I've done a few rides this month in an effort to build up for the North Island 1600 on 10-11 October, but thanks to wrecking the rear tyre, I haven't done as much riding as I had hoped.
On Friday the 4th, Woody and I had an early departure from Wellington in order to scoot up to KSS in New Plymouth to get my rear shock replaced. I've had the OEM shock in for a few months as I haven't been able to get away from work, but it's all done now and the bike feels like it's back on rails.....I just need to get used to not squashing and wallowing through the corners.
It was quite a good 700km day where we only encounted a couple of light drizzles, we went around the mountain each way, had a nice big breakfast at the Landing Cafe and I was able to have a chat with Robert to get a better handle on making adjustments to the rear.
The following weekend we managed to do 877km in nice, but albeit cool weather....and my heated grips decided not to work!! A 7am start saw us through Masterton just after 0800, then off through Mauriceville and Dreyers Rock Rd to Alfredton, back to SH2 via Tane, up via Woodville and the Gorge for Ashhurst, then Colyton and Kimbolton to Mangaweka and SH1 to Turangi, before a short scoot up the Western Lake to the Tihoi Pub. It was 3° through the Hutt, jumped to 8° as we descended the Rimutakas, then back down to between 3 & 5 as we journied through the Wai'rapa, but rocketed up to 17° around the Lake.
We made our return down the Para's, then the dreary slog down SH's 3 & 1, getting home just after 1800.
With only two weeks to go, this weekend was the biggy for me as I needed a good night ride and some decent km's. It was a pretty loose plan and I ended up taking Friday afternoon off to prep the bike and try to get a couple of hours sleep. I managed a bit over 1hr, watched a bit of TV and got away from home at about 2030. The temp wasn't too bad as it hovered around 9&10° and I wasn't in a hurry but the speed did creep up ocassionally and whatta-ya-know, as I approached Sanson, I managed to creep to 113kph as a revenue collector was cruising the other way .....bitch!! My oh so dangerous behaviour on the straightest and lightly trafficed of roads attacting an $80 fine and 20 demerits!
I hadn't filled before I left so had decided to top-up at BP Bulls as that would get me to Waihi and another fill at Taihape would get me home. I had put two scivvies on before I left home and decided to put the wet jacket on to help keep the torso a bit more comfortable as I had the grips up at 75%. From Bulls I continued up SH3 an on to the Para's, where the temp did decline to 3°....until I got through Raetihi and it got downright uncomfortable at 1°.....then Horopito and it hit 0° for me to enjoy my favouriteistest piece of road, the Makatote Viaduct!! Fortunately it was dry though, so no black-ice to make my day....but it did hit -1° until I passed National Park.
On the upside, it was almost a full moon and the vista as I travelled up through here was magnificent. In fact, I was almost tempted to stop for a time-lapse pic.....yeah right!....me stop for anything but gas when I'm rolling! It was great though. One could clearly see the snow capped mountain and all the lights of the chalets and such, formed a line going up it. Sweet.
Anyway, I continued up SH4, then SH3 to Te Kuiti, on to Otorohanga and round through Pirongia, skirted the southern side of Hamilton, went across to Paeroa and through the Karangahake Gorge for my fuel stop at Waihi. That was a bit of a nuisance as they use the window thing there, but at least he let me fill (putting $53 in the tank), but I couldn't have a leak so I went looking in town afterwards. Having got that sorted, I had a snack and some water, and got to thinking that it was quite some time since I'd ridden in this neck of the woods (08 GC I think) but I seemed to recall that the road up to Whangamata was quite pleasant....so what-the-hey.....I went for a fang! Bloody marvelous it was and once I got to Whangamata I turned around and did it again as my business up these parts was south of Tauranga.
Once back through Waihi I got onto SH2 and slotted back into cruise mode, easing through Tauranga just before dawn and made my way through Te Puke to Kiwi 360. I'd included this as a checkpoint for the Northern 1KC and although I could have got someone else to get a sample CP pic, what better excuse for a ride? I'd left home a bit earlier than expected, so I got there and it was still marginally dim, but after wasting time snacking, drinking and looking for a bush, I got my pic and headed for home.
The route home was more sedate, generally boring, State Highway riding down through Rotorua, along 5 to Taupo and onto 1 for the duration. It got pretty cool over the Central Plateau so the grips were cranked up to full (again), and I enjoyed a longer stop at BP Taihape, fuelling the bike and getting a very nice pepper steak pie. I should have taken the wet jacket off at this point but I didn't as it was still about 7°, but once I got south of Sanson I regretted it....but just like taking a picture of the mountain in the middle of the night....there was no stopping.....not even to connect power to the Sena to get music flowing again, as that had exceeded its 13 hour life span.
I finally got home right on midday with 1370km racked up. I weathered the ride quite well really finding the cold to be more of a problem than the sore butt and I'd generally stuck to the main highways to provoke discomfort in that department (it was a conditioning ride after all). I had found myself rather rusty in the night-riding department though and I could certainly do with a bit more of that. I guess I'll be coming right there by the early hours of 11/10/15.
All in all, it was a good ride and considering my general lack of riding and the fact that I's done a longer ride than usual, I was pretty happy with the way the bod' held out. The bike now has 71,500 kmon it so I'll book it in for next Monday to get the new front tyre fitted, the 72K service and a pre-NI1600 super WoF check.
Bring it on!
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.