After eight C1KC's (Capital 1,000 Km Cruise) the NZ Distance Riders have now picked it up, added another route option and 2015 sees the inception of the 1KC with north (out of Hamilton) and south (out of Wellington) options. The format is still pretty much the same but the change has doubled the number of punters wanting to participate, which in turn does wonders for the fundraising aspect.
Even though I organise the ride, I can't be there on the day this year as we have a wedding to go to in Sydney and although I tried all sorts of dirty tricks to get out of it, at the end of the day...I know what's good for me. Not a problem though, I just went for a scoot yesterday to ensure the southern track was safe for the riders.
Saturday night saw us in bed early to be up before the sparrows fart, ie a 0400 rugby game to watch. Fortunately it wasn't in vain with the AB's winning and after having a shower at half time, I just needed to kit-up and prep the bike afterwards, finally leaving home at 0630. I had half a tank on board so decided I wouldn't fill until Woodville or thereabouts.
It was a looking to be a great day but the 11° when leaving home was soon down to 5° and I was feeling the pinch as I'd removed the wet layer from the jacket and only had a T-shirt underneath and summer gloves on, so I flicked on the grips and figured I could put up with it as it should come up again soon enough. Besides, the mission had started and I didn't have time to get a scivvy from the top-box.
0650 saw me passing by Caltex Rimurtuka and effectively starting the 1,015km, and as I embarked on the hill I was treated to a bit of sunstrike, but I had a great cage-free ride up to the summit, only to catch up to a convoy right at the top. The last car was great and eased over within a few corners of catching them, but the next couple seemed to fancy themselves and hogged the centreline...*sigh*,
Riding through the Wai'rapa was a real treat with cloudless skies, although a few more degrees than 8-11 would have been nice and I was soon slipping off the Bideford road and onto Route 52, which is in pretty good condition at the moment, and I arrived at Alfredton at 0806, snapped my pic, sought relief from the cold squeeze and sent a 4 hour 'Glympse' to Ann, Brett and James. (found out later that the one to Ann failed???)
Within a few minutes I was back on the road and heading on Pa Valley Rd towards Pahiatua. That road is a bit rougher than I recall but it opens up as you make way and, as I was skirting Pahiatua to emerge at SH2 from the Pongaroa road, I assessed my fuel range and figured I could easily make Feilding, which would give me a bit more flexibility for my next stop and could be the difference between making Havelock Nth, or having to fill in Taupo, so decision made I went through the gorge to Ashhurst then diverted via Bunnythorpe to the BP Connect for some 98 and the few extra km it would give me.
I arrived at 0900, but my overall average at this point was only 86kph, so I managed to fill, snack and swig and be out again in 6 minutes to minimise the loss and now was just a short scoot up to Rangiwahia, enjoying the few curly km on the north side of Kimbolton for the fourth time in the last couple of months. My stop at the Rangiwahia Hall to get a pic of the memorial was just over a minute and I was now on my way through to SH1 at Mangaweka, on through Taihape to Turangi, then off SH41 to Kuratau and up the Western Access.
My first glimpse of Ruapehu was on the Rangiwahia Rd and I don't recall ever noticing that before, but it was spectacular with the stark white backdrop to the green hills. Then on the Desert Rd where there wasn't a cloud in the sky in any direction. The mountains completing the picture (if I'd stopped to take one), but on the northern side, especially of Ngauruhoe, there were big blobs on the summit and brown speckled staining all the way down that side.
I wasn't too interested to take a closer look though as I had a date at Tihoi and it was around this time that the music from my GPS choked. In trying to get it sorted the GPS locked up and I had to reboot it, the music came back briefly, then stopped again and eventually, I had to proceed without it, in my cone of silence.
The good flowy roads through this section finally saw my overall average push through to 91kph by the time I reached Tihoi and I was back on the road in a minute-forty, turning off to cut across past Kinloch to Poihipi Rd. As I rolled down the hill into Taupo, I decided to stay on the main road rather than cut around the back and I was amazed at the number of people everywhere....but then again, it was a long weekend. It was pretty slow through here with all the traffic but I was soon on the Napier-Taupo Rd and where there was little traffic and some more free riding.
By the time I got to my Hedgeley Rd turnoff at Eskdale, my overall average was up to 93kph and as I approached the turnoff, I realised that the GPS was still on track but Karen wasn't talking to me. A quick fiddle and it shit itself altogether so I continued to Seafield Rd, then paused at the intersection to reset it again, which worked well enough to get me through to the Puketapu Tavern. It's been some years since I lasted pootled over these roads and I was reminded how delightful they are.
I arrived at the Tavern at 1333 with the average down to 91 and I was surprised at how packed it was. There were plenty of bikes there and masses of cars but I just needed to use their conveniences, then with the temperature up at 22°, once back at the bike, I took the liner out of my jacket. As I was sorting myself out the phone rang, so I answered it but couldn't hear a thing, then realised I was still connected to the Sena so I had to whip my helmet on so I could chat to Ann. That done I sent another 4 hour Glympse, then got ready and back on my way. I'd been stopped for 11 minutes and that had the average down to 89, then as I hit the road, you guessed it, my GPS shit itself again!
Fortunately, I had designed the route so I was quite familiar with it, but apart from route instructions on the way, the GPS is very handy for recording the journey so I continued over to the G.A.S at Pakowhai and did more resetting, then filled the bike again. With just under 400km to go, I was going to get home easily from here, but between the fill and mucking around with the GPS, I had wasted 11 minutes and the overall average was now down to 87kph...damn. At least the GPS was going again, albeit without any sound, but I was familiar with these roads and that wasn't a problem. I had now flicked the GoPro on, was back into fang mode and enjoying the scoot to the next checkpoint on Kahuranki Rd and beyond. This time the photostop was down to 50sec and I just had two to go.
Kahuranaki Rd is reasonably narrow, but one can make good progress and after Elsthorpe it opens up a bit in width and with sweepier corners. Then the top part of Route 52 from Waipuk' is really easy riding with a nice wide road and big curves, however, being ¾ through the ride, although I was making good progress, picking up the average has become difficult and by the time I had arrived at Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapiki- maungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, the overall average was still languishing at 88kph, but a sub-minute stop didn't lose any time.
I was now getting onto the roads that of all the ride, these required the most respect as one can never be too sure of their condition through to the Weber turnoff. By that time the GPS packed up altogether so I had no music, no rolling or overall average to assess my progress and no ETA to gauge my predicted time on the road. I've been riding with the GPS for 4 years and I now found how much I tend to use it as I was now thrust back into the past. It also made me realise how I had embarked on this ride with no means of back-up whatsoever (ie Map Book) and thank God it was a ride I had no need of navigation aids...and I was down to the last 200km to go.
The ride now was easy going as I slipped out to SH2 at Dannevirke and down to the last checkpoint at Woodville (the Catholic Church on the main road in). From here my quickest option would be through the gorge, and down to SH1 via Shannon, but I opted to stay on SH2 for the better ride home, which was a bit dumb considering my butt was burning by this time and I was feeling somewhat uncomfortable.
It was easy riding though and what do you know, as I was passing by Claireville, my GPS decided to wake up and Karen joined me once more. The ride over the hill was dreary with a big queue of cars on the decent slowly making their way past a cyclist and I finally got home at 1838, just over 12 hours on the road for 1,065km and just under 11½ hours for the 1,000+km. I was reasonably satisfied with that since the thought of a +4km tolerance for the weekend was generally in the back of my mind...at least, on the main highways anyway.
Perhaps next time I'll take my time and enjoy the scenery!?
Another day in the saddle started just after 0500, a quick scrub, kit-up, the bike and car were already packed and we were on the road to Caltex Rimutaka by 0545 for the start of the 8th Capital 1.000km Cruise. We pulled in to the forecourt a little earlier than usual, at 0610, and there were already more than half a dozen punters eagerly awaiting to check-in and depart, so I gassed up then assisted Ann to get her table and chair set-up, the rider list and strips of yellow and black (Resene) tape ready. The tape is to tie to the rear of the bikes to make it easy for riders to identify each other as Capital Cruisers whilst on the road, and by 0620 the first riders had been checked in and were departing.
We had 64 entries this year, but two had to withdraw, then two late entries had us with a starting line up of 64, although 66 donations toward the cause (buying Christmas presents for children with Muscular Dystrophy in the lower North Island), not to mention another couple of donations from non-riders, plus sponsorship from Protecta Insurance, so we are on track to go near $1,000 this year. Of the 64, 6 were starting from Taumaranui, 10 from Masterton and the rest from Wellington (including 2 from Wanganui and 4 from Palmy) and they all trickled in and scooted off until 0650, when there were just 3 to come. One was James, who I knew would be a definite because he wanted to have a good test of his new ST1300, so Ann tried ringing the others to see what was up. James turned up about then, one had had a late night and the other we just had a name as she had paid online but hadn't contacted me so I didn't have any info....so add 2 DNS's to the mix.
I had no set plan for the ride, apart from the usual start last and after the frenetic pace we enjoyed on the NI1600, I was figuring I would enjoy a relatively sedate pace, maybe catch up with a few of the Ulybods and ride with them......Yeah right! James arriving late put paid to that idea!!
We departed from Caltex Rimutaka at 0708 and straight away the scene was set for the day as James had obviously warmed up, getting down from Ohau, and he set out like a scolded cat.....or perhaps he was the Great Dane chasing the scolded cat and I was the poor sap that happened to be holding the other end of the leash. Some might say I could have just let him go....but fat chance! Why on earth would I let the chance of a jolly good spirited fang go to waste?!
I had the GoPro mounted, the GPS programmed and music rocking, I was snug with the liner in my jacket, the heated grips were on (it was only about 4°), the blue skies were crystal clear with sun rising and the promise of a good dose of sun-strike.....and we attacked the hill like the charge of the Light Brigade (but without the guns bit). I'd thought, "New bike, he'll be taking it easy to just get used to it", but not James.
