A few months back Chris Wiltshire (our resident IBA expert/representative) designed a couple of rides that circumnavigate the North & South Islands, albeit on State Highways and, oddly enough, these are titled, ‘Ride Around the Top Paddock’ & ‘Ride around the Bottom Paddock’ ….and if anyone is dumb enough to do both, then they have been deemed to have ‘Checked the Boundary Fences’! Yes well……
The rides are each 3,000+ Km, to be ridden within a 50hr time frame.
I first became aware of the rides when Chris was doing the ‘test ride’ for the Top Paddock and thought, “Oh dear, dumb bastard!! You won’t get many takers for that!’ but the dumb bastard completed it straight up and since then both him and Julian Boyd have done both rides, as well as a third doing the Bottom and another two doing the Top!
So ….It’s been an interesting week because on Tuesday, Julian embarked on his 2nd attempt, (riding a friggin’ Indian Scout) using a clockwise route, then on Wednesday, Gary Polwart and Mike Green embarked on an anti-clockwise jobby (but at least they were both on ST’s). But anyway, it just proves that this country is full of idiots and nutters …..and I had the pleasure of riding a teeny, tiny piece of the route with them!
It all started on Tuesday night with Julian, who was starting his ride from the BP opposite Te Papa at about midnight, so I went down to see him off, leaving home at 2217, arriving there at 2224. We chewed the fat and eventually, he decided to leave early and I headed home at 2317.
Now I suppose I should mention that Julian is a freak! I first met him on the 2020 TT2000, when I followed him (on his horrid Scout) and a couple of other chaps on adventure bikes from the Alfredton area, along Route 52 to Weber, then into Dannevirke (although I didn’t know who he was at that time). Then in October last year, Julian attended the NZDR October events (yes, still riding on that thing!) and he signed up to do the Double Badger ….but….he did them back-to-back on the day!! (A mere 2400 km within a generous 36 hr timeframe).
It turns out that Julian used to deliver ocean going yachts and has this ‘disability’ (??) whereby he can go without sleep for days on end ….go figure!? So off he went, on a plan to stop, if/when he needed to and I, along with many others, kept an eye on his Spot-Track and progress.
Moving right along…..
On Wednesday, Gary and Mike had spent the night in a Wellington Motel (albeit a noisy one by the Basin Reserve), then relaxed during the day in preparation for a 1700 start from Z Johnsonville. I gave Gary a call and arranged to meet them at Z.
So, I don’t really know Mike, but Gary would have to rate as the epitome of a Distance Rider. He plans his ride to the nth degree, rides an ST1300 with an auxiliary fuel tank (so he has a very good range) then rides at a very steady pace and all stops are minimised to ensure no time is wasted, thereby resulting in an optimal Overall Average. The reality is that Gary doesn’t really ride any faster than the rest of us …..but ….he is able to maintain that pace on roads that us other mere mortals can’t …or if we tried, we’d find ourselves in all sorts of predicaments.
….and this is all helped by the fact that Gary appears to be a bit OCD!!?? …..I guess this fb post sums that up a bit …. “Met up with Julian at BP by Te Papa before he started last night, then rode as far as Martinborough with Gary and Mike this evening. Had to do the Airport CP first up ....via the 5pm traffic ....so that was interesting for someone who's generally not on the road at those sort of times. As usual, I struggled along and when we got to Martinborough, I mentioned to Gary, "I suppose you're about half an hour behind schedule already?" The response, in typical Gary style, was instant ...."16 minutes!!"
*Sigh* ....it's great to see someone else whose undiagnosed OCD tendancies are somewhat more intense than my own.” ie. When he rides he is constantly monitoring his averages and is able to make small tweeks to ensure he rides to ‘the plan’.
At this stage you might be asking, “Why the hell would Julian wait around to start at midnight ….and why on earth would Gary & Mike wait around to start at a peak traffic time, when their route took them from J’ville, across the CBD to the airport, then back through it again to get out of Wellington?” Well, that was a tradeoff to get them through other areas when the traffic or timings were more suitable ….and that’s all part of this dark art called Distance, or Endurance Riding. Afterall, this was a 3,300 km route that would take them through horrid spots like the Double-Yellowed Tauranga-Waihi SH2, The Coromandel Loop, then more Double-Yellowed SH2 to Bombay, for the piece de resistance ….SH1 via the Auckland Motorway ….yuk!!!
Now my fb post was a little tongue-in-cheek, but not too far off the mark because I don’t see myself as a fast rider and although I’m capable of knocking out a 1,000 miler in 18 hours, I’m really more of 20 hour sort of guy.
Before I’d met-up with the boys, I’d decided to ride to Featherston with them, but after chatting for a bit, it was decided that I should lead them through the traffic to the airport ….but that actually turned into leading until after Featherston. This presented a bit of a conundrum for me because:
I didn’t speed, (above the tolerated limits) just rode assertively where I could and sat in the traffic where I couldn’t, taking 22 mins to do the 14.9 km. …and 42.4 kph avg doesn’t really cut it when you’ve just embarked on a BIG ride! After a casual 3½ minute CP stop we ventured back into the traffic, but this time I took them via Newtown, because the traffic heading back through the Mt Vic tunnel was at a standstill on the way over.
That didn’t really help much because by the time we got back to the Ngauranga Gorge, our stopped time had risen to 8.3 mins and the OA was down to 36.7 km …and we were on the motorway, …..but still in traffic filled lanes ….so we pressed on! …and sure enough, by the time we got to Brown Owl, the OA was up to 53.2 kph …and now we were busting out of the traffic. I guess one could almost think about uttering a wee yeeee haaaaa!
It was hard case as we embarked on ‘the Hill’ because we encountered a couple of wanna-be boy-racers. The first was as we climbed the Plateau beside the reservoirs and there was a ute up-the-date of another vehicle. When he got to the passing lane he bolted out, passed, then swung back, but instead of easing off, he floored it!? I smiled a little and just eased the power on, taking the big left hand sweeper in the right lane (at a little over the tolerated limit), cranked right over, with the bike purring and me fizzing!! Then we caught another chappy as we entered the hill-proper. He was maintaining a reasonable pace so we just tucked in behind until we got to the first passing lane, but then instead of easing off, he floored it! Bloody muppet! This passing lane starts with a left hander, so it’s always hard to spring past and I just had to power up and hope I could get past quick enough for the others to get through as well, then from there we settled into a steady romp ….ok, ok, a spirited sprint ….but who can hit 100 kph on the Rimutakas anyway?.
By the time we got to Featherston we were 84 km into the ride and the OA was up to 60.4 kph with the Moving Avg to 67.3 kph, then we pulled into the square at Martinborough at 1835, 102 km done, OA to 65.2 kph & MA to 71.8 kph, and it was time for me to head back while the nutters only had 3,200 km to ride with 48.5 hrs to do it in.
I arrived home 1941 and apparently, I was grinning from ear to ear, but I have no idea why that was, because I had just enjoyed a cruisy ride home. (Maybe it was because I was happy that I hadn’t dragged the chain and held them up?)
Over the next day I monitored the Spotwalla tracks of both parties and on Thursday evening I had been corresponding with Chris, then I contacted Julian again to see how he was getting on. I had Friday off and after a couple of chats, I decided to go for another ride to meet-up and ride back with him.
I figured that if I left when he was in Napier, we should probably get to his fuel stop in Pahiatua about the same time, so I kitted up and left home at 1844, fueled at Caltex Kaiwhara’ at 1853, then hit the road at 1859.
Once again I was ‘pressing-on’ and about halfway between Eketahuna & Pahiatua I came up behind a car, got to about a standard following distance, then had palpitations when I noticed that it had blue & yellow squares on the red background!! It soon became apparent that he had finished for the day and was heading home, so I just followed him to Pahiatua, paused to call Julian, then continued on to meet him in Woodville because he had ended up stopping for fuel in Dannevirke.
I arrived there at 2050, having done 172 km from Caltex in 1hr 50mins (94 kph Avg), then Farted around for a bit so I could ease the cold squeeze and Julian could have a fag, getting on the road again at 2108, after some discussion about who should be in front and behind. (Julian gave me a bit of gyp for asking that question ….but I’m not sure why??)
So I asked him what sort of pace he wanted, which was based on making it through to Wgtn, then led out. I’d entered Martinborough into the GPS prior to leaving to be able to track the ETA / progress and the ride down SH2 was uneventful …..apart from when we were heading out of Masterton and I must have been in a bit of a daydream (or perhaps nightdream), because the GPS was indicating to head onto Carterton, but my intention was to take East Taratahi and the middle road through, but I didn’t twig until right on the corner and fortunately Julian was staggered off my starboard stern!! We then ended up following a Discovery through to Martinborough, arriving at 2217, doing the 122 km to the square in 1 hr 9 mins for a 105 Avg.
Julian did his thing for the CP recording while I reprogrammed the last leg to the BP into the GPS, then Julian made some comment about the pace and needing fuel ….?? Turns out he called for a pace based on his speedo, but I’d been operating on the GPS ….so that’s an 8-10 kph differential ….although from the exaggerated claims he made, I think that horrid Scout must be about 20kph out!!?? *Sigh* …so we went to the BP down the road for him to fill and turned the 15 min stop into 22 mins and set out again at 2239 ….only 80 km to go for the man!!
It was easy riding through to Featherston, but the Hill was another matter with Julian riding ‘that’ bike, but we were soon on the Hutt Rd and Motorway for the cruise to the finish. Although at one point Julian did pull up beside me with all these lights by his dash flashing. Didn’t mean much to me but turns out it was one of those ‘detector’ thingys and when he mentioned it later, I had to advise that when getting back into biking, I made a decision to not have one, on the basis that it would just encourage me to ride faster and that being a bit of Jewy Bastard, I tend to ride off the Economy Gauge!! He just rolled his eyes and couldn’t understand why I don’t currently have any demerits!!?? Sheesh!! …it’s pretty obvious isn’t it!
We arrived back at the BP at 2333 with the last leg taking us 54 mins for an 88 kph avg, so he’d completed in just over 48 hrs with nearly two hours to spare. He refuelled (to complete the ride process and recording) while I organized us a snack, then we relaxed and chatted until it was time for him to head for the ferry and I got home about 0100.
On Friday morning I was reminded that I had been booked in to attend a Sole Mio concert, so that upset my plans to see the other boys back in, but it was quite enjoyable being somewhat more than just a spectator, maybe somewhat more like a pit crew and almost a participant in this crazy event.
The question did get asked as to when I might be having a go, but my response was along the lines of, “not going to happen!!” and having had a little more involvement and insight into what’s required, I’m a bit in two-minds about it.
Let’s face it, the Nth Island paddoock is 3,300 km to get around! That’s just over two NI1600s back-to-back and only has an extra 2 hr buffer over the normal 24-per-event hr timeframe!?
The rules state that one must have completed a prior IBA or 1,000 miler event, but hey, riding in NZ isn’t anything like riding in the US of A and if you can’t do a sub-20 hr 1600 (…in NZ …in any conditions), you should forget about having a go at this, because that would give you an 8+2 hr buffer for sleep and lets face it, even with 10hrs:
An 18-19 hr 1600 time frame will help the buffer, but would that pace lead to more fatigue? Let’s face it, Gary is the most efficient rider out of the NZDR stable at the moment and he only completed with an hour to spare! Admittedly, they had several issues along the way …but that has to be expected and allowed for on a ride like this….
…. Or maybe you’re a freak with a sleep disorder like Julian?
We’re all considered ‘Nutters’ for doing 1,000 miler rides, but this takes it all to a whole new level. The ride shouldn’t be called ‘Checking the Boundary Fences’, it should be just called, ‘Pushing the Boundaries’!!
My hat is off to you gents! Well done! ….but please, listen to what the man says in the ads, “Don’t try this at home!” ….or else, do your homework, train, get your skills up and then have a go …..but be prepared to ‘pull the pin’, then try again later if things aren’t quite going right.
With no clearance to drive/ride (for medical reasons) in October, I missed the 2020 NZDR rides and my riding buddy Steve was therefore given a dispensation to ride the NI800, with other buddies on that weekend, as part of his double-badger entry, then ride the 1600 with me once I was cleared. That happened in December, but Steve hasn’t been available until now, which was sort of convenient as that gave me time to do a bit of conditioning and rearrange a few things.
The rides are all blogged, but they included, the 2017 (failed) and 2020 1KC’s, the 2017 (failed) NI1600 (modified to a 2,000km ride), then the 2020 NI800 (modified to a 1600 after deciding not to attempt coupling the NI800 & 1600 back-to-back as a Bun-Burner) …and now, finally, this.
The route was modified for a Wellington start-finish, which expanded it to 1700km, ride plan done, ride-day selected (Friday, since Steve works weekends), weather checked and plan to meet at Z mana for an 0200 start (as that would get us back in time for a proper night’s sleep).
I had had new tyres fitted a little early, (they probably had enough life for the ride, but the front had squared off somewhat, the rear was getting down and it wasn’t worth the risk) plus they had an air filter in stock, and since that was about 4,000km overdue and the economy was poor, I had that done too. After the usual packing and prep, I hit the sack at 2000 and was surprised that I got about 4½ hrs sleep in, awaking with the alarm at 0100, scrubbed etc, joined Steve at Z Mana, fueled, paired our Senas and departed just before 0200.
I led out and it was a relatively sedate and uneventful trip up SH1 to Sanson, then across SH3 via Whanganui, although the cold squeeze (it was 14º, but a cold 14º) required a brief pause there, then it was on to Hawera and round the Surf Hiway to the 1st CP at Challenge Rahotu. From there it was a short hop to Caltex Elliot St in New Plymouth for fuel.
By now it was 0605 and finally, sort of light, with the prospect of some better riding, or at least, some more interesting roads and I must say, both Mt Messenger and the Awakino Gorge were delightful. We paused at BP Te Kuiti for a CP pic, then carried on up SH3 to Te Kawa, then took more good stuff on the Waikato back-country roads past the next CP at Wharepapa School, then carried on over the Arapuni Dam to Putararu, to take SH5 across to the Rotomas.
We had encountered our first stop-go of the day in the Awakino Gorge, but we had barely arrived, then filtered to the front of the queue when we got the go, but as we were descending SH5 to Ngongotaha, we caught one that had us sitting there for 8mins ….and we were to later strike another two with lights and four on lollipops around the East Cape …that was bloody tedious, costing us about 20mins all up. But anyway, we had a jolly good fang over the Rotomas and were soon stopping at Z Awakeri for our next fuel stop and a light snack.
The temp was getting up into the 20’s now, so I removed the skivvy before heading to the next CP, being the Te Kaha RSA. Up until now we had been cruising along on the usual allowable limits and had an overall average of 85kph arriving at Awakeri, but that had dropped to 82kph after the 22min stop. We were now about to embark on the good riding for the day, but with our next fuel stop set at BP Kaiti in Gisborne, at 385Km, I figured that with the curvy, hilly roads ahead, we would be pushing the limits on Steve’s 400’ish Km range, so we dropped the pace a notch and adopted a more economic style. We could fuel at the CP in Tokomaru Bay if we’d needed, but we were riding to a plan.
It didn’t make too much difference though, because even with the the two CP photo-stops at Te Kaha and Tokomaru Bay, plus all the roadworks (some of it thick, slip-slidy, dusty, gravel) and the stop-goes, we still managed to maintain and 85kph overall average to Gisborne. We had been warned of the bad slumping as well …and there were the odd moments, but I must say, the KSS reworked suspension on the ST handled it a breeze and it was a nice ride. We were now 1,143Km into the ride and after another extended (25min) stop at the BP for a pie and coffee (not the norm for me on these rides) it was now 1544, when we moved on.
