I pretty much finished my TT2000 prep by printing our Route booklets on Friday, so yesterday was scheduled for a conditioning ride (ie 500-700km).
The first thought was to do the World Tour of the Whanganui River road (you know, Jurusalem, Corinth, Athens & London), but since my tyres are on their last legs (booked in for 60K service and new pair of Z8's on Thursday), I thought it might be more prudent top stay closer to home, so a loose plan evolved to just go over the Hill and see where I ended up.
I was unsure what to expect for the weather, so I put the wets into the bike, along with the camera a stray nut bar that I found in the pantry and a bottle of water, checked the tyres and left home at about 0900 and headed down to Z Crofton Downs for some air but I thought I'd put some 98 in, so then stopped at BP Melling on the way out of town and finally got on the road from there at 0925.
I'd closed the zips on the back of my jacket and down the sleeves but omitted to close the panels on the front and the weather looked really dirty on the Hill, but I figured I wasn't stopping until Ocean Beach so I managed to unfurl them but if it rained I would get wet...I hadn't brought spare gloves either. As it turned out, it was pretty clagged in over the hill and the visibility was very poor at the top but I only had to weather misty drizzle so faired OK. The road was wet but, and with my marginal tyres care was needed, plus there was a bit of traffic but I seemed to generally catch it just right so managing to average 71kph was OK.
Shortly after turning off onto the Western Lake Rd, Miss Sena advised that my battery was low, reminding me again within the minute, then she said goodbye, but I wasn't stopping until the beach so I rode on in silence. It's been a year or two (probably two) since I last came out this way and I recall thinking last time that the gravel was way shorter than the time before that. Well this time it is down to 1km and 300mtrs of that coming down the hill to the beach has always been sealed, albeit in poor condition. The gravel is bloody crappy though and really badly corrugated but I was soon stopped and enjoying a natural break, then took the helmet off to connect a wee battery pack to the Sena ....although I wasn't sure how effective that would be as a quick check revealed it was down to 1 bar (of 3), but I had music again, then I secured the front panels in the jacket, took a couple of pix then got back on the bike.
I'd arrived a 1030 and dithered for 10 minutes, then decided to head around to what looked like an exit track, only to fine it went nowhere but into thick, loose gravelly sand....Oh dear! Have you ever tried to handle a 300Kg beast in soft shit! There was no way I was going to back out so I had to pick a path of least resistance and go for it. The back imediately sunk, digging itself in, and I had a wee berm of soft stuff to get over but with a bit of careful application of clutch & throttle with whatever assistance I could manage with my own weight (a little difficult as the ST is quite a tall bike), I got the bike around and back on the hard.
Back on the road I was soon scooting back and over to Lake Ferry, pausing here for just a minute or two to take a couple of pix at 1117 and then it was on to Ngawi. That was a mixed bag of clear weather but some still wet roads, so more care and once again, some horrible corrugations on the gravelly bit, a brief sub-2 minute photo stop at 1145 and next stop was the Wind Farm on White Rock Rd. More mix of some wet but mostly dry and I arrived at 1237, 267km done.
I was only down to half a tank, but from here I had to go through Martinborough, then wasn't sure where I'd be when I'd need a fill so I headed for the BP in Martinborough (I think probably the first time I've ever filled there), then I hit the road through Tablelands and Gladstone, taking the Water Towers road to Wainuioru. More pleasant scooting through small pockets of rain and this time I paused for 5-6 minutes for a snack and drink, before turning right onto Stronvar Rd.
I've been through Wainuioru dozens of times over the past 10years, but I haven't been out towards Stronvar or Ngaumu since I was pruning trees during school holidays when I was at Highschool....let's say in the region of 45 years ago....so I figured it was time I checked it out. As per many of the Wairarapa roads, this was another nice clean, flowy road. Unfortunately I arrived at the end of the seal in 13.6km so turned back and checked out Ngaumu Rd, but that's even less at only 7.7km from Wainuioru, however, this time I took a few minutes to check out the old bridge over the Upokongaruru River (or Deep Gorge as it is known). It's quite interesting as it's a strange feeling to look down off the bridge and see the topps of fully grown trees well below. There is a big plaque there, no doubt outlining the history of the old disused bridge, but I couldn't be bothered reading it and got back on with the job....next stop Castlepoint.