At departure, the GPS had predicted our finishing ETA at 1938, but by the time we got to Mauriceville at 0801, the ETA was down to 1920, we had passed two riders on the road and two more were still at the CP, pics were snacked and we lit out like our tails were on fire...?......still on fire! I love the Mauriceville-Kaiparoro road and we had a ball, but then we got back to SH2 and had to behave ourselves!!....well sort of behave?...and we settled back to a sort of spirited pace.
We caught our next rider out of Pahiatua and followed him via the Gorge to Ashhurst, but he took the low road via Bunnythorpe, whereas my preference is to avoid 50kph zones wherever possible, and as I had just assumed the lead for the next section to Stratford, we took Colyton Rd across to Fielding to get on the Halcombe road. There's nothing special about the Halcombe road but it is another one that I find delightful as the sweeping curves take one over the rolling countryside. A non-C1KC rider pulled onto the road at Halcombe and he dragged us to the back of what appeared to be a train of 10 or 12 C1KC bikes and we caught them on SH1....but their leader had missed the turn onto Makirikiri Rd and they were just getting sorted as we slipped through unimpeded.....that was bloody gentlemenly of them!
We were still following our 'new friend' at this stage and he seemed to have a bee-in-his-bonnet that he didn't want us in front of him and since he was setting such a cracking pace, we were quite happy to follow, so it wasn't surprising that we caught another group of 5 or 6 bikes before SH3. That led to a cluster at the junction, so I just kept left and scooted to the front, arriving right on queue to take a wide arc with the first couple of bikes out of the blocks. Another easy pass.
We settled back to sort-of-spirited, passed the next couple and caught Dave on his VTR and followed him to Wangas, but when he stayed on '3 passed the Springvale Park, I nipped to the other side of the park, shot up Parsons and Parkes Rds....and pulled out right behind Dave on SH3. It's not a shortcut as such, but it does avoid a set of lights and traffic and can usually get a jump, but on this occasion, he obviously got the lights and we copped a few interruptions.
We passed Dave going up the passing lane out of Kai Iwi, hoofed it along the recommended bypass around Hawera and arrived at Z Stratford at 1055...the ETA was now down to 1857. Z Stratford was both a CP and the first of our two fuel stops and there was no way that the pace we were on would get us to Taumaranui as, with only 360km done, I was already down to 2 bars. We enjoyed a leisurely 15 minute break fueling, snacking and so on, then hit the road with James back in front so I could get some more video footage.
The skies were now overcast (although no threat of rain), the temp was hovering between 10-14° and the Forgotten Highway was quite a treat, but perish the thought of doing it in the wet as a lot of the road is very slick. James maintained a relatively brisk pace and we enjoyed the hell out of the 3 saddles leading into Whangamomona, where we arrived at 1155, then paused for a couple of minutes for James to remove a layer as the temp was starting to climb. We then galloped over the Tahora Saddle and I took the lead shortly after that, having to wait for a flock of sheep, then campervans to clear the Hobbit Hole before we hit the gravel. The first half of the Tangarakau Gorge was pretty thick with sharp looking gravel, so the pace was sedate through there, then the second half was much better, but we got stuck behind a campervan who didn't want to pull over so we (and the bikes) were sucking up dust for a bit and it eventually took a bit of tooting before the prat moved across enough for us to slip past.
Back on the seal and the temp shot up to 18°, so I was pulling the vent zips on my jacket but with the liners still in, I was starting to stew, but rather than stop, I just kept the pace on to try to get to Taumaranui by 1300 and in the end, we pulled into the BP at 1305, to meet up with Jim and give him the certs, badges and prizes for the northern starters. First thing I did was whip the liner out, then we grazed on bananas and nut bars, went down the road to the JDZ Carriages to photo the CP, then finally got back on the road at 1322....with Chris in tow. At this point we'd got the ETA back to 1900, only to push it back out with the stops, so no more gain there. That was surprising as I thought we would have made good gains through the Forgotten Hiway.
We were now on SH4 with James back in front and the boring stint down to Raetihi before taking on the Para's. I wasn't sure on the Km's and whether or not we'd make Hunterville, so planned to fuel in Raetihi, but as we approached, I realised we had plenty for the 150'ish km to Hunterville, so we carried on. The scoot down the Para's was the usual delight (averaging 103kph) I took the lead at Upokongaro and we had negotiated Kaimatira Rd and through Fordell to the Whangaehu River Bridge CP by 1508. About 300km to go, some narrow roads and I was expecting to meet oncoming northern starters anytime.
We had a cruisy 7 minute stop here then got onto the Fordell-Hunterville road proper and it is in very good condition at the present time. All the same, between the potential for loose stuff, wayward critters and oncoming nutty bikers on the narrow passage, we proceded with due care. This road is quite beautiful at this time of year with a mix of flat and hilly farmland, scrubby Whangaehu Valley backcountry, then some areas where the road passes by trees or through wooded areas. ....all very nice if you're not on a mission!
We rolled into the BP in Hunterville at 1539, gassed up and rolled out at 1548, made our way up to the Vinegar Hill turnoff and over to the next CP in Kimbolton before hitting the Apiti Loop. We passed the first of the Northerners (Topher) just before turning off and took even more care on the unmarked road around through Umutoi before getting to the last CP of the day, being the Piripiri Bridge over the Pohangina River. We got there at 1648, dithered for a bit while Chris contemplated an issue with his rear brake and he decided to let it cool off a bit rather than continue immediately so James and I hit the home leg....a quick scoot to Ashhurst, then sedate riding back to the Parrot 'n Jigger in Lower Hutt.
James pulled off at Ohau to collect his daughter for the evenings fireworks display in Wellington but I kept going, enjoyed one last fang over the Parkak' hill and got to the PnJ at 1655, doing 1,010km in just over 11¾hrs on the road for an overall average of 86kph and 10:44 moving time for a moving average of 94kph.
There were already 6 or 8 riders in, enjoying a drink and a snack and I settled in to assist Ann process the rest as they arrived...we were there until 2300!
It was a good route, albeit a bit slower than the last couple of years with the technical bits through the Forgotten Hiway, Fordell and Apiti. Fortunately the great weather made the riding easier and the majority had a great day. It did transpire however that there were 3 offs, 3 breakdowns and about 4 DNF's for various reasons....so it was a tough day. Bloody typical bikers though....Monie who offed and broke a collar bone within 20km of home was only worried she wouldn't get her badge!!!??
Many thanks to James for making the day a bit more exciting, all the other riders for your contributions...and for assisting those in need. (A couple not getting home until 0230....'cos they really wanted their badges). Protecta for coming to the party with a generous sponsorship and Ann for running the start and finish so efficiently.
The bike now has 55,025 km on it and I'm off a 0500 tomorrow to visit Robert Taylor in New Plymouth for a customised suspension....another 700km day.
Another bloody marvelous day.....Bloody Marvelous!!
Prep for this year's C1KC started straight after last year's one, when, although I had a couple of potential routes, I was doodling on MapSource (as you do) to see just how far we could get from Wellington, ...without doing an out and return, ...and still be a reasonably interesting route to ride. I was hoping to touch Tauranga but had to settle for Rotorua-Putaruru, so I ran the options past my old Wgtn Uly Ride Committee buddies, we settled on the two potential options and forgot about it.
In mid August I pulled the stuff out again, revisited the route options, this time including STJim from Hamilton, settled on the Rotorua option with a Northern start at Putaruru, emailed a heads-up to all the previously registered 1000Km Cruisers, started threads on KB & the Uly forums...had three entries within 24 hours, about a dozen within a week and ended up with 64, comprising of 35 bikes out of Wellington, 9 (2 with pillions) from Masterton, 2 from Wanganui & 6 from Palmy (all joining the Wellington start but finishing at home) and 10 starting from Putararu and riding in the reverse direction. (for those that can't help themselves on the math thing...yes that adds up to 61 bikes, but for 1,000Km, the pillions probably have to be harder arses than the riders and therefore are recognised with equal status, earning certificates and badges).
Organising this ride doesn't seem to take a lot of effort as it's pretty much regurgitate the same old stuff, but leading up to the ride I probably did spend the best part of a couple of days, getting the Ride Instructions done, tweeking the briefing, compiling pictures of the CP's (all of which are emailed to the Registered Riders a week before the event), then a day or so before, printing all the certificates and packaging them with the badges and year bars in pre-loved C4 envelopes. Then finally the day before the ride, emailing out start lists for Masterton and Putaruru, printing a list for Ann (in Wgtn) and myself, drawing the prizes (this year, compliments of Boyle Kawasaki in Wgtn), packing up the car and bike....and that's it....except I couldn't find the finisher list for Putaruru and my list so needed to print them again in the morning!!
Alarm went off at 0500 Saturday and we were up and at 'em and out the door at 0540....but as it is with computers, mine didn't want to know me so I didn't get to Caltex Rimutaka until 0620 and was surprized to see a big crowd of bikes all 'taped-up' (we issue yellow & black tape to tie on the back of the bikes to easily identfy each other on the road) and ready to go. So a bit of a blur gassing up, taping up, fitting GPS and Go-Pro, meeting some of the riders ...and it was really great to see Mike, who has done all 6 previous C1KC's but could ride this year due to health reasons, but still came over from the Kapiti Coast to see us off.
As usual, I waited until the last rider had left and we had checked that a missing starter wasn't coming (3 non-starters this year...thanks for the donations anyway) before I set off at 0658, into the gloomy mist surrounding the Rimutakas and, as usual for this ride, I had no set plan...apart from ensuring there are no stragglers, and/or everyone is teamed up and making progress. So, my casual start had my average at 93kph by the bottom of the hill, dropping to 86 by the summit, where I had caught Gav, bottoming out at 71 before the bridge and back to 73 in Featherston. Then I stuck behind Gav until just before the turnoff for the Track. By this time the average was up to 87kph, I knew Gav has done Mega miles solo on his Interstate, so he was OK solo.....and I was feeling a little frisky!!
