It's been another no-ride week, which is odd as I don't feel like I'm suffering from withdrawal symptoms. I guess that's because it's been a busy week, both at work and home, going out several times and watching lots of Tour de France highlights.
Tuesday we went to the birthday celebration of a client and ended up scoring tickets to the Tall Blacks versus Venezuela 3rd test. I'm not a fan of basketball but it was a good night out. Thursday we went to two plays at Bats, 'Once were Samoans – Family Reunion', and 'A Part of Me'. Saturday we helped out at Brookfield Scout Camp where the local branch hosted the Ulysses National Committee Meeting and we assisted in the kitchen. Sunday I had to work after recovering from watching the Tour de France 2nd time trial. The last week of the 'Tour' has been pretty chaotic with pre-race favourite, Vinokourov and another rider being kicked out for blood doping and testosterone use, resulting in their two teams, Astana & Cofidis withdrawing. Then, Race leader Rasmussen was kicked off his Rabobank team for lying / suspected drug use by his sponsors and that left it a 3 horse race between Contador & Leipheimer from Discovery and Cadel Evans, an Aussy rider for Predictor Lotto. Going into the last day, there is only 30 seconds separating those three riders which is pretty close after nearly 3500 kms. I just feel sorry for Leipheimer as he would now be in yellow if he hadn't assisted his teammate, Contador, through the Pyrenees. Thank God it's all but over and I will return to getting a decent night's sleep.
It's been a no-ride week so I have had to amuse myself in other ways, without resorting to gardening or tidying the garage, or cleaning the bike. Not a problem, I managed to finish three light-catchers today and I have enjoyed watching the Tour de France racing. Alexander Vinokourov continues to inspire with his never-say-die attitude whereby, despite having 60 odd stitches in his knees and elbows, he has dragged himself back into the top 10 with an outstanding performance in the 1st time trial. He has gritted his teeth and persevered where others would have retired in tears...what a hero!
The highlight of my week however, was going to a play at Bats Theatre, 'Strange Resting Places'. What a cheap and excellent night out.
The play was about the 28th Maori Battalion at Monte Cassino and performed by three young actors on a simple set consisting of a tarp on the floor and an array of ammo boxes arranged around the perimeter. The three of them managed to successfully convince us that they were; two Maori cousins and an Italian soldier, the Italian's wife and son, a German soldier, another Italian husband, wife and daughter, a Maori Padre, two American pilots flying their bomber, two monks, 4 statues, a pig, a chicken and a goat...using just a couple of onstage throw-over costumes, two guitars, a bell, a megaphone, a poi, a hat, a box of potting mix, a few crusts, some garlic & rosemary fried in Olive oil,...oh yes...and some pastries, coffee, bread and Tohu wine which they shared with us...some of the audience....Cool.
We enjoyed it so much we are booking in to go to the next production which starts next Thursday.
Not much happened this week, probably in part due to the weather. In fact if I didn't take the bike to work on Friday, it would have been the first week since I got back into biking (nearly 2 years) that I wouldn't have used the bike during the week...that was close! I guess that was also partly due to last Sundays magnificent ride and that satisfied feeling had lasted longer. The only excitement has been watching the first week of the Tour de France, which it's a pity about the timing, but I do enjoy watching the highlights.
This weekend we were supposed to visit my tamariki and the Mokopuna in Rotorua, but that didn't happen so I ended up having two rides. On Saturday I attended a family gathering at my sister's place in Woodside (Greytown) and Sunday we joined a Ulysses ride.
Saturday was a great, cloudless day so after cleaning the cowpoos and mud off the bike from last weeks adventure, I got away from home around 1100, filled up at Caltex Kaiwhara' and hit the road. The roads were damp in places and there were signs on the Rimutaka's indicating conditions were slippery and that ice grit had been laid, so I took it easy but had no problems whatsoever and didn't even see or feel any patches of grit. Traffic was steady but didn't cause any problems and I was soon enjoying a beer and a good feed with the family. I got away around 1515 to get back over the hill before the temperature dropped and had an even better ride home as the roads were dryer. I then lit the fire before doing a bit of glasswork and settling in for an evening of sport, watching the All Black / Springbok test and Tour de France highlights and start of the days race. (The first day in the Alps).
