Damn, two months between rides is tough going. I got a bit of a surprise when I filled this morning to see that the last fill was on 14 June and even if I hadn't been working 7 days a week since that last ride, I doubt I would have been out much as the weather has been such crap. I don't mind riding in the rain but what gets me is the focus required to find a line through the tar slicks. Our roads really are in crappy condition.
I was supposed to work today but last night I thought, “Bugger it!”, work can wait and I was going to take the day off to go on a Wgtn Uly ride. It wasn't much being just up to the Bridge Cafe, at Ballance (by the Manawatu Gorge), but at least it wouldn't be too onerous if the weather did get a bit nasty.
I got away from home before 0900 and went into town to get on the motorway because I still had 3 bars on the fuel gauge and I wanted to make sure I could put at least $40 in the tank in order to get the AA discount at BP Mana. I also went for a wee scoot around the Pauatahunui inlet before filling, but I didn't need to as it took $41.50 which thanks to a couple of fills in the car to earn some extra credits, only cost me $37.
I arrived at the Plimmerton Weigh station at about 0940, chatted and farted around with the phone to try and get the Sena sorted. Last night I had tried to upgrade the firmware, but my unit wouldn't hook up to the notebook, so I did Ann's one and used that today, but it didn't have any connections in it. I didn't manage to get it set up though so hit the road with just music going.
The ride up SH1 was pretty uneventful, except for scraping a boot as I went around the outside through the roundabout at Otaihanga, then receiving a phone call from Ann up around Tokomaru. That was the first time I'd managed to answer a phone call and I managed to give her half the recipe for pumpkin soup before it cut out.
The roads were a mix of wet and dry but got wetter as we approached the Track, then wet and gritty as we turned north. We got to the cafe just before midday and I just had a bowl latte and scone. Food was OK but the guys that got big breakfasts had their plates loaded with fungus.
The group of 11 split down to 7 for the return through the Wai'rapa and three of those needed fuel at Woodville....sheesh, I was only 2 bars off full! (not even down to ¾ of a tank). More uneventful riding on wetter roads and although the sky to the south looked particularly dark and menacing, it didn't amount to much in the end. The ride over the hill was pretty tame as I'm never prepared to push the limits there, especially when it's wet.
I finally got home at about 1540, having done 362km for the day. It was ok for a bit of a blowout and I guess it was a nice soft start for all the conditioning that is needed for the NI1600, coming up on 11 October. Lynn will be back to work at the end of this month so I'm expecting September to be a big riding month.
There was a reasonable turnout with 8 teams on a mid-winter day that was actually worthy of a ride, but them’s the breaks I guess and such are the rules that Murphy laid down, which guarantee a great day if you plan and programme an indoor event.
Prior to this year’s event, a few of us did travel up to Palmy to check out the Daytona track there and although that track and their karts were great, it was decided that it was too big a day and the whole reason for introducing the karting onto the calendar was to guarantee an event mid winter when the weather and roads might be a bit tricky. So back to Elsdon it was.
We were in for a bit of a shock as the track was extremely slippery, which turned out to be a bit of a leveller as it created some passing opportunities when karts spun wide, but also the lighties lost a bit of traction which offset their power:weight advantage. I would guess that about 80Kg was the optimal weight as my son Lance (who is still 5½ years off Uly eligibility) who teamed up with me to make up numbers, finally beat his old man with the fastest lap time.
Generally I felt more skill was required to manage the conditions and that theory was supported by the fact that Kartmeister-Kerr and sidekick/partner Basher-Brian were both well off the pace this year, only managing a pitiful; 3rd place….and I might add, neither of them could crack the 27 second barrier for lap times, a feat that was achieved by the drivers in both the 4th and 5th placed karts! This also confirms my other theory that they are both just bullys……and perhaps consistent?