The Track was OK, but it is a road I treat with the utmost respect because one is never quite sure what the surface is going to be like, and on this occasion it was OK...not great but I made good time and caught up with Hitcher and Jane on the decent and in to the first CP, a photo of the bike at Aokautere School. I waited a couple of minutes for Gav to arrive in which time I came up with a short term plan, I would try to catch up to Hitcher and Jane by the Kimbolton CP, then film them though some of the curly parts of Rangwahia Rd....yes well....the best laid plans. (Little did I know they were pausing in Feilding).
So I rolled into Kimbolton, surprized to see no Bandit & Z1000, but instead 2 cruisers, an old CBR and a Beemer and thinking, 'hmmm, that's a crisper pace and stop than I expected from the Hitchers?', so taking little more than a minute, I was on my way again. At this point, it was 0914, I was 198Km into the ride and the total average was back to 86 with the stops. I still figured I'd catch the Hitchers and/or enjoy a briskish ride over a nice road!!....and I did! (not the Hitchers, but the nice ride over the nice road)
Around Ruahine I spotted a couple of bikes ahead and thought I had caught my prey....but it just turned out to be Menie & Yod!! Oh well, I filmed them anyway, passed some of the Northern starters, caught Bandit Rider waiting at SH1 and I slotted behind them through Taihape, Waiouru and over the Desert Rd. By the this time, the weather was brilliant blue skies with the magnificent vista of Ruapehu and Ngarahoe, so prior to Waiouru, I flicked the Go-Pro on to catch a 10 sec burst of the scene....but dumbarse that I am, I turned off the Remote, but failed to stop the camera, so 30+ minutes later, when I decided to catch another short burst....yes well....I now have 30 minutes of boring straight SH1, albeit on an incredible day and with menies arse in front of me all the way....but, it did mean that I ended up with evidence of the Popo delaying a pretty red cruiser with yellow tape tied to it's rear!
More footage scored through the curly sections and more stunning vista as we crested to view Lake Taupo, then I pulled out of the group to fuel in Turangi. Normally I would make it to Rotorua on a tank, but my 'fresh' pace wasn't very friendly for my economy and with the Taupo bypass meaning I would have to divert to Wairakei, and with the knowledge I could still get to Raetihi from here, I opted to fill up...and I desperately needed a 'natural break'. By this time (1048), I was 355Km into the ride and the Palmy boys had dragged my total average back to 93kph...so a new plan formed!! I kicked into GC mode and decided to 'crack on' and 8 minutes later, fueled, watered and snacked I got back on the road.
Now enjoying a 'spirited pace' I embarked on the pleasant ride around Lake Taupo....bloody nice road and bloody spectacular to be riding along the banks of the lake in 21°, virtually no wind, brilliant clear skies and very little traffic (so a bit more footage) and I was soon taking the turn-off for Reparoa. I opted for the deviation because I felt safer to push the boundaries of the allowable limits through here...and I hadn't done it since 2007, so I was soon (1213hrs) stopping at the Skyline centre in Rotorua for CP photo #3, total average back up to 92kph, 487Km done, and most importantly, my eta back in Wellington had dropped from 1900 to 1630'ish.
I pulled into the stop to find Biggo and his two mates on 109's there and 2 minutes later I eased into the traffic a little behind them, however I passed them as they appeared to be checking the route instructions at the turnoff in Ngongataha, so they slotted in behind me, naturally thinking, 'this is the man to follow, he'll know the route off by heart'! That was quite a reasonable assumption on their part, however, I had to deliver the certs & badges to the Okoroire Pub for the northern starters!...Oh dear, I didn't want to lead these guys astray (an extra 10Km or so) and fortunately we had to stop for a lollipop man at some roadworks so I tried to portray the message to Biggo.
Fortunately they continued on the right track and I arrived at Okoroire at 1242, 531Km done and just over half way. I handed the package over the bar, relieved myself (again), snacked, swilled, kit back on and off again…only losing 7 minutes, but enough to drop the average from 92 to 90 kph. Nice wee roads around here and I was soon back on track, passing a couple of Masterton riders out of Putaruru and taking a pic of the Puketurua Hall. 1308hrs, 558Km done and average at 90kph....and a minute and half later I was enjoying Old Taupo Rd....and that's what the CP at the hall was for, to ensure riders had to take this road rather than just scoot down SH1.
Now the fun began, the fast lightly patrolled roads down to Whakamaru and around the western lake. I passed a few more riders gassing at Whakamaru, then caught back up to Biggo and the 2 cruisers with a Bandit in tow about half way down the lake. I seemed to be doing a similar speed to them, catching up by increments through any curly bits, finally latching onto their tail about 20Km from Kuratau. It was quite nice to be into a group and I was more than happy to slot on the back, but as ever, I was thinking of the road ahead and figured, 'Nah, I want an unencumbered crack at the 2 saddles between Kuratau and Tokaanu on SH41 and the lovely Te Ponanga Saddle on SH47, so when we reached a couple of long straight sections, I took the opportunity to cruise past the Bandit and one of the 109's, then passed the other 109 and Biggo coming out of the junction.
*Sigh*....bike heaven!!....SH41 and next to no traffic on a magnificent day!
After a jolly good fang, I settled back down to business and cruised through to Raetihi, arriving at 1537, 776Km done, and a total average of 95kph, with the eta down to 1810. I was half-pai expecting to possibly meet northen starters here, but 10 minutes later, fueled, relieved, watered, snacked and Go-Pro lens de-bugged, I was back on my way.....Mmmmm......the Paras!!
And what a Para's!! More bloody great brilliant riding!! I was now aiming to get the ETA down to 1800 for an 11 hour ride, but it was really strange, for some reason, my GPS only graced me with 2minutes!!?? Hell, I wasn't caning it, but I was going 'comfortable quick' with easy acceleration and minimal braking, a bit of chop to 4th for 65-75 corners and 3rd for tighter ones. I will admit that the economy was under 15Km/Ltr through here and I did average 105kph...but please!!...two miserable bloody minutes!! It just isn't fair! FFS...90Km at 100kph is 54 minutes and 90Km at 105kph is 51.4 minutes.....ooooh shit.....I wasn't going fast enough!!
Oh well, I was back to reality now, or at least, I was after bypassing Wanganui via Kaimatira Rd and Fordell and it was steady-as-she-goes, boring, crap riding down a horrid, boring, straight, SH1 chock full of traffic. This would bugger my ETA you say, but not so!....Just as my Garmin 660 seems to know intuitively what speed I tend to do down the Paras, it also seems to know that I tend not to linger in traffic down SH1, so at 1608 I was pulling into the Parrot 'n Jigger with a slightly uncomfortable butt and bloody relieved grin on my face....then I guess that turned to a quizzical expression because there were no other bikes there!!
I walked into the bar to see Ann, all set up and reading her Kindle. She looked up, her mouth dropped, and she said, “What are you doing here?....Johnny, you've been speeding! You left last!” What could I say? Rapidly racking brain for answers...'No, I didn't have to stop much...Bloody big tanked ST's', nah...'Where are the others?...they must have been going slow', nah...oh dear, I just looked a bit sheepish and stunned mulletish and said, “I don't know, why aren't they here yet?”
Hehehe....Bloody GC Mode, does it all the time. It's not about speed, just minimal stops and constant grazing! ….and pushing the allowable limits!.....but just a little bit!
What a ride! I had concerns at the start that the route included a bit too much State Highway riding, but it was fine. It was relatively open and therefore quick for any uninitiated endurance riders but it contained enough curves for experienced rider to still enjoy it. As always, (so far) we managed to throw in a few roads that many have never ventured on and it was wonderful to hear feedback from experienced Rusty Riders that they enjoyed the ride and route. (That's a bit of a problem too because I do have a few unused routes, but I'm running out) about half the Wellington starters were in by 1930 and the last, but two got in at 2145. The other two had phoned in to advise they would be late and would email there pix in.
I managed to do 1051Km (with the wee excursion to Okoroire) in 11hrs 10min, being 10hr 40 min moving time for a moving average of 99kph and 30minutes stopped time for a total average of 87kph. I took 72 minutes of video footage and that's going to be bugger to edit, but there should be some good stuff in there and,...as I said at the start, I had a bloody marvelous time. I didn't feel totally comfortable at times and put that down to a lack of ride fitness for 'endurance type' riding....so I guess I need to do more Km's!!
Many thanks to:
the 60 other souls that embarked on the ride with me
Jim Galt for handling the Putaruru Start & David Coy the Okoroire finish
Glen Morgan for handling the Masterton start
Ann, Ron Meiklen & Steve Klaui for controlling the masses at the Wellington start
and Ann for being there at the finish.
Boyle Kawasaki for the spot prizes
(and my boss at Affiliated Insurance Brokers for the certs and my time)
The feedback has been great, I hope the rest of you enjoyed it as much as I did!...oh yes...and we should have raised about $700 to buy Christmas presents for kiddies with Muscular Dystrophy. (That ride's on the 6-8 December and will be another blog).
The fifth Capital 1,000Km Cruise is now done and dusted with 36 bikes starting and 36 finishing. (one with a hardy pillion).
The route was an easy choice this year as it was rumoured last year that the Gentle Annie (Taihape – Napier Road) was to be sealed, so I prepared a route (along with a reserve) then once I saw from Banditrider’s Blog in July that this had been completed, I was soon on Mapsource to sort the finer details, finally coming up with a wee doozy that took in our new favourite road as well as one of our old favourites, the Forgotten World Highway. “Of course this is a ‘free-flowing’ route” I argued to our panel....who must have all been full of Tui at the time. Oh yes....Steve & I had to test ride the road with the Hitchers and Dave....and then I had to follow that up with an out and return from Napier.....just to be sure!
