This year’s Nth Island 1600 event was on 9 October, so on Friday 8th I got away around 0830 and headed up to Turangi, arriving just before midday to check in to the cabin, then meet up with the others and set up at ride HQ.
Covid had affected us this year, with Auckland in lockdown, as well as Hamilton and the lockdown boundaries had been expanded a couple of times during the week, causing us to create three alternative routes for each event (NI1600 & NI800), with us having to resort to having to use the third options on the weekend.
I had had printer issues the week before, whereby I had commenced printing the Rider Guides (printing 10 of each) when it ran out of yellow toner, so I changed that, only discover that it also wanted two drums changed …only to discover that they were locked-up in Auckland and might take a week or more to come!! So it was quite fortuitous to not have printed a dozen NI16 ones and 70+ NI8 ones, since those routes were no longer being used!! All this led to a major overhaul of what and how we released the routes to the riders.
Covid had also locked up some of our volunteers, so Friday I found myself assisting with scrutineering, as well as taking a few photos before the early route reveal at 1730.
Saturday morning was an earlyish start for me to help with breakfast, then fart around waiting for the 800 start, then finally get away at 1300 on our ride …and that’s about all I have to say about that!! Well, I could mention that we scooted over the Desert Road, then got on the Gentle Annie to head to the first checkpoint at the Springvale Suspension Bridge (115 km from the start), but I only made it 100 km and have very little recollection of it!!
The recollections I do have were somewhat like snapshots amounting to:
*Sigh* ….the chopper ride was reminiscent of the Air Force days, but nothing too exciting while they took me to Whanganui Hospital, where I had plenty of tests/scans, Ann turned up later on and I was kept there until Tuesday because it turned out that I had been out for 5 mins, cracked a rib and lacerated a kidney ….and so began a bit of a long haul.
They were considering sending me to Palm Nth for an op’ on the kidney, but Ann said, “No, if he is to be moved, he needs to be sent to Wgtn, because I have whanau support here and we live there, but we have no support in Palmy!” They weren’t too keen on that, but must have contacted Wgtn, because they advised that the scans weren’t too bad and to monitor me for 48 hrs. At that stage I was pissing blood, but that cleared up that night and things did settle down, so we stayed put.
I wasn’t released until mid-afternoon on Tuesday, then Ann drove us back to Wgtn, where I needed to take the rest of the week off, then it just so happened that we had leave planned for the following week, to go for a trip to Hanmer Springs and Christchurch, so that was quite fortunate as it gave me a full two weeks off to recuperate …and there’s not much to do in Hanmer!
We spent a couple of days soaking in the hot pools and the rest of the time was pretty laid-back, one could argue that it was just what the doctor ordered and it was during this time that I noticed there were a few after affects from the concussion. As a young chap, I had been knocked-out three times when playing rugby and league, with no noticeable after affects, but on this occasion, I had gone to log-in to the bank and a couple of other sites that I use all the time, but found I had forgotten the passwords!! This was a bit disconcerting and there were a few other minor things that I struggled with. Nothing major, but a bit of a nuisance as well as a bit of a wake-up call!
I eventually got back to work and into the groove (if you can call working three mornings a week ‘the groove’) I had received a message, advising the Accident Report No. from the Police lady that attended the scene and eventually discovered that that the bike had been retrieved to Napier and was being written off! One would expect that a 2010 bike with 150,000 km wouldn’t be worth much anyway and hence a no brainer, but this bike had a few farkles, like Nitron Rear shock and front shocks reworked with Racetech stuff, a Rider Seat, Radguard over the radiator, heated grips, stebel horn, Honda Topbox with wing/hi-stop light and tip-over bars, so the value was set at $8K ….and although it didn’t look that bad, the damage obviously exceeded that!
