like the rest of the the AR community, I've been reading up on this illness. This piece that I've written should answer your questions around how Rika got bacterial mengitis.

You've probably heard of meningitis and know that it has something to do with an infection and the brain and that it generally is not a good thing to have. You're right. And that's essentially what it is - an infection of the brain.

The most common symptom is a headache and a stiff neck; those affected can't tip their head forward to touch their chin to their chest.

Fever (increased body temperature caused when the body sends out the artillery to deal with the invaders), confusion or altered consciousness, vomiting, and an inability to tolerate light or loud noises are also symptoms.

There are two common agents that cause infection - viruses and bacteria. And it isn't any one specific virus or bug (bug is lingo for bacteria); a variety of each are responsible. Parasites, funguses and non-infectious agents (like cancer, cysts and certain drugs) can also be responsible.

On the virus front, enteroviruses (responsible for a range of diseases including polio, chronic fatigue syndrome and non-specific illnesses where fever, headache, sore tummy, sore throat and muscle pain are symptoms), herpes simplex 2 (genital herpes), the chicken pox and shingles virus, mumps virus, HIV and a virus carried by rats that literally goes straight to the head of the infected person.

In adults, the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis (also known as meningococcus) and Streptococcus pneumoniae (also known as pneumococcus) together cause 80% of bacterial meningitis cases.

Meningococcus live in the nose and throat of 5-15% of adults as part of the normal flora, causing no trouble.
Pneumococcus also just hangs around and you can have it and not be ill. It's the fellow responsible for causing pneumonia and when you're susceptible (lowered immunity, elderly, children) then it takes advantage of the situation to cause a range of illness from a snotty nose to a sinus infection, middle-ear infection, pink eye to pneumonia.

It's important to diagnose what has caused the meningeal infection because treatment needs to be specific for the organism. First treatment line is antibiotics (for meningitis caused by bacteria) and antiviral medications (for meningitis caused by viruses).

We're invaded by a multitude of viruses and bugs all the time and just because you have flu or a sinus infection it doesn't mean that you'll develop meningitis.

There are three membranes that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. These are called the meninges.

So looking at the three layers there's a soft, form-fitting base layer (against the brain - capillaries penetrate this layer), a light-weight, loose-fitting waterproof shell and a storm-weather, thick and durable waterproof jacket (below the skull). Fluid (Cerebrospinal Fluid - CFS) flows in the space (subarachnoid space) between the loose-fitting shell and the base layer.

And then there's this wonderful mechanism called the blood-brain barrier (BBB). More than 100 years ago it was found that if a blue dye was injected into the bloodstream of an animal, if showed up in tissues of the whole body except the brain and spinal cord.

Infectious agents have to get through the meninges or BBB into the CFS to cause meningitis, which is an infection specifically of the loose-fitting shell (arachnoid mater) and the form-fitting base layer (pia mater) of these layers as well as the actual brain tissue, which become inflammed.

With is being not-so-easy for bacteria to get into the meninges and CFS, how do they do so?

They gain access either through the bloodstream or by direct contact with the CSF and meninges via the nasal cavity or skin. Invasion of the bloodstream is most common. You need to have head trauma (injury / skull fracture) or an infection of the throat or sinuses that has made contact with the subarachnoid space.

On Friday, while at work (she's a school teacher), the first sign for Rika that something was wrong was that she had a really bad headache and her vision was affected to the extent that she couldn't see properly. She was taken straight to casualty by a colleague. The hospital sent her home having diagnosed a sinus infection. On Friday night she was in pain and not doing well. Richard took her back to the hospital.

I think meningitis was confirmed on Saturday (lumbar puncture is performed to extract CSF) and treatment initiated.

And this is the key element here: sinuses are one way for bacteria to get into the CFS.

Sinuses are air-filled spaces around the nasal cavity. There are four of them. Many major blood vessels, supplying blood to the brain, lie next to the sinuses - and that's how infection is transferred.

You could have a sinus infection every season and never get meningitis. It's really a combination of factors (severe infection in just the wrong place) that results in the conditions that lead to meningitis.

Treatment is specifically geared towards fighting the infection (intravenous antibiotics) and probably also corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and swelling of the meninges and resulting pressure on the brain. Sedation is common practice.

Bacterial meningitis is a very serious illness and Rika has a battle on her hands. Being young, fit and healthy is a big positive in her arsenal in her fight against this infection.