The rest of the organising was pretty cruisy, with an initial email being sent to all registered riders from the previous rides, threads placed on the KB and Uly forums, the poster was tweeked, printed and posted in the Wellington and Masterton bike shops, the Parrot ‘n Jigger OK’d to be the finish point, registrations taken, year bars eventually ordered, sponsored prizes obtained from NAC Insurance and certificates printed. The only real change this year was to accept a $15 donation at the time of registration and the badges were then free on completion of the ride.
The week leading up to the ride was a little anxious as the weather forecasts looked marginal, then dismal, then bloody great and finally not too bad.
My personal prep for the ride included a grand Challenge (900Km Friday & 1600Km Saturday) to finish the conditioning programme, then transfer all the kit from the red to the new black ST to make it ready for the eventualities that can arise on big rides into the back-of-beyond. (GPS mount, 1st Aid Kit, puncture repair stuff etc)
The alarm went off at 0500 Saturday morning, we were up an away at 0530 to be at the Caltex Rimutaka by 0600 to fill the bike and set up. I was surprised at how light it was at 0530 because in previous years it has been still dark after 0600, but it was a fresh 9º and when I arrived Gremlin was already there after riding down from Auckland(.....bloody nutter!!) and he and Steve were helping Ann set up the table. By 0615, I was fuelled and ready, riders were arriving to check-in and leaving when they were ready. We were greeting and chatting and by 0650, most had departed, but I waited for the last rider not to turn up and hit the road at 0706, a bit behind Gremlin, then Leber on the T’Bird.
I figured there was no hurry to catch the big cruiser because I’d soon be with him on the hill, but got quite a surprise to find when I did catch-up, it was a big square arsed adventure bike I was following.....hmmmm....yes, well I did know those big boys can go in the right hands!
We puttered up SH2, catching a Yellow Duc and followed him to Eketahuna, then upped the pace a notch through Pahiatua and around Woodville, via Bluff & Jacksons Rds, to Oringi, and onto Dannevirke. As we went up through Waipuk’ & Waipawa, I was surprised to see Gremlin standing on the pegs and sliding onto the back seat after only 200Km....then I realised that for him, it was actually about 900Km already! I was soon riding at a rather spirited pace in an effort to keep up along Pourere & River Rds. It wasn’t that Gremlin had sped up exactly...it was just that he never slowed down any and he was rocking along the centre of the left lane while I was taking a somewhat shorter, straighter line through to the first checkpoint at the Patangata Tavern, arriving at 0946 doing the 244Km at 91kph, the temp was coming up through 14º, the roads were sweet and life was good.
After only two minutes we had snapped pics and I had found a quiet spot to relieve myself before attacking Middle rd to the next checkpoint, 31Km down at the junction of School & Mt Erin Rds....another spirited burst from Mr G, and we were there in 20 minutes, averaging 92kph.
Another two minute stop and we were on our way again, cutting across Bridge Pa to Fernhill and onto the Gentle Annie. I was a little concerned about the economy on the new bike as my economy was only 16.5Km/Ltr at this point and figured it would be close, but at least I had the option that, if I hit reserve before Spooners Hill Rd, I could divert into Taihape and after that, I would be good to make Waiouru.
Once again, Gremlin maintained a pace that was sedate (within the allowable limits) but spirited in the context of a curly road as we pressed on, considerate for roadworks and loose grit with little time to appreciate the splendor of our surroundings as we were in ‘the zone’. The temp rose through 18º and I briefly thought that perhaps I should have removed the jacket liner, but we were climbing to the central plateau so I knew it wouldn’t last and just loosened the collar and dropped the screen slightly until it slipped back under 14º again.
We passed a few riders through here and it didn’t seem long before we were at the Taihape turn-off and I still had 2 bars on the gauge, so we pressed on for Waiouru with the gauge dropping to the last bar about half a Km from the turn onto SH1. It indicated 73Km remaining in the tank,
which I figured would be more like 40Km, but that was heaps as we only had about 17Km to go. I tucked in behind Gremlin anyway and we were soon taking a pic of the checkpoint at the Army Museum at 1203 before popping along to the Shell for gas lunch, having done the 162Km in 1:49 at an average of 89kph.
Since Gremlin was now 1100+Km into his ride, we made this a relaxed stop for nearly 45minutes with many of the riders we had passed along the way, coming and going, then we finally got back on the road at 1247 with Hawkeye in tow again (he had ridden with us off and on to this point). We had to pause at Ohakune for Gremlin to fix a ‘wardrobe malfunction’ so I took the opportunity of adding a special mystery checkpoint by taking a pic of the bike in front of the black carrot, then we picked up Leber as he paused to decide if Raetihi was on the way to Taumaranui, realised not, and slotted in behind us. We were soon flitting over the bridge and embarking on the Forgotten World Highway, but the weather at this point was looking marginal and the road was wet.
This road is a brilliant ride.....but not in the wet!! It has a proliferation of slick patches and I say patches because some extend right across the width of the road, so much care was required to pick lines that would provide some traction, or ride in such a way as to minimise the side-loads by straight lining across the marginal patch. It didn’t seem to bother Gremlin much, but I had assumed the lead now and was resorting to using ‘all’ the road, wherever I could, picking a line, using a camber, straightening across a slick...anything to minimise the possibility of stepping out. Also, I wasn’t totally confident in the wet grip of Bridgstone 020’s on the black, although, to be honest I was pretty happy with how they had been performing so far and the only time they did step-out was minor.
I had planned to pause to pay respects at the spot where grub had died a few years ago and we caught a group a few Km before that, so we just sat behind them and peeled of when we got to the spot where a cross had been attached to the fence. I could see Steve was still ahead of us as we were tying yellow & black tape to the C1KC bikes to make it easy to identify each other on the road and he had torn some off and tied it to the fence. I took a couple of pics and we moved on as hawkeye & Leber pulled in.
5Km down the road and we were into the Tangarakau Gorge, which is gravel, so I thought I shouldn’t hold up the big GSA in case Gremlin was succumbing to any of his dark urges and I waved him through. This did raise the pace a notch and we were soon back behind the group of 5.....no, make that passing them! It was yee haa....up and over the Tahora Saddle and roll into Whangamomona for the last checkpoint. It was now 1506 and we had done the 192Km at a reduced rate of 83kph, thanks to the marginal conditions and we were only stopped for 5minutes before moving on.
I resumed the lead again and it was bloody great because the roads were pretty much dry from here on so although I was a little wary, we enjoyed a nice pace over the Whangamomona and Pohokura Saddles, then onto easier riding as we approached Stratford and turned south on SH3. I tried to stay within the allowable limits as we trudged
down through the ‘Naki, took the bypass around Hawera from Eltham to Makoia, and although we didn’t need to fuel in Whanganui, I figured Gremlin could use the stop....after all, he was 1500Km into his ride now so another decent pause would be nice and he certainly looked a bit fresher 25 minutes later.
Gremlin lead out again from here, since we were riding through an enforcement ally (albeit at a very sedate and legal pace and not in need of the services of his trusty array of electronics), and by 1950 we had enjoyed one last wee fang over the Paekak’ Hill Rd behind James and Rayma and were pulling into the Parrot & Jigger. Bloody marvellous, we had enjoyed our 1003Km daylight ride (although a little further for the Gremlin) and could relax a trade lies over a drink and feed. Dougie had been in since 1800 and the last riders came in at 2230, so there was a fair spread on time (and Km’s for some), but all riders got back safely and with smiles to collect their badges, certificates and for some, prizes.
The ride included 2 starters from Palmerston North, 4 from Napier, 5 from Masterton and 25 from Wellington, with 1 coming back from Kabul to do the ride and 2 down from Auckland and Whangarei.
All seem to go smoothly (although the route didn’t quite meet the ‘free flowing’ criteria to have everyone back by 2030-2130....although not too far off), the riders enjoyed the ride and a bit of socialising over a drink and feed afterwards. Many thanks to all as we have raised nearly $450 to go towards purchasing presents for the Ulysses MD Riders to buy presents for children with Muscular Dystrophy.
Thanks also to NAC for sponsoring the spot prizes, the Parrot & Jigger for providing easy spot to park with watchful eyes over the machinery and Ann for her assistance checking the riders out and in.
Here’s to good weather, good roads and good mates! The new Black has 4416Km on it and it’s bloody tight compared to the smooth Red.....but I’m sure it’s nothing a few Km’s won’t fix!
With this year being the fourth Capital 1,000Km Cruise, planning for the event was a bit easier as, after organising a new route, most of the stuff just needs to be regurgitated and tweeked, but that didn’t stop us making plenty of mistakes though….which we do try to learn from.
After deciding that a foray into the East was in order, the route fell into place, notices were placed on forums and emails sent to subscribed riders who had previously registered or completed the run and then it was back to the daily routine and wait while registrations came in…..and wait to see what the weather gods would produce!?
We had over 50 riders and even after a flurry of defections over the last week, we still had 50 on Friday, but on the day, thanks to marginal weather predictions, the numbers dropped to 36 riders (+ 1 pillion): 23 departing from Caltex Rimutaka (included 4 early risers from Manawatu), 8 Ulys departing from Masterton and 6 Ulys from Napier.
As usual, in the week leading up to the event, I paid particular interest to the web rain forecasts, which varied drastically from sublime to dreadfull….but not having had to cancel or postpone the event yet….I remained optimistic!....and anyway, I know my wets still keep me dry!
I awoke before the 5am alarm on Saturday morning, maybe due to the usual pre-ride anticipation, but more than likely it was the occasional rain and wind that were lashing the house. However by the time the alarm did sound, things had settled down so I departed home at about 0540 in mild and slightly drizzly conditions, but fully kitted out in ‘wets’ as the cloud over the Rimutakas looked pretty ominous.
