Bubble in the desert

A blog I started whilst on a GE "Bubble" assignment in Nevada. I'm back in Cambridge (UK) now but still miss the desert and my friends out there.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

(updated with split times) Roade Sprint Triathlon - 5 year Triathlon Anniversary

Five years ago I did my first Triathlon at Roade in Northampton. It's a 414m swim (pool); 20km bike (sporty) and 5km run (60% off-road with hills).

2003 Results
01:11:58 (153rd), Swim 00:07:08 (73rd) Bike 00:42:37 (175th) Run 00:22:13 (202nd)

2008 Results
1:06:48 (78th 0f 420), Swim 00:07:11 (87th) Bike 00:38:37 (74th) Run 00:21:00 (111th)

So I've trimmed off 5 minutes in 5 years. Not too bad I suppose. I think quite a bit of that will be the transition (both transitions are reflected in the bike time). Not wearing socks on the bike or run must save over a minute, and having a top I can wear in the water is probably another minute. The swim was 3 seconds slower than 5 years ago which is partly luck I think since I had a very clear lane to swim in and was not held up (but conversely didnt get a tow either!). My bike is much faster than the one I rode 5 years ago so I expect that made quite a difference. Overall, with the bike and faster transitions I chopped off 5 minutes from 5 years ago and didn't feel that I had a good ride. My running fitness is coming back so I am pleased to see I was 1:13 minutes quicker than last year (I have more to come here too).

Most of all it was good fun and a nice crowd from Cambridge Triathletes to hang out with.

In terms of looking for improvement, my swim could improve a bit, perhaps 30 seconds max, so that would be 6:30; the bike could perhaps be 2 minutes quicker on a different bike (say 36:47) and the run could perhaps be a minute quicker (20:00). So, perhaps 63:17 is a good target, which, looking at this years results would have put me in the top 30 (and 9th in my agegroup :-( ). A bit dreamy but nice to have a target anyway!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Campaigning at the Food and Garden Show - Cambridge Needs More Allotments

I spent all weekend at the brand new Cambridge Food and Garden Show on Parker's Piece. I was working on an allotment stall, selling some veggies and trying to get people to sign a petition to ask the council to provide more land for our over-subscribed allotments.

Carl, Mary and Dave

Growing food locally is one of the most environmental things we can do (after giving up flying). In Cambridge there are huge waiting lists for allotments (around 380 people). In many ways this is GREAT since it shows there is a lot of demand from people who want to grow their own food. Unfortunately it also means that some people wait for many years before getting an allotment and others just give up and don't bother to apply for one, which makes it hard to gain a true impression of the demand. The council have a legal obligation to provide land for this purpose so we put together a petition and gave up our weekends to campaign a little. The council seem to be listening and are very cooperative so we have high hopes for our campaign.

If you live within the city of cambridge, please do sign our petition.

I have done a few marches and a bit of campaigning this year but this weekend and this campaign seem by far the most important and worthwhile. It was a pleasure working with the team: Mary, Colin, Jerry, Ceri, Kim, Yolanda and especially the legendary Dave Fox, who is perhaps more organised and enthusiastic than anyone I have ever met (he also won many of the vegetable prizes!).

The team from Oakleigh Fairs were also incredible, especially Emma and Charlie. Very welcoming of our little stall and very good at what they do.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Please do this today - respond to the DEFRA discussion paper on food security

During his speech at the Garden Organic AGM, Tim Lang called on gardeners to respond quickly to the DEFRA discussion paper "Ensuring the UK's Food Security in a Changing World".

Responses need to be in by September 18th. No pressure then :)

What to do...

1. Read the paper at http://www.defra.gov.uk/foodrin/foodstrategy/security.htm

2. Respond urgently by sending your comments to: foodmatters.security@defra.gsi.gov.uk - your response can be any length you need.

Prof. Lang's speech is worth reading: http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/events/agm_2008_speech.php

(Thanks to Dave for sending this on)