After a most confusing start, all the karts were stopped (I think it was due to two karts having issues out of the blocks so they were levelling it up) and things were pretty even after 10 laps and the first change. I had watched Lance hanging-out excessively as he rounded the sweeper, but I was in for a real shock when I took the wheel. It was totally different to previous years and after a couple of warm-up laps to get the feel, I tried giving it the curry around the sweeper….only to come to grief! After that I ‘tried’ to use a bit more restraint and got on with the job. I seemed to be passing quite a few karts, parked at odd angles along the way, so I wasn’t the only one.
As we came down to the last change Lance and I were in front and there was nothing in it, but the other ‘cheaters’ had already made their last change so it was going to be tight. I considered letting Lance just finish….but I had to give the ‘cheaters’ a fair go (‘cos I’m good like that) and so we made the change….and the bloody seatbelt jammed didn’t it!!!...and we lost by 18 seconds.
I say cheaters, because, although I have no evidence to back up my theories and suppositions, I am positively sure that John Medlin, who won the event partnered with Bryan Fergusson, bribed, or coerced the two innocent looking ladies who participated, into taking us out. Shock horror you say, but nothing could be surer. On one occasion, as I was on Fergs tail, he tricked me into taking the low side on the split and right as I was committed, Jacquie parks up in front of me wanting a cup of tea and a chat, gaining the dastardly duo half a lap. On the second occasion, Ingrid sucks me into passing her going into the ‘S’, so she could ram me, pin me to the barrier, and hold me there for about 5 minutes! Criminal behaviour elicited by the devious, dastardly JohnM. A man who must win at all costs (the other JohnM that is)
Ahh, but it was bloody great. We had a ball then went to the Peppermill for the aftermatch.
At that time, it was revealed that Andrew C received 4 visits to the sin bin, but I never found out what that was for and there was a mention that there is a new Daytona Raceway out at Seaview, on Port Road and as Lance & I didn’t have anything on….we went out there to have a look ….and managed another 35 minutes….(as you do)
It is along the marina end of Port Rd and has a very large/long, very wide track, with proper plastic barriers all the way around and brand new biggish karts (apparently they opened about July last year). It took about 3 laps for the tyres to warm up and the kart I had, had crap brakes, although Lance said his were good. The track is reasonably technical, but Lance whipped my arse either thanks to the few Kgs….or maybe his kart was just a little quicker….or both. He would gain a few metres per lap coming out of the two hairpins and our ‘best-lap’ times were 27 & 27.5 secs, compared to the best drive times of 24-24.5secs. (Must be very talented migets!!!???) Although he was quicker and on the wide track, if I stuck to the programme, he couldn’t get past until I made a mistake. The proper barriers were way better than the tyre barriers as they don’t grab the kart and although we both spun out a couple of times, we didn’t need assistance to get moving again….of course that would different to our kindly Kartmeister cur forcing, nudging and blasting us into the barriers!
It was fun but I suspect that for our purposes, the session at Elsdon was probably more exciting and more competitive…..but of course, we really will need to have a recce drive sometime, to test it under busier conditions.
The results for the day: Medlin & Fergusson won…..narrowly.
Karts / Drivers (IN FINISHING ORDER for 80 Laps)
Kart Driver 1 Driver 2 Finish Time Best Lap
1st 3 John Medlin Bryan Fergusson 0:44:80 26.929
2nd 1 Lance Maroulis John Maroulis + 0:18.13sec 26.599
3rd 0 Dave Kerr Brian Woodcock + 1:01.61 27.009
4th 2 Trevor Taylor Chris Dummer + 1:47.39 26.944
5th 5 Brett Chapman Bill King + 1:51.30 26.882
6th 8 Andrew Cresswell Jacqui Cresswell + 2:49.62 27.386
7th 11 Ingrid Vos Partner + 5:20.28 27.404
8th 7 Bruce McCaw Dean + + 2 laps 27.520
1st 1 Lance Maroulis 26.59sec
2nd 1 John Maroulis 26.71
3rd 5 BrettChapman 26.88
Today was a Uly ride to Hunterville for lunch. My worker has abandoned me for three months so I definitely don't have time to ride at the moment....and hence I needed to go.