I was at the Caltex at 0600, (to see Steve and the first keen rider already there), was gassed up and we had the table and stuff setup by 0615, then waited to see what happened. We usually have riders arriving by 0615 and departing by 0630, but 0635 came and there were only a few there and no one making any moves to get away, but as the clouds over the Rimutakas cleared, riders arrived and started departing around 0645 and I was last to leave as I followed Mangell6 out at 0709.
We warmed into the ride at a sedate pace in the drizzly conditions over the Hill, and stepped up to a crisp pace through to Masterton, where we passed some riders who were topping-up, then settled into the ride proper once we had passed through Te Ore Ore. Mike (a veteren Rusty Rider who completed the 10,000Kms in 10 days ride) always takes nice lines and was great to follow as he threaded our way through debris and even squeezed us around a fallen tree, then once we were through Alfredton, I opted to lift the pace a little more and moved ahead, getting to the first Pic-Stop at Pongoroa by 0900.
I snapped a few pix, then waited for Bazza57 as he fluffed about with his rain-off gloves and I dribbled out when it looked like he was ready to go, but took it slow, waiting for him to catch me and when he just seemed to be holding the same pace at a distance, I opened it up and got on with the business. I skimmed through the Weber junction and as I rose out of there, found both wheels drifting through a bad line on a right hand sweeper, not a problem but a handy reminder to remain vigilant to take care on Route 52, then just before Wimbledon, I came across a confused Hawkeye as he stood behind his bike studying a map. (He should get a GPS…but more on that later!) Any way, he joined me through to Waipuk’ where I paused to see if he needed gas, which he did, so I waited…and as per normal once I get off the bike, got the urge for a natural break. At this time XP@ rolled up and announced he was pulling due to a badly frayed clutch cable, Hawkeye left with Manawatu riders as I waited to see if TaPuna was OK, which he was, and finally, I ended up following Zahria and his mate to Patangata, arriving there before 1000.
More pix snapped and back on the road, Hawkeye followed me out and we were soon on the tails of the Bandit Riders, although I didn’t recognized them until I could see their plates as they were riding without the usual hairy helmets. That made the navigation through Middle Rd and onto 50A easy, but when they paused behind a car at one of the big round-abouts, I slipped through the outside lane and scooted to Bay View for my first fill.
The roads had dried before Waipuk’ and we had enjoyed a stiff southerly breeze all the way which had my economy at 18.8K/Ltr prior to overtaking Mangell6, but the brisk pace had this back to 17.3 by now and as I logged the fill, I noted the odo’ was right on 100,000Kms…what a way for the bike to enjoy that anniversary! I filled, snacked, chatted and finally followed the Bandits out at around 1150, but opted to lift the pace again and rode most of this leg alone, arriving in Wairoa around 1300.
Steve, Baz and Dennis were already there so after the statutory pix, I snacked and left with them and soon had Hawkeye tacked onto the back as well. Dennis led, and although I had been getting along OK throughout the day, I didn’t feel that comfortable with my form as I constantly found myself squeezing into corners a little early and often had difficulty reading if the road surface was grit free on the hump, and therefore if it was good to use all the lane or stick to the rut. Fortunately it was dry though, but now we had turned and had to push back into the southerly. It was still a good ride though and as we got back to BP Bay View, Dennis pulled in for gas as Steve & Baz continued, so Hawkeye and I pulled in to wait for him, but then Hawkeye decided to carryon so he could have a coffee in Dannevirke…..big mistake for him (but more on that later!)
Meanwhile Kennif pulled in, gassed and extolled the virtues of wearing HiVis jackets whilst pissing under bee swarms (but that’s his story) and soon he led us out to SH50. We caught and passed Neale & Linda, then were caught and passed by the Four Stooges…or Musketeers ...Ccapse, Leber, Crash99 and ??...BuellBoy….but to our surprise, they decided that there was some merit to revisit Waipuk’ and turned off. You’d think that when they saw the route planner not follow them, something wasn’t quite right…but I guess one of them must have forgotten to pay for his fuel earlier and they needed to sort it…or something!!??
Anyway, we continued through Dannevirke, waving to Steve and Bazza as they fueled and Dennis and I pulled in to fill at Caltex Woodville as Ken continued through the gorge. We filled, then Steve stopped by us as Baz continued through the gorge and after a few minutes, we slipped out the back of the servo to sample the Saddle. I led through Ashhurst and lifted the pace somewhat as we flitted past Colyton, Cheltenham and Kimbolton on our way to the next Pix Stop at Pemberton…which isn’t really a place…it’s just a sign in a gravel patch at a junction (but more on that later!)
Pic snapped and I led onto Ohingaiti with Steve and Dennis still in tow. The vista as one descends to the Raangitikei River on this road is truly awesome and every time I see it, I promise that next time I’ll stop and take a pic, but at this stage of a thousand Km ride I just wanted to finish and continued on. Within minutes we were pulling into the Ohingaiti Pub for the last pic and there was quite a gathering there, including the Hawkes Bay boys, so I was able to give them their certs, badges and prizes and pause for a quick chat before embarking on the last leg.
Kennif departed before us, but I knew he’d need gas before the finish so we would probably pass him, but then we decided a diversion was in order so I led out again, slipping off SH1 at Vinegar Hill and diverting again past Waituna West to go through Halcombe and emerge at Sanson. I did take one wrong turn though and bought us at Ohakea instead, but that was fortuitous because as we lined up for the turnoff in Sanson, Kennif pulled out of the servo and rejoined the group at lead. The main reason it was fortuitous was that it would have been hard for me to keep the pace at a sane level after the gallop we had just had! Anyway, we pootled away and Dennis and I followed Ken but Steve decided he required one last fang over the Paekak’ Hill and he kept to our original plan, which, once stuck in the cheese-cutter lined traffic, I regretted I hadn’t taken the turn as well.
We arrived at the Parrot & Jigger just before 2000 and enjoyed the usual post ride wind down as we waited for the last few to arrive, the last being Hawkeye and TaPuna…who had both got lost! Unfortunately for them, familiarity breeds contempt and when the route planner said ‘turn left on Colyton Rd, right on Kimbolton Rd and take that to Pemberton (Mangamako Rd)’ …he really meant turn left on Oxford St which leads to Colyton Rd…but everyone knows where Colyton Rd is don’t they…??? Well apparently not….but after much searching and asking, the road was found…but this Pemberton place??? Well, even though a photo or two were provided, the poor Geordie had difficulty here too and the bastard route planner should have been more specific….but why?...what self repecting rider hasn’t done the Pemberton Ohingaiti road?
Oh well…as I said earlier…we try to learn from our mistakes and Hawkeye will have a GPS next time. We had a good day though and most of the feedback was positive, even though the ride was a bit more demanding than last year. It was the strangest ride for me as I played musical bikes with all the buddy changes along the way. Usually on this type of ride, one hooks-up with their mates and encounter other riders along the way and I can’t say I ever experienced so much shuffling as this, but it did enhance the experience….except for Hawkeye who cut the deck once too often.
I certainly enjoyed the day, had a great night’s sleep and enjoyed chilling with Gremlin this morning. It will be back to the maps now, to find a good route for next year.
A big thanks to NAC for the prizes (that were pre-drawn and issued at departure/finish), Ann who managed the departure from Caltex and arrivals at the Parrot & Jigger solo, Affiliated Insurance Brokers for the Certs and pens and all the riders, …especially those who put up with the old fart shuffling about and disrupting there little groups.
Oh happy day…(Oh happy day)
Oh happy day…(Oh happy day)
When Johnny Rode…….
What an awsome day! Great weather, great route, great bike and great mates!
After Grub’s tragedy on this ride last year and the problems encountered with nearly half the field not completing, we had to go back to the drawing board to address our route setting along with other improvements to make the day easier to run. Fortunately there are a few groups out there organising events like this and they had some pretty good ideas for us to steal (borrow).
With a prescription for the ride to be a ‘free flowing’ event we soon had a couple of nice options to choose from, then made a decision for riders to collect fuel receipts and photos rather than for us to check odo’s out and in, and in an effort to get more participation, we established alternative start points in Masterton and Napier (with the Manawatu riders continuing to do their 0500 start to join the Wellington riders). We also created a half hour start window between 0630 & 0700 from Rimutaka to alleviate the congestion over the hill. With this all sorted some months ago, it was then just a matter of wait for the time and everything just seemed to fall into place. Sponsors NAC Insurance and BucketsnBits.co.nz provided prizes, we ordered year bars, prepared the Ride Instructions and Briefing and waited for the registrations to come in…..oh yes, and Steve and I had to check some of the roads to ensure they were OK….I did that hard!
With a week to go we had over 60 riders interested, sent ribbons to Masterton and Napier for the bikes so riders could easily identify each other on the road, sent the instructions out, kept an eye on the weather and started to print certificates. Everything was looking sweet.
Come Friday, Nasty and Elle were on their way to do 70% of the route, texting their progress which was pretty depressing to be stuck in the office finalising preparations while they were out there having a ball…it was all making me pretty excited to get underway and enjoy the ride myself.
Finally it was Saturday and Ann & I were up before 0500 and at Caltex Rimutaka by just after 0600 where I filled the bike while Ann set up the table and gear. One rider was so keen to get away, he was already there when we arrived, more had arrived before I finished filling and the forecourt was soon a hive of activity as riders checked in, tied a ribbon to there bikes, bought badges and collected prizes that had been pre-drawn. They were free to depart as soon as they were ready and some got away promptly, but the atmosphere was pretty casual with coffees being consumed and plenty of chatting.
By 0700 we were still short of 5 or 6 riders (I got their emails when I got to work on Monday) but Ken, Barry & I decided to get away and Ann would wait a bit longer before packing up, but as it turned out, no more arrived so Barry & I were the last away at 0706. We were just in time to hit the hill amidst about 20 horse floats so caught Mike as we descended and were content to sit behind him until Eketahuna where Ken was waiting. I took the opportunity to put a skivvy on as I was finding the 8° a little cool and next thing we were scooting over the Track, through Ashhurst and onto Feilding.
