Ann had the Hawkes Bay Masters Tennis tournament to play this weekend and I don’t usually travel to these, but on this occasion it suited my purpose to go for a ride....so we did. We took Friday off and got away from home around 0900 for a quick fill at the Ngaio GAS then head over the hill to Masterton.
This was the first ride on the new Bridgestone 023 on the front and it’s been awhile since riding with Ann on the back, so the bike felt a little different and I was wary to see how the tyre would perform after not being that impressed with the OEM 021’s, so we took it easy and enjoyed the great day, albeit a little cooler than expected and an hour later we were calling in to see mum for a cuppa. While Ann sorted that, I went down the road to drop a couple of C1KC flyers at the local bike shops.
After nearly an hour, we got on the road again and it was at this point that I realised the GPS had decided to play up again, because it wanted me to head back to Wellington??? I had loaded the route in on Thursday night and did notice a couple of odd tracks going nowhere as we came up through Kaitoke, but now it was apparent that, for some reason, the route had loaded as a series of out and returns to each via point??? I tried getting it to recalc’ a couple of times, then gave up and just set a new route to Kennedy Park in Napier.
From here we scooted up through Mauriceville and by now I was in the groove with the extra weight and was finding no perceptible difference between the Storm and 023 front (although there was still a mind barrier). We made good time through Pahiatua, then took Bluff Rd to bypass Woodville and emerge at Oringi, took the side road through Dannevirke and for the first time in recent memory, continued past SH50, staying on SH2 for Waipuk’ and Waipawa, to take Middle Road through Havelock and onto Napier.
As I pulled up at Kennedy Park, Ann advised, “We aren’t staying here, we’re at the Art Deco place down the road!” so I put that into the unit and we were soon emptying the panniers to go for groceries for the rest of the group, (we had 3 units with 13 of us and some other tennis players on site as well) then get a feed of greasies and settle in for the night’s ration of rugby.
After a crap night’s sleep, Ann and the others headed off for tennis by 0800, leaving me to get ready for my ride. Part of my decision to come was to get a couple of pix to put in the ride instructions for C1KC checkpoints, so I headed back to Havelock, filling at the Mobil there before revisiting the top end of Middle Rd. The day before I had decided that the photo-checkpoint I had chosen wasn’t going to be appropriate, so I had a quick scout for another, chose and snapped it, then headed for Waiouru......chooooice!
After sampling the delights of the Gentle Annie a couple of weeks ago, I was looking forward to a solo return trip over it at more of a GC pace, and I was straight into the groove, taking a quick jaunt across SH50A and Omahu Rd to get to the initial easy riding, rolling country side. By the time I started to climb, I was well into the groove and maintaining a steady but wary pace, taking care in case I encountered any loose stuff. The front tyre was performing well and I felt equally as comfortable on the 023 as I did on my favoured Storms and I was soon through the forested climb, onto the painted picture landscape of the grassy hills, then tussock and finally through the scrubby stuff at the Taihape end and out onto SH1 and the last 17Km to Waiouru.
The temp had fluctuated from 14º, down to 8º and as I neared the Taihape end of the road, the wind had been steadily increasing, so when I got to Waiouru the cold squeeze was having an effect on the body and some haste was required to get my shots and on to a cafe (dunny).
20 minutes later, I was relieved and satisfied with a steak ‘n cheese pie and a coffee on board, enjoyed in a sunny spot, out of the wind. I’d thought about paying a visit to the Army Museum, but thought I better make an appearance at the tennis so got straight back on the road and found this an easier ride, being downwind, downhill, with the sun high but riding just enough into the light to make it easier to define the road surface for where there was any loose stuff, so that meant less ‘Riding the Rut’ was required. I therefore made better time back to the courts in Taradale and a study of the Track Logs revealed the outbound trip as 161Km at an average of 90kph in 1:47 with the return as150Km at an average of 94kph in 1:36. Another bloody marvellous ride.
I spent the rest of the day watching tennis, then the group went out for dinner, we watched some more rugby and turned in relatively early.
Sunday saw the tennis players leaving early again but I had nothing on, so took my time packing, then cruised down for air and fuel before going to the courts to settle in for the day.
We were on the road for home at 1535 and being keen to get home, opted for a trip straight down SH50 and through the Wai’rapa. It was supposed to rain so I put my leggings on but we only encountered intermittent drops once we were south of Masterton, although the road was wet from there on in. This meant for a careful ride over the hill although, once again, the 023 never gave any hints of letting go and seemed fine. In the end we managed the 325Km at an average of 91kph and were home at 1900, in time to watch the league....but that was a waste of time.
All in all it was a great weekend managing 1064Km to have 121,018Km on the bike, although I’m still not too happy with my riding condition for the GC at the end of the month and I think I might need a new rear for that so might consider an 023 for that as well.
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.