Another bloody marvelous day.....Bloody Marvelous!!
Prep for this year's C1KC started straight after last year's one, when, although I had a couple of potential routes, I was doodling on MapSource (as you do) to see just how far we could get from Wellington, ...without doing an out and return, ...and still be a reasonably interesting route to ride. I was hoping to touch Tauranga but had to settle for Rotorua-Putaruru, so I ran the options past my old Wgtn Uly Ride Committee buddies, we settled on the two potential options and forgot about it.
In mid August I pulled the stuff out again, revisited the route options, this time including STJim from Hamilton, settled on the Rotorua option with a Northern start at Putaruru, emailed a heads-up to all the previously registered 1000Km Cruisers, started threads on KB & the Uly forums...had three entries within 24 hours, about a dozen within a week and ended up with 64, comprising of 35 bikes out of Wellington, 9 (2 with pillions) from Masterton, 2 from Wanganui & 6 from Palmy (all joining the Wellington start but finishing at home) and 10 starting from Putararu and riding in the reverse direction. (for those that can't help themselves on the math thing...yes that adds up to 61 bikes, but for 1,000Km, the pillions probably have to be harder arses than the riders and therefore are recognised with equal status, earning certificates and badges).
Organising this ride doesn't seem to take a lot of effort as it's pretty much regurgitate the same old stuff, but leading up to the ride I probably did spend the best part of a couple of days, getting the Ride Instructions done, tweeking the briefing, compiling pictures of the CP's (all of which are emailed to the Registered Riders a week before the event), then a day or so before, printing all the certificates and packaging them with the badges and year bars in pre-loved C4 envelopes. Then finally the day before the ride, emailing out start lists for Masterton and Putaruru, printing a list for Ann (in Wgtn) and myself, drawing the prizes (this year, compliments of Boyle Kawasaki in Wgtn), packing up the car and bike....and that's it....except I couldn't find the finisher list for Putaruru and my list so needed to print them again in the morning!!
Alarm went off at 0500 Saturday and we were up and at 'em and out the door at 0540....but as it is with computers, mine didn't want to know me so I didn't get to Caltex Rimutaka until 0620 and was surprized to see a big crowd of bikes all 'taped-up' (we issue yellow & black tape to tie on the back of the bikes to easily identfy each other on the road) and ready to go. So a bit of a blur gassing up, taping up, fitting GPS and Go-Pro, meeting some of the riders ...and it was really great to see Mike, who has done all 6 previous C1KC's but could ride this year due to health reasons, but still came over from the Kapiti Coast to see us off.
As usual, I waited until the last rider had left and we had checked that a missing starter wasn't coming (3 non-starters this year...thanks for the donations anyway) before I set off at 0658, into the gloomy mist surrounding the Rimutakas and, as usual for this ride, I had no set plan...apart from ensuring there are no stragglers, and/or everyone is teamed up and making progress. So, my casual start had my average at 93kph by the bottom of the hill, dropping to 86 by the summit, where I had caught Gav, bottoming out at 71 before the bridge and back to 73 in Featherston. Then I stuck behind Gav until just before the turnoff for the Track. By this time the average was up to 87kph, I knew Gav has done Mega miles solo on his Interstate, so he was OK solo.....and I was feeling a little frisky!!
The Track was OK, but it is a road I treat with the utmost respect because one is never quite sure what the surface is going to be like, and on this occasion it was OK...not great but I made good time and caught up with Hitcher and Jane on the decent and in to the first CP, a photo of the bike at Aokautere School. I waited a couple of minutes for Gav to arrive in which time I came up with a short term plan, I would try to catch up to Hitcher and Jane by the Kimbolton CP, then film them though some of the curly parts of Rangwahia Rd....yes well....the best laid plans. (Little did I know they were pausing in Feilding).
