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