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.
This blog is pretty much just about motorcycling ...but every now and then I might rant or dribble on about other things.