So I rolled into Kimbolton, surprized to see no Bandit & Z1000, but instead 2 cruisers, an old CBR and a Beemer and thinking, 'hmmm, that's a crisper pace and stop than I expected from the Hitchers?', so taking little more than a minute, I was on my way again. At this point, it was 0914, I was 198Km into the ride and the total average was back to 86 with the stops. I still figured I'd catch the Hitchers and/or enjoy a briskish ride over a nice road!!....and I did! (not the Hitchers, but the nice ride over the nice road)
Around Ruahine I spotted a couple of bikes ahead and thought I had caught my prey....but it just turned out to be Menie & Yod!! Oh well, I filmed them anyway, passed some of the Northern starters, caught Bandit Rider waiting at SH1 and I slotted behind them through Taihape, Waiouru and over the Desert Rd. By the this time, the weather was brilliant blue skies with the magnificent vista of Ruapehu and Ngarahoe, so prior to Waiouru, I flicked the Go-Pro on to catch a 10 sec burst of the scene....but dumbarse that I am, I turned off the Remote, but failed to stop the camera, so 30+ minutes later, when I decided to catch another short burst....yes well....I now have 30 minutes of boring straight SH1, albeit on an incredible day and with menies arse in front of me all the way....but, it did mean that I ended up with evidence of the Popo delaying a pretty red cruiser with yellow tape tied to it's rear!
More footage scored through the curly sections and more stunning vista as we crested to view Lake Taupo, then I pulled out of the group to fuel in Turangi. Normally I would make it to Rotorua on a tank, but my 'fresh' pace wasn't very friendly for my economy and with the Taupo bypass meaning I would have to divert to Wairakei, and with the knowledge I could still get to Raetihi from here, I opted to fill up...and I desperately needed a 'natural break'. By this time (1048), I was 355Km into the ride and the Palmy boys had dragged my total average back to 93kph...so a new plan formed!! I kicked into GC mode and decided to 'crack on' and 8 minutes later, fueled, watered and snacked I got back on the road.
Now enjoying a 'spirited pace' I embarked on the pleasant ride around Lake Taupo....bloody nice road and bloody spectacular to be riding along the banks of the lake in 21°, virtually no wind, brilliant clear skies and very little traffic (so a bit more footage) and I was soon taking the turn-off for Reparoa. I opted for the deviation because I felt safer to push the boundaries of the allowable limits through here...and I hadn't done it since 2007, so I was soon (1213hrs) stopping at the Skyline centre in Rotorua for CP photo #3, total average back up to 92kph, 487Km done, and most importantly, my eta back in Wellington had dropped from 1900 to 1630'ish.
I pulled into the stop to find Biggo and his two mates on 109's there and 2 minutes later I eased into the traffic a little behind them, however I passed them as they appeared to be checking the route instructions at the turnoff in Ngongataha, so they slotted in behind me, naturally thinking, 'this is the man to follow, he'll know the route off by heart'! That was quite a reasonable assumption on their part, however, I had to deliver the certs & badges to the Okoroire Pub for the northern starters!...Oh dear, I didn't want to lead these guys astray (an extra 10Km or so) and fortunately we had to stop for a lollipop man at some roadworks so I tried to portray the message to Biggo.
Fortunately they continued on the right track and I arrived at Okoroire at 1242, 531Km done and just over half way. I handed the package over the bar, relieved myself (again), snacked, swilled, kit back on and off again…only losing 7 minutes, but enough to drop the average from 92 to 90 kph. Nice wee roads around here and I was soon back on track, passing a couple of Masterton riders out of Putaruru and taking a pic of the Puketurua Hall. 1308hrs, 558Km done and average at 90kph....and a minute and half later I was enjoying Old Taupo Rd....and that's what the CP at the hall was for, to ensure riders had to take this road rather than just scoot down SH1.
Now the fun began, the fast lightly patrolled roads down to Whakamaru and around the western lake. I passed a few more riders gassing at Whakamaru, then caught back up to Biggo and the 2 cruisers with a Bandit in tow about half way down the lake. I seemed to be doing a similar speed to them, catching up by increments through any curly bits, finally latching onto their tail about 20Km from Kuratau. It was quite nice to be into a group and I was more than happy to slot on the back, but as ever, I was thinking of the road ahead and figured, 'Nah, I want an unencumbered crack at the 2 saddles between Kuratau and Tokaanu on SH41 and the lovely Te Ponanga Saddle on SH47, so when we reached a couple of long straight sections, I took the opportunity to cruise past the Bandit and one of the 109's, then passed the other 109 and Biggo coming out of the junction.