Friday 12 September 2014

Flower Power

OK, so I got a little excited last night about the crochet stall tomorrow... I took some photos of my flowers and headbands. I figured that I'd take photos to have a record. I'll take photos of Staci's colourful creations tomorrow morning.

Here are some of them...

Thursday 11 September 2014

Crochet crazy - my first fair

About two months ago I had my arm twisted into taking a stall at the Vaaloewer River and Country Market. It's an annual market/fair in the town of Vaaloewer, which is a little town on the Vaal River, a little upstream of Parys. Not wanting to go it alone, I roped in my friend Staci to partner me on this project. She's also a crochet whiz.

As it is Spring and we love flowers, we decided to go with making headbands and flowers; the flowers can attach to the headbands or be worn independently as brooches. We've gone with 100% cotton yarn (feels great and nice and cool) and have a load of colours.

We've been methodically working through balls and balls - turning yarn into things.

The fair is this Saturday! It's one thing to make stuff for friends and family and babies... and another to make products for sale. A little daunting.

Our brand is Loops & Stitches.

We're especially proud of our wooden buttons. I did the designs (inspired by buttons I saw online) and Staci's colleague laser-cut them for us.

It's hard to price crafts because if you set a fee at an hourly rate that one commands for other work the products are too pricey for people to buy. There are loads of suggestions online like cost of materials multiplied by a factor, like by three. We've taken these into consideration but mostly we're winging it because it's our first time and by interacting with people at the fair we can gauge their response to our products and will be better informed for next year. The challenge too has been how much stuff to make. Big learning experience on Saturday for us.

Here are some early photos I took for the market's FB page about a month ago. I'll take more on Saturday to show you our creations. Since we took these photos we've created headbands in a variety of stitch patterns and piles of flowers. Staci and I have each made a string of crocheted bunting and Staci has also made really sweet and colourful characters -  a bird and an owl.

FEAT - three weeks today

Time is moving swiftly and this time in three weeks it will be the 6th edition of FEAT. Goodness!

I hope you've got your tickets... ;)

Monday 8 September 2014

What is your lobola bride price?

My dad phones this afternoon. He's heard something on the radio about an app that calculates bride price based on criteria like age, education and other criteria. He says it is creating a storm.

I explain to my dad that with my volume of skills I doubt their software would be able to calculate my lobola rate - so totally off the charts it would be. hahahaha

While I'm chatting to him I find it online (Bride Price). It's a Nigerian site and it is pretty funny.

You can do the questionnaire for yourself or for a friend/enemy. You click through options that deal with important issues like the shape of your legs, teeth (white or brown and with or without a gap - highest value for white with gap), facial scars and how well you can cook. Each option has a monetary value. There are some quite funny options to chose from.

I couldn't decide for employment whether I was Computer Computer work or Talk Talk work - I'm on my computer a lot doing media work... both are assigned N20,000. I went with Talk Talk. Some options I didn't have a clue what they were (local lingo) so I took a guess ;)

At the end the elders confer and you get assigned a monetary value, a classification and a certificate. At today's currency conversion, that's R25,600 for me. Mmm... I'd expect far more! Perhaps buying power is better in Nigeria? hahaha

Silly fun.

New season of veggie gardening

I've been really quiet on the veggie gardening front because I've been very lazy and neglectful. But, Spring is here and I'm ready for a good season.

Last year I was totally slack and too preoccupied with the course I was doing, FEAT and a dozen other activities that took my attention away from the garden completely. My big gardening downfall was in not watering regularly. I've promised the garden that I'll be more attentive.

On Saturday I got into the veggie bed. I started with clearing out old plants and tidying up what I wanted to keep (two sorrel plants, a spinach plant or two and some flowers).

And then I dug in some compost. For the very first time I used compost from my very own compost heap, which I started last season. Rich and moist and populated with many earthworms. This was immensely satisfying (and back breaking) to dig up and move around the compost.

A neighbour bought me a tray of cherry tomato seedlings for the garden and on Sunday I added a tray of eggplants, baby red cabbage (first time trying cabbage) and red-and-green spinach. I put 'em all in yesterday afternoon. I've got some baby spinach and Asian leafy veg seeds that I'll put in this afternoon. And then it is a matter of waiting and watering and watching.

The other bed I started the year before last is not a good veggie location. Too hot. My tamarillo (tree tomato) trees are there and they're thriving but not much else does.

I've decided to turn the bed into a vygie garden. Vygies are succulents and are very tolerant of heat and they're good ground covers. I've seen them in the Northern Cape and I just love their flowers. I bought a few yesterday - I'll put them in after I've done the compost thing.

