I’m certainly racking-up plenty of wet weather riding in preparation for this year’s Grand Challenge and hopefully this will be a good omen that we are in for a dry ride this year….or not! It’s certainly not doing much for turnouts on club rides though and today was no exception.
The program was set for gravel and road options, with the dirt-trackers to nip up the Waiohine Gorge, then Mt Dick before heading for lunch at Wild Oats in Carterton, while the roadies would get there via Gladstone and where ever.
The sun swept in on a torrent, making a brief appearance in Ngaio at around 0900 and the rain held off as ken & I made our way to Brown Owl, but it was looking ominously dark over the Rimutakas. There were three riders there when we turned up and two more came after but the impending gloom had two bikes heading back to town as the rest of us kitted up for the worst and just five (three dirt-trackers and two roadies) made for Featherston.
I was first away and although not pushing it, I soon had a bit of space between myself the others thanks to some slow traffic, which gave me plenty of time to pull the camera out when I got to Featherston and try to capture the others on film as they arrived. The off roaders barely paused before continuing, leaving Dennis and myself an hour and a half to kill before getting to our coffee stop, so we needed to go a bit further than just Gladstone.
At least the weather was clearing and looked best towards the East as we picked our way to Martinborough on wet roads, turning onto Princess St to take the middle road out to Gladstone and around the Water Towers. With just the two of us, we were only sitting on 110’ish but still made pretty good time and were soon scooting up Tupurupuru Te Wharau Rd. As we descended toward Westmere Rd, the ground was dry and we no longer had to carefully pick our lines making it a real pleasure riding over the Stronvar & Lees Pakaraka roads before cutting along Manaia Rd, past the airport and back to SH2.
It was still only 1130 and we had a bit of time up our sleeves so took another detour out toward Mt Holdsworth on Norfolk Rd, but I refrained from going through Carrington as the roads can be a bit greasy at this time of year and, as we were back in the gloom and drizzle, we took Chester Rd all the way to Clareville, arriving at Wild Oats shortly after 1150, to enjoy a pie and coffee.
By the time the dirt-trackers turned up after 1230, we were just about ready to leave and were back on the road by 1250. The ride up the North side of the hill was dry and pleasurable but more care was required descending in the wet, getting home around 1410. It was quite a pleasant change not having to worry about a group and just enjoy riding at a consistent pace with minimal stops. We managed 270Kms for the day at 17.4K/Ltr, generally in 10-12º and the bike is now up to 95,419Kms
Another weekend with predicted foul weather, but that didn’t stop us riding today….again, although I was most surprised at how many ‘us’ was?! I had to work all of Saturday so I did the usual pre-lim’s, except for cleaning the bike and it could have done with a bit of a spruce up. ‘Oh well’, I thought, ‘it doesn’t matter, I’ll turn up, wait for a bit then decide whether to go straight home or perhaps enjoy a little detour.’
After monitoring the weather forecasts, I was fully kitted for the worst when I departed from home shortly after 0900 on a very gloomy, 10º morning, the lure of no queues had me gassing-up at Caltex Kaiwhara again, which proved to be fortuitous as it turned out that Caltex Rimutaka was out of 95 though as I made my way to Brown Owl on wet roads, the weather wasn’t really that bad. I took the turn at Akatarawa Rd just behind Lindsay on his Harley, which meant ‘ride on’, and very soon after a string of bikes pulled in until we eventually had nine bikes for departure.
With a couple not being able to fill at Rimutex, we organised our first regroup at the Featherston servo, where we would make a decision whether or not to proceed on the programmed ride, or perhaps head for a cosy inn with a roaring fire. It certainly looked like that might be the case as we made our way through the clouds and things didn’t look too great when, after filling, a brand new Bandit…sorry, make that GSXF, incurred electrical problems…damn wet weather…..but fortunately it was fixed with the flick of a switch. On On!
Next stop was a pause at Mobil Nth End in Masterton, in case anyone wanted a top-up there and to reassess the lure of a wet ride against that of a roaring fire. Two opted for a fire in Gladstone leaving seven of us to continue out to Te Ore Ore, onto Alfredton, then take the road to Pahiatua via Tane and from there back to a feed of greasies in Eketahuna. Once again, the day proved to be most odd, with wet roads but little precipitation. Care was required with most experiencing a few ‘twitches’ and the consensus was generally, ‘avoid the paint’! …‘and the slick strips in the ruts’! …‘and the green slime on the humps’!...oh yes …‘and the splatterings of cow shit’! But all in all it was quite a pleasant ride with the weather clearing more and more as we approached Pahiatua and were pleasantly surprised when we turned onto a very dry SH2….and there were even some hints of blue over the distant hills.
With the temp hovering between 10 & 11º, we were soon enjoying a much needed, cold squeeze induced, natural break, but the New Management of the 7 Days Greasy shop must have been sleeping in, so we had to venture on to the Crafts Café, where I enjoyed a fine Pepper Steak pie and Cappuccino with the cha,t for 2nd breakfast &/or elevensees at 1230, before heading for home.