With Barry on an FJR and Ken & I on ST’s, I figured it wouldn’t be long before we were amongst the field as we would be good for 400+ Kms before we needed our first fill, but that wasn’t to be the case. We did pass a group of Palmy riders at the BP in Feilding, then after riding through Halcombe and onto Turakina, Mike was topping up there but otherwise….no one!
We continued to Wanganui and embarked on a fun ride up the Para’s at a brisk pace, as the road was great, but we still only encountered 3 Duc’ riders having a pause, then another group of Palmy riders who appeared to be filling their faces as we passed them at the Caltex in Raetihi, so it was ‘On On’ up SH4 to our first fill in Taumaranui. It was along here that I had my only ‘moment’ for the day, just north of Owhango, when we entered some roadworks that consisted of rather large, loosely packed rocks. It was OK until the bike strayed out of the wheel rut and headed for the edge which dropped away to more even larger rocks. I puckered for a moment, too scared to try and steer the bike and fortunately, between clenched knees, subtle weight shift, willpower and BHM’s, (Biker Hail Mary’s), it drifted back onto the rut….whew!
We were soon in Taumaranui and pulled into the BP to fill as some Masterton riders were ready to leave and shortly after, several of the riders we had passed earlier went through. As it was only 1130, we decided to head onto Te Kuiti for lunch and got there as the Palmy crew were about ready to leave…and that was to be the pattern for the ride.
With lunch done our next stop was to get a photo of the bikes in front of the TeKawa Mobil, so we headed up SH3, maintaining our steady pace. A brief pause for the pix and we now had another nice section of the route to enjoy as we nipped across to Waipapa Road and down to Whakamaru. I’ve done this road a few times now, it’s rather pleasant and one could almost describe it as ‘understated’ when it comes to NZs better biking roads. It is in great condition and has a bit of everything, with rolling hills and sweepers through farmland and into pine forest, where it tightens up a bit as it drops through native bush to run along the Mangakino dam, then pops back to a straight run through more farms to Whakamaru (where I finally removed the skivvy as the temp was edging towards 20°) and down the western side of lake Taupo……and best of all…..I don’t recall ever spotting any revenue collectors along there!! ….So we were able to maintain our brisk pace at ease.
That done, dusted and enjoyed we were soon on the run over the Desert Rd and down SH1 to a coffee and fuel stop in Taihape. I must say, I don’t mind riding the Desert Rd, or at least, it would be OK if one were able to ride it at a respectable pace which is higher than my usual 110kph limit??!! Well, for once I had a pleasant ride over the Central Plateau because Barry decided I was too pedestrian and took the lead, dragging myself and Ken in his wake. What little traffic there was, was moving quite well also and with almost no traffic heading North we were doubly blessed to encounter a van as it crested a rise and indicated to us that the road ahead might not be in great condition so we slowed accordingly. We popped over the rise to find a long straight with nothing but a pretty white car with blue and yellow trim parked on the left …..??so maybe the van driver was trying to clean his windows and pulled on the wrong stem?? Oh well, …these cars often hunt in packs so just in case, we puttered down and through Waiouru very sedately and were soon enjoying a coffee at the Exchange in Taihape, then filling at the BP where several other riders were relaxing and telling of their own adventures.
We were now on the boring 2½ hour run for the finish with the temp dropping and a reasonable Westerly providing somewhat of a barrier. I was back in the lead with the economy varying between 15-17K/Ltr, depending on the intensity and angle of the gusts, as we leap frogged from cage to cage catching a small respite in their wake if they were on the pace and moving right along if they slowed. I had noticed a van that we didn’t appear to be catching though, so upped the pace slightly and did slot in behind him just south of Hunterville, the home/hunting ground of the constable affectionately known as Cash Register. With no detector, it’s always good to have a shield and this guy was great as he sat on the centreline, so I was able to park myself with a clear view through his left, right in the draft and my economy shot to 19-21K/Ltr at a quicker pace than before. Bloody marvelous, so I hitched a ride through to Bulls, then moved on through the thicker traffic flow.
The rest of the ride was a non-event, until our final fang over the Paekak’ Hill then onto the Petone Workingmans Club, arriving at about 1920 which was 12¼ hours for the ride. About half to two thirds of the riders had already completed, which was good because it meant that the route didn’t provide any problems this year and the feedback from the riders was that they enjoyed it. I felt pretty good except for the dodgy hip playing up a little and we enjoyed a beer, a meal and meeting and chatting with the other riders. Nasty was there with her guests, who had come for the scattering of Grub’s ashes the following day, which was the anniversary of his death.
All in all I had an awesome day which didn’t finish until I got to bed, totally shattered after midnight, with another busy day booked in for Sunday.
We arose late, dined on leftovers, tidied-up the money and stats for the ride, attended to the spa, then gave the bike a quick clean before heading off to pick-up a few things on the way to Caltex Rimutaka for the ride to Paekak’ Hill. I only arrived about 5 minutes prior to departure to find about 40 bikes there and we were soon off for Haywards.
The traffic was quite heavy so I took the opportunity to nip across a small gap in the traffic which put me behind SparkyBills (carrying Grub’s ashes) and Sels1 (ride leader) so I sat there and enjoyed a nice wee fang through Pauatahanui to the summit, down to Paekak’, then back to the summit for the speeches and service. It was a lovely day and as usual, Kari had everything planned and on time and I finished a great weekend at a bar-b-que at her place, chatting with mates and meeting some KiwiBikers I hadn’t met before.
I finally got home, too knackered to do anything so just blobbed out on the couch….Perfec’, just perfec’!!
Some stats for the C1KC.
There were no incidents (that I’m aware of) apart from a flat tyre that was dealt to promptly by Wanganui Honda.
53 bikes started (5 with pillions)
2 bikes retired (but it was on the cards prior as the pillion is due for a knee op)
26 were first timers
2 did it over 2 days (Nasty escorted by Elle, ensuring Grub finally completed one)
10 started from Wairarapa
4 started from Napier
10 started from Manawatu
Motorbikes were Brett's passion and he and his partner, Kari, were always opening their home and hearts to total strangers who were bikers in need. They spent countless hours on KB, organising weekly rides, assisting and mentoring new riders, and were both very involved in the Victoria Motor Cycle Club who organise a series of race meetings.
I've only known Brett for a couple of years, first meeting at the Ulysses Ambulance Run, then later at various KiwiBiker (KB) rides. The first time we actually rode together as such though, was last year's Capital Thousand Km Cruise (C1KC), when we started the ride together and rode the leg up to Pongaroa.
This year, once again, at the same event, we happened to be riding together quite by chance. I started the ride at the back ensuring there were no stragglers riding by themselves, then gradually worked my way through the field tagging onto various groups until after leaving Waiouru and stopping to take a photo, I ended up hooking-up with my good riding buddy Steve and another Ulyssian, Trevor. We ended up riding Fields Track and The Parapara Rd with a Dozen bikes until National Park, where half continued on SH4 to Taumaranui, while the rest of us took the prescribed route to enjoy the delights of SH's 47 & 41.
I was the second in line to take the turn and didn't know it at the time, but was following Brett as he lifted the pace to between 130 & 150Kph, apparently easing when he suspected any revenue collectors and we did actually encounter one who didn't even appear to blink as we whistled past at 120kph. After the Rangipo turn-off, Brett slowed a bit so I slipped past and settled the pace at 140, maintaining that all the way over the Ponangana Saddle and down to Tokaanu where I paused for a regroup with Steve and Trevor while Brett and Bryce continued for gas at the Tokaanu pumps.
From there, three of us continued on to Taumaranui at a sedate 120, gassed up, then were rejoined by Brett & Bryce for lunch. Brett and I were still fizzing about the blast we had over the saddle and he declared, “We own the Ponangana Saddle”! We had lunch, chatting amongst ourselves and other riders who came and went, before gearing up for the next leg over to Whangamomona.
Once again, I led out and noted that Trevor was on the phone, so we puttered along at 80-100kph to give him a chance to catch-up and it was also good to ease back into the ride after the lunch stop. Just before we entered the Tangarakau Gorge I noted that Brett & Steve's lights were missing from the group, so I slowed a bit more before deciding I better stop and wait for them and take the opportunity to photograph them when they turned up, but after a minute or two I figured something must be wrong and turned back, meeting Steve a Km or two along the road.
He was visibly shaken and informed me that Brett had gone down and was in poor shape, that there were several bikers accompanying him, but they couldn't get any cell coverage and the only houses in the vicinity were empty so we decided that I would go on to raise the alarm and he would return to the scene.
I took off like a startled rabbit, worried shitless, but not really knowing what the situation was, just that it was urgent. I kept an eye out for any dwellings and soon found myself flying over the unsealed section of road at up to 100kph and thinking, 'you dumb ...., if you come off, what good are you going to be to anyone'! But continued on nonetheless. I was soon out of the gorge and in Tahora, noting the front door on the first house was open so I lept off the bike and ran into the house yelling if anyone was about, only to find it was long abandoned, so I retreated and ran across the road and up a driveway to another house. This one had a couple of kids home but no phone and they informed me the people behind and up the hill were always home. I ran back to the bike noting the lights were still on, so I had left the key in the ignition and on. I went up the road and whipped into the next house. Finally, a phone, the lady called 111 and what a relief that they reported a call had already been logged.
At this point, I asked where the nearest cell coverage was and was directed to the top of the Tahora Saddle, ending up at the Kaieto Cafe, which is owned by Rusty Nut members who I have met at the Grand Challenge. There was no cell coverage but they loaned me their phone to call Kari to come and get the bike. I couldn't offer any other info except that an ambulance had been ordered and with that done, I headed back to the site, which I then found was actually 20-25Km back down the road.
