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