City to Bay 2014

On Sunday I was one of 36,000 people who ran in the City to Bay Fun Run. It’s a 12km event, starting at the north edge of the Adelaide CBD, taking us south through the centre of the city, down Anzac Highway, finishing on Jetty Road in Glenelg. A predicted high of 22°C, no winds and clear skies made for great conditions.

City to Bay 2014 Runkeper

This was my fourth go at the City to Bay since taking up running in 2011. I didn’t get much of an opportunity to train this time, as last week I cycled in the 120km Amy’s Gran Fondo, and the fortnight before that I spent a week in the Victorian Alps back-country skiing. As I was busy (recovering from) these events I only had two training runs the past month; a 12km two weeks before hand, and 7km two days before to make sure my knee had recovered from the bike race.

Joel running down Jetty Road in the 2014 City to Bay

As it turns out the cross-training did wonders. I didn’t believe the 4:25 min/km splits that RunKeeper was reading out to me, but the legs were more than happy to move along at that pace. I got to the bay in 52:42, and the splits were correct – I managed to maintain a consistent pace the entire way. The exception was the last 200m, where I threw my legs as far as they would go and managed to get 13th in the Crazed Sprint for the Line segment on Strava, with a 2:13 km/h split.

I improved by 4:38 from last year, and importantly, bet Greg by 20 seconds! It’s going to be hard to back that up next year.

The Saunders Stampede

On Sunday I competed in my first Rogaining event, The Saunders Stampede 6 hour Bush Roganie held at Sanderson by the SA Rogaining Association. I competed with Greg and Mark in a team of three; Mark had done one before, but Greg and I were newbies.

The Hash Hut

We had about 30 minutes to study our map, solve the travelling salesman problem and get pumped. Our planned route took us to 28 controls, doing a clockwise circuit across the map. It had been raining all week, but although the skies were cloudy the rain stayed away which provided ideal conditions to stay cool without being uncomfortable.

When heading downhill we jogged, and kept a steady pace uphill. Greg’s cycling meant that hill-climbing legs were no match for the mountains. Mark and I could only look on in awe as he ran up the 25% inclines. While GPSs are not allowed for navigation, we did have RunKeeper tracking our progress. Over the 6 hours we covered 28km. Surprisingly, we were moving for only 5 of the 6 hours. We had two small breaks for food, but each time we paused to check the map really added up.

Route showing the elevation profile

The counter point to saying we spent too much time looking at the map was control 63. As you can see on the map, we were walking along a fence – in this case a one meter high drystone wall. The expectation was that the control would be on the fence-line at some point, however, we arrived at the left-turn in the fence near control 71 and realised we had missed it. No turning back, as there was no way any of us wanted to re-climb the 25% incline again!

The course map marked up with the controls we visited

In hindsight, we should have left more time to clean up the controls on the flat. We spent a lot of energy descending from control 90 and then climbing back up the hill to get control 70 at the top of the course, when we could have headed back down towards the flat and cleaned up 80, 33, 30, 23, 37. By the time we had gotten down the hill, Mark and I were struggling to keep the pace up.

Mark and Joel

In a previous event the winning score was around 1200, so the goal was to get over 1000. After we crossed the finish line we expected to come somewhere between 32nd and 17th, so we were very happy with 11th of 99 finishers and a score of 1120 having visited 23 controls. The winners got 1530 of a possible 1670 points, meaning they visited all but one or two of the 35 controls.

The countryside was very nice to look at, with some great views of the plain and the rolling green hills. Despite the sore legs on Monday, and Tuesday, I really enjoyed it and plan to compete in another one.

How warm is my beer?

A few weekends ago I went around to Andrew’s place to brew some beer. He’d been given a Coopers Homebrew Kit for his 21st birthday which hadn’t been used, so after replacing the hopped malt concentrate that had expired a few years ago, we set about sterilising the brewing vessel, boiling the water, adding the sugar and concentrate and finally the yeast.


The instructions suggest that the particular strain yeast will ferment best between 21 and 31°C. There’s a stick-on heat sensitive sticker that gives some indication of temperature, however if this is covered by a warming blanket, it’s a bit hard to read. Also, it doesn’t do a good job of measuring fluctuations over time, leaving us with questions such as was the mix getting too cold overnight?


Luckily, I had a Arduino shield that I assembled at the Pebble. Designed by Luke Weston of MobSenDat fame, and put together as a kit by Jon Oxer and his colleges at the Melbourne hackerspace. The features we used were the DS18B20 temperature sensor and the 4-line LCD display. The Akio scheduling framework was used to poll the temp sensor and update the display with the current, minimum and maximum recorded temperature. The current reading is also sent down the serial port for logging. The Arduino sketch can be found here.


An OLPC XO-1 was used for the logging and to provide power. This meant that we could have monitored it over the network; my plan was to use David’s HOWTO to set up a Munin graph. This didn’t eventuate for this brew, but perhaps will be implemented for the next.


Post-fermentation we took a look at the logged data. As can be seen below, there is a daily cycle as the day/night ambient temperature change occurs. There is also an overall downward trend. As the yeast metabolises the sugars into ethanol, I imagine they become less active over time and hence give off less heat. Or it could have just been a warm day followed by successively cooler days (probably not though – brewing started on the forth. But perhaps Andrew was running his air conditioner?). Another addition for next time would be to I will look at the correlation between the logged data, daily temperature and room tempature.