I finally got back to the scene (about an hour after the incident) as the chopper was hovering, looking for a place to set down. Brett was still in the middle of the road, with Jane (a pillion from one of the bikes who happened to be a GP) trying to comfort him. I went straight over to find he was still lucid but struggling for breath and the paramedic and Jane were soon at work, cutting off his gear to get a look and preparing oxygen.
We stood around, helping where we could but their efforts proved to be in vain and we were soon confronted with the gutwrenching situation of a mate's life slipping away. Trevor appeared numb, Steve doubled-up in anguish and I wandered off a little to shed a tear while the medics strived to revive him, but to no avail, and sometime later they were forced to call the situation. From there on we just had to wait around for the serious crash unit, as Steve was the only witness and we were totally helpless to advise or update anyone of the situation, particularly Kari.
The three of us finally got away at dusk, heading for Whangamomona. We travelled at 60-80kph, not feeling very great and by the time we got to Whanga' we needed to pause for the guys to clean their visors when the publican insisted that we come in to get a coffee down us, which was on the house. We continued on, finally able to pick up the pace as we approached Stratford, then Trevor took the lead to take us to his daughter's home in Eltham for a feed.
At this point my bike felt like crap and had moments where it seemed to float and wobble but I thought it must be my imagination and it wasn't until after our feed and finally reaching Hawera for a refuel that I actually checked if something was wrong. As it turned out, there was only 15psi in the rear, so I pumped it up and we took off, checking it again in Wanganui to find it had only lost a couple of psi so topped it up again and headed for home.
By this time the temp was falling from 10° to 8°, but it felt much colder as we were feeling the effects of the day with the knowledge that we wouldn't be home until 0230. As we approached Wellington, the temp continued to fall to 5° and by the time I got to bed, I was chilled to the bone and it was about 0330 before I finally slipped into a coma.
I spent today chatting with different ones about the tragedy yesterday and Ann and I visited Kari. She had reported the loss on KB and the comments and condolences were flowing thick and fast and were a testament to what Brett was really like. That his passion for bikes and caring nature had made him somewhat of a Biker Evangelist, spreading the good word and doing his utmost to help anyone in need. He died living his passion and in full knowledge of the risks involved, but wasn't deterred by it, even though he was on medication to thin his blood. Some would say he was crazy but I believe he was just living his dream and sharing it whenever and with whomever he could.
I didn't really know Brett very well but I did share his last few hours. The buzz of pushing ourselves and our machines to high boundaries, the camaraderie that bikers share on a ride and relaxing over a burger and a drink, then the anguish and tragedy of his loss. I have been blessed to meet a man of his character. Cheers mate.
What a day! Where to Start???
After the successful day last year in which we ended up with 19 riders and lot's of positive feedback, we thought about what had gone right and wrong in order to improve the event and over a period of time, thought about interesting prospects for this year’s route.
In the end, we decided that SH43, or the Forgotten Highway should be the focus of the ride and then it was a matter of filling in 1000Kms, getting there and back on roads that the riders wouldn't find boring and in the end, we thought we had a great ride that would be even better than last year. Other changes we made were to have ribbons tied to the back of the bikes so riders could identify each other and wouldn't be inspired to follow non-C1KC riders off-course, we organised to finish at Petone Working Men's Club which would provide a good place for food and refreshments afterwards, and as a last minute thing, we organised a badge for the event.
With our route and date finalised, ride instructions written, flyers placed and the event posted on the KiwBiker and Ulysses forums, it was sit back and wait for the registrations to see if the positive feedback from last year would translate into a bigger turnout. Naturally enough, the first response was from an excited SweetP and from there a steady stream of entries were received, right up until the day of the ride and we ended up with a field of 50.
The long range forecast for the day was good and during the week before the ride, I emailed the Ride Instructions out on Monday, was itching to go and finally 0500 Saturday 08 November was upon us. I lay in bed, listening to a couple of songs before getting cleaned up and away from home at 0530. The morning was very crisp for November (5°) but a clear warm day was promised for most of the ride, I'd checked the tyres the night before so just needed to swing by the supermarket to pick up some water and nut bars before heading up to Caltex Rimutaka, arriving at 0550 to fill-up, set-up and be ready for the first riders to pull in.
Sure enough, no sooner did we have the table out of Steve's van and they started filling up the area to the side of the forecourt, gassing up, getting odometers checked, buying badges, tying yellow and black ribbons to their bikes and chatting. What a crowd, it was awesome and I only remember seeing a few that I knew from previous rides, but I guess we were a bit preoccupied. By 0650, we were running out of time, but fortunately the badges had been sold (including all but one 2008 year bar), the odo's checked and we started the briefing by drawing the spot prizes. With that out of the way, I mentioned a couple of areas to be wary of etc, and we were off.
As per last year, I waited until the last rider was away to ensure no one was left straggling and we got on the road at around 0715, taking it easy as we headed up the Rimutakas. Once we started to descend, at times we would catch glimpses of the long snake of riders ahead and by the time we got to the bottom of the hill we caught the rear of the main group. Mike, the Rusty rider I was with at this time, latched on with the last couple of riders as I moved ahead from group to group until slotting in behind about 20 riders as they wound through the Masterton Bypass, across the Loop Line and up through Mauriceville before getting back onto SH2 just South of Eketahuna. At that point I slipped ahead of them to give myself a free run at the Pahiatua Track which offered the first blast for the day. I treat this road with the greatest of respect but managed to pass a few more riders through here, finally catching Ken (a Ulysses mate) and Alyson along the Aokautere Road as we headed for Ashhurst and up the Pohangina Valley.
These guys would sit on a nice pace, so I sat behind them and was enjoying the ride so much, we nearly missed the Pohangina Valley East turnoff, but that was made and we settled down to business and struck the first problem of the day. We arrived at a junction and Ken and Aly stopped and I stated, “we go right and stay on Pohangina Valley East Road”! “Well that's not what your instructions say”! Replied Ken......and I thought...... “Bugger”!!!
This was the only section of the ride that neither Steve nor I had checked and I realised immediately how the error had occurred when I created the instructions off the google map, not noticing that it took a short-cut. Oh well, I couldn't do much about it now, we were about half way through the field, I hadn't been on that road, so opted to check it out, rather than stay at the corner to direct the rest of the riders. Big mistake, this road was a few Kms less but 90% (about 15Kms) of reasonably loose gravel so we lost heaps of time. Fortunately many of the riders were following the Manawatu crew and took the intended route but quite a few didn't. Oh well, chalk that lesson up for next time.
We finally arrived in Apiti to find the pumps were open so Aly filled-up, Ken headed on and I enjoyed my first of many 'natural breaks' for the day, thanks to the cool air which was only now started to climb into double figures. That done and I led on for Rangiwahia and Mangaweka. and just before we got there, we caught up to the others as we were flagged down where one of them had a wee oopsie on some very loose road works. No damage done and we were now in a group of six as we headed on for a coffee stop in Taihape.
This wasn't a planned stop for me as I had only used just over half a tank but I topped-up with the others, enjoyed a pie and drink and we relaxed before finally heading out again on Spooners Hill Rd for Waiouru. Once again, I left by myself and settled in behind a half dozen other riders for a bit, before moving ahead. The mountain looked spectacular today with a full load of snow and crystal clear skies, so I was on the lookout for a good photo op', which I found just out of Waiouru on the road to Ohakune. I stopped to get the bike in the picture, then waited for a couple of riders to come by and I captured them as well, then Steve and Trevor arrived so I slotted in behind them and headed for the next sweet section of the day, Fields Track and the top half of the Parapara Rd.
We caught a group shortly after turning onto the Whangaehu Valley Road, swelling the numbers up to 12 and we snaked our way through at a leisurely pace, enjoying the scenery, but once we were on the Para's I didn't want to waste the opportunity for another blow-out so a couple of us made our way ahead of the group and nearing Raetihi, we set-up on a corner to capture the riders on film as they came through. That done we slotted back in behind and followed through to National Park where half continued on SH4 to Taumaranui while we took SH47 to Tokaanu then SH41 back to Taumaranui.
I was 2nd round the corner after Grub, with Bryce, Steve and Trevor behind me and we ramped the pace up somewhat, flying through to the Rangipo turnoff where Grub eased up slightly and I took the lead over the Ponangana saddle. We were honking and I was really surprised to see Trevor, keeping in contact on the ME109, with Steve having a good fang on his GS1100. I paused at SH41 (exactly half way on the ride) to regroup with Steve and Trevor, while Bryce and Grub headed on and we passed them while they gassed up in Tokaanu as we headed for Taumaranui at a more respectable pace, arriving for our next fill and lunch. Once again we were joined by Grub and Bryce and enjoyed a relaxing feed, drink and chat and a few other riders as they stopped.
It was time to move on once again and I led out but Trevor was still on the phone, so we took it easy for him to catch us as we pootled through Ohura and the next stop at Whangamomona. Just before the Tangarakau Gorge, everything turned to custard as Grub dropped back slightly and I found myself just riding with Bryce. I eased up as Bryce went ahead, and stopped for another photo-op but after a minute of two, realised something must be wrong and I headed back. I met Steve, who was looking for a house or cell coverage and he outlined that Grub had offed and needed an ambulance, so I went on to Tahora to raise the alarm while he headed back.
After getting through to emergency services and advising Nasty that her mate was down, I headed back, arriving just before the chopper and we had to wait as they set to treating Grub. Unfortunately, despite their efforts, he didn't survive and the three of us were finally able to continue our journey just on dusk. We were pretty shaken so took it very easy, stopping at Whangamomona to clean the visors and have a coffee before heading onto Eltham for a feed at Trevor's daughter's home.
On the way into Eltham I noticed that the ST felt a bit 'floaty' and odd but didn't think too much of it. After the feed and we were on the way to Hawera for gas, it was worse and I found I had to straight line the corners as much as possible, using all the road and after filling-up I checked the front before noticing the rear tyre was down a bit. On checking the pressure, I found it was down to 15psi and I'd chewed a fair chunk of life out of my lovely Storm so I pumped it up and we hit the road with the plan to check how it was holding up in Patea, but it seemed OK so we continued all the way through to the Gull in Wanganui. At that point it was only down by 3psi so while I pumped it up again, the others topped up their fuel and we got back on the road.