I should probably note that on two occasions in recent months, on 17/06/21, then 11/09/21, the tip-over bars have earned their keep, because on both days, I had a car (in town), then a ute (on a country road), didn’t see me coming and turned in front me and had been extremely lucky to:
Anyway, at this stage I was still very much in the dark as to what had happened because I didn’t know the lady’s name, hadn’t been contacted by the Police Lady, as she was on leave and still didn’t have my gear back from the bike, but that was to change.
The Police Lady rang me, giving me a brief run down on the events, which left me even more confused, and when I asked if she could tell me who the other lady was, she offered to contact her and see if she wanted to ring me. She followed that up with an email with a few pictures and a map, noting where the accident occurred.
Police photos of bike and looking back from where the bike ended up.
Next thing the other lady rang and we had a good chat which was most enlightening. I knew she had approached from the other direction, but not if she witnessed the accident or got there just after, but it turned out that she saw me come around the corner, supposedly on her side of the road, so she paused, I went around her, then she witnessed me going off the road, coming back on the road, then the wheels just going each their own way, so she came back to check. She advised that, I didn't appear to be breathing, so she checked for a pulse, which was very faint, then while considering how to get my helmet off to potentially do CPR, apparently I gasped, then came to! I thanked her for everything she had done, including taking the photos, at which time she advised that I had been taking photos too???!! I had absolutely no recollection of that, or seeing her vehicle on the road!
This was all most confusing because I’m not generally one to ‘cross the line’, which made me wonder if her perception was wrong, or perhaps something happened before I came into view and I still had no idea of what speed I was doing? She followed up the call with a text containing the pictures she took.
Witness photos: Where bike has dug in to bounce; From Corner looking down to where accident happened; from corner looking to where I came from; Road condition and where bike had been off-road; Damage to top-box; Damage to screen; Damage to helmet; Poor baby!!
A week or two later, I finally got a big, heavy box from Mr Star Insurance which had all my personal gear off the bike (including my bananas for sustenance on the ride!!), as well as the GPS mount and cabling from the bike and the Sena Unit from the trashed helmet. (I remember looking at the helmet and noting that it had scars on both sides and the top …so the head must have been bouncing around a bit?!) Anyway, the first thing I did was grab the camera and check (nothing special there), then I hooked the GPS up to the laptop to discover I had been doing 100kph, entering the corner at just under that, then (24mtrs later) at 85kph, then kept scrubbing speed (18mtrs later) to 64kph, (17mtrs later) to 61kph, (13mtrs later) to 47kph, (12mtrs later) to 42kph and finally (9mtrs later) reaching 33kph before ceasing motion.
GPS data entering corner to end; and showing variation between actual track and where the road shows ….so no, 1st one doesn’t show me cutting the corner.
The GPS software and track don’t drill down enough to identify if/when I was across the line or off the road, but looking at the photos and streetview, it would seem highly unlikely that I had crossed the line, because the streetview and pix note a semi-blind, easy right hander, on which excessive pace would tend to push me off the road, rather than cutting the corner, …and the liberal coating of mud on the centreline would have really discouraged any transgression!? The continual scrubbing of speed doesn’t indicate any panic-type braking, and the fact that I went off the road sort of indicates that perhaps I got onto some mud and just held my line to take to the grass, rather than correct and risk losing it. The speed continued to scrub when off the road, and it is surprising that I made it back onto the road, but it’s not surprising that I then lost it because I had to re-enter via the crap. However, the amount of damage done to the bike and myself, is most surprising at the speed of 33kph!!??
Pictures that ‘somebody’ took with my camera
Basically, with all the information gleaned from the various sources, I’m no better off with regards actually knowing what happened and why, but the outcomes are this!
Throughout my life, particularly when in the RNZAF, I moved about frequently, so it wasn’t uncommon to adopt new pastimes when I moved to different environments, or as the kids grew older and their requirements changed. Examples of this would be: I did quite a lot of gliding as a teenager and into my early twenties until I got married, I rode trail bikes in my late teens and early twenties, then did a lot of windsurfing and Sailing in my late twenties and thirties, I gave up rugby and took up squash, then gave that up after wrecking my back in a bike accident. Hence I figure, not really a big deal to give up the bike again, as something else will probably come up ….and my Credit Card bills seem to have miraculously halved over the last couple of months!!