At this point, I crossed the road to wait for Steve, then got blocked by the traffic, as he came to the flush median then merged, so Steve took the lead from there to Napier and that was more sweet riding. I’ve been over these roads a couple of times in the last few months, but it was now getting later in the day and the temp had already peaked at 25º, so not too hot and on this occasion, there was no worries about tar melt. Steve was therefore able to take it up a notch again and we made good time, through to Napier, even with an abundance of traffic, but then we nearly had a wee incident at one of the roundabouts on the Expressway, whereby some stupid bitch cut across the oncoming traffic, causing them to emergency brake in the middle of the roundabout, causing Steve to have a few palpitations, while I was off to one side and slid back through to the lead. We got through unscathed then made our way to the narrow lanes out of Waipuk’ and eventually made it to the CP with a moving average of 93kph at the junction of Te Uri and Mangahei Rd, then onto the last fuelstop for the day at BP Dannevirke …because I wanted to be home by 2200hrs.
It was a lovely evening with dusk seeming to linger for ages and even once it got dark, the temp was still 17º so I hadn’t bothered to put the skivvy back on, then we were onto the last wee fang for the day, the Rimutaka Hill. I was still leading and tried to take it at a gallop …but by then it was quite dark and after a long day and very average night-riding skills at present, ….it was more of an uncomfortable trot!! What was amazing though was that we didn’t encounter/pass any vehicles until just after the summit!
Steve pulled off at Brown Owl and I carried on, finally getting home at 2156hrs, having done 1708Km for the day. That had taken 22hrs 22mins with 1hr 55mins stopped time, which translated to a Moving Average of 93kph and Overall Average of 84kph.
That’s 17 1,000 milers done now, so maybe I’ll get to 20?
Another one down, but that was a strange day.
I revised the 2020 NI800 route out to 1611Km and I cut it out OK, but I can’t say it felt comfortable.
After spending a bit of time on the routing and ride plan, doing the usual stuff to sort the bike and gear, updating the music in the GPS, making a tweek to the phone to keep it awake (as recommended by Chris, (our NZDR resident IT expert), (although I must add that I didn’t do exactly what he said as that was just a general instruction), I was all set for an 0400 start on Monday, as that was Wellington Anniversary …and forecast as a nice day.
With these ‘casual’ rides, I tend to be a bit casual with the start so I don’t set the alarm and just get ready once I wake up. In this case, I was in bed a little after 2100, and although it felt like I didn’t get to sleep, as I seemed to be checking the clock every hour, I was obviously napping, but in the end, I awoke around 0100 and by 0115 I figured I wasn’t going to go back to sleep and an earlier start would mean an earlier finish, so I got up and scrubbed, snacked and prepped to leave.
That involved, activating Bubbler on the phone, sticking the ride plan to the tank, mounting the GPS, putting Vaseline on the earplugs before inserting them, putting the phone on charge to the 10AH power Pack and activating ‘No Screen Off’ then putting that in a bum-bag thingy, then that in the camera bag (to keep it secure to prevent it coming off charge). Then I took a photo of the bike dash (mileage) before starting, then pulled the phone again to force a start spot and check Bubbler was all good. ….only to have a WTF moment because Bubbler had tossed it’s toys out the cot and didn’t want to play. I spent about 10 mins farting around and in the end, thought, “I have no idea what I’m doing and I just want to ride!” So I hopped on the bike and left …at 0201.
I’m half way down the Ngaio Gorge when I decide that I need some music and when I look at the GPS, I notice the friggin’ thing is still searching for satellites! “She’ll be right, I’m sure it’ll find them”. Music now playing.
It was a rather cool 12º and I had decided to put 98 in for the first fuel up, because that leg would include the Gentle Annie, so I was heading for the 24-7 BP Upper Hutt, but when I got there, there was nobody home. Bastards! I’d even googled it to make sure, so I just cruised on to Caltex Rimutaka and left my card with the window-man while I filled and since I was intending to apply for IBA status on this ride, I photographed the dash, with the cash receipt before leaving. 7 minutes wasted!
The ride plan for the first leg was via the Wai’rapa, over Vinegar Hill, up to Taihape, then across the Gentle Annie to the next fill at Bay View. By the time I got to Masterton, the temp had dipped to 8º, then hovered between there and 10º up to Taihape. I did pause to photograph the Kiwi in Eketahuna as a CP and the ride to Taihape was over very familiar roads and pretty uneventful, but I’ve been noticing that I’m not very comfortable with the night riding. This will be partly due to not having done much, but I’m also thinking that the indicator that I’d had a stroke was visual and although that’s all been dealt with, I have the feeling that maybe the night vision isn’t quite what it used to be …or perhaps the old brain is still working on rewiring new pathways for the visual stuff and hasn’t quite got it sorted yet ….and maybe that’s because I haven’t been using it??? Oh the joys of being a silly old prick!!
Oh yes…and the new music playlist had already completed, then when I opened the Media Player, I noticed that there were only 36 songs on board!!?? (Having now checked the unit the other 100+ songs turned out to be MP4 files, but at the time I thought they were MP3) ….alas and alack ….and the silly old prick used to be a techy!!!??
Anyways, I was travelling on 95 and figured I had enough to get me to Napier (considering it was mostly a downhill run from there), but as I was about to leave Taihape, I thought I should respond to ‘natures call’ and put on the wets jacket and winter gloves for a bit of warmth. At this stage it was 0514 and I was 290Km into the ride …..and had just wasted another 4 minutes ….but let the fun begin!
Yes well, oddly enough, it was still dark with no real hint of dawn when Katie tells me to turn right and I thought, “Shit that was quick”, then “Doesn’t feel right ….but it is a bit dark, oh well, Katie Katie knows best!” Yeah right! 10.2 Km down the road, that still seemed a bit narrow and not quite right ….but it was still rather dark and Katie says, “When possible, make a u-turn!” and then the chorus chipped in … “Ahhh FFS!” “I knew it!” …and so on and so forth, so I turn around but when the tart says to turn right, I ignored the bitch and went all the way back to Spooners Hill Rd because I knew she was trying to lure me into some gravel. So I get back onto the route, make the ‘right’ turn and start to make much better progress.
By the time I got to the Suspension Bridge over the Rangitikei River (37Km) it was fully light and I had flipped into Eco-mode to ride as efficiently as possible, however this was causing me similar problems to my last ride, whereby I found myself entering corners a little hot and off the gas, which then led to a bit of braking and losing my line ….and of course, less efficiency!! It’s amazing how that little bit of power on just sucks you through the corners, but I was at odds with myself and just couldn’t get into the groove, even though I knew what I was doing wrong …..yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, …..silly old prick!!
I made it to Bay View in reasonable time though, with 84kph average to Omahu, then up to 85 to Fernhill, but then it dropped a bit in the traffic to Bay View. I had been warned on the NZDR fb page that the BP had had the tanks ripped out, so I would need to use the Mobil, so I considered filling on 98 prior, but in the end I carried on with the plan. But the temp by now (0745) was climbing into the 20’s, so I took the opportunity to get out of the jacket and heavy gloves, as well as having a snack and drink, so that was 8 minutes wasted on filling and paying, then another 9 on the undressing and snacking, plus another minute taking a pic of the BP site beforehand (This had the canopy removed as well as tanks out, so I thought that perhaps it was permanent, but apparently they’d had a fire on the site). So a very casual pause was had.
Departure was at 0755 and I was very happy to be getting on this road at the early hour, before the temps started to melt the tar, but even so, I was riding with caution as the sun was out and the temp was soon at 24º. I made reasonable time through to the next CP at Z Wairoa though (94kph), considering the amount of traffic, with lots of trucks, many of which were log-haulers, fully laden against my flow and returning empty for the next load going North. That made riding a little more difficult because the curly road through to Wairoa reduced the passing opportunities, but I probably found it more difficult with the big, blunt-nose Kentworths coming the other way, as I would invariably catch them at a right hander. The big trucks took up all their lane, so with the tall ST, I would have to take an extra wide line to keep my head well inside my lane and quite often it felt like I was riding off-cambered corners, plus get a big buffet from the truck for good measure.