By this time it was 0030, the temp was falling back through 10°, we had been on the road for 17½ hours, were getting tired and the trauma of the day's events was starting to impact. We puttered off down to Sanson and SH1, I had 3 layers on under my corduras, was squirming to keep warm and I was noting the temp still falling down to 8° and finally 5° as I pulled into home at 0230.
I was so shattered and frozen, I just hopped of the bike and went straight up to bed but as Ann was away for the weekend, the bed was off and I had to grab her blow dryer to warm it up. It smelt like something was burning so I hopped in but was still cold and shaking so I grabbed it again and cooked myself some more, rang Ann to fill her in on the day, finally conking out at about 0330.
Sunday dawned another great day and I got on the phone to Ron and Jim. Ron had helped at Caltex Rimutaka in the morning and both he and Jim were at the Petone Working Men's Club to greet the riders and issue certificates after the ride.
I found out that only about half of the field had checked in and Ron had stayed there, sitting in his car after the place had shut, until 0130. So it had been a tough day all round.
The feedback has been generally positive though and having noted our errors again this year, we plan to organise another ride next year.
I'd like to thank all the riders who participated, all seemed to enjoy the day, albeit being a bit tough. Then the helpers, Cheryl and Ron in the morning who also took care of things after we left, Kari and her trailer for being oncall as the recovery vehicle if needed and Jim who helped out at the end of the day.
This year FMR Magazine sponsored us by producing the flyer for the local bike shops and putting it on the inside front cover of the last issue, NAC fronted with some promotional items for spot prizes and Affiliated Insurance Brokers provided the certificates and assisted in getting the badges done.
This ride is just a social ride and intro for many riders who have never sampled the delights of endurance riding, but the helpers and sponsors have all contributed to make this a popular ride and if the numbers continue to rise next year, we will have to look at how we can manage...or how many we can cater for.
Grub's demise was most sad, and put a big damper on the day, but these things do happen, there was no alcohol or speed in the equation and it was just an unfortunate event. All our best wishes and prayers go out for him and Kari.
Thanks all, it won't be this hard next year.
Some Stats for the day:
50 starters (2 with pillions)
30 finishers (or at least checked in - eg Steve, Trev & I managed 1000+ but didn’t bother trying to check in at 0230-0300)
6 ladies started this year (only 1 in 2007)
5 completed (and I put Elle’s withdrawal down to Mechanical failure)
Well done ladies
Hyosung 2 (both 250’s – 1 of the riders on a Restricted Licence)
1st & 2nd home were FJR’s, laying down the challenge for the ST riders to ease up on their coffee stops…..or sort the navigating and keep off the gravel.
As usual with this sort of riding, those that maintained a steady, continuous pace finished in a reasonable time.
40 badges (with 2007 & 2008 bars) were sold ($10 per badge and $5 per bar) raising $272 for presents to children with muscular dystrophy.
Wow!! What a great day....Great People, Great Roads and Great Weather.....especially considering that after monitoring the forecasts last week, we were tempted to pull-the-plug at one stage as this wasn't a ride one would want to do on wet roads.
We had 19 confirmed and registered riders who represented most sectors of the local biking fraternity....that's 3 ST riders and others.... I guess to be fair though, apart from the 3 Grumpy Old Men (Ulyssians) on their comfortable trucks, there was James (XP@) on his Transalp representing the Adventure riders, Ken on his Road King for the Harley Rebels, Trevor on a Volusia for the Cruiser's, Glen for the Beemer Tourers, a raft of nimble Sprotsbikers & KB'ers, the Bandit Riders and Mangell6 for the Iron Butted Rusty Riders and finally a package called SweetP, that represented: Women; Learners; Commuters & Small Bike Riders on her FXR150. Well done to all, especially to Juliette who took this on after only riding for about 5 months and came in with a big smile and none the worse for wear.
From my perspective, the day started with the alarm going off at 0500 and the realisation that Bandit Rider and Blue Bandito would be just getting on the road from Palmy. A quick shower and feed and I was away from home at 0539 in 10° and clear skies, dappled with the odd cloud but definitely no rain in sight. As usual, by the time I went through Silverstream the temp bottomed out at 7° but was back up to a pleasant 9° by the time I pulled into Rimutex at 0602 to see Steve was already there with the maps pinned up on the van and a wee table to deal with the registrations.
I gassed-up and went in to pay announcing “pump 11”, to which the attendant looked at his screen, looked at my attire, then looked out the window to check the forecourt before turning back to me and saying, “But you're on a motor bike!!??” with a dumbfounded expression on his face. I had just put over $41 of gas in the ST and stated, “I'll need at least one more of those by the end of the day” paid the man then went out to check the tyres and help set-up the table before the first rider arrived at about 0630.
As the riders arrived, we met, noted odometer readings and ensured they had a set of ride instructions and pointed them to the maps if they weren't sure of anything. We were all there by 0700, had a quick briefing and I was last off the forecourt with XP@, who I might add, 'looked like he was in-the-zone', at 0709. We soon caught up to Grub who I tacked on behind and followed him over the 'Hill' then took the lead before Masterton and led him through the east side to avoid any town traffic, lights and round-a-bouts and we were soon on the road to Alfredton and Pongaroa and our first sampling of 'Pick-your-line-carefully or-else' riding. Grub soon stopped to check that his back tyre was OK, at which point the first of the riders who had topped-up in Masterton caught up and we pointed it was just a bit of movement due to the scattered p-gravel, so on we went to Pongaroa to find Glen (Beemer) and Greg (ST) enjoying their first rest so Glen could get rid of his 'wets' as by now the skies were crystal clear and the temp was up to 15-17°. While we waited for them, the rest of the 'Top-ups' arrived and we headed onto Weber at the back of a group of 7 or 8.
The others paused at the Weber junction while Greg and I carried onwards enjoying the tight but smooth roads through this part of Godzone and were soon upon the worlds longest place name, where I didn't have a Fox Hat to wear but stopped for the photo opportunity anyway and by the time we had done that, we tacked back on to the group until the Porongahau Junction, where 5 went right and I just stopped to photograph them once they came back. We enjoyed a brisk pace through here and I was impressed to see SweetP hanging-in near the front of the group until we got to Waipuk' where they all stopped to gas-up except Greg and myself who continued on to Taupo where we would make our first fuel stop.
The Napier-Taupo road, as usual, provided a great ride and it was quite funny because where I had been endeavouring to ride in the wheel ruts on the Pongaroa road to avoid p-gravel, I now found myself riding the hump in between, to avoid any soft tar as the temp was now peaking at 20° and there was no wind at all to cool the road. We were only travelling at 110-120 but were soon gassing-up in Taupo ($43+ this time) and stopped for lunch with Glen (Beemer), Ken (Harley) and Grub (CBR), after which Ken headed off first and Grub went to fill-up and find the others of the group he was with, so three of headed out on Poihipi Rd for the Western Arm, Taumaranui and Raetahi. By this time the weather had clouded over and the temp was back down to 15 – 17° and we encountered some very occasional and very light spitting, just enough to have to drop my visor sometimes. More great quick roads, but we kept the speed down and enjoyed the cruise, not encountering any other riders until we passed Madmals bike (Aprilia) parked at National Park, then saw Ken filling at Raetihi. It turns out he took a wrong turn ending up in Tokaanu and had to backtrack, but still managed to stay in front of us.
It was great riding down the Parapara's, which are in pretty good condition, and we made our next stop at the Upukongaro Pub where I spotted Nasty (Trailer Rider) enjoying the time with her mum, bike-spotting for C1KC riders. She informed us that Wannabiker (Ducati) had done a tyre and that group had been delayed about 40 minutes in Taupo so after another little bout of social intercourse we took to the Fordell-Hunterville road. There were now 6 in our group as we had been joined by Rob (Ducati) and Mal and this section is very tight in places and only to be ridden with care, on full alert, thanks to the potential for loose-bits and wildlife. On this occasion we only encountered 2 Turkeys, 2 Pukekos, 1 lamb and 4 sheep and got through to Hunterville with only a minor oopsie moment for Ken. We topped up the tanks and as time was getting on (about 1800) we hit the road for the final run back via Vinegar Hill, Colyton, Ashhurst, Pahiatua Track/Mangamaire and the 'Hill'. I was intending to do the ride in 12 – 13 hours but we eventually got to the Rimutakas on dusk, with the weather finally delivering some of what had been promised earlier in the week. It was drizzly rain, enough to be a nuisance combined with high winds, which on rounding one corner, virtually brought me to a standstill thanks to a poor gear selection. No worries I powered on through it to arrive at the Rimutaka Tavern at 2039 with Rob, and shortly after the rest of our group, where we received our certificates from Steve and chatted about the days events, while we waited for the next lot of riders.
We found there were only 3 others already in (+ the Bandit Riders who completed there ride on return to Palmy) then Ken and Greg had to take off back over the hill for home (poor Buggers) but good on you fellas for making the effort. Grub had also done a tyre at Wanganui so was coming back with Nasty and the last two groups came in around 2130 and 2230.
I finally got home about 2330, 1119Kms for the day at 18.4 K/Ltr economy and 24550Kms on the bike. (Big service booked for Tues). Everyone appeared to have enjoyed the day which took in many of the best roads/rides in the Lower North Island and was quite demanding. It took longer than I expected but I enjoyed taking it easy after the pace and intensity that was required for the GC + Extension. A big thanks to Steve (Twosup) who helped organise the event, Nasty for giving her time to look after us and Nudematalz for the trailer and all the riders who took part. I met some great new people that enjoy the cameraderie of being bikers and I look forward to the next ride. After all, it's only 3,500 Kms 'til Christmas
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.