…..But man, I really have enjoyed my riding!!! I got back into riding on an Intruder in 2005 and did my first Grand Challenge on it. That led to trading up to the first of three, built-for-purpose ST1300’s and I did six Grand Challenges (1,000 milers), plus a Southern Cross and Mini’s Return with the Rustys, then another eleven 1600’s when riding as part of the NZ Distance Riders, plus seven Nth Island 800’s. Since 2007 I’ve done fourteen 1,000Km rides, seven TT2,000’s (one Gold which included a 1,550 km Saturday and a 1,350 km Sunday, plus one completed within 24hrs) and a multitude of unrecorded 1,000 km day rides when doing conditioning, or just riding, and four of the 1,000 milers exceeded 2,000 km. It’s also led to meeting a lot of great people via Kiwibiker, then NZ Distance Riders, as well as via the Ulysses Club, which I joined in 2005 and have had some great rides and times there, in particular, the Muscular Dystrophy rides, for which the C1KC/1KC (1,000 km rides) are the fundraisers to buy Christmas presents for the children to be visited.
Although I don’t plan to ride again, I’m not planning on leaving the Ulysses Club, or NZ Distance Riders, so I will continue to be involved with things biking.
And lastly, here's the Trade-me pix of the bike:
It’s only a month out from this year’s NI1600 event and I’ve only managed one conditioning ride at the beginning of August, thanks to the recent Covid lockdown, so I’ve been a bit concerned about that!
No doubt I could rock up and do a 1600km ride without the conditioning, but I figure that if one prepares the body with lots of kms and working on being a hard-arse, the ride will be much more comfortable and therefore enjoyable. Also, by doing lots of kms as preparation, then the mind gets in the groove and focuses on the job, which results in consistently nice lines and a smooth ride …..and this must lead to less effort and less fatigue, hence making the ride safer.
So a month out, the weather forecast was absolute crap for the weekend, I seemed to have lots of jobs to do, so riding was off the programme, but when I awoke and it appeared to be rather bright and calm, I had to peek out between the curtains and advised Ann, “I need to go for a ride today!”
So a quick scrub, brekky, dropped Ann to work, returned to check the tyres and pack a few things (camera, GPS etc), log on to Spotwalla to create a ride (to test that the upgraded system was functioning), then post a link to that on the fb group, I was ready to leave by just after 0900.
I did need to drop a couple of QR posters to Ann though, then head back on the Hutt Rd for fuel at the Caltex, and it was only about then that I started to formulate a plan for the route.
Normally I start my conditioning with State Highway riding as the lack of subtle weight shifts when cornering, enhances the sore-butt affect, but at this stage, knowing that the prick who designs the routes likes curly stuff, I figured, ‘just get technical and work on the lines.’
So, a blend of minor roads I like and/or haven’t done for awhile was in order, which was over the hill and up to Masterton for starters, then divert via Mauriceville, which is always a sweet ride. Going up the hill was sweet, but catching traffic at the top, some of which was other bikes was a bit nuisance, especially since they all appeared to be out for a Sunday drive …when it was only Saturday!
I bypassed Masterton and was soon on the Mauriceville road and care was required through there, because there were quite a few patches that were still in the shade and wet. I guess one could almost say that the macadam looked quite verdant!! ….and that’s not a good look when you’re on two wheels! The other point of note was that there must have been a bit of tree damage in the storms of the last week as there were places where the foliage was close to the road and it was apparent that downed limbs or trees had been cut up to clear the path ….so a good week for the firewood contractors I guess?
Right, so I made it through there, then had a short scoot through Eketahuna and Pahiatua on SH2 for the next wee bit of fun, out to Pongaroa via Makuri. This was more of the same, a blend of secondary roads, some bits narrower and tighter than others and I managed to get 20.5Km (so not quite to Makuri, when hello …..it was Crunch Time! …no terrorists involved, but it was 9-11 after all.
