Again, I have to apologise for not keeping the blog up to date, but – for some months now – I really do not feel like spending time on writing down all the stuff what happened to me. So I will be very short. In the first half of April I still had a high training load on the racing bike, I was already over 700 km before the half of the month, so I did not feel so bad when I basically stopped for two weeks because the weather sucked, big time… Then I went to Amsterdam to have a nice long weekend with my parents. It was really great, we visited all the places and museums we could, maybe even more, and walked through every part of the city. I liked the fun science museum the most, with huge soap bubbles to play with :D Here is a short selection of the pictures I took, for more, have a look at my Flickr set!
And a ship just in front of the museum
Iconic flowers of the Netherlands
Random people ;) in the garden of the Museum Van Loon
On Wednesday evening (from 11 PM to 2 AM… – the latter was not part of the plan…) I finally put on the new Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels I bought a couple of months ago, along with a new chain (I started the whole night session with destroying a chain tool, by the way…), fresh brake pads, and I also cleaned the bike for ‘her’ annual portrait picture.
When comparing it with the photo from last year, you can see that now (already since my holidays in France last year) I have a nicer white bar-tape (matching the saddle), new wheels (the front one of the Mavic Cosmic Carbone SL aero wheels from last year was broken in an accident, and I decided to go with a different type/style this year), and I will also very soon have a pair of sexy carbon pedals, but those are not yet on. Thanks to the weight reduction of the new wheel set (the aero wheels were a total of 1740 g, these are 1550 g – and here there is no need for rim tape, as the inner wall is not drilled through, so the difference is even bigger than that), the total weight of the bike (with the to be installed carbon pedals) is now ~7.95 kg :) By the way the wheels are great, they roll like a dream, smooth and noise-free (when you stop pedalling and just roll, there is no clicking noise coming from the hub, it is amazing), feel very responsive and rigid, so it is a very easily noticeable difference when compared to the default wheel set (Mavic Aksium, 1735 g). Of course these are not too aero (they are as aero as a house…), but for climbing on the Canary Islands, Mallorca, or the Alps, they will be much better suited.
Last week I also bough a helmet cam (Contour ROAM) to be able to record our upcoming adventures on Mallorca in high definition, and now that I have already given it a test ride last weekend with Tijl (whom you can see a lot on the video itself), I can say that we will have loads of fun with it :)
Ok, so besides getting my second paper accepted, I also had an extremely successful month on the road bike: 1420 km, 46h 40m, 5550 m elevation gain, 37500 kcal burned, with an average of 30.4 km/h, 158 bpm, and 91 rpm. My best month so far. Yeah!
Last week my second paper got accepted for publication in Astronomy and Astrophysics! This is basically what I have been working on for the last year (among some other smaller things, and observing). I like it much better than my first paper, as the star investigated here turned out to be incomparably much more interesting than the subject of that one, and because I have used a very wide range of scientific tools to unravel all the possible details. I am really happy about these results, even if they do not mean much for the public, and even if there are only a few people getting excited about what I have accomplished. The manuscript is already in the hands of the publisher, but as usual, you can find the paper on arxiv.org already. From now on (OK, already since I have finished the paper in January) I am working on data from the Kepler satellite. As far as I am allowed to tell you, things are looking very interesting ;)
While two weeks ago I was waiting for the comments from my co-authors before I resubmitted my second paper, I finally got enough motivation to finish my 3D model of the Mercator Telescope, which I started 1.5 years ago… I did it using Goole SketchUp, which is a very easy to learn and use, but still powerful modelling tool. When I abandoned the model back in 2010, I was a bit stuck with the texturing of the dome, and I basically lost interest, as most of the work was already done, and I did not feel challenged enough anymore to keep doing it. I had drawn the model based on the original blueprints of the observatory, I had taken all the high-resolution pictures on site which I needed for the texturing, but then there were still lots of time-consuming details left, which is – I can easily admit it – a bit of boring to do… But some of my colleagues started nagging me recently, so I thought, if I do not finish it now, I will never finish it. So then approximately another 30 work hours later (growing the sum to something around a 150 hours) the model was done :) I am having trouble uploading it to the servers of Google to make it available from within Google Earth itself, but until I succeed with that, you can download the model directly from here (and open it with your copy of Google Earth). I have also prepared a set of sample pictures, which can be found on Flickr. But here is a quick peek: