Saturday, 15 June 2019

Finally. Japan! And it did not dissapoint.

At age 49 I finally got to Japan. The trip was 3 years in the making and the objective was to ski and snow board. We chose Hakaido to ensure maximum snow and hopefully reduced crowds. Furano to be precise. Furano is a skiing location around 3 hours drive east from Sapporro.
The trip hit top gear from the moment we landed and set off in our rental car. Using the in car sat nav we self drove through the most inspirng land scape from Chitose airport to Furano.  This route includes an increadible highway through Shimakappu which includes no less than a dozed tunnels through intense mountain ranges, some up to 9km long! The land scape was spectacular in its beautiful winter, snow covered state.





Driving is safe as the roads are meticuously cleared of snow and traffic friendly. That said, We averaged just 70km/hr adjusting to the sometimes heavy fog and snow conditions. This making the drive all the more exiciting for us, stopping occasionally for the kids to run out of the car and dive into 20 foot high walls of snow!

Furano has 2 mountains with a total of 11 lifts. The longest runs around 8km. For beginers its perfect. And for the more experienced it offers enough variety for a good week. 50% green runs. 25% red and 25 % black. We spent just a day or 2 on green and spent most of our time on the red runs, even graduating to black in our final days.


Our accomodation choise was the most immpressive AirBnB I have possibly ever had. A newly built timber cabin at the foot of the mountain with every convienience imaginable - In true Japanesse style.
We actually preffered getting a bag full of deliscious supermarket dinner packs and sitting back at the cabin each night, eating sushi, noodles and fried chicken to venturing out to restaurants. That said, we tried a good number of local establishments in our 2 weeks in Furano including Ramen houses and Sushi restaurants. The trip was a gastrenomical delight.
















Tuesday, 23 October 2018

AFL Asia Champs 2018

The 2018 edition of the Asian AFL Champs was held in KL in October.
Once again it was a monumental event with over 20 teams competing including a womans division for the first time.
I pulled on the boots for the Philippine eagles one last time. Played the first 3 games of 5. We made the grand final only to be beaten in a hard fought contest by the super strng Indonesian Volcanoes.
Matt Rutter, Anthony Sacco, Winner Santos, Evan Spargo, Ed Newbound and Mr Aisa Kaweng NG lead the team once again. This core group ar no doubt the team has reached such great heights which includes the last 3 AFL Asian grand finals. Whilst it was comiserations after the final,we managed to pull ourselves together and celebrate the weekend with all the other teams.
Another great weekend and I believe a very resepctable result. Next year the tournment may return to Vietnam where I will be a certainty to attend.
7am arrival

Coach Sacco giving me the word

The boys post match

Me and my roomie

A team that drinks together...

Silly Sunday

More silly Sunday

..and more..

..and a bit more

Newspaper article about the finals

Friday, 1 June 2018

2 stadium run in Melbourne

One of my sporting highlights this year included A footy tour to Melbourne with Levi's team, the Wembley Downs Cats to play a couple of junior league games and catch some AFL at the home of footy, the MCG!
The trip included a fantastic Saturday morning training session with the North Melbourne Kangaroos, the dream time match between Richmond and Essendon at the 'G', and lots of sight seeing around the streets of Australia;s coolest city.
The highlight of the tour was playing 2 thrilling matches with the Keon Park Football club and the Hampton Rovers. The boys came away with a 1-1 record but far more significant was the hospitality extended to us by both clubs.
As with all trips I tried to get some running in, so with a mild hangover one early, cold but very pleasant Melbourne morning, I managed to run Ethiad to the MCG. Turns out there is a beautiful river side dirt path a lot of the way between the 2 stadiums which tracks along the Yarra.
Although we had to sit through another Freo thrashing, the boys got to go out on to the MCG during half time and I got into a dust up with the Collingwood mascot...so that made our weekend complete.
P.S. All dads got the bed by 9pm every night.

...I'm high on ridge, looking over the bridge..to the MCG...
The WDFC at the 'G'

(This pic must have been around 8:45pm....max)

Running route

Levi and I having a coffee break

Coach Mike and the boys walking the lane ways of Melbourne

The Keon Park club made us a beautiful welcome

This is a keeper. Levi and Majak

Team photo with the Hamptom Rovers (Came out of retirement to coach this game) 

This animal assaulted me



Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Cycling in KL; O-bikes

KL is one of the many cities in the world to adopt O-bikes. A bike share service where you can pick upand drop off a bike at various bike stand locations. Unfortunately the system is flawed. Theft, vandalism and general dishonesty means a lot of the bikes are left in unauthorized locations and damaged. In any case, I became a regular user of the O-bike and besides walking,  it was my main modes of transport for the 2km or so to and from the office. In grid lock traffic its often the fastest way across town!