The road out to this point is quite good, reasonably wide and I had managed to average 96kph from SH2, when I caught up to a tradies ute with professional looking, custom made storage container on the back. I caught up to him slowly as he was doing about 60-80kph, which was quite good for the road, then I must have followed him for a few hundred metres, when we rounded a corner and there was about 300mtrs visibility of clear road, so I decided to overtake.
At the same time, he slowed and eased over to the left and I thought, ‘ohh, isn’t that nice of him’, then, as I was in the middle of the right lane and coming up by his driver’s door, he turned into me!!!
I actually thought it was intentional, which elicited a very loud, ‘You krunt!!’ thought to override all the other chaos in my head, the ute hit the bike just behind my foot, the bike shuddered, but remained upright (God knows how), then I was about 50mtrs down the road before I had collected my thoughts, stopped and got off to access the damage.
Meanwhile, he had pulled off on the righthand side of the road, stopped and got out as I ascertained that the only damage appeared to be a rather bent tip-over bar (right back and jammed onto the left pannier), then hopped back on the bike and rode back to deal with the issue.
Poor chap was absolutely mortified and it was apparent that he was on a very quiet country road, hadn’t seen me at all because it appears his attention was on some goats off the side of the road (I certainly hadn’t seen them). So he was puttering along, slowed and eased left to give himself room to pull right in order to turn back. It was a bit disconcerting because it is my habit to place the bike’s lights in a driver’s wing mirror and I suppose one expects that people use them, but on this occasion, with his attention elsewhere, no indicators used (why would you when there’s no one to indicate to), I misread his actions as him making it easy for me to overtake.
A review of the tracklog revealed that I was doing 90kph coming into a tightish left hander, dropped to 40 for the corner (I would have been right behind him at this time), varied between 55 & 65 over the next 200mtrs, then 65 & 80 over the next 200, and that distance negotiated two more mild left handers. I suppose I should mention that the first corner put is in a gorge with steep hill on the left and creek on the right, so it wasn’t until this point I could see the road ahead was clear. I had accelerated from 36 to 43kph as I was in the process of overtaking and that would probably have been about the speed on impact.
With details swapped, he headed back toward Pahiatua and I decided that I might as well continue, since I was only 190Km into my ride, so I continued on to Pongaroa, up to Weber and heading back toward Dannevirke, but took Mangahei Rd to get some single lane tight crap, to go via Ormondville and rejoin SH2 by Norsewood, then return.
I did take the turn at Oringi to bypass Woodville and rejoin SH2 from Bluff Rd, by the Manawatu River, required fuel in Masterton (bloody BP 98 was $2.62 per Ltr), I made good progress up the Hill, but coming down was very tedious thanks to a few muppets, then got detoured at Moonshine Rd. What a bloody pain that was!! There must have been an accident on River Rd, so the traffic on Moonshine was at a stop (controlled by the lights at Fergusson Dve), so I did the filtering thing, but with most of the vehicles pretty much out to the centre, I guess it was more of an overtaking manouvre, then same along Fergusson until the lights at SH2.
In the end I arrived home at 1608, having done 539Km for the day, with an Overall Average of 79kph and Moving Avg of 85, although the traffic had a bit of an impact on that, so I guess I’ll need to get the bike checked over this week, then see where to from there.
Wow, doesn't time fly when you're spending it above ground!!
It's been a year (end of July) since they embedded my very own defibrillator / pacemaker thingy in my chest ( https://longjohnbiker.weebly.com/blog/is-johhnie-walker-the-phantom ) and next week a year ago was when I went in for the TOE procedure (shifty scope down the throat) ( https://longjohnbiker.weebly.com/blog/being-johhnie-walker-wk13 ), which led to the puncture repair procedure and subsequent clearance to drive/ride again.