By rights Riversdale should have been next, but I figured that since my sister lives there, I would make that an extended stop before heading for home, so it was on-on for Castlepoint.....and no, Te Parae Rd doesn't feature on my ST radar, so it was back to Te Ore Ore. At this point I'd done a relatively sedate 371km and I felt like a bit of a squirt so I lifted the pace a little to manage the 80km to the beach in 50 minutes (95kph), continuing around the back to get closer to the lighthouse (without walking).
Another brief pic stop and I got back on the road for my last stop at Riversdale. More semi-spirited riding to average 95kph, arriving at 1540. I took a pic by the Surf Club then called into my sister's and spent nearly two hours there, finally hitting the road for home at 1720....after swapping the now dead Battery Pack on the Sena with another very low one. For the 1st time of the day, I decided to use the GPS and asked Kate to set a course for home, which produce an ETA of 1919! Sheesh, 2 hours for 154km! I thought that was bit sedate and figured it would be nice to do get home by 1900, so I lit the fires and upped the anti to 'spirited'!
I didn't get silly as I did still need to take some care for my tired tyres, and on the way in I did notice the odd squirm as the rear transitioned accross the slightly squared edge, but generally just maintained a quick-steady with the usual roll-off; roll-on and by the time I got to Masterton the ETA was down to 1907 as I'd managed to average 101kph, but from there, a man with a few demerits needed to be a bit more conservative and I ended up pulling into the garage at 1908. The ride over the Hill being quite good but I did encounter a bit of traffic that held me up as I descended, so the return average of 80kph was better than the outgoing ride and it was nice to get home having done 675km for the day at a moving average of 85kph. It didn't seem too hard a ride on my butt and I'm not sure if I am in better condition than I thought or perhaps it was just all the stops (which is what it will be like on the TT2000 with about 43 CP's, plus fuel and feed stops).
I will charge the Sena and all 4 Battery packs this week and I'll go to Coneheads on Wednesday, then get the service and new tyres on Thursday and I might have to have another ride next weekend, which I think might have to be the World Tour of the Whanganui River? The bike has 59,795km on it now.
This month has been another reasonably quiet riding month, but there's been plenty happening and I have managed a couple of short rides. I'm certainly appreciating the DriRider jacket as I've been riding with the zips in the sleeves open, the zips in the back down and the front panels folded away.
I went out with the IAM riders on Sunday and it was 23° at 0900 and when I was heading home at about 1300 it was hitting 31°. It was quite a pleasant ride over the Hill, then down the Western side of Lake Wairarapa and back up to Martinborough for refreshments. I was fairly lucky with the traffic on the hill getting a reasonable run both ways, except for the last bit on each side.
Today I had a funeral to go to in Palmy so naturally I had to take the bike for the scoot up SH1 and via Shannon. I figured that it would be a bit of a waste of the day to come back that way though so I enjoyed a nice wee scoot over The Track, then one of my favorite wee diversions through Mauriceville, paused to check out how mum was getting on, then finished with the usual fang over the Hill. Once again, there was plenty of commute traffic heading north, but the southern lane was relatively empty so I had a nice free-ride.....and the temp today was only around 23-25°.
Other stuff that's been happening is that the recent fine spell has meant we have been having our Wednesday night Coneheads and I'm feeling I've gone to another level there, feeling a lot more comfortable to throw the ST over at slow speed and I've been managing to drop the expansions on the courses to get closer to the standard sizes the Yank Police use.
And then there's the TT2000. I've spent hours and hours pouring over MapSource and Google Maps, tracking distances and times on a spreadsheet, sorting the CP PDF's into ride order in a booklet, sorting accomodation etc....and then find out that there's things like the Wanaka Ironman to consider, head back to the drawing board to tweek the route, or woops, there's a bit of gravel, tweek around it.
After working my way through about 7 or 8 options from the 1st loose plan, I think I'm pretty close to having things right now, including working out where the Mystery CP's are, but because we have way more points than we need, and because Mystery CP 1 requires 7km of gravel, we'll only do that if we end up 15-20minutes ahead of schedule by the time we get there.......I can't wait for 18/02/15 when we head south on the 0230 Interislander Ferry.