Register you account,wave your iphone and unlock a bike.


Saturday, 9 September 2017

Cycling in KL - Batu Caves

For a fairly easy but rewarding bike ride in KL, head out to the Batu Caves. The caves and temple are located just 15km north of the city centre on Jalan Lingkaran Tengah 2. The best route to get there is via Jalan Sentul Pasar which actually becomes Jalan Batu Caves. Easy.  The road is wide, safe and relatively flat. You don't really leave the city on this ride so there is no need to carry provisions. Just stop at any 7-11 on route to refresh. The caves are great...That is; For a free attraction, or small donation they offer a great sight seeing opportunity and an excuse to climb about 1500 stairs! Bring a bike lock and leave your bike at the bottom of the stairs.
Beyond the caves is 'Raintree park' which can be easily circumnavigated on quiet streets. At the north side of the park is a rock climbing operation which has a number of climbs up the cast rock face. A great morning out and you'll be back in town before lunch!

View from the top of the stairs at the entrance of the Batu Caves

Ride right upto the caves entrance




Friday, 7 July 2017

A Runners Life in Kuala Lumpur

Finding ideal running routes in KL can be a real challenge. It is not exactly the most tourist or pedestrian friendly city. There are many positives to getting around, like the overhead LRT monorail, and the underground trains. And taxi and ride share is cheap.
On foot however, I discovered side walks are rarely continuous and pedestrian access is often poor or non-existent.  There is almost no bicycle lanes and given that KL drivers are a little aggressive and average speeds relatively high compared to some other Asian cities, riding or running on the roads is not recommended.
I eventually found a couple of nice city parks to run through and returned to them on a regular basis.
Taman Titiwangsa is located just north of the city and kampung Baru, just 1 block past Tun Rasak. Its a large park with a good path of about 3km around a lake. The views back to the city are inspiring and the park is at its best early morning or at dusk. It has lighting so can be safely navigated up to 10pm at night. The park can get a little crowded on weekends as families visit to walk or use the hire bikes.
From my apartment I would put together a 5 mile run, crossing Tun Rasak at an overhead walk way and completing 1 lap of the park.



Onee of the nicer paths along Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz

View across the lake at Titiwangsa looking back to downtown
Another run I did occaisonally was a down town circuit. Mainly through city streets and up to the famous and centrally located park space of Taman Ampang. Situated right in the middle of town, the park includes the impressive KL tower. The park does not have a path through it but you can climb the road to the base of the tower and get a view of the surrounding city.







Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Penang

I loved Penang. The food.The night life. The streets and the old world charm. It actually exceeded my expectations - and considering it was only 4 hours by train fromKL, Its an easy place toget to for even just a short 3 or 4 day trip.
Penang is a great city to explore on foot. It has a fascinating history of British colonialism which forged the beautiful the old streets of Georgetown.
It includes a large number of historic buildings, forts and endless cobblestone roads to wander. However the big attraction of the old town is the street art. Get yourself the street art map and walk from location to location to check out the interesting large scale murals.
The local shopping and food are good, with the local dishes including the famous Penang curries, Asam Laksa and massive range of Chinese dishes – all available at cool street vendors and local eateries at ridiculously cheap prices.
For a night out head to upper Penang street. It is lined with bars and cafes open until all hours, playing live music and accommodating the large turnover of tourists.
To work off all the excesses, my first and final recommendation is to walk to the top of Penang Hill. Although there is a cable car, the walk up the stairs and through the botanical gardens are far more rewarding and not too difficult.  The view from the top, looking out to the straights of Penang and back to the main land are awesome!
Also - bet ya didn't know Jimmy Choo is from here. Yep - as in the shoes!








Saturday, 10 December 2016

Sepang MotoGP 2016

Wow! That was my reaction after witnessing the awesonme power and speed of the ultimate class of the moto GP  series. These bikes blew me away!
A sprinkle of rain actually added to the spectacle, It was like a mini tornando as the bikes ripped passed the Marquez stand. Freakin awesome! The saturday qualifying was just as good as race day - both days must be seen.
The whole trip can be acomplished for a very reasonable price. 63 Euros for the 4 day pass, $35 / night hotel in Sepang and super cheap air asia flights put the package together at less than 500 bucks (Excluding beer money :) ).

Based on the above ive already committed to returning in 2017.