The photo stop in this case was only 45sec, then it was onto the next CP at Caltex Opotiki (The Bridge, Z Wairoa & Caltex Opotiki were the three CP’s for the NI800). I was scheduled to fill at the Caltex, but decided to extend to Z Awakeri, as that would ensure making it to Turangi easily and the 94kph average was maintained all the way to Awakeri. The temp had risen over 25º by now and I still had my skivvy on, so another relaxed 13min stop was taken to strip off, snack and hydrate, eventually getting back on the road at 1217, which was just over halfway on distance, at 858Km (which included the extra, unplanned 20Km out of Taihape), so 10¼ hrs was a quite a slow time to this point, considering I had been travelling a reasonable clip, but the stopped time was adding up.
From Awakeri, I was heading across to Te Kuiti via SH30 …..and being a silly old prick, as soon as I left the Z, Katie was telling me to turn left (onto SH30 I might add), but I was thinking, “Dumb bitch, I don’t want to go via Galatea” and “Yeah right, and look what happened when I listened to you earlier!!”, so I stayed on SH2 ….and watched the ETA bang out by 10mins, but of course, I didn’t turn around ….or take the next turn at Westeren Drain Rd! No, I carried on through Edgecumbe, before it dawned on me that going via Awakeri Springs was the desired route and I’d just added another 8-10Km onto my track. What a bloody pillock!
I pressed on though and made good time around the lakes (Rotoma, Rotoehu and Rotoiti), which is a delightful ride (when they’re not resealing) and once past Rotorua, enjoyed the ride (fang) through Atiamuri, Whakamaru, then that very nice section through Bennydale before emerging at Te Kuiti and doing the 225Km at an average of 97kph. Even though the temp through here did peak at 28º, it is such a good surface, with minimal tar bleed, that less caution was required.
After a tardy 2min photo stop, the fang continued down SH3 to Eight Mile Junction, across SH4 to Manunui, then SH41 to the next fuel stop at Turangi and after the burn through Bennydale, I was riding in a much better rhythm and managed the 147Km at an avg of 101kph …I did have a sore butt now though and that was mainly due to the heat and wearing jeans under the corduras, but I guess it has to be expected when doing these sort of distances. Once again, I took plenty of time (13mins) with the fill with more snacking and plenty of hydration. I now had just over 400Km to go and the ETA was still hoovering around 2030-2045 with two CP’s (Upok Pub and Ashhurst) and the final fill in J’ville to go.
I departed from there at 1620 and was now riding in the groove, albeit getting more uncomfortable in the nether regions ….and I had long since turned the music off, as once I’d been through the playlist three times, I’d had enough, so I didn’t have any distraction there to take my mind of the growing discomfort. So …I guess the only answer was to tweek the pace to get it all over and done with and now I had convinced myself to keep the power on, I made really good time across to National Park and down the Para’s. (103kph to Whanganui in fact). I should note here that when I took my photo at Upukongaro, I went to send a text to Ann ….but the phone was flat!! I couldn’t believe that the ‘Stay Awake’ App had caused the phone to flatten a 10AH power pack, plus flatten itself, so I plugged it into the bike power and carried on.
From here I certainly didn’t need to do the extra Km across to Ashhurst, but it was on the plan and ….it took me off the main roads …so the gallop continued …then I ruined it by taking 3mins to take a photo and now I was down to the home stretch with 151 Km to go.
That was tedious but 146km and 1hr33 later I was filling at BP J’ville at 2026, then I was pulling into the driveway at 2039, so just over 18.6Hrs to do 1652 Km (according to the GPS) or 1665Km from the speedo. So rides stats from the GPS were MA of 96kph and OA of 88kph with 1:23 of stopped time.
Once again, I wasn’t exactly sleepy tired, but I had had enough and was glad to be off the bike, enjoying a nice hot cup of tea and a hot feed. The early start did mean that extra couple of hours of night riding, but the benefits were getting onto the BayView – Wairoa road before it got too hot, then getting home early enough to wind down before getting another early night before work in the morning.
It was a nuisance that the Spotwalla failed (again!) as that’s put paid to putting the ride toward LongHaulPaul’s 1M Mile quest for MS, but I look forward to a quiet week now, then I better check how the tyres are wearing before the next one, around the two Capes with Steve.
Route and Planning sheet posted on fb.
getting the clearance to drive/ride again last month, I’ve now completed the 2017 1KC, the 2020 1KC and the 2017 NI1600, as conditioning rides. Failing to complete the two 2017 rides, (where the clutch failed due to too much carpark slow stuff on the 1KC and not being attentive to the small stuff caused issues on the 1600) and these have been gnawing at me a bit.
Well, that all done now with completion of the 2017 NI1600 ride on the weekend, but, I couldn’t settle for just doing the 1600km because otherwise there are a few ‘knockers’ and those that ‘like to find fault as if there’s a reward for it’ out there and the 2017 event produced the worst weather conditions of any NZDR rides wince we started them in 2014. Well, you know how it is! They would be saying, “Yes, but you didn’t ride in 20hrs of rain like the real riders!!”, so I needed a point of difference to up the ante.
Now, I hate riding on wet roads on my 300+Kg ST with no traction control, so that wasn’t going to happen and to up the difficulty factor, I added Kms ….400 of them, to make the ride 2,000km in 24 hours by starting and finishing from home in Wellington and joining the route at the Kai Iwi checkpoint, then riding the route as it was set, but just doing the legs in different order.
Well ….It was the best of rides, it was the worst of rides….
I spent a bit of time on planning and setting up this ride as I’ve been a bit slack on that stuff in recent times. That included sorting a route and the order of legs (this ride had four out-and-return legs from Turangi), sorting fuel stops, establishing fast and slow target times to be able to monitor progress on the fly, getting the route into the GPS (which it wouldn’t co-operate so I had to drop the CP’s, then enter it manually), setting up the Spotwalla Tracking, getting in provisions of water, nutbars and bananas, packing some gear in case I needed to pull, as well as the normal stuff. At first I was thinking of an 0800 start, but in the end, I decided to go, depending on when I awoke, so I printed a couple of timing sheets to put on the tank. …Oh yes, and I’d been monitoring the Rain Radar and did defer to the day of my choice!
As it turned out, I awoke at 0300, lay there for a bit, then thought, “Bugger it! I’m not going to get any more sleep!” so a dragged myself out of the pit, scrubbed, snacked and was ready to go at 0400, which was jolly convenient because one of the printed sheets just happened to be 0400. (NB. The bike clock is running about 10-12 mins fast and times are taken from the GPS Tracklog)
I should mention that I intended to apply for an IBA SaddleSore2000 status on this one, so that meant I needed to have the Spotwalla working and faff around with things like pre & post-ride fuel and receipts, etc. etc.
So, the ride ….5mins to J’ville, the 7mins at the pump (It seemed slower than paying across the counter), then the tedious 200km crawl up SH1 and across SH3 through Whanganui to Kai Iwi. It was dark when I left and I don’t recall when it got light but being SH1, it didn’t seem like any of it was dark. There were a couple of bursts through here, but generally a steady pace with little traffic resulted in arriving at 0610 with a Moving Avg of 103kph. Temps were generally 12º-14º, so after taking the pic and scoffing a banana, I had to relieve the pent-up tension resulting from the ‘cold-sqeeze! I say cold-squeeze, but perhaps it just an age thing, but it’s a bloody nuisance and resulted in a tardy 3min stop. Oh yes, and then there was the Spotwalla thing with the phone! I had it in the camera bag hooked up to a power pack, because if the phone isn’t on charge, it thinks it knows best and manages your Aps for you. ie it shuts them down to conserve power. Well the bloody charging cord has disconnected, so I plugged that in and stuck the combo in my jacket pocket.