The veggie garden is a lovely conversation piece with my neighbours. Even living in close-quarters in a complex some neighbours I seldom see. But, when I'm working this communal garden, they come over to chat.

My one neighbour has a cement bench that she no longer wants in her garden. We're going to move it to a shady spot near the veggie garden. A nice place to sit and read and chill. A new neighbour (she's 74 and works part-time from home) has offered to help with regular watering. Sweet.

Three cheers for a good growing season!

Blood donation #38 (and what athletes need to know)

That's donation #38 done. As the period between donations is 52 days, that puts me on 3 November for my next donation. But as I like to go to my donor centre during the week between xmas and New Year I'll delay until then. This xmas period is a high-demand time for them and they loooovvveee my O Neg blood. And then Feb next year makes #40.

I've really been on schedule this year - I'll make it for five donations this year (you only need three/year to maintain a 'regular donor' status.

I don't often see many people when I visit my local Bruma SANBS donor centre (they're really nice and friendly here). A man was there when I arrived and while I was there a young woman (Grade 11, still at school) and another man arrived. Nice!

I logged another heart-rate low on their electronic BP machine: 43bpm. Filled my bag in about five minutes too! The one nurse, who I often see and who knows me, even commented, "Gee, that was fast!". Strong heart. Good blood.

I got to thinking about how I deal with blood donations, training and races.

I've only had one time when I felt really sluggish the next day and one time where I felt a bit hammered. And on both occasions I can definitely track not feeling great to my hydration status - before and after donation apply. In both cases I didn't replenish fluids sufficiently afterwards.

In an article on the Ironman website, the author John Post writes:
"As an athlete, your first concern is how long it takes to return to pre-donation blood levels. That depends on specifically what you donate. For example, scientific studies have shown that if you donate plasma, the liquid part of the blood, or platelets, the cells that help blood clot, but not the oxygen carrying red blood cells, you’ll be back to normal in 48 hours. Even if you give whole blood (including the red blood cells), within a week or two you shouldn't see a difference in your training from pre-donation, although a 100 percent correction in your hemoglobin level will take about five to seven weeks."
Haemoglobin is the element that really counts because this is the oxygen-carrying vehicle; and oxygen is what the muscles need. The higher your exercise intensity, the higher the demand.

Sure, when you donate, you're saying bye-bye to red blood cells - around 10% of total volume. If you had a race the next day, you'd feel sluggish and would log a decrease in performance of around 8%. But then you're an idiot if you donate blood today and race tomorrow. Within three to four weeks you'll be back at 100% performance (or sooner, depending on intensity of event that you're doing).

BUT, keep in mind that this is with reference to competitive performance and NOT OVERALL well being and training ability.

Considering that most of us are casual, recreational and amateur competitive athletes and not elite/professional athletes, blood donation is not going to have a neglible effect on your training and competitive performance. And as you only have to donate three times a year, you can plan your donations around events and in your less competitive periods.

The one thing that always concerns me is my system being immuno-compromised following ultras (which happens). If I have a race coming up, I delay my donations so that they're at least three or four weeks before the race and at least two weeks after the race. Easy. With a 52-day (almost two months) interval I couldn't donate more regularly than this anyway.

I don't always train on donation days - sometimes just a chilled run; other times I take it as a 'rest' day to be kind to my body. Today I'm taking a rest day 'cos I have a bunch of stuff I want to do.

Lisa's athletic donation tips
  • Hydrate and eat well the day before and on the day of your donation
  • Hydrate well after your donation
  • Use your donation day as a rest day; the following day take it easy (be kind to your body for a few days)
  • Donate at least three to four weeks before races and not sooner than two weeks after races
  • You only have to donate three times a year to maintain a regular-donor status; focus your donations during your least competitive periods
Here are two pieces to read (#1 RunnersWeb and #2 Endurance Corner) just for info. Both reference a study with three amateur competitive cyclists. The error in the set up of the study is that they measured performance at two hours, two days and seven days post-donation. They should have measured at Week 1, Week 2 etc. Not a very smart experimental plan. As I said above, if you donate today and plan to race hard tomorrow or in two days then you're an idiot.

Just remember too that people are deferred (totally or for a set period of time) from donating if they take certain chronic meds, have/have had certain viral infections, have promiscuous lifestyles and following visits to malaria and other risky areas. Check the SANBS website for exclusions. LGBTI donors are now very welcome.