The ride back was rather uneventful. The traffic was a quite thick after Masterton and once again we had to wade through the thick cloud cover on the Rimutakas, but I was home by 1505, having done 343Kms for the day at an economy of 18.6K/Ltr and now have 94,848Kms on the bike. What had promised to be a crap day was actually rather pleasant.
The following was sent to the brother and sisters after several emails over delays to having an unveiling on dad’s “3rd” Anniversary. The event had been delayed for various reasons (ie awaiting Carolyn to come out to NZ etc, etc) and I could see it not happening so I said it all needed to be done by 21/08/10. Andy wanted to make the headstone and all was on track, but he hadn’t allowed for the long cure time on the concrete. I spun out, resulting in a few emails flitting around the block and we ended up having a Memorial Service with Andy presenting the fruit of his labour.
My dad he died awhile back
And left us in the lurch.
We dug a hole and threw him in
And said a prayer at church.
Some of us we prayed for peace
And some maybe for joy
‘Cos Andy stormed off in a fit
…he was a naughty boy!
He thinks that Mary lost the plot
And probably she did
He’s hardly spoken to her since
And acted like a kid.
As time went by we thought that things
Would prob’ly cool off soon
But Andy really held his grudge
And Mary’s on the moon.
The rest of us got on with life
And thought we’d shove a stone
Upon the Old Man’s Resting Place
(To stop ‘im walking home)
So Andy thought, ‘That job’s for me’
But I don’t want a Boss
He toiled and sweat to get it done
And made a Celtic Cross
But time it wasn’t on his side
The cure took too long
Four odd weeks to set real hard
And now he’s upset John
Then Mary got down off her perch
She’d fi-na-lly woke up
Cemet’ries and Churches
Do not feature in her cup
‘That’s not for me’ she said to us
(She really is an Ogre)
‘But come on down to Woodside all
I’ve wine and tea and yoga’
About this time Old John did smirk
He can’t believe this crap
But he didn’t rise and take the bate
Instead he had a nap.
My dear Old Dad he died…
And we’re all hoping he was good
‘Cos otherwise he’d prowl around
And haunt us if he could
‘Cos now that Mary’s lost her ropes
And Andy is a knave
I think the old man’s really pissed
And spinning in his grave
Not that I am any Saint
In fact I am an arse
I hope I don’t find Doggy Doo
When skipping on the grass
And if you find this little ode
Does grip you in the craw
Have another cup of tea
And put the unveiling off until next year…or the year after…or why bother at all!!
JFM Some people are born arseholes…but I really work at it!
Today was scheduled with a short ride to Lake Ferry for lunch, but with a marginal forecast predicting rain by midday and gusty winds up to 130kph, it was unlikely anyone would turn up.
In preparation, yesterday I purchased a 12V Compressor to allow me to do the tyres at home from now on and once I’ve fitted an outlet to the bike, I will be able to retire the foot pump as the emergency source of air on rides. That done I was up early and topped up the tyres before heading out on a mild overcast morning with a fresh 11º temperature.
I topped up the gas at Caltex Kaiwhara’ and scooted out to Brown Owl, getting there around 0945 to find it was just me for five minutes and just as I was getting my hopes up that I would be home early to some much needed chores, JohnM turned up on the Battlestar Galactica, followed by another, and another, and another…and of course, Steve, damn we actually had a ride with five bikes. A short chat until 1000, a minimal brief putting Steve at lead (as his speedo doesn’t work..very acurately) and me at TEC and we were on our way.
I had put my wets overpants on before I left home and thought it might be prudent to don the jacket as well so I was a little slow getting away but had soon caught up and we were pootling over the hill when we got our first taste of the day’s potential weather. It was odd to be riding over the hill in what seemed like a Nor’Easter as we were getting puffs in all the wrong places and from the wrong direction with the wind bouncing around the gullies. It wasn’t too bad but one unexpected puff had one of the riders particularly close to the armco.
We were soon in Featherston where one rider pulled out, leaving four of us to continue around the western side of Lake Wairarapa as the weather appeared to be closing in, but we made it to Lake Ferry in little more than a bit of drizzle.
After doing my best impression of having a flip-top head to eat the big cheese burger, I was heading home by 1215, but by this time one couldn’t see the Tararuas through the gloom and the wind was getting somewhat stronger as I had to carefully pick my course through the slick strips that are becoming more prevalent on our roads. (one of my pet gripes). It was pretty routine through to Featherston and fortunately there wasn’t much traffic as I embarked on the hill.
The wind and rain were getting up by now so I was finding the balance between pace on a wet road and momentum through the wind, trying to identify the gusts before they hit and avoid getting held up in traffic on a road with a liberal coating of double yellow. A couple of times I found myself slowed by cars and that was when the bike would get shunted across the road by the gusts, but the worst incidents were copping a wicked head-on burwt in ‘the usual place’ going up the Northern side, then descending the southern side when I got struck from behind by a huge blast and only just avoided getting pushed across the lines into the path of an SUV.
It wasn’t my worst ride over the hill but I think I copped a couple of the worst gusts I’ve ever experienced (probably up around the predicted strength) and was thankful to be riding alone at an optimal pace for the conditions which I think minimised the effects. I was home by 1330 to light the fire and relax rather than do any chores. I’d done 235Kms for the day and now have 94,353Kms on the bike.
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.