Now I was on the 2017 route and the fun could begin in earnest, but my riding on this leg was very average as I struggled to find a rhythm and I put this down to telling myself, “you need as ride as fast and efficiently as possible!” Yes well ….when riding a heavy beast like an ST through curly stuff and/or fast, just isn’t efficient, so I found myself at odds with myself, because the key to efficient is getting it up to pace and holding that pace. Therefore I was finding myself overcooking into corners, resulting in heavier braking than required, resulting in crappy lines, resulting in nasty internal memos and hitting reset ….then rinse and repeat! Eventually I woke-up and asked myself, “did I wasn’t to ride fast, or efficient” and the answer was “Yes!!” Well …at least that was enough for one of the voices to chip in, “Sort your shit out!!” and we got on with it. (between the music tracks, there are quite a few us chatting away in there). Well, the result was a tardy 97kph average for the 80Km from the outskirts of Whanganui to Raetihi, but average for the 184Km leg to Z Turangi was 104kph, despite the fog, or low cloud, or whatever it was …and it was cold ….and you know what that means!
So, I was stopped at the pay-at-pump pump by 0800, jiggling about as I faffed around with the transaction, filled, logged the fill, pushed the button on the Bubbler to send the Spotwalla track thingy, then danced to the dunny. Oh, the relief! Then I returned to the bike for another banana ….and a nut bar ….and a swig of water and all in all, wasted 12.5mins on the stop! Alrighty then, Ngaroma, here we come!
So, I pulled out and the scoot up the Western Lake was quite brisk, or ‘spirited’ if you prefer, then the road through the forested area by the Waipapa Dam is always a treat, and I was soon on the goat-track that threads across to Te Kuiti from there. But it’s a very nice goat-track, which has a blend of marked and unmarked (narrow lane) sections, but it generally has a good surface and one can still make good progress whilst exercising reasonable care. So in the end, the 129Km leg to the Ngaroma Hall (and that’s all there is in Ngaroma) took 1hr 15min for a 103 avg. Of course, maintaining this good average pace isn’t much good when you’re riding with a dog-with-dysentry and you have to make tardy 3min photostops! …although, to be fair, there was the drama with logging the point on the phone ….and nutritioning oneself …and hydrating!
The next leg was a shorty of only 53.5Km to a Farm Sign at Otohina and this now reflected the none-highway road, with an 86Kph average, but at least the stop was only a minute this time before I was on my way to the next CP at the Rangitoto Hall, only 10Km down the road at a 79 average, but the dysentry-dog turned up again as well to stretch that pause to 2mins ….and now I would enjoy a good romp to Awakino.
I must say that from Turangi, I had been riding back in the groove and although my pace through Nagaroma to Te Kuiti wasn’t fast, it was smooth and the Awakino Gorge was the usual real treat. So the 87Km from the Rangitoto Hall to the Awakino Pub was done at 91kph, but that included a 2min pause at the stop-go lights in the gorge. As I approached the road works at the start of the gorge, I was in a bit of day-dream and having not taken notice if the signs, I actually found myself airborne where the road dropped away at the entry to a work area. Fortunately it wasn’t gravel, but it certainly wasn’t like landing a jump on the old XL250. Then coming to the lights, I filtered to the front and when the I got the green light, I had a clear run through to the pub …..Bloody Marvelous it was! Just bloody marvelous!
Heading back through the gorge wasn’t so good as there was much more traffic heading North, so I encountered and overtook quite a few vehicles coming back, then filtered past a huge queue at the lights (which were just before the tunnel, so pretty much at the Northern end of the gorge), but I wasn’t stopped long before they changed and I was out of there.
This return to Turangi had me cutting through Aria to SH4 and a fuel stop at BP Taumarunui and I had done that because of all the twisty stuff on this leg, so it had me refueling short at 396Km, but then putting 98 octane in for the next fuel leg which was generally 440Km of State Highway riding. So, I pulled into Taumarunui at 1239, having done the 114Km from Awakino at 92kph and that was quite good considering the traffic through the gorge, the goat-track road through Aria, although, once again, it’s quite a good goat-track. Then once again, I had a pretty casual 9min stop, doing all the hydration and snacky stuff, texting home, Spotwallaring and so on. I was now 780Km into the ride, having been on the road for 8:36 with an Overall Avg of 91kph and I was pretty happy with that, as it was basically a sub-18Hr pace for the 1600 and I was well ahead of my targeted schedule.
I finished off the loop back to the Turangi hub doing the 66Km at 97, paused by the pumps for a minute45sec to do the photo/Spotty/Texty stuff, then I was off to Rotorua. Yukky SH1 traffic on roads with newly lowered limits and lots of double-yellows! I still made quite good progress though, doing the 133Km to the Skyline Centre at 91kph, taking 3mins on this occasion to document the stop. Next CP was Karapiro Mobil.
This was another short (70Km) leg through lots of traffic, but managed that at 96kph, took another 3mins on the stop, then returned the way I came before cutting down to Puketurua (out of Putaruru) for an even shorter 27Km leg, at 98kph …and another 3min stop, then finished the loop back to Turangi with a 141Km fang along Old Taupo Rd, then down via Whakamaru and the Western Lake Rd again, but managing to lift the pace to 106kph.
I was now 1219Km into the ride having been on the road for 13Hrs 29min, (90kph OA), so still on the 18Hr 1600-pace, but of course, a very relaxed 13min stopped pulled the OA back to 89, but I was still feeling very good. I seemed to make better progress back through to Taupo this time and had an easy ride over the Napier-Taupo Rd, to arrive at BP Bay View (174Km) at an avg of 100kph, but it was bare minimum, so only stopped for 2min before embarking on the Gentle Annie, back to Turangi for the last time.
It was around this time that I realized that I hadn’t planned this too well on the leg order, as I was now expecting quite bad sun-strike on this leg, but when I did the planning, I was expecting to ride it at night off a much later start. However, as it turned out, between clouds, trees and hillsides, I only had to lift my hand to my eyes a couple of times, so I made the 117Km to the next CP at the disused Suspension Bridge over the Rangitikei River at 93kph, took 2mins for the stop, then finished off the last 115Km back to Turangi at 100kph.
I was now sitting on 1625Km for the trip, so had completed the 1600 in 17:58 and pretty much all in daylight as it had only got dark a bit before I got back to SH1. I was feeling pretty good for having done the 1600, but I had had enough and wasn’t looking forward to the grind back down the Para’s, then home via SH1, so I took my time on a 10min stop, putting on my wets jacket (for an extra warmth layer, as it was down to 10º), and swapped the summer gloves for the full winter ones (I also carry mid-weight gloves).
I had two CP’s to go, with one at the Upok’ Pub (to force the ride down the Paras), then one at he Rangitikei River Bridge by Halcombe, but that one was in anticipation of needing some extra Km to bring the ride up to 2,000Km and as I seemed to be ahead on the Km, I was looking to drop that off and perhaps just extend the ride a few Km by riding to the train station when getting back into Wgtn.
I had about 370Km to go and departed Turangi at 2209, did the 160Km to Upukongaro at 94kph, had a 2min stop, then completed the last leg to home (via the Train Station) at 96kph (from Turangi) ….and that last leg was hard. I was pretty much on autopilot and coming down the Para’s was probably 5-10kph off the pace when going up in the morning. It was odd, because I didn’t exactly feel tired, but I was pretty shattered and I think not having done a lot of night riding didn’t help. Would it have been any different if I’d started at midnight and finished in daylight or dusk? ….I don’t know? ….But it certainly wasn’t enjoyable! I was just on a mission and had to finish, so I pushed on.
I arrived home at 0158 having done 2,006Km in 21Hrs 58min. OA of 91kph and Moving Avg of 99kph. Total stopped time of 1Hr 37min and considering the tardiness on the 17 stops, that would have added about 40+mins to the time over what I would normally do on one of these rides? I had a feed, scrubbed, felt marginally better and hit the sack!