As it was a relatively long ride, the start was scheduled for 0900 rather than the normal 1000, so I checked the tyre pressures last night, as well as packing the wets and other usual gear, charged the Sena and phone, then had to get up early this morning to scrub, gear-up, fill at BP Mana and get to the Weigh Station by about 0840.
It was a lovely clear morning (only 12° but), there were 10 or 11 of us and the earlier start made the drag of hauling up SH1 a bit easier, until we peeled off to go to Shannon for a coffee. Woody and I were connected and chatted along the way and I used the time at Shannon to try to form a Group Intercom with Chris and a couple of the others that had intercoms.....but that didn't really work, so when we moved on, it was with mixed results.
We scooted up to the opiki turnoff, then cut across through Rongotea, up to Mt Stewart, then over to SH1 via Halcombe....then more dreary SH1 riding to Hunterville, arriving at around midday and all the others made straight for the pumps. I couldn't help asking Woody why on earth they were all filling when we weren't even down to half a tank!
From there it was down the road to the Station Hotel for a feed. They are pretty average, but I think they opened especially for us and while munching away, we spent more time with the Sena App trying to set the group up. Voila, we finally had it sorted.
Once we got back on the road, we scooted up to Ohingaiti, then over Mangamako Rd to Pemberton Corner, then headed for home via Kimbolton and a pause in Cheltenham to don the wets. It's a great ride through the section of Rangiwahia Rd between Pemberton and Kimbolton but today there was enough drizzle for the road to be wet, as well have having the odd bit of loose stuff, so it was a sedate affair and with it looking particularly gloomy to the east, then the downpour around Cheltenham, we opted to just come back via SH1. When we got to Mt Stewart, we didn't even divert via Penny Rd, but just headed straight to Sanson.
The wind was quite strong at this point but we didn't have any issues and made quite good time. Once we got to Paekak' though, the traffic was almost at a standstill and bumber to bumper as far as the eye could see, so we peeled off at the Paekak' Hill. Chris and I enjoyed a jolly good fang up to the summit, but after that, there was quite a bit of traffic also trying to avoid the queues, so it was a bit more sedate....and lucky to because the patrollers were out and about.
I ended up getting home at about 1645 after having done about 480km for the day. It was quite pleasant to get out and hopefully I might feel a bit more refreshed for the daily grind ahead. The bike now has 67,500km on it....and I'm still enjoying the Z8's.
We spent a week in Phuket recently and that was a bit if an eye opener.
On the night we arrived, I was gobsmacked as we were driven to our resort at Patong Beach (about 40 minutes) and small bikes and scooters were passing us on both sides, and vice versa. Then at one point, a bike passed us on the inside, then continued to pass the vehicle in front of us as they negotiated a right hander. My heart was in my throat because the road was quite narrow and twisty, with no verge and a drop off into jungle.....but all was good!! By the end of the week it was all, 'She'll be right!'
Over the period we were there, I didn't bother to take my life in my hands and hire a bike, but I did manage to take quite a few pix, which tend to highlight how bikes rule in Thailand??.....well not really bikes......let's say scooters and stepthru's!!
There are so many, I think they have their own gods and worship centres.
…and they carry monks.
…who are trendy and also use mobiles.
It looks like helmets and gloves aren't required.......but it also appears that 'The Powers That Be' might be trying to change that? (It was hardcase one night we were out because a lady turned up at the market and she must have rushed out of the house while cooking dinner, because she still had her oven mits on!!!)
Domestic use extends to the whole family.....all at once. I even witnessed dad riding one handed as he carried the 3 month old while mum carried the 1 yr old on the back.
....and even the round-eyes are into it!
Some ladies prefer side-saddle....maybe it's more styley?
Others prefer to bring all the kids in the sidecar.
They are handy to fetch the groceries and since they don't have saddle-bags like every good ST, they just take the flatties or neighbours to carry the stuff home.
...or maybe you just want to get the banana tree home?
