Saturday, 21 February 2015

I'm still buzzing...

Not only have I been somewhat busy with the tour and knighthood but I've been honing my mad scientist skills for my pupils at Carluke High School.

Over the last few months I've been building a Tesla Coil from kit from a company called OneTesla in the US.

I haven't soldered for years and this may have been why the original board failed to spark into life as it should have done... So after a wait for the board to clear customs and yet more ridiculous customs charges the new kit finally arrived. It certainly kept me occupied whilst I was in recovery mode from the knighthood attempt the day before...

Main control board

The finished article...

So, what an earth does this contraption do then? Check this out...      :-)

Beat it - Michael Jackson

Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites

Mortal Kombat theme tune

The Tesla coil changes the voltage to around 250,000V which creates a plasma at the discharge tip - this super heated gas rapidly expands away creating a pressure wave which we hear as sound. By modulating the input current we can tune the output - essentially creating lightning that plays a tune. How awesome is that?!!

Update: got new software tonight which has made a big difference - the coil is no longer missing notes and is really living up to its potential (pardoning the physics pun)...

Check out ACDC's Thunderstruck - can't think of a more apt tune to demo!

Sufferlandria: A Tour and a Knighthood!

Sorry, it's been a while since I've had time to update the blog.

Far too busy cycling round the best mythical country in the world and being accepted as one of its knights... :-)

The Tour consisted of 9 days of Sufferfest videos, making sure each one was completed within the correct timezone to allow me to 'qualify' for the next stage. The sense of community online (both on Facebook and was remarkable. Over $100k was raised by fellow Sufferlandrians for the Davis-Phinney foundation which is battling against Parkinson's disease - so a really worthwhile cause. 

On Sunday 8th February (despite still being somewhat full of a snotty headlock I'd picked up on the last 2 days of the tour) I settled down in the saddle for a    L O N G    day!

Got all my kit ready in advance...

Lorna made me some tasty sticky rice cakes to help fuel the journey...


Number 2: Fight Club - I can't talk about it...

Number 3: Angels (2015)

Number 4: A Very Dark Place

Number 5: There Is No Try

Number 6: The Hunted (just after power cut midway through video - not happy!)

7 and a half hours into the quest...

Number 7: The Downward Spiral

Number 8: The Wretched

Number 9: Nine Hammers - hanging on in there... just

Number 10: The Rookie... almost there!!!

Done and dusted!

Garmin trace of workout: 11 hours and 50 minutes of suffering! 6,652 kCalories burned, average heart rate of 143 b.p.m., max heart rate of 170 b.p.m. and 56,500 pedal revolutions!!!

Arise Sir Gavin...
the 69th Sir in the UK....

Have to say that this was one of the hardest physical challenges I have ever undertaken - especially when we had two power cuts in the house during the 6th video - I was NOT starting that over again.

Many thanks to all those who provided encouragement on the day; to Wendy and John Fenemore who popped round during video 5 and to all those online who gave words of encouragement - it really made a big difference.

Together, we raised £1000 for Cancer Research UK!  So the truly epic suffering should help to kick cancer's butt in the future!

Gav's donation page for Cancer Research

The hallowed decals have now been applied to my trusty steeds...

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