I’d just hopped off the bike and staggered in, (forgetting to take an odo Pic) so in the morning, I had to retrieve all my gear, (camera, GPS, leftover supplies, etc. etc) and once I checked the Spotwalla, noted that there were sections where it had dropped out and it finished in Whanganui!!?? I’d also forgotten to get a few fuel receipts, so that finished the idea of an IBA recognition.
At last I could put the failure to complete in 2017 behind me. That brings the total of 1600Km rides to 15, with four of them exceeding 2,000Km. I’ve decided to not push myself and do the next ride on the programme, which was to be a 2660Km in 30Hrs, so we’ll see where I go from here??
That was a bit tough!
When riding the 2017 1KC, I had a wee mishap which must have been the last straw towards the clutch giving out and the bike petering out as it approached Roys Hill Rd (on SH50 by Hastings). It therefore seemed like a good choice to add to a conditioning programme as that now means I have completed all 14 C1KC & 1KC ride out of Wellington, except for 2016, when the 10th ride had a Standard option and a Super-Thou option, where I did the Super. In 2017 many riders struck very gusty winds on the Rimutakas on the return and this time the conditions were similar, except I also had to battle with melting roads along the way.
The day was most odd as I departed home at 0550 and filled at Caltex Hutt Rd (5mins) and the temp in Ngaio at that time of day was a very warm 18º (no doubt thanks to the blanket of cloud on what appeared was to be a rather gloomy day). Then as I pootled along through the Hutt it dipped back to 14º, then in the Featherston-Greytown area, which was cloudless skies, it popped back up to 18º (albeit a quite cool feeling 18º), then in Masterton it hit 13º and all the way up to Hawkes Bay it was up and down ….then it bounced to 24º, to 26º, to 28º and just settled there until I was back to Dannevirke.
Another odd occurrence that had a slight affect on my riding was that on Friday night I was scratching my elbow, then it felt odd and when I looked at my fingers, they were smeared with blood. I washed my hands as Ann got me a cloth, but when I looked (or tried to look), there was nothing to see, but a little pressure stopped any flow. This was obviously due to me being on some crap called Clopidogrel (blood thinners), so while I was dancing about on the road, I was constantly aware that if I came off, I might be screwed!! I’m not really sure if that was a good thing to encourage taking more care, ….or negative, as it tended to ruin the flow?? …but there was plenty of other crap going on to do that anyway!
So, I was away from Caltex at 0600 (and I might add that I put 25.1Ltrs in my 29Ltr tank in which one is lucky to squeeze 25.5Ltrs, so it was pretty empty). Anyway, normal boring crap through the Hutt, quite a bit of traffic about for that time of morning but I seemed to strike it at the right places, so made good progress over the hill, then the ride up SH2 was same-ol’, same-ol’, averaging 98kph to Dannevirke, doing the 196km in 2hrs!
From there it’s goat-track stuff to the first checkpoint at the junction of Mangahei Rd, Ormandville-Te Uri Rd and Te Uri Rd, so with thinking about my mortality in the event of an off, the average through there dropped to 84kph, bringing the Overall Average (OA) down to 96kph and the photo stop took a 1:40 because now I have force a point on the phone for Spotwalla.
It was only 75Km to the next CP in Waipawa, which was a bit of a mix of roads and had me arriving at 0854 and departing at 0855:40, so same time for the stop and with that, OA down to 94, then 93kph. Then it was only 15km to the 3rd CP at Argyle East School, so not much changed through to there, except the temp now being at a very comfy 24º.
This next wee section is an interesting road as it has a corners that are hard to read, so it’s easy to fly in, then find yourself heavily on the pix because it’s tightened up and you’re in too hot. Luckily I knew this ….and still managed to get caught out!! *Sigh* ….there’s no helping some people! There was also another CP at 307km (so only 21km on from the school) and then it was on to BP Bayview for fuel, a drink and snack, plus to drop a layer.
By the time I got to Bayview it was 0954, I was 356km into the ride and the OA was down to 91kph on arrival and pulling out 15mins later, that was down to 86kph, so just shows why I’m usually so anal about keeping any stops as short as possible. To this point though, I had been consistently shedding time off the final ETA which was now down to 1802, so close to 12hours for the day, but that was as about as good as I was going to get because the temp was now 28º. This shouldn’t make a difference but the roads up in those parts are crap (and we’re talking SH2 here!!).
The bit along the beach at Whirinaki was beautiful, but as soon as I turned inland, the roads were covered in beg black stains, some just where the wheel ruts were, and others, across the whole surface. It wasn’t always clear what the road condition was like because some bits were glistening, while much of it just appeared to be stained. I erred on the side of caution though, always looking for the best traction and even then, I managed to experience a couple of nasty twitches on stuff that appeared that it should be firm. Then I was through Wairoa and onto Tiniroto Rd and the slick spots were enhanced with roadworks and an abundance of grit through much of it.
So, I arrived at the 2nd to last CP, almost halfway on distance at 522km, just over halfway on overall time at 6:02and OA of 87kph, but I only had one CP to get on the way back, although I had decided to get fuel at BP Bayview again, which would add 6km to the distance, because with all the curly roads and conditions from Napier, the economy wasn’t great and although I’d probably make Dannevirke, I figured another drink stop would be better sooner, rather than later.
So coming back on the same roads, things didn‘t change, there was more careful attention to traction and lines, a couple more twitches on the gooey seal, sections where I would pick up time on the ETA, only to lose it again when the road conditions deteriorated again …and I even had thoughts of, “what would be worse, doing this in the heat, or the wet?”
The return fuel stop was only 6mins as I was trying get the ETA under 1800, then I was up SH5 for 15km to Glengarry Rd, then back through Puketapu to Omahu, then straight back via SH50 & 2 from there. Picking my way through the Puketapu area was more slow riding, but once I got back to SH50, the wind had got up and temp dropped enough to get back to normal riding.
The Rimutakas were rather challenging though and probably made worse by a bit of traffic so I often found myself going a bit slower than I would have liked in the cross winds and gusts. That’s always a lottery though as one is never sure what is better, a bit of pace and more rigidity from the gyroscopes, or being hopeful to be able to correct, without coming off when going slower? I found myself doing all sorts of things, one minute hunkering down behind the screen, the next trying to get in the lee of a car and other times, just powering through it.
I made it though and in the end, managed 1,051km from the first fuel stop (1,067 total) in 11hrs 50min at an OA of 89kph and Moving Average of 94kph. The butt and hammies were a bit uncomfortable by the end, but I think that was more due to the heat and getting a bit sticky, than the distance.
I’m not feeling totally satisfied with my riding at this stage, but next ride is the 2017 1600km ride out of Whanganui, between Christmas and New Year, so that will be interesting, then hopefully the 2020 NI rides some time in January.
A weary sigh of relief has been breathed.
Yesterday I completed my first Distance Ride since doing the TT2000 at the end of Feb and I opted by starting with the 2020 1KC (Sth) ride. I mentioned ‘starting’ because I also need to ride the 2020 NI1600, as well as the 2020 NI800 ….but …since JulianB did them back-to-back on the event weekend, that got me thinking to try the same!!?? Yes, well 2400+km (and 2660Km if I start/finish out of Wgtn) in one shot will need a bit of conditioning and I haven’t had any, so then the plan stretched to include the 2017 1KC and 2017 NI1600, since I DNF’d on both those rides.
(More on that here: https://longjohnbiker.weebly.com/blog/2017-ni1600-failed & here: https://longjohnbiker.weebly.com/blog/1kc-failed-2-for-2 )
So, I did the 2020 1KC and that went quite well.
When I did the TT I had issues with the GPS and Sena, so, after finding my Sena unit had a bit of corrosion on the helmet contacts, I stole Ann’s off her helmet! Well technically not stolen as I swapped the units in their entirety, then mas sure I updated the operating system etc. Then same with the GPS. Firmware and map updates done and that all seemed to work OK. Spotwalla on the other hand is a work-in-progress and I need to review my phone settings etc to see what didn’t happen there!?
