After eight C1KC's (Capital 1,000 Km Cruise) the NZ Distance Riders have now picked it up, added another route option and 2015 sees the inception of the 1KC with north (out of Hamilton) and south (out of Wellington) options. The format is still pretty much the same but the change has doubled the number of punters wanting to participate, which in turn does wonders for the fundraising aspect.
Even though I organise the ride, I can't be there on the day this year as we have a wedding to go to in Sydney and although I tried all sorts of dirty tricks to get out of it, at the end of the day...I know what's good for me. Not a problem though, I just went for a scoot yesterday to ensure the southern track was safe for the riders.
Saturday night saw us in bed early to be up before the sparrows fart, ie a 0400 rugby game to watch. Fortunately it wasn't in vain with the AB's winning and after having a shower at half time, I just needed to kit-up and prep the bike afterwards, finally leaving home at 0630. I had half a tank on board so decided I wouldn't fill until Woodville or thereabouts.
It was a looking to be a great day but the 11° when leaving home was soon down to 5° and I was feeling the pinch as I'd removed the wet layer from the jacket and only had a T-shirt underneath and summer gloves on, so I flicked on the grips and figured I could put up with it as it should come up again soon enough. Besides, the mission had started and I didn't have time to get a scivvy from the top-box.
0650 saw me passing by Caltex Rimurtuka and effectively starting the 1,015km, and as I embarked on the hill I was treated to a bit of sunstrike, but I had a great cage-free ride up to the summit, only to catch up to a convoy right at the top. The last car was great and eased over within a few corners of catching them, but the next couple seemed to fancy themselves and hogged the centreline...*sigh*,
Riding through the Wai'rapa was a real treat with cloudless skies, although a few more degrees than 8-11 would have been nice and I was soon slipping off the Bideford road and onto Route 52, which is in pretty good condition at the moment, and I arrived at Alfredton at 0806, snapped my pic, sought relief from the cold squeeze and sent a 4 hour 'Glympse' to Ann, Brett and James. (found out later that the one to Ann failed???)
Within a few minutes I was back on the road and heading on Pa Valley Rd towards Pahiatua. That road is a bit rougher than I recall but it opens up as you make way and, as I was skirting Pahiatua to emerge at SH2 from the Pongaroa road, I assessed my fuel range and figured I could easily make Feilding, which would give me a bit more flexibility for my next stop and could be the difference between making Havelock Nth, or having to fill in Taupo, so decision made I went through the gorge to Ashhurst then diverted via Bunnythorpe to the BP Connect for some 98 and the few extra km it would give me.
I arrived at 0900, but my overall average at this point was only 86kph, so I managed to fill, snack and swig and be out again in 6 minutes to minimise the loss and now was just a short scoot up to Rangiwahia, enjoying the few curly km on the north side of Kimbolton for the fourth time in the last couple of months. My stop at the Rangiwahia Hall to get a pic of the memorial was just over a minute and I was now on my way through to SH1 at Mangaweka, on through Taihape to Turangi, then off SH41 to Kuratau and up the Western Access.
My first glimpse of Ruapehu was on the Rangiwahia Rd and I don't recall ever noticing that before, but it was spectacular with the stark white backdrop to the green hills. Then on the Desert Rd where there wasn't a cloud in the sky in any direction. The mountains completing the picture (if I'd stopped to take one), but on the northern side, especially of Ngauruhoe, there were big blobs on the summit and brown speckled staining all the way down that side.
I wasn't too interested to take a closer look though as I had a date at Tihoi and it was around this time that the music from my GPS choked. In trying to get it sorted the GPS locked up and I had to reboot it, the music came back briefly, then stopped again and eventually, I had to proceed without it, in my cone of silence.
The good flowy roads through this section finally saw my overall average push through to 91kph by the time I reached Tihoi and I was back on the road in a minute-forty, turning off to cut across past Kinloch to Poihipi Rd. As I rolled down the hill into Taupo, I decided to stay on the main road rather than cut around the back and I was amazed at the number of people everywhere....but then again, it was a long weekend. It was pretty slow through here with all the traffic but I was soon on the Napier-Taupo Rd and where there was little traffic and some more free riding.
By the time I got to my Hedgeley Rd turnoff at Eskdale, my overall average was up to 93kph and as I approached the turnoff, I realised that the GPS was still on track but Karen wasn't talking to me. A quick fiddle and it shit itself altogether so I continued to Seafield Rd, then paused at the intersection to reset it again, which worked well enough to get me through to the Puketapu Tavern. It's been some years since I lasted pootled over these roads and I was reminded how delightful they are.
I arrived at the Tavern at 1333 with the average down to 91 and I was surprised at how packed it was. There were plenty of bikes there and masses of cars but I just needed to use their conveniences, then with the temperature up at 22°, once back at the bike, I took the liner out of my jacket. As I was sorting myself out the phone rang, so I answered it but couldn't hear a thing, then realised I was still connected to the Sena so I had to whip my helmet on so I could chat to Ann. That done I sent another 4 hour Glympse, then got ready and back on my way. I'd been stopped for 11 minutes and that had the average down to 89, then as I hit the road, you guessed it, my GPS shit itself again!
Fortunately, I had designed the route so I was quite familiar with it, but apart from route instructions on the way, the GPS is very handy for recording the journey so I continued over to the G.A.S at Pakowhai and did more resetting, then filled the bike again. With just under 400km to go, I was going to get home easily from here, but between the fill and mucking around with the GPS, I had wasted 11 minutes and the overall average was now down to 87kph...damn. At least the GPS was going again, albeit without any sound, but I was familiar with these roads and that wasn't a problem. I had now flicked the GoPro on, was back into fang mode and enjoying the scoot to the next checkpoint on Kahuranki Rd and beyond. This time the photostop was down to 50sec and I just had two to go.
Kahuranaki Rd is reasonably narrow, but one can make good progress and after Elsthorpe it opens up a bit in width and with sweepier corners. Then the top part of Route 52 from Waipuk' is really easy riding with a nice wide road and big curves, however, being ¾ through the ride, although I was making good progress, picking up the average has become difficult and by the time I had arrived at Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapiki- maungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, the overall average was still languishing at 88kph, but a sub-minute stop didn't lose any time.
I was now getting onto the roads that of all the ride, these required the most respect as one can never be too sure of their condition through to the Weber turnoff. By that time the GPS packed up altogether so I had no music, no rolling or overall average to assess my progress and no ETA to gauge my predicted time on the road. I've been riding with the GPS for 4 years and I now found how much I tend to use it as I was now thrust back into the past. It also made me realise how I had embarked on this ride with no means of back-up whatsoever (ie Map Book) and thank God it was a ride I had no need of navigation aids...and I was down to the last 200km to go.
The ride now was easy going as I slipped out to SH2 at Dannevirke and down to the last checkpoint at Woodville (the Catholic Church on the main road in). From here my quickest option would be through the gorge, and down to SH1 via Shannon, but I opted to stay on SH2 for the better ride home, which was a bit dumb considering my butt was burning by this time and I was feeling somewhat uncomfortable.
It was easy riding though and what do you know, as I was passing by Claireville, my GPS decided to wake up and Karen joined me once more. The ride over the hill was dreary with a big queue of cars on the decent slowly making their way past a cyclist and I finally got home at 1838, just over 12 hours on the road for 1,065km and just under 11½ hours for the 1,000+km. I was reasonably satisfied with that since the thought of a +4km tolerance for the weekend was generally in the back of my mind...at least, on the main highways anyway.
Perhaps next time I'll take my time and enjoy the scenery!?
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.