*Sigh*....bike heaven!!....SH41 and next to no traffic on a magnificent day!
After a jolly good fang, I settled back down to business and cruised through to Raetihi, arriving at 1537, 776Km done, and a total average of 95kph, with the eta down to 1810. I was half-pai expecting to possibly meet northen starters here, but 10 minutes later, fueled, relieved, watered, snacked and Go-Pro lens de-bugged, I was back on my way.....Mmmmm......the Paras!!
And what a Para's!! More bloody great brilliant riding!! I was now aiming to get the ETA down to 1800 for an 11 hour ride, but it was really strange, for some reason, my GPS only graced me with 2minutes!!?? Hell, I wasn't caning it, but I was going 'comfortable quick' with easy acceleration and minimal braking, a bit of chop to 4th for 65-75 corners and 3rd for tighter ones. I will admit that the economy was under 15Km/Ltr through here and I did average 105kph...but please!!...two miserable bloody minutes!! It just isn't fair! FFS...90Km at 100kph is 54 minutes and 90Km at 105kph is 51.4 minutes.....ooooh shit.....I wasn't going fast enough!!
Oh well, I was back to reality now, or at least, I was after bypassing Wanganui via Kaimatira Rd and Fordell and it was steady-as-she-goes, boring, crap riding down a horrid, boring, straight, SH1 chock full of traffic. This would bugger my ETA you say, but not so!....Just as my Garmin 660 seems to know intuitively what speed I tend to do down the Paras, it also seems to know that I tend not to linger in traffic down SH1, so at 1608 I was pulling into the Parrot 'n Jigger with a slightly uncomfortable butt and bloody relieved grin on my face....then I guess that turned to a quizzical expression because there were no other bikes there!!
I walked into the bar to see Ann, all set up and reading her Kindle. She looked up, her mouth dropped, and she said, “What are you doing here?....Johnny, you've been speeding! You left last!” What could I say? Rapidly racking brain for answers...'No, I didn't have to stop much...Bloody big tanked ST's', nah...'Where are the others?...they must have been going slow', nah...oh dear, I just looked a bit sheepish and stunned mulletish and said, “I don't know, why aren't they here yet?”
Hehehe....Bloody GC Mode, does it all the time. It's not about speed, just minimal stops and constant grazing! ….and pushing the allowable limits!.....but just a little bit!
What a ride! I had concerns at the start that the route included a bit too much State Highway riding, but it was fine. It was relatively open and therefore quick for any uninitiated endurance riders but it contained enough curves for experienced rider to still enjoy it. As always, (so far) we managed to throw in a few roads that many have never ventured on and it was wonderful to hear feedback from experienced Rusty Riders that they enjoyed the ride and route. (That's a bit of a problem too because I do have a few unused routes, but I'm running out) about half the Wellington starters were in by 1930 and the last, but two got in at 2145. The other two had phoned in to advise they would be late and would email there pix in.
I managed to do 1051Km (with the wee excursion to Okoroire) in 11hrs 10min, being 10hr 40 min moving time for a moving average of 99kph and 30minutes stopped time for a total average of 87kph. I took 72 minutes of video footage and that's going to be bugger to edit, but there should be some good stuff in there and,...as I said at the start, I had a bloody marvelous time. I didn't feel totally comfortable at times and put that down to a lack of ride fitness for 'endurance type' riding....so I guess I need to do more Km's!!
Many thanks to:
the 60 other souls that embarked on the ride with me
Jim Galt for handling the Putaruru Start & David Coy the Okoroire finish
Glen Morgan for handling the Masterton start
Ann, Ron Meiklen & Steve Klaui for controlling the masses at the Wellington start
and Ann for being there at the finish.
Boyle Kawasaki for the spot prizes
(and my boss at Affiliated Insurance Brokers for the certs and my time)
The feedback has been great, I hope the rest of you enjoyed it as much as I did!...oh yes...and we should have raised about $700 to buy Christmas presents for kiddies with Muscular Dystrophy. (That ride's on the 6-8 December and will be another blog).
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.