Oh yes....and I've been trying out the new Sena S20. I'm getting the hang of it now and although my phone has bluetooth, it's a bit old and isn't really compatible in that, I can recieve calls but can't make them and it tends to block out the other functions. I got a few tips from Gremlin to get it right but a bit more training and practice is required to remember all the sequences and taps for the different functions.
I have a new set of Z8's waiting in the shop, the bike will get it's 60,000km service in about two weeks......and I'm loving this weather!!!
It's a bit rough to go two months between blogs, (espicially in ther middle of Summer) but it's not that I haven't been riding, just that I've been a bit remiss. Also, I did do a blog in December after a crap experience when flying with Virgin....but I just didn't post it up. And when I say I have been riding, I guess in reality I've only done one blogable ride!...although I have done 2,000+km! ...a lot has happened but.
Since getting the new supension James and I did a trip to Manfield to run a Coneheads thing for the VMCC. That was a nice day but having sod-all room we could only setup a GP8 course and the punters were there to race, not piss around in a carpark, so there wasn't much action.
Then at the beginning of December Ann and I took a week off to go and watch the Lion King stage show in Brisbane and relax on the Gold Coast....that was nice....apart from booking to fly Air New Zealand then finding ourselves on Virgin flights!
Christmas was quiet, then we had to go to Patea on the 27th for Ann's Parent's unveiling. That was good and I had to go on the bike as I needed to get back for work....that was even better! Did you know it is 660km from Wellington to Patea? Yes, well I thought it was only about 250km, but it's 660km if you go via Rimutaka's – Route52 – Gentle Annie – Fields Track & Paraparas to avoid the traffic! Bloody marvelous. It was about 25°, but that was hot enough to melt the tar on the Gentle Annie and Para's, so consequently I wasn't totally committing to the corners and taking cruiser lines which resulted in a few wider than normal exits....some of which had bikes coming the other way. I was in control but I was a bit pissed off with myself as the poor pricks coming the other way were probably shitting themselves to see the black death lurking on the centre line as they were setting up for a corner! Bloody good fang but!
Then, on Monday 29th Dec, I rode the bike to work and thought, "Shit, that was soft!" as I exited the driveway, then I knew something wasn't quite right as riding along Khandallah Rd and the slightest bump would have me bouncing for the next 200 metres (somewhat akin to riding a dragon). Turned out a seal had gone in the new rear shock but with some help from Andrew Templeton, I got it out and away to KSS and it was back withing two days. I refitted it yesterday and took it for a test run today.
Other things that have happened are:
I booked accommodation, sailings and registered for the TT2000 with Steve (and Woody is to join us) for 19-23 Feb.
I've bought a pair of Sena S20's for Ann and myself.
As mentioned, I needed to test ride the rear shock as well as sample the Sena to see how that went and in talking to Woody about the TT, he needed a ride so joined us for today. We just went over the hill and over to Lake Ferry, then after a snack and nice break, we returned via Martinborough – Tablelands – Ponatahi Rd – and the Hill.
I need to have a play with the preload for when I have Ann on, but otherwise, it was quite pleasant. The temp got to 29° so I had all the vents open and the wind was up a bit so care was needed on the hill and we did 290km. I do need to do a bit more riding to build up for the TT....and I'll need to get some new tyres before then.....and I need to get the Sena sorted! That's been a bit of fun and there's a fair bit of learning and experimenting required.
I've tried pairing to phone (as 1st phone) and GPS (as GPS) and pairing to phone (as 1st Phone) and GPS (as 2nd phone), and pairing the phone to the GPS and the GPS to the Sena (as 1st phone) but I can't seem to get it right. I phone receives calls but I can't seem to get it to speed dial out....and I can get FM radio, and I can hear Nav commands and music from the GPS, but when the GPS is on, I can't access voice commands or ambient sound??
Oh the joys of technology!
The other thing we've been doinbg a bit of ius the Capital Coast Coneheads practice on Wednesday evenings. That's going well and we expect to run the Grand Ginny Challenge sometime within the next two months.
So I'm busy! Busy at work, busy route planning for the TT2000 and busy with Coneheads....and the weather is finally nice. (It was a bit pissing off to see how brown it was in the Wai'rapa, so they've obviously had it good...but I guess that's normal). The bike now has 58,370km on it.
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.