Sunday was supposed to be another great day but it rained between 5 & 6 in the morning so I wasn't sure whether I would be riding or not. I started the day by catching the end of 'Le Tour' highlights before going back to sleep until 0830. We got up and were away by 0915, pulling-in to fill-up at Rimutex as the E-Riders and Kiwibikers were leaving (20 minutes early I would have thought). We got round the corner to the Brown Owl shops to find a good turnout with a over a dozen bikes heading for Lake Ferry. There were 2 new members on Goldwings and one on a Bandit 1250 as well as the regulars... a Goldwing trike, SV650, ZZR, Hyabusa, FJR, 3 ST's, BMW, a Trumpy, an FZR and an old Concours.
The road was good and we were at Lake Ferry before the pub opened, getting all the carparks. After a feed and coffee 7 of us continued via Martinborough and the back road to Gladstone for another stop before splitting up and Nanny Ann and I headed home via the middle road back to Martinborough and over the hill. We came onto the main road out of Martinborough as two other bikes were leaving and they followed us through to Featherston before passing us on the up the 'Hill'. We dropped back slightly through the traffic but caught them suddenly as we rounded a corner on the downhill and the rider on the pretty blue, quite new ZX14 was down. Don't know how as he was probably about 15-20 meters from the corner and was lucky not to have been taken out by the two cars following. The bike was at right angles across the centre of the road stopping traffic in both directions and the car passengers and his mate were helping him get the bike up and down to the next corner-bay. He didn't appear to be too hurt but the bike had bled about half a pint of oil onto the centre of the road and I noted a bit of damage to the fairing and plastic at the front. I can only assume he slipped coming out of the corner then highsided to get that far down the road but whatever happened he was very lucky. We stopped, but there was an abundance of help so we continued on home, a little slower......as you do after these sobering incidents.
Otherwise it was a great day, 290 kms being done in good company.
Got my new tyres fitted on Tuesday and picked the bike up on Wednesday.
Nanny Ann and I had to meet Nasty on Friday for business matters which took about 10 seconds but the coffee and chat lasted about 2 hours and Friday night we went to the fundraiser film evening for Shaun Harris which was quite enjoyable.
Saturday I worked on a couple of lightcatchers and when I had to go for milk, I thought I better check the new tyres out so I took the bike to Johnsonville.....via Ngaio Gorge, Tinakori St to Karori, through to Makara and up the Ohariu Valley. Not a road I normally like to go on as it's a bit rough and narrow....probably only half a point better than the Akatarawa Rd.
Saturday night I watched the Aussy / Sth Africa test but gave the Tour de France a miss as I decided Sunday was to be a ride day.
For the first time in awhile I went for a long ride by myself, getting away from home about 1000 with only 50 kms on the new tyres and about 50 kms out of the full tank. The temperature was still only 1 degree, the roads damp and with me still getting used to the fact I had decent tyres on, I took it pretty easy.
I had decided to ride over the 'hill', up to Masterton, then out through Te Ore Ore and up to Weber via Pongaroa. From there it was on to Wimbledon and Porangahau before coming out onto SH2 at Waipuk', then back down through Dannevirke and Woodville, over the Saddle to Ashhurst and onto Wanganui via Cheltenham, Vinegar Hill, Hunterville, Fordell. From there I would return to Wellington via SH1.
I caught up to a Kaw'i KLR on the Hutt road and rode with him to the top of the hill where I saw Ron waiting on his Goldwing Trike. I only had time for a wave as I headed down the hill, the temp was varying between 3 & 5 degrees, the sky was clear and road still predominantly damp as I continued on at my Nana pace.
As I headed toward Greytown I thought about stopping to take a photo of the Tararuas which had some snow caps in the background and some residual mist along the base...impressive...but I was on a mission. I continued at my Nana pace until I was past Pongaroa and the roads were a bit dryer and wider and it eventually took me about 3hrs20 to do the 300+ km to Waipuk'.
As I headed through the township, I spotted a couple of bikes outside a cafe and recognised Robertybob as one of the patrons so I turned back for a brief chat before heading on to fill up at Woodville, the temp now up to around 9 degrees. The rest of the trip through to Wanganui was pleasantly uneventful, I got there at 1600 and stopped there with whanau for an hour before heading for home in particularly heavy traffic, which was basically a solid line from about 5 km north of Otaki.
By the time I got home it was 1920, the temp was back down to 3 degrees and I had done 715 kms. The new Pilot Road 2's felt pretty good, but then what new tyre doesn't. They were were well 'planted' on the road and quite smooth through the transitions and it was great to feel so stable after persisting with the Road Attack until it wore out.......Bring on more kms!!
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.