It was a pretty loose plan, with no programmed fuel stops, and I was rolling out of the driveway at 0610, which had me rolling past the official start point of Caltex Rimutaka, 33.6Km down the road at 0631. For what appeared to be a brilliant day, it was only 11º and the heated grips were on low.
The first leg was straight up SH2, bypassing Masterton, then Woodville and the main street of Dannevirke, to get to the Tikokino Pub on SH50 and since I was more attired for a brilliant day, by the time I got there, (260Km) the cold squeeze had well and truly kicked in, but the pub was shut at 0847, so the bushes in the carpark were visited and the normal 45sec photostop took closer to 5mins. (*Sigh* …poor old bastard!)
On on and the next stop was The Springvale Suspension Bridge on the Gentle Annie ….or it should have been, but 40Km later, as I approached Fernhill, I thought I should probably stop for gas ….and another pee!! FFS!! And Double Sigh, because that 4 minute fuel stop turned into 8 mins between queues and smile of relief!! …not to mention having to do 9 extra Km on the route. (so we’re now on 308Km and its 0930)
Right, time for the Gentle Annie! That was quite good as there was very little traffic at that time of day and the surface, although having the usual bits of grit scattered about …and some tar that appeared to be glistening (although I didn’t test that), 98Km later I was stopping at the old bridge having averaged 89kph (which had pulled the OA down from 97 at Omahu, to 92 here). I would have to say that I was feeling a little rusty at times though and opted for a bit of ‘almost straight-lining’ at times. That stop was just over a minute so now it was 406Km done and I was pulling out at 1038.
The next leg was more easy going with very little traffic on SH1, then up the Western Lake Rd, so 203Km later at 1236 (at an Avg of 103) I was pulling into the 3rd CP at GAS Whakamaru, and since I had to stop anyway, I thought, “Oh dear, I seem to have that urge again …so I might as well stop for fuel!” Yes, well, it said ‘Pre-Pay on the pump so I had check, “No” Ok, I top-up, then as I’m pay I ask if they have a dunny and I’m not sure if he was saying, “no, it didn’t work” or “no it’s so disgusting I wouldn’t use it!?” ….but there’s one just down the road. So after my 5min fuel stop, I went 285mtrs down the road and had a 10 min break, in a queue, then got in and decided I should sit rather than stand, then figured when I got out to take a layer off as the temp was now up between 16-18º …..so tumbled the OA from 95 to 93 to 91. So I departed Whakamaru at 1252, 610Km into the ride.
Next up was a scoot across SH30 to Bennydale, then across Waimiha Rd to SH4, with a CP at that junction. SH30 is sweet (as always) and I haven’t been on Waimiha Rd since the 2015 NI1600, when I was around dawn and I was rather weary, but I seem to recall that it was narrow and unmarked in places, but it was pretty good so perhaps in my delirious state in 2015, I confused it with the Ohura Loop, that followed? Anyway, that was OK and 86Km later, at an avg of 91, I was pausing at SH4, taking a casual 1.5mins to take a photo, then get back on the road at 1350.
Two legs to go, so now it was down SH4 to the pub at Upokongaro, which was pretty much same ol’, same ol’ stuff, but SH4 is general quite nice sweepy stuff, plus the Para’s, which had a couple of light controlled stop-go’s. so 173Km, followed by a 1.5min photo-stop, I was pulling out again at 1538, having done 869Km. …and now I was onto the tedious crawl back down SH1.
There’s not much worth mentioning about that, except there was a big queue into Otaki, then again before MacKays Crossing and pretty thick all the way to J’ville.
I finally got home at 1758 having done 1067Km, arse feeling like it had done a thou and a little weary, but that’s one down and hopefully number two will be next week.
After basically being off the bike for 6 months ….and still being on blood thinners, I figured I better work my way back into the biking, so with Saturday being a nice day I started out by scrubbing all the dust and stuff off the beast, then after lunch, I tapped my toe on the seal by going for a restrained scoot over the Paekak’ Hill, back via Haywards, then over to Featherston and back.
It’s quite some time since I’ve been on the Paekak’ Hill road and although it’s posted with a 60kph limit, it was a good place to start, being narrowish, curly’ish, with a generous smattering of loose crap and tar snakes. Yes, well one could say that it kept me on my toes, the view at the top was spectacular with it being such a nice day and although I didn’t feel ‘in the groove’, I didn’t really feel out of it either.
The Rimutakas was more good riding, with a clean surface, wider lanes to use and there wasn’t too much traffic.
Coming back I caught a chappy with ‘Instructor’ emblazoned on the back of his jacket and he was herding four …? ….students I guess. They eventually let me through on a passing lane, then a few of the cars eased over for me to slip through, but there were a few ignorant prats after that, that left no room at all and since I was in conservative and behave-yourself mode, I just pootled behind them until I was off the hill.
Nice wee re-intro outing though, doing around 175km.
Sunday was the Wellington Ulysses ‘Local’ MDA Ride to take Christmas presents to the children in the city and Kapiti areas. The day was absolute crap ….but it was supposed to clear around 1000 and although I wasn’t particularly keen to go, I felt I needed to as it was likely that many others wouldn’t bother. (I suppose I should note that I’ve been involved in these rides since 2005 and have had a lot to do with the fundraising and ride-planning that goes with it). It didn’t make it any better when someone residing with me demanded that I didn’t go ….but she sort of relented in the end, so off I went, suitably attired for the conditions ….except for Rain-Off gloves, because they decided to fall apart, I threw them out, then forgot to buy more.
I was a little late getting away from home but spotted some familiar bikes at BP Mana, so I pulled in and ‘waved’ to the boys who were seated along the window (a bit like those clones that one used to get at the side-shows!!) Anyway, I needed to take the opportunity to go in and apply anti-fog stuff to the visor and clean the specs and inside of the visor as both had a liberal coating of water droplets since I had to continually crack the visor open to clear the fogging.
I did that and as soon as I was back on the bike, the visor was fogged again within 10 seconds!!!
I pulled into the Plimmerton Weigh Station to find one car and one bike waiting, plus the other three, so figured, ‘lucky I came!’
Another reason I figured ‘Lucky I came’ was when I mentioned to the car peoples that there was an error on the GPS file, to which they replied, “it’s alright, we don’t have a GPS”. Then I mentioned it to the riders and there answer was, “We couldn’t download the file!” *Sigh* …I guess that meant I had to lead!
So we pootled off to the Ohau area about 0900, through more miserable weather, made the drop and socialised with the family ….for about 5-10 minutes too long, then we headed back to Wgtn.
I say 5-10 mins too long because when we got to Pukerua Bay and the traffic was stopped. We waited for a bit, then I shuffled back next to the car and said, “Ring me, I’ll just filter up to see what’s going on.”
They rang as I got to the top of the rise, I pushed go (on the GPS) and I hit stop! Didn’t matter because the police had closed the road so I went back and indicated to the group to turn around, waited to regroup by the shops, then headed back to take the Paekak’ Hill road ….and that was closed to ….so we made our way to a Paekak’ Café.
Traffic eventually started to move (after about an hour and a half) so we made our way to the bikes to resume the ride (after previously turning it off and letting the parents know). It was one of those occasions that one was glad to be on a bike as we filtered past kilometer after kilometer of crawling traffic, then put the waders on to get through the Plimmerton round-about, then we ended up waiting in J’ville for the car (with Santa) to arrive.
By this time the day was brilliant sunshine and soaring temperature, we managed to complete three of the four remaining children, then finished up at Jim & Colleen’s for a coffee and snacks.
I can’t say that the ride was particularly pleasant or fun, but visiting these children with Muscular Dystrophy and their families is special, so it was all very much worth the effort.