Well, a year on and I've done a heap of motorbicycling long rides, had a trip to Queenstown with Ann and started to prep for this year's North Island 1600 & 800 events, as well as the planning for the 1KC (1,000 Km Cruise) rides, however, the weather hasn't been that friendly and now we find ourselves back in a Covid lockdown for 3 days ....which is sure to be pushed to the next 4-6 weeks!!
So after my first prep ride at the beginning of the month, last week (Saturday), I got back on the pushbike and rode to Eastborne and back (about 50Km in just over 2 hrs) and that brought back all the memories from last year, then on Sunday, I joined the Wgtn Ulys for a ride to Ngawi (but I didn't wear a fox hat) and that was good.
It was a rather fresh (3 degrees) but splendid, cloudless, windless day. It was a massive surprise to turn up and find there were 17 bikes on the ride, because in recent times it has been more common to only get 2 or 3. Once getting to Featherston, I settled in near the tail of the ride for the scoot down the Western Access, across to Pirinoa and along the coast, providing a taillight for the more relaxed riders to follow.
It was a bit of a surprise to find that, apart form a short section of road works,the road is now sealed all the way, including the entry into Ngawi ...and the pink bulldozer has gone!!
After a bit of a pause, we returned and this time I opted for the middle of the field, pausing to let oncoming cars come over the one way bridges in order to create space between myself and Richard ahead of me, but alas, we were back on his tail a few corners into the curly section. I then paused again at Lake Ferry Rd to provide a lead for the relaxed riders and head to lunch in Martinborough. Wow, that was humming, but I enjoyed a coffee and eventually, another good fang over the hill to get home. The ride was about 290Km.
This week (Wed) we were plunged back into lockdown and it has thrust me back to the no-riding days of last year, so yesterday, I pedalled the 3Km to the office, then back again and this morning, decided to go for a pedal around the Ngaio and Khandallah hills. That was about 15km, but harder work than last week and took about 45 mins. It started out fresh, but sunny, but by the end it had clouded over and has since drizzled ....so it feels like Johhnie Walker is back!
But she'll be right. Apart from needing to shed a few Kgs again, life is good! Or at least it will be if any gummint imposed restrictions don't impinge on our October and November events!!??
I went for a ride last Sunday with the Ulys. It was a rather tedious affair being a 'local' round-the-bays jobby, but the big rain during the week before meant the road through Ohariu Valley had been closed for repairs, so much of the short ride was through town traffic ....namely amidst numpties that haven't got a clue, not to mention that the nice day brought many of the locals out and we had to bail from lunching at 'The Bach' in Island Bay, then the 'Chocolate Fish, at Shelly Bay, because there were no tables and/or big queues.
I had not5hing scheduled for today, dropped Ann at work, went to the gym, then just decided, 'Bugger it, I need a decent ride, so with no plan or planning, I went home, geared up and hit the road, departing just before 1000, then filling at the Caltex on Hutt Rd ....and while making my way there, quite a few plans came to mind .....but it kept changing! ....and I just kept riding and listening to the music!
After puttering along along SH2 through the Hutt , I found myself on the hill with light traffic and enjoyed a good fang up to the summit, where some chap on the side of the road appeared to take a photo as I was cranking through the bend. (Wouldn't mind seeing that, but that's not going to happen as I was in the groove and not in a frame of mind to stop).
Shortly after the top, I caught a chap on the sprotty, behind a queue of cars. That was interesting because he wasn't as assertive as some, but he did pass eventually, then we has a short burst where i found it easy to keep up as he seemed to be entering the corners a bit early. I was hoping that me being there wouldn't push him to overcook worse, so once we got to the next car, when he was over to the left, I went past, then cleared the rest of the cars, only to have to stop in Featherston. *Sigh*, the affect of age on the prostate ain't much fun, because the cold squeeze, combined with drinking a litre of water at the gym, left me with an urge ....b ut I felt better after the pause!
