A bit over a month ago I went for a ride but didn’t bother to blog about it …but I went to the Ulysses monthly meeting last night and now I have a trophy, so I guess I should!
The event was a Ulysses Wgtn club ride, but with a slight difference in that it was labelled an Economy Run.
I imagine that those that know me well would probably say that I don’t have any hint of a competitive bone in my body …. and that back when I was in Std 3 (that would be year 5 in today’s school lingo) Br Ernest drummed into us that ‘it’s not winning that counts, but how you play the game!’ Well let me tell you, I learned very well from Ernie that if you didn’t play good, you weren’t gonna win …so maybe I have been known to resort to a little bit of ‘Gamesmanship’ in the past, to gain small advantages. Say, like threading a loose piece of string onto a squash racquet to make it look like it had a broken string? …or perhaps studying a game and playing ‘to the rules’ rather than ‘by the rules’?
Well naturally if I have to ride an economy run, of course I’m going to look for any advantage that might be gained in getting to where we had to go, so the day rolls up, I geared up went down to the bike and checked the tyres, maybe leaving them on the high side of 42psi rather than the low draggy side, and I had about half a tank of 98 octane juice and although there’s not much advantage in that, already I’m thinking, “where’s the closest BP Ultimate to Brown Owl” as I get on the road.
Then it’s “Damn”, as I get through the Ngauranga interchange and find Woody on my tail. I can’t let him know I’m trying to gain advantage, so I just pootle along to Caltex Rimutaka and settle for a top up of 95 octane. On the ST you fill until the fuel reaches the lip …but sometimes you can squeeze a little more in!?
I paid for the gas and eased off the forecourt, giving just a little squirt to get in front of the long queue of traffic …so I wouldn’t have to waste any fuel waiting, then I puttered along the road and around to brown Owl, switching off on the roll and coasting to my park.
We got briefed and I heard, ‘SH2 and Track to Ashhurst pumps, then on to the pub.’ Then we hit the road with me at back, just in front of the TEC. We eased through Kaitoke and onto ‘the hill’ where I found myself behind three cars and two bikes. Being a bit of a strategic thinker, I visualized lots of braking, so we get to a passing lane and I take the lot then settle to an easy, 80kph no-brakes pootle and fortunately for me there was little traffic and the two cars I caught let me through. I continued with more of the same until about ½ to ¾ the way down when I caught Woody and his mate and their braking and dithering caused me to waste some fuel …so after I switched off and coasted the last 100mtrs to a halt at the regroup in Featherston, I lodged a complaint about the inconsiderate pricks!
Once we got back on the road, I guess you could say, ‘I tucked in behind Woody’, who I had coms with, and when we caught up to an MX5, I commented to Woody that he wouldn’t get much draft off that, so he passed it and I took advantage of what little draft there was ….and soon enough we had lost the MX5, were on the Masterton bypass, then turning into a very stiff headwind on SH2.
This wouldn’t do and I was beside myself because the ST is a big heavy brute and even at its most economical 80’ish kph, I’d be lucky to squeeze 15 km/ltr in these conditions ….and then I spotted an SUV in my mirrors, hauling me in …so I slowed down ….and pulled really, really well over to the left, …because I’m a really, really considerate motorist …and next thing you know I found myself behind a nice big Hyundai Sante Fe …and my economy was hovering between 19.5 and 21 km/ltr …and the poor driver of the Sante Fe had to slow down because there were some ignorant, arrogant, Wellington Wanker motorcyclists in front of him …and they seemed to be riding like they were on an economy run or something??!! …and that made me even more economical!
We passed through Eketahuna, waving to Nils and his mates at the GAS and down the road a bit, my Sante Fe buddy saw an opportunity, so he passed a few of the bikes and I waved at them as we passed, because I seemed to be attached and therefore passed them as well. I also checked my gains by dropping back and out to the side and sure enough, the gauge dropped to between 12-14 km/ltr!! …so I tucked back in as we found ourselves on the tail of a convoy and that’s when things got confusing.
There was cars to the front of us and cars and bikes behind us, there was probably guns to the left of us (but we couldn’t see them as they would have been camouflaged in the tree-lines) and as we approached the Mangatainoka turnoff, (which is the natural turn-off for a Track crossing) I observed that there was no one marking the corner, so indicated left and pulled over at the corner to check with the others …but they just scooted around the corner after my Sante Fe buddy …and I couldn’t have that so I thought, “Bugger it”, took off, passed them back and eased back behind my buddy!
He decided he didn’t want a bar of us, so slowed and pulled to the left, leaving Woody and I to fend for ourselves and thus we found ourselves pootling along at that ever so economical 80kph on an even more economical no brakes run and still managed to stay ahead of the rest of the group. We passed a couple more un-manned corners and when we got to Aokoutere, I stopped and switched off to wait for the TEC.
More 90-100kph riding and we caught the group as they were approaching the servo, wondered why Ross & Co weren’t there (until Woody had talked to him on the phone), filled to the lip, photographed the pump and the odo, then went down to the pub to wait.
It turns out that we were supposed to ride to Pahiatua then across the Track from there (who does that?) so Ross & Co were waiting in Pahiatua until they saw an ambulance heading south, so they got worried and followed it until they got back to Eketahuna …then decided it might be a good idea to ring someone! Sheesh!
I thought it was marginal because Bernie (who won the event) on his 650 missed the start and joined us in Featherston. Who knows, he could well have got there early, filled then slipped around the block to come in behind us? …or filled up at the top of the hill, or somewhere!? And Ross & Co who did quite well …well they had a big downwind leg from Pahiatua to Eketahuna, so their results would have to be enhanced as well, but me (who ended up getting 2nd) well I rode magnificently, overcoming all sorts of obstacles to push the big lumbering ST well past its boundaries to achieve an economy of 23+ km/ltr in the most adverse of conditions.
Woody and I returned through the Wai’rapa, taking a wee diversion through Mauriceville and I gave the ST a jolly good spanking over the hill to get home with an economy of 17.5 km/ltr ….and that was much betterer!
This blog is pretty much just about motorcycling ...but every now and then I might rant or dribble on about other things.