Commercially, stepthrus rule!
They carry everything including the kitchen sink.....and the bar-b-q!!
....or the recyling.
You can use them to get all the crew to work!
….or the fleet of jet skis to the beach!
Filtering is in!
They have servos just for bikes.
Not to mention Bike Bars.
And Bike shops.
...and the servicemen have a few tats.
Basically, bikes are just everywhere!
Shucks, another space of just over two months between blogs!! It has been Summer and early Autumn, so I have been riding but I guess I'm getting lazy and there hasn't really been any rides that have merited a blog?
We did continue doing the Capital Coast Coneheads thing on Wednesday evenings through to the end of daylight savings and that was quite good, although, after Christmas, there weren't a lot of punters turning up....and in fact on the last evening, it was just me until AndrewT turned up just as I was finishing the Winged Wheel layout. That's about a half hour of effort so it wouldn't surprise me if he was hiding around the corner waiting!?
It was good though as I wouldn't have taken that time to setup if anyone else had been there and it did highlight an issue I have been struggling with, which is the use of rear brake to control my speed. It amazes me how one can know what they are doing wrong, be told what they are doing wrong, but it can take ages or something small before the penny drops. In this case, I ended up watching a Motorman video and suddenly all was clear and obvious.
I did do a Uly club ride in early March which was the dawn ride to Castlepoint and that should have merited a blog???....but who knows? It was quite sedate, it's always good to do the odd bit of night riding, the clouds obscured any sort of spectacular appearance of the glowing orb on the horizon but I did manage a couple of ok pix within the couple of secs that there was any glow and we returned to The Wild Oats in Carterton for breakfast....and I would have been home by 1300.
Easter weekend, six of us did marshalling duties for a cycle tour in the Hutt on the Sunday and Monday. They had two legs in Martinborough on the Saturday but didn't need us for that. We did Leg 3 around the southern part of Whitemans Valley (up from Wallaceville and down Mangaroa) on Sunday morning, then a Kermess around closed roads in the Upper Hutt city in the afternoon, then Leg 5 was around around the northern part of Whitemans Valley (Up Blue Mountains and down Wallaceville). That was good fun and I managed over 500km. Those cyclists are bloody machines!
A couple of weeks back I rode up to Palmy and back as a few of us were doing a recce to try out the Daytona Indoor Raceway as a venue for our annual go karting event in June. The karts and the track are quite good but one of the reasons the event came about was to not have to worry about the weather turning off a mid-winter ride and on this occasion, I left home about 0930, travelled up SH1 to get there half an hour early, then came back throught he Wai'rapa after a cafe stop and didn't get home until 1700....so it was just too big a day. We'll stick to leaving home at 1100 for the Elsdon track (in car or on bike depending on the weather) and be home by 1500 after the cafe stop.
Today I went for a ride over the Hill as an initial assessment ride for IAM (after making enquiries about 3 years ago). It was a very nice day with not too much traffic so quite pleasant and the results probably pretty much as expected with not enough head-checks or use of indicators (and that's all he pointed out but there was obviously a shit load of other errors and omissions) so what will be will be on that front?!
I've also spent a bit of time recently considering the purchase of a toy. In particular, a small motard for Coneheads on the basis that it will be easy to throw around having good ground clearance and tight lock, without having too much bite and is easy to manage, but will go fast enough to safely ride to carparks via the motorway. I was keen on an XR230, but $4K+ for a toy that has 40,000km on it was a bit hard to extract from my tightarse!
In the meantime, plans are underway for this year's North Island 1600 (Oct) and 1,000 km Cruise (Nov), ( www.distanceriders.org.nz ). The route will be set for the 1600 in a week or so and this year will see 1,000 km rides out of Wellington and Hamilton in an effort to offer endurance rides to more of NZ...and the routes for those are pretty much settled.
We're off to Phuket on Friday (to see how riding an elephant compares to riding an ST) and then there will be the grind of winter rides?!
Another TT done and dusted and it was a beauty!
