Paddling the Nile
The first ever paddle down the Blue Nile from source to sea. 5,000km through wild rapids, war zones, crocodile and hippo infested waters, disease, terrorists, guns, arrests; the works...
Newly married amongst the neon glow and dumpling vendors as we bumble our way trying to figure out the world's most populous nation at this exciting time in it's history...
The Great Canadian Bike Trek
23 years old and naive, I set off in the middle of Canada's barbaric winter perched on a woolskin seat-cover peddling solo from one side of Canada to the other...
Sore calves and a weird limp seem to have been fairly common for me over the past month. It could be coincidence, but I am fairly sure it is due to the tough training regime I am currently executing in preparation for the 28th Annual Vancouver International Marathon.
Training seems to be progressing forward very well indeed, with only a few hitches. It looks like there could be a very slim chance of achieving our goal of 3 hours and 10 minutes so we can qualify for the biggest and most prestigious marathon in the world ... the Boston Marathon, in April, 2000.
Administratively, things seem to be running very smoothly, our team, The Shaggy Yaks, already has 7 star runners. We are limiting numbers to 10 to ensure exclusivity. A sponsorship deal has been secured, which should pay for the Shaggy Yak running gear that we are currently in negotiations for.
Slogging along in the rain, with wet shoes, absolutely exhausted, is a great way to see the city, and I'm really appreciating how pretty Vancouver is during our 1-2 hour training runs.
Les Jickling, a fellow Net Nanny employee, and co-founder of the Shaggy Yaks franchise seems to be the driving force behind the success of the running squad, with his experience and knowledge of the 42km run. When we have conquered the great race, his next plan for the Shaggy Yaks is to climb the 8,813 metres of the treacherous Mt. Everest. We are currently considering ways to finance the US$65,000 trek.
I competed in my first running meet for the Yaks a couple of weeks ago - a half marathon with about 2,000 competitors, around the city. The only thing I won was a nice blue bag, which was a spot prize, but I was very happy with my 1:34.05 time, although I am told that it is the same pace that I must keep up for the whole marathon, which will require some work. Hill training started last night, which is the hardest exercise that I have ever done since my rowing days with the infamous Michael Venezwick.
Other than the marathon training, things have been chugging along very well in 1999. The departure of my good friend from Australia, James McCracken, has meant that I am not being woken up every weekend to the sound of burping and farting, but I still do miss the clown. Juan, the Colombian, has moved into his bed in the lounge, and although there is a slight language barrier, my Spanish is progressing and I have taught him some of the finer expressions of the kiwi vocabulary.
Last Saturday was my first game of rugby for '99, of which I am still recovering from the battering my body received up against the big Canadians. Although the match seemed fairly close, we were hammered by the visitors 32-10. I was hoping that the running that I have been doing would make me a bit fitter, but after 80 minutes in the mud, I was absolutely pooped.
I finally made it up to the Whistler-Blackcombe Ski Resort, which is apparently the best ski field in North America. It is about a two- hour drive from Vancouver, and surrounds a neat little town full of chalets and Aussies, dwarfed at the foot of the towering ski fields above.
Snow Boarding was on the agenda, and Stu Nash, a snowboarding veteran, taught me the ins and outs of the sport. By the end of the day, after many hard falls, I was really enjoying it, and I seemed to be able to negotiate most of the beginner to intermediate trails pretty well. The village of Whistler has some great little pubs, and while sitting around the table with the fine company of Maria, the Argentinean, and Stu and Adrienne, the Canadians, we met some very drunken Australians who we ended up singing along with.
Tomorrow afternoon, I look forward to the arrival of my beloved sister Clare, and I will do my best to show her the cosmopolitan city of Vancouver. When she leaves on the 2nd of March, my long-time buddy, Mr. Wheeler will be blessing me with his presence for a while. I am looking very forward to their arrivals and the supply of Watties beans and sausages that my sister is bringing over to replenish my diminishing stockpile of the great nutrient.