Pay it forward and donate blood regularly (read my piece below on once-off donations being a waste of time). Should I ever need blood, I'll be helluva pissed off if there's not enough for me. I've been putting blood in the bank for you... it would be nice and considerate if you can think of me too. Don't be like the majority of the population who only start to donate after having received blood provided through the good will of donors. In the US (according to the RedCross) less than 10 percent of the population gives blood annually, for the benefit of 100 percent of the population. It's the same here. As a side benefit of donation, you get regular blood pressure and iron level checks.

 As always (just to remind you):

Tuesday 2 September 2014

That Spring-y feeling

While I love the heat of summer, this Spring-y time of year is a delight. I've been feeling Spring-y for a few weeks as some fruit-tree blossoms have been out for a while and trees have been getting buds since the beginning of August already. Things are now accelerating and every day brings new delights.

This evening on my run there were a number of spots with fragrant jasmine bushes. I could barely inhale deeply enough to absorb the scent fully.

And the number of people... More often than not I do not see any other runners or cyclists in the evenings. Today - at a guess - at least nine runners and one friendly cyclist! Spring is here indeed.

Wouldn't I just love to run beneath these blossoms! Actually, I'd probably walk. Or, more likely, I'd just stop and stare. Blossoms are a delight.

MTBO season underway

Our mountain bike orienteering season is up and running with once-a-month events between now and November. The MTB rogaining event at the end of July got things going with this past Sunday's event getting the ball rolling even more.

As my club was hosting the event, with mapping and planning by Brian and controlling by William, I was through at the venue - in Broederstroom - to help setup and with the starts. Starting late, I decided to do the middle-distance course so that I'd be back in good time.

I enjoy MTBO far, far more than just bike riding. I think of it as 'mission-orientated' mountain biking.

I had a bit of an issue with my map board. I got this map board many years ago when I had another bike with skinny handlebars. My current bike has fatter handlebars so the bike-board mount doesn't fit. For the rogaine, I put on a handlebar extender, which worked perfectly. But on Sunday... the handlebar extended jiggled loose and so it was bouncing and flapping my mapboard all over the place. This was from about control 9. I'd been having such fun until then... At one point nearing Control 10, the board flipped up, caught the wind and almost flipped me over. Fortunately I wasn't going too fast so I did a rather elegant slide-fall. I've got an improved idea to sort out my mapboard for the next event.

Overall my routes were fairly decent. Only one bloops near the end... Let's see the overall map.

Overall, MTBO navigation is easy because the controls are on paths, not hidden in pits and bushes. But, as you move faster on a bike than on foot, you've got to really watch because distance is covered really quickly so it is easy to overshoot. In MTB O you're required to stay on tracks - no bundu bashing with your bike.

I use a lot of features like rocky mounds when I navigate and so adjusting to the lack of detail was quite different. Brian did a good job with the mapping and putting in some vegetation. If you can read contours, that helps too. The amount of route choice in MTBO really depends on the venue and how many tracks are available. In reality there were more tracks that what you see on the map - just cattle tracks. Now in winter they look fairly clear but in a few weeks when the vegetation is up they'll disappear.

Control 7 to Control 8
Brian spoke at AR Club this week about his recent participation in the MTB O world Cup event in Sweden. In foot O we plan courses aiming for no in-and-outs and to have 'flow' in the course. Apparently this isn't a big concern in MTBO with routes often doubling back. Brian's course didn't have much of this, but there were some in-and-out controls.

The best route from Control 7 to 8 looked to be going via Control 9... but as I don't like re-tracing my routes I decided to swing around. The route was fine, but it wasn't the fastest option. An O friend was close to me going through the gate; he took the route via Control 9 and got to 8 just before me (he cycles a bit slower than me too, which verifies that this was the better option).

Control 12 to Control 13
I know, I know. You can say it... "What were you thinking?". Evidently, I wasn't.

With my mapboard flapping I wouldn't ride-and-read, as I usually do. So leaving 12 I took a quick look and thought "first left". The '0' of the 12-80 had caught my eye and I was aiming for that. Doh! Interestingly, there was a control there (for another course) but I'd realised on approach that I was in the wrong place so the control I saw was irrelevant by the time I got there. A better route would have been to stay on the track from 12 all the way to 13...

I overshot a little after 13... I didn't see the right-turn and realise a little further ahead that I'd gone past. Not a big bloops, but one nonetheless.

It was good fun being out on my bike, which I don't ride often. I'm looking forward to the next MTB O at Northern Farm on 28 Sept. (click on my link for the event sheet).