I wasn't planning to ride this weekend as I'm flying solo at work for the next three months and figured I'd have plenty to do, but when I saw the weather was to be brilliant all weekend, I just couldn't help myself.
The programmed Ulysses ride was a short/social jobby starting from Plimmerton, up to Foxton for lunch and on to Himatangi Wines, which isn't really much of a ride but one does always have to get home I guess!?
With the late decision to go, I didn't get a chance to check the bike until 2200 last night and discovered a few things. I hadn't ridden it since the last Uly ride two weeks ago, my gear was still stashed in the right pannier, it hadn't been cleaned and both tyres were down to 38psi....so I didn't need to pack but I did pull the compressor and topped up the tyres.
As predicted, this morning dawned crystal clear...and very fresh! I was ready to go by 0850 because I needed to stop in at the office to get the camera, then pause again at Countdown J'ville to get a top-up for the phone, then call in to BP Mana for a top-up on gas. When I pulled the bike out of the garage, the temp gauge was reading a very respectable 9°, but by the time I was ¾ the way down our street, it had rapidly ticked back to 2°, then by the time I pulled into the Plimmerton Weigh Station at 0940, it was back up to 6° and the ride along the motorway wasn't totally comfortable with many shaded wet areas that my brain kept reminding me, “Watch out for black ice!!” Sheesh, I don't know.....some brains!!!??
I made it safely at 0940 though, chatted, loaded the phone, donned my Uly hi-vis vest to do the TEC thing and 16 bikes hit the road at 1006. I was dilly-dallying around gearing up, so I was somewhat behind the rest but was surprised to be with them before we got to the end of the double lanes by Pukerua Bay.....then I just noodled along eliciting a most impressive 20.4Km/Ltr by the time we got to Shannon! I must say though, I'm sure that averaging 75kph on my dear old Red would have managed at least 21.4km/Ltr......damn! The temp generally hovered between 12-14°, but with the sun out, it was quite pleasant.
115Km done from Plimmerton and we were at the The Vines for lunch. I've never been there myself but it would seem it was a popular venue at some stage in the past and the facilities and service are certainly recommended. I had a burger, fries and coffee which all hit the spot.
By 1315 we were kitting up to head back, but with everyone else content to only do another 100Km back along SH1, I headed back toward Palmy, then took Kellow Rd to cut through to Mt Stewart, hooked off toward Feilding but bypassed around by Manfield, scooted through to Ashhurst, then took the Gorge. I had considered the Track and Saddle, but the Track would have taken me through Palmy, plus there was too much potential for shaded wet greasy patches and the Saddle would miss Palmy but still have the greasy bits....so Gorge it was......plus it's ages since I've been through there.
It was a bit depressing to get through to the Wai'rapa to find a blanket of cloud keeping the sun out and the temperature down between 10-12°, but thems-the-breaks. I was able to maintain a steady pace on the allowable limits and my 20.4Km/Ltr wound its way down to 18.2, the road was nice and dry and the traffic light. No dramas, but I opted to stick to SH2 to avoid any surprises.
The sun finally emerged again just before Featherson and just in time to offer a good dose of sun-strike on the hill! It wasn't too bad for me since I ride with the visor up but the traffic was surprisingly heavy and many of the drivers appeared to be struggling as they rounded corners and copped the sun full on. As usual, I wasn't prepared to sit in the traffic and filtered my way along and, considering the traffic, it was quite a pleasant run over the hill and I only lost a few minutes on the GPS ETA.
I eventually made it home at 1608, averaging 85kph from Himatangi. I had done 390Km for the day...which was a bit better than 200Km and ended up with an average of 18.1Km/Ltr.
The bike now has 45,752Km on it.
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.