After the PFO Procedure last Wednesday, I had a quiet weekend …after booking an appointment with my GP on the Friday, for 0900 on Monday.
The purpose of this was to start the ball rolling to get my license back, or perhaps more correctly, since they didn’t actually take my license off me, to get a clearance e to drive.
That went quite well. We had a chat, he checked the various correspondence on the file, checked the blood pressure, did a basic vision and peripheral check, then advised to go to the optician and gave me a copy of a letter for them. I promptly made an appointment for that and managed to get in at 1340 today (26/11/20).
I haven’t been very optimistic about getting my license back, but after the Doc appointment I was sort of optimistic.
I went to the optician today, handed over the letter and went in. She sat me down and did a vision test with the specs on and asked if I could read the top the line …after doing that she asked if I could read others, so I read the bottom line (fist pumps were happening in my mind)
I then took the specs off and was able to read down to the 2nd last line.
She then did a basic peripheral check then we went through for the test.
1st was both eyes on a driver test jobby, that had 120 clicks …and I scored 120!! Then it was the proper optical eye test (one eye at a time) and apparently, my results were a marked improvement on the test I had back at the beginning of June. Yowser! …and more internal fist pumps.
Then I had back-of-the-eye photos, pressure and some other test and we were done, she filled out a form and said, “You’re good to drive, here’s a certificate if you need it and I’ll send a letter to your GP.”
Like I said earlier, “Bugger Me”, I was gob-smacked!!!
I paid up and left to join Ann and on my way across the road the tears erupted. It was all over! I got to the car and Ann saw my state and obviously though I had failed between that and the babbling, but we cleared that up, I asked her to continue to drive and as we exited J’ville to go for fuel, I pulled my phone out and started to make a call.
“Who are you calling?” Ann asked, to which I replied, “I have to book a warrant for the bike so I can take it out on the weekend.” I didn’t look but I could sense one of those “Oh FFS" thoughts going through her mind. We fueled, went home, I donned my gear and I now have a WoF on the ST, so I have ridden …and I have a program of rides to clear off the schedule.
I didn’t expect to get all emotional about this but, LJS is back and man am I relieved that life is about to return to normal. It’s actually been a wonderful journey over the last 6 months, I am feeling exceedingly lucky, I’ve lost 10Kgs, I’m quite a bit fitter, I now get about with my own ‘built-in’ defribulator and I’ve had a puncture repair done on the heart so that’s good for a few more Km.
Life is good!!
Well that all seemed to go OK.
Wednesday the 18th was an early’ish start to make our way through the wet weather traffic to get to the hospital for my 0900 appointment for a Pacemaker check.
We got there early and I was seen late, but that went well. Bloody amazing these Pacemaker thingys! I pull my T-shirt collar down for the man to have a quick perusal, he then puts a mouse-like thing over my shoulder and above the unit for a few seconds to download the data from it, then he parks himself at the computer to analyse the data have a play with the unit. ie speed it up and slow it down etc.
That was sort of funny …but not really ….because he says, “What I’m going to do now could put you into a total heart-block” and I’m thinking, “oh yeah, that’s death mode …..FFS!!!”
Within seconds, he then goes, “Oh no, you’re still firing OK.” It turns out that the units are set to a minimum firing rate of 50bpm and the unit was driving me, because the old body was happy to tick along at 48. All good it would seem.
He then mentions that I’m good for another 12 years & 3 months, but he’ll see me again in 6 months and it that’s all good, annually after that.
I wander back to the car, we go to the supermarket, then on to Wakefield ….an hour early for my 11am check-in.
They processed me straight through though, filling out three forms, then getting taken up to Rm204, I get stripped off and into the gown, nursey inserts a line into my left arm, then gives me a shave and puts some tight knee high compression socks on me ….and we wait until 1230.
Usual story, I get wheeled down to theatre, line installed in the right groin area, asked a few questions, crap gets fed into both lines ….and that’s all I have to say about that! Basically they used the same ‘good-oil’ local I was given for the TOE and although awake, the mind has no recollection.
So I’m back in the room, there’s a sandwich and orange juice …but turns out there was two sandwiches and a platter of fruit to go with the orange juice ….oh, and chocolate from Ann’s handbag and a lemon cake from the cafeteria which all disappeared like it was never there, I’ve got a blood pressure monitor doing it’s thing automatically every so many minutes, and once that is off, I get to use the facilities for a purge and a clean-up.
Apparently I could have had a shower, but I just opted to give myself a sponge bath to get all the iodine and bits of blood off, get comfortable in mt trackies and a T-shirt and settle back down to wait for dinner.
Doc turned up and we went over a few things (like dumping the meds), but it turns out that I have to stay on the blood thinners for 6 weeks and that is to prevent any rejection and clotting around the puncture repair plug, which has a gauze mesh and the body will just grow tissue over it. I haven’t been comfortable on the thinners, but that sounded like a good excuse so I rolled with it.
Ann was there until about 2100, Eboni dropped in on her way home and I finally turned the lights off at 2300 for a kip.
Nursey comes in at 0500 for the checks and I was surprised at the colour and swelling in the groin area ….but I flashed her anyway and gave it a poke so she could see it didn’t hurt. I’d been sleeping on top of the covers, but cold about 0200 so pulled them up, then was surprised at how hot I was when nursey came in and when I mentioned that, she askes, “So you’ve got a temperature then?” and I replied that no doubt, she would tell me that, but we were just cruisin’ at 36.5º.
I eventually got up around 0700 for a scrub, (shower this time) and was waiting when my Wednesday Arrival nursey came in. Turns out, all was good, Doctor wasn’t coming, so she went through the release procedure, I got changed, Ann turned up, breakfast turned up (so I paused briefly for that) ….then we gapped it and went for 2nd breakfast.
I’ve already made an appointment with my GP to start the ball rolling to get a clearance to drive again!! So hopefully Johnnie Walker might soon be a figment of my imagination.
Wow, doesn’t time fly!?
It’s been two months since my last post and I haven’t been sitting idle.
I’ve pedalled around the Wellington Bays again (about 50Km), rode over Haywards to Porirua and back via Tawa (65Km), rode to Naenae to see Aunty Helen (no, not the politician one) (40-something Km), then rode to Petone for a sweetie …or two ….ok, maybe half a kilo, but who’s counting?!
We had a work celebratory event that including go-karts, beersies, flash wines and a big feed…or two. Did I mention karting? ….yes well, that was fun!!
I’ve reduced my work to half-days and that’s different ….but as yet I haven’t found the time to relax and enjoy it!
We (NZ Distance Riders) have held our October event, namely the NI1600 & NI800 rides, whereby Brett kindly collected and transported me to Turangi to participate as a volunteer (sob, sob) and that was great …..until I witnessed Julian Boyd do the two rides back to back, completing the 2400+ Km in 32Hrs. Naturally, I thought, “Bastard, why didn’t I think of that!” and yes well, I suppose you can guess what affect that has made on my future plans?!
We also held the 1KC rides out of Hamilton and Wellington, which are fundraisers for Muscular Dystrophy. Once again, Brett was “the man” and fetched and carried me.
Oh yes, and the weight has stayed in the 85’s with dips to 84.6Kg a few times,so that’s all good too …and the restrictions have been lifted to somewhere between Level 2 & 3, in Covid terms.
…and now I’m hoping I’ve arrived at the final stages of being Johnnie Walker, as it’s Puncture Repair time!
Tomorrow, Ann will take me to the hospital for a Pacemaker check-up at 0900, then over to Wakefield Hospital PFO procedure … and hopefully that will eliminate the possibility of future strokes or TIA’s.
I didn’t ask enough questions about this, so I’m going in a bit blind, but based on how everything else has gone, I’m expecting to be in and out, hopefully with no glitches, …..and ever so hopefully that I’ll be back on the bike within the month and Long John Silver will re-emerge from the shadows!....YeeeeHaaaa!!
This blog is pretty much just about motorcycling ...but every now and then I might rant or dribble on about other things.