After the frustrations of last year I took a slightly different approach this year, ….but then Mike Hyde has constantly evolved the concept of his ride so each year is different anyway and this time swung back to a ride where one could easily get their required points, then ride where they liked to stack up the km's.
I didn't do that though!
I looked at the layout of the checkpoints and my plan morphed through about 10 stages until I finally had a route that picked up almost all of the checkpoints apart from the gravelly ones and a couple that weren't convenient, it had early check-ins then further riding that meant there was no time pressure to get to the end (apart from trying to get plenty of sleep) and on the Sunday it had a 200km buffer of scooting over to Akaraoa just because we could.
I started out with Steve (& his V-Strom) as my riding buddy, then we got joined by Woody )on his Z1000) and then later in the piece, Chris (on his Multistrada) joined us for his first TT2000.
As per usual, I tried to plan the route to the nth degree, starting with the route in MapSource, then laying out the CP's and points on a spreadsheet with leg km's, total km's, working out potential fuel stops based on Woody's maxed out 300km range and finally assigning leg times from MapSource plus 2minutes per CP photo stop, 10minutes per fuelstop, 30minutes for lunch on Saturday and approx an hour to check-in to the cabins each evening and have dinner. I finally loaded the route into the GPS unit, noted the km's and route time from there, calculated the moving average and applied that to the spreadsheet to then have a fast time. (The unit comes up with a faster time than MapSource and it tends to be more accurate to my riding) (I also expected that the faster unit times would still be conservative.....yeah right!!)
By compiling all this info, the route would get tweeked until we finally had a plan....Oh yes, and as I went, I also discovered the exact locations of the two Mystery checkpoints. Mystery 2 was easy as that was Moa statue constructed of wire, so I googled the image which linked to an old Stuff article that revealed the name of the sculptor and the farmer that commissioned it (on his farm and it's general location) The white pages identified his address, then a scoot along streetview revealed the statue about 300 metres from his gate! Voila, it was in the plan.
I discarded Mystery 1 early in the piece because it was 3km from the end of the seal and there were no clues to start a search, but one tends to revisit these things and one evening it suddenly clicked that behind the two dunnies in a paddock was a bridge with a river running under it!! That prompted a scan of MapSource and Google Maps which identified that there were only two gravel CP's that went anywhere near a river at 3km from the end of the seal, Klondyke and Highview, but Klondyke passed by a loop in the river where Highview crossed it. Sure enough, zooming in at 3km along the Highview track on Google Maps did indicate there were two wee dots that had to be the dunnies!
Entries were registered, ferries booked, accommodation booked for two, and it was big enough for three, then expanded for four, the bike was serviced, re-shod with a new set of Z8's, Sena S20's were purchased all round, the route loaded to GPS's and we were ready to go....on the 0230 sailing of the Arahura on Thursday morning.
Thurs 19 – Day 1
After grabbing a couple of hours kip, I was up at midnight, scrubbed and geared up and as the bike was already packed, I was soon on the road to fill the bike, then check-in at the ferry terminal. Chris arrived shortly after so we paired up our Senas, then Woody turned up but Steve didn't arrive until almost time to board.
We chatted for awhile before grabbing another hour plus of nap and we were on the road out of Picton before 0540. The temp started out at about 12° but hit 9° before Spring Creek and didn't really rise much as we made our way north in the dark.
I had a wee moment as we hit the roadworks through the Dashwood pass and I suddenly found myself on gravel, so probably not a great time to be on intercom but I'm sure my choice of expletives would have alerted the boys to what lay ahead. Nothing untoward happened though and an hour or so later, as we made our way up the Kaikoura coast, we were treated to a lovely sunrise when the sun sneaked out of the sea with a pink glow all around it, then as we turned toward the Kaikouras through Clarence, the whole mountain range was covered with the same pink glow for a bit.
