The weekend turned into a two ride week with a Uly ride to Castlepoint on Sunday.
Ken had made an executive decision to split the ride into 2 groups; a quicker group managed by Steve and myself to take a slighter longer, more devious route and a slower group managed by himself and Bill on their DRs. I wasn’t too fussed about a quick ride, as the tyres are getting down, but figured I’d turn up and see what eventuated.
Following my usual Sunday ride protocols, I was up before 0800, cleaned, dressed and packed, tyres checked and on the road a bit after 0900 (probably about 0915), quiet pootle to Caltex Rimutaka for a fill, dropping off a couple of vids in Johnsonville on the way, then on to the meeting point at Brown Owl by 0945.
It was a nice day and the ‘split decision’ turned out to be a good call on Ken’s part as we ended up with about 26 bikes, including several new riders and a few we hadn’t seen for awhile. A quick general welcome and brief and we had the usual ‘free ride’ over the hill before splitting up. I was away early to avoid getting stuck behind other bikes …but did anyway as there were plenty of cars and other bike groups on the road making the most of the weather. Once we split, the ‘spirited’ group ended up with 10 bikes, Steve leading and myself at TEC as we headed for Martinborough.
Steve set the pace at 120’ish which was fine, but obviously not spirited enough for James as he had trouble staying on two wheels, and pissed a couple of the other riders off with his mono/wheelie antics. (mental note:- have a chat to James) We were soon turning onto Princess St to head to Gladstone via Ponatahi Rd, then round the Water Towers to Stronvar and out to Te Ore Ore Rd. This section identified who the smoother quicker riders were from the slower ones who would stretch out in the curly bits, then close up again on the straights. I just kept my pace under 125 letting the gap open on the straights, then catching again in the next windy section. The only iffy patch was heading across Westmere Rd, which had fine loose grit that was hard to notice, except when it was coming off the rear tyre of the bike ahead…and surpise, surprise, …no warning signs had been posted.
When we got to the turnoff, Steve and some of the riders had turned to the right to continue out to the coast, but Adrian, on his Trophy appeared confused and obviously wanted to go the other way so I pulled up beside him. He reckoned he needed gas so I said fine and off he went, then three others did the same so we parked up and waited, and gossiped about the dicks that didn’t start with a full tank and empty bladder….and speaking of natural breaks, we’d stopped so I took one. In the end, two returned, reporting the slow group were at the servo, the other two were staying with them, so the ‘spirited’ group was down to eight and continued….and now it got frustrating.
The plan from here was to take the Riversdale road to Whareama, then cut across to Tinui and out to the beach. This road isn’t what I would call windy as such, (or maybe it is windy but not tight) because one can maintain quite a good pace, although the straights are short and one must be ready to take their passing opportunities, on a decent bike this is not a problem….or at least it shouldn’t have been and we should have been able to maintain a pace between 110 & 120kph comfortably. The trouble was we had a rider on a sprotty rocket ship and he wouldn’t / couldn’t pass a car towing a boat….what a dip-stick.
Steve passed a car then waited for the group to assemble before moving ahead but No.2 wasn’t interested and I was stuck at the back, doing 90kph and watching passing opportunity after passing opportunity slip by. They eventually did make some passes but then paused at Blairlogie and ended up behind the same cars, although fortunately a couple went on the Castlepoint Rd. This wouldn’t normally be a problem but it was like being psyched for a roast then getting dry bread.
We did finally get to Castlepoint though, enjoyed a pie and chat and took a couple of pix before kitting up for my return, riding by myself for a blow-out.
The tyres on the ST are still good but getting down and past their best and there were a few places on the road that hadn’t been dry for awhile, so care was required as I rode at a high pace with minimal braking, rolling off early for corners and not pushing the limits. Consequently I was back in Masterton in just on 35 minutes, then into thick traffic to, and over the hill and home.
It was certainly a different sort of ride but a great day all the same. I was quite knackered when I got back and keen for the next ride.
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.