I missed the opportunity for a ride in the mint weather last Sunday as I had to mow the lawns at the flats (…kinda lucky I did because after about 4 months, it was a bit of an effort). So anyway, with another primo weekend on the forecast, I decided that Saturday had to be ride-day.
I figured about 600Km would be nice and as the clock is ticking down to the Ooctober event, a mix of technical and bum-numbing State Highway would be good, so that was easy, a scoot up Route 52 to Dannevirke, then over to Whanganui and back would be a blend of techy, sweepy and bland roads.
After putting some air in the rear tyre, I was ready to go at 0817 and as the fuel was on three bars, and Caltex is now off the AA card, I thought I might as well wait until Masterton to fill to see if it’s any cheaper than the Wellington prices (turns out not much).
It was a bit cool over the hill, dipping to 5º but the traffic wasn’t too bad and I was heading out of the BP on Chapel St at 0938 after a casual 7 minute stop …well …the heated grips had been on full and the cold-squeeze had been nipping at the bladder!!
Route 52 needed a bit of care due to the temperature and the bright sunlight as it is one of those roads where sections never see the sun through the winter and with the bright sunlight, the transitions into the shade make the road hard to see/read ….so I tried to make good progress …with care!? I thought I was doing OK too, but it was frustrating to watch the ETA slipping …so I upped the pace ….and I upped the pace ….and at times I was flying ….and occasionally I might pickup a minute!!
It’s been awhile since I’ve been up Route 52 and at times it was great, then others I was surprised at the amount of repairs, slumps and crap. It was good for the riding though and getting back into tune and once I’d got past Weber, the road widened, was cleaner and the pace got fresher.
I bypassed Dannevirke and as I was heading South, it occurred to me that I hadn’t done the backroad form Oringi to Bluff Rd (by the Bridge south of Woodville) for some years so I thought, “Bugger it, lets go mate!” and I swung off at Oringi. Trouble was, most of the time I did that road, it was south to north and so it transpired that, I sort of knew that I was taking a wrong turn, but I did it anyway and ended up taking the lane along the south side of the river to Mangatainoka!! *Sigh* …oh well, I’ve only done that one once or twice and that was refreshing.
I made my way back to SH2 and although the GPS was suggesting to swing west to bypass Woodville, but I thought nah, and took Troup road to make my way to Pinfold and Oxford Roads to go over the top, then onto the Saddle. That’s certainly improved with a big section of wide hotmix, but the 80kph is a bit tedious.
From there I was onto the Colyton road, through Feilding and onto Halcombe Road …and I do enjoy the Halcombe road with it’s nice rolling sweepy corners …and before you know it, I was in Whanganui. I was actually supposed to visit whanau, but by the time I got there, I just wanted to get home and thanks to the fresh pace I’d been maintaining much of the time, I was already down to three bars on the fuel so I headed back to Bulls for a fill.
I was now onto the home stretch, but a few more km would be nice, so I took a few backroads to get across to Shannon, avoiding SH1 traffic, as well as Foxton and Levin. A lot of good that did though because it turned out there had been a big accident on the Expressway and I had to endure shitloads of traffic to get through Waikanae and Paraparumu. Bloody frustrating.
In the end I managed 613Km for the day in a bit over 7 hours, which was sort of slow considering the pace at times, but I suppose I lost a bit of time through sections of Route 52 and at least I’m still here to tell the tale.
Just over a month to go to the big event so I might get another ride or two in before then.
The other day I was looking at stuff for this year’s NI1600/800 and realized it’s only a month before cutoff for entries, and that lead on to realising we are only two months out and I still haven’t done any prep, whereas normally I’d start doing a couple of rides in July, so I thought I better get off my arse and do something.
Apart from being a bit preoccupied with other things, I suppose I’ve been a bit slack as I’m just thinking of doing the 800 on the weekend this year and that shouldn’t need much butt hardening, but then again, it’s also about getting in the groove so one feels comfortable and the ride goes smoothly.
So after being put off by the weather forecast and dithering around a bit, in the end, I decided yesterday that I would be riding today!! …albeit in a pretty relaxed manner. As usual, I normally start the programme with a simple SH ride in order to start with acclimatising, or hardening the butt and SH2 looked like it would be drier with the weather coming in from the west. So a scoot to Woodville and back was all I was looking at.
I needed to have a gym session first, so got there by 0725 and did an hour of cardio before going home to prep the bike. ie check fuel and pump the tyres, make sure I had charged power packs, Sena and phone, and get the gear on.
By the time I was ready, it was 1000 and I thought I should but the wet pants on, …in the hope I wouldn’t need them …and told myself I was a bloody dreamer!! I put them on anyway, but not the jacket and hit the road ….which was generally wet even though it wasn’t raining.
The hill was pretty clagged in, but I still didn’t put the wet jacket on and when I got to Featherston I need to stop to put that and the Rain-Offs on. That wasted three minutes and I had to pass all the same cars again.
The weather through the Wai’rapa was reasonable through to Masterton, but worsened as I approached Mt Bruce …and then it pissed down, so I considered diverting via Mauriceville to head east, but I continued through Eketahuna and a bit before Pahiatua, the roads were dry ….and then it started to rain again!!
It ended up taking two hours to get to Woodville and I just headed straight back with plans to fuel up in Pahiatua or Eketahuna (since I’d started with only half a tank), but I was still on two bars at both places so continued to Masterton. I was also figuring I would like to do 400km and I was going to be a bit short, so I decided to throw in Wainuioru and the Water Towers ….and that road was dry, but from Middle Road to home was wet again, so I enjoyed a bit of a burst before settling back to a sedate and careful finish.
It was quite a good day as I haven’t been out for a couple of months now and the butt seemed to cope OK, but I don’t enjoy the wet roads and experienced quite a few very minor twitches, even though I considered I was riding carefully. Riding the Hill was rather tedious as very few vehicles made room and only one used a slow-bay, so that combined with the wet roads made for a very casual pace. I did 409Km for the day and I suppose I need to figure out a plan for conditioning and prepping for the event …and if I am to do the 1600 or 800 on the day.
This blog is pretty much just about motorcycling ...but every now and then I might rant or dribble on about other things.