I recall thinking that at least the temp would start to rise with the sun but shortly after we turned inland on SH70, the temp bottomed out at 7° and hardly went above 9° all the way through to our first fuel stop in Culverden. At this point we had travelled 262km at an average of 90kph and we got there at 0832, filled, had a play to try and improve the intermittent connection we were experiencing with the Senas and we finally got back on the road at 0906.
We made our way out to Waipara, on to Amberley, then turn inland again to take SH72 via Oxford to Geraldine for lunch and the next fuel stop. This was an easy scoot, managing an average of 95kph, and we passed Dreds and his two mates through here, so they paused to say gidday before we went in for our feed.
A bit over an hour later we had filled and were back on the road, then realised what a good idea it had been to take the inland route because once we got to Timaru, the traffic was diabolical. We were being diverted for roadworks (or perhaps a big accident) and we were constantly leap-frogging through long lines of cars and trucks. The traffic did ease from around Waimate though and we got to the holiday park at 1555, having had a relaxing day in the saddle.
We checked in, scrubbed up, sorted our stuff, went a feed and settled in for the night.,..and that was day 1.
89 moving average; 765km;
Fri 20 – Day 2
We didn't start until midday so we enjoyed a sleep in with plans to check-out by 1000 (managing to leave by 0930), finding a cafe for brunch before filling and registering at McIver & Vietch. We met Topher outside the cafe and Bandit Rider in it, as well as a couple of Blenheim Ulys (who didn't manage to finish the ride after she had a close encounter with a sheep) and got to the start at about 1100 to mingle and chew the fat. At this point we discovered that Mike Hyde wasn't well and couldn't make it, but all went off to plan anyway.
We were briefed, collected our T-Shirts, which I quickly clipped into my shorts-hanger that I'd duct-taped into the lid of the top box for quick photo CP turnrounds, and after waiting for Woody to be already to go....then take his helmet off to put his earplugs in, we got underway for our first checkpoint at Aramoana at right on 1200.
This was always going to be a slow start but we did alright to make our way through the traffic as well as passing a few other bikes on the way over. I was surprised to find that we only passed two or three bikes on their way out and half a dozen at the CP. There were another 10 – 15 that followed us in and a few more that we passed on the way out, so it would seem that not that many riders opted to grab these points?
I'd never been there though and enjoyed the ride, then back to Port Chalmers and especially heading out to SH1 at Waitati....then from Palmerston where we turned onto the pig route and the pace lifted to a km-eating steady speed. We caught Dreds and his mates before Palmerston, slotted in behind them, then got caught by one or two others, so we had quite a wee train as we made our way to CP3, being the Macraes Gold Mine. Shucks....that's one big hole in the ground!....not to mention the huge pile of tailings sitting on top of it. It's amazing because I rode that road back in 2011, but between the fog, the sunstrike and the pace I don't recall seeing a thing of it....not to mention the other great scenery.
From Macraes, it was onto CP4 at Hyde then over to Ranfurly and CP5 at Idaburn, but we were treated to a smirk as we approached Ranfurly when Dreds and co took to Bypass Rd (a gravel jobby) and I commented to Woody, "Did you see that, those pricks hit that gravel and they didn't flinch, they didn't falter and they didn't miss a beat!" I had assumed they were off to some dark-side CP but then got another surprise when they popped out just ahead of us again 6.7km later (them having done 5.6km) and I thought, "Huh, Gary, (who was leading us at the time) you haven't been going fast enough!" (We'd only averaged 103kph).
They eased off a bit on the 16km to the Ida Valley turnoff, so I slipped past and the others followed because we did want to pick up 10 minutes on our schedule to add the Mystery 1 CP to our haul. We grabbed our photo of the dry dam, scooted past Chatto Creek and up to the Clyde Dam for CP5, then back to Clyde for gas. (what a quaint little town) Then we lit out for the Roxburgh Dam, CP6, and the ride along Conroys Rd was quite a treat with plenty of corners and views.