From there it was up to Masterton, as I'd decided to sample Route 52 up to Alfredton, then go back to SH2 via Tane-Pahiatua, but in the end, as I rolled into Alfredton, I decided to stay on Route 52 up to Weber, then as I approached Pongaroa, thought, 'Bugger it, might as well go all the way!'
Route 52 is a bit of a mixed bag at present, with the usual smattering of grit along the way, a large flock of sheep being herded towards me, patches that hadn't seen any sun (all winter probably) so care needed to be taken on the wet and green seal, then roadworks prior to Pongaroa, then more road works between Weber and Wimbledon. It was still a good ride though.
So, after a mix of fang, pootle and careful riding and I was approaching Porangahau, I thought I should put home into the GPS to start getting an ETA and was surprised to see that it was after 5pm! (1709 in fact) (and I had to pick Ann up from work at 5!!). I was a bit surprised at this as it was only a bit after 1330 and although I figured I had plenty of time, I didn't want to push the envelope, so I flicked into full GC mode, gave the first couple of directed turns a miss (to avoid gravel and/or tighter roads), took the cut across to Takapau to bypass Waipuk' and by the time I got to Dannevirke (about 80km later & 1420), my ETA was down to 1653.
With the curly roads and heightened pace, I figured I would be on the fringe of whether or not I'd get back to Wellington on the tank, so here was the best place to fill, but I wasn't that impressed when I spotted the $2.60 price tag on the 98 as I was filling! Then I got inside, 3rd in the queue, but instantly elevated to 2nd as one finished paying ....then waited ....and waited ....and waited! FFS, what should have been a 4-5min fill took closer to 10mins and the ETA was back out to 1703, so I didn't dally about from here on in.
Next check was Woodville and as I turned left at the entry to town, I was surprised to see the GPS ETA bang out another few minutes, then realised it had wanted to take me over the Saddle and home via SH1. Well that wasn't going to happen, so it gradually kept edging out to 1718 until just before Eketahuna, before finally relenting and accepting that home was to be via SH2.
More assertive riding saw me drift through moderate traffic until Featherston, where I encountered a solid queue, so slipped into filtering mode, cleared that for a good start on the hill, then saw a bloody great logging truck and trailer with another big queue, complete with four adventure bikes!
I wasn't very optimistic about behind, or should I say, getting past other bikes in heavy traffic, but luckily, they were pretty social, then inadvertently, left a clear space on the right of the lane, so I didn't linger, was past them before they realised, then quickly made my way up to the truck .
I had to sit there for a bit at 20-35kph (5mins in fact), because he was so wide and so long and I didn't get past until he got room to pull into a big slow bay after half-way up ....then I was off! Well that was bloody marvelous, because nothing had got past him since near the bottom, so I had a clear run, in daylight, to the top and didn't catch any cars until a half dozen corners from the bottom, so I'm not sure how much time I might have lost before I passed the truck, but ended up with another 3 mins off the ETA by the time I was coming into Kaitoke, with an 11 minute buffer to get home and in the car for the 10 minute trip to town. It was tight!
So more assertive riding,a bit of lick with most of the lights and I finally pulled into home at 1640, had time to get more relief, strip off the bike gear and get in the car ...and that was my day!
I usually start conditioning with State Highway riding to harden up the butt, so this was different, where I started relaxed and cruisy, then had to finish in full GC mode in order to not get told off. (although there was also an issue of not submitting the ride plan prior to departure ....because there wasn't one).
I was quite happy with the riding and progress, but at times did find my lines weren't quite right, so a bit more general riding and conditioning will be needed for the NI1600 in October, not to mention a heap of night riding this year to see if I can get the brain and eyes back in synch.
I ended up doing 548Km with a moving average of 90kph for the day and overall average of 82kph (having 35 mins of stopped time along the way), so that was pretty good for that road and the conditions ....but I was a little naughty on the way home!
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.
This blog is pretty much just about motorcycling ...but every now and then I might rant or dribble on about other things.