From Roxburgh we had quite a cluster of relatively close CP's starting with Mystery 2 on Moa Flat Rd, Wilden, Edievale, Switzers, Mystery 1, Heriot, Kelso and Waikaka, before heading to our check-in at the Gore Cabins, at which time (being 1745) we were a quarter hour behind schedule.
The ride plan had our departure on Part 2 at between 1850 – 1945, and after getting dithered around at the Kebab place, Woody & I scoffed down a couple of foot long Subs, while Steve & Chris went for a McCafe and whatever, with us getting back on schedule by heading out of town at 1853.
Our 226km outing started with a quick scoot east out to Kaiwera, then back to Gore to head north-west on SH94 for Manderville, where we had to photograph an old train next to a community hall, then a hall in the middle of nowhere at Wendonside. That road had a somewhat out of the way 6km long straight which inspired Chris to check his speed on....but that's all I have to say about that!
Our track from there briefly linked back onto SH94, then we took a link road across to SH6 to bypass Lumsden and down through Dipton to photograph a War Memorial, that like many in the Sth Island (and CP's on this trip) are tucked away on side roads out in the WopWops. We finished the day going down SH6 to Winton, across SH96, turning off before Mataura to collect the last CP for the day at Waimumu, where the route guides had a picture of the church, but noted the hall as the CP.....so we took both and were back in Gore and refueled by 2130 (8 minutes ahead of schedule)
We finished the day with a scrub, then chewed the fat over a few wines before hitting the sack at about 2300,
89 moving average; 452km + 226km = 679km
Sat 21 – Day 3
At this point we already had 38,000 of our required 50,000 points and Saturday's plan called for collecting another 36,500 points and 1,114km. I arose before the alarm went off at 0500, geared-up, re-packed, put a bit of air in the tyres and we were on the move by 0605 heading south for the first three CP's at Menzies Ferry, Mataura Island and Bluff. I had Chris behind me and his headlights were bloody bright so I turned my mirrors down and got on with the job, only to find that 4km down SH1, Chris was pulling alongside because his were the only lights there!! Turned out that Woody had pulled out of the motorcamp and followed the wrong bike in the wrong direction until the chap pulled into his residence.....then Woody decided to use his GPS! We had returned 2.7km when they came into view, so we turned and took off again.
By 0722 we had collected the first two CP's, then cut across to come back out on SH1 by Tiwai Point and cruised down to Bluff to take a pic of a big chain sculpture, pissed around a little and we were still a minute ahead of schedule when we headed for our first fuel stop at Riverton.
It amazes me how so many petrol stations have been shut in the Nth Island, but most little settlements in the deep south seem to have retained their pumps by going to card operated Allied, G.A.S. or McKeowns stations. The downside for four dumb Welly boys, was that the card pump wanted a $ limit entered, but we wanted to fill, so Woody dials up $25, but only draws off about $16, so we put the rest in Chris' machine and thought stuff it. I could get to the next planned stop and Kingston while Steve and Chris should have made Manapouri, so we hit the road with the plan for Steve and Chris to fill at the next available fuel. That turned out to be Tuatapere.
Before that we had to collect a pic of the surfer statue at Colac Bay, where I led us onto the grass to get close. When I put the stand down it was a bit soft, so I moved the bike forward onto the wooden curb around the statue, took my photo, plus the spare of the group, then saw Steve trying to hold his bike up while he took his photo so I stepped in to assist. I should have gone to Spec Savers though because right then, Woody's bike fell over!! Oh dear, it took both of us to pick the poor wee thing up but the upside was that the grass was so soft that nothing got broken....and then we went on to Tuatapere.
What a joke! We arrived at the servo (that didn't feature on the NZ Open Souce Maps) and it turned out to be open, manned by three people, but still on cards! Sheesh, dumbarse city boys still want fills so ask how to get around it and all we get is a tirade from the Arsehole Owner. What an absolute prat! Hardcase though because it turns out that you dial in your max amount, but it only charges you for what you take, so the boys filled and we moved on for Orawia, Clifden and Manapouri......but what a twat the prick that owns the Tuatapere servo is!!!
The faffing around over fuel had cost us time though and by the time we were moving on from Orawia, we were 12minutes behind, same at Clifden and down to 7 minutes down at Manapouri. Averaging 100kph across to Mossburn pulled in another 5 minutes and at that point I was down to 2 bars on the fuel but hadn't been taking note so I wasn't sure where I stood for the 60km up to Kingston...and I didn't want to put 91 in the ST, so I said to Steve, "You take the lead and I'll draught."
We made more good time averaging 104kph, while my economy picked up 0.2km/Ltr and didn't go on reserve until about 5km out of Kingston. It was interesting to see the new cycleway through here, complete with large swing-bridges. In fact, it wasn't until I saw the swing-bridges and wondered what they were for that I noticed the cycleway. It's hard enough to cycle on the highway, but why any one would want to do all that cycling on gravel behooves me?
We were a minute ahead of time out of the 'Flyer' CP, then a minute behind out of the fill....and it was time to....'Let the Games Begin!'
We were now at the bottom of Lake Wakatipu and were about to embark on the best riding of the weekend. It was only 12km up to the next CP, being the Devil's Staircase lookout and we did that in 7 minutes, departing on schedule, but Steve left while I waited for Woody and Chris to get back on the road, then when they were moving, I lit out like a scolded cat! ....and what a delightful wee fang that was!....didn't do much for my economy but!!
We were scheduled to have lunch in Frankton, but the road in was choked and we got split up as we filtered past the traffic. I had a moment here when a boy-racer pillock saw me coming and veered across to the centreline....so I just took the gap behind him to nip around the inside but the prick swung back across on top of me as I passed....and he threw in a few expletives for good measure. I Had plenty of room though and after tossing the ST out of his way, I was soon well up the queue, through the round-about and waiting for the others by the BP, but everything was busy and Steve missed the stop, so we continued on to see what we could find along the way.
The next CP was Coronet Peak and we saw nothing before that so that was the next stop...after some more magnificent fanging. I've been up Coronet Peak a couple of times but it's always had plenty of grit lying around.....but not this time. It was pretty clean so I had a blast as the ST is such a delight to throw around on roads like that.
After losing a bit of time fluffing around in Frankton then taking a couple of extra minutes taking in the views from the Peak, we were now 20minutes ahead of schedule with lunch still to be had, and we decided to get that late, at the Cromwell fuel stop. But first we had to go to Cardrona and that meant up and down the Devil's Staircase and Crown Range!
We shuffled around past Arrowtown and then I hit my straps again. Another huge blast was had all the way to Cardrona. The way back was a little more sedate and we stopped for a photo-op at one of the lookouts. I did manage to scrape a boot on one of the hairpins near the bottom and then we struck a huge queue. There was several km of cars just not moving so we shuffled up the centre-line and it soon became apparent that there had been a big accident. When we got near the front of the queue, a chap was out of his car and it transpired that he had been there for an hour, but traffic was moving as they had let them through from the other side and we didn't have to wait long before we were moving again, had passed a few cars ahead of us and were making our way to food, fuel and the next CP in Cromwell.
We arrived at 1411 and enjoyed an extended stop, heading over the bridge out of town 48 minutes later (20 minutes behind schedule). It wasn't a worry though as we only had two more CP's to collect at Lindis Pass and Elephant Hill, before checking into the Top 10 at Timaru. It was easy riding over this leg, up to Omarama, out to Kurow and on to Timaru and I was starting to feel the effects of all the fanging through here as the straighter roads required less focus and I slipped out of the zone. We maintained a good average though and by the time we were pulling out of Elephant Hill, we were back to 6minutes off schedule and it was the same when we arrived at the Holiday Park.
It was hard case because Woody and Chris were stoked to be in and finished so early....until I reminded them that we had another 200km to do! Watching Woody's mouth drop was joy to behold for an arsehole like myself and when he said, "You don't have a very good poker face!" I just replied with, "Read the book!" as my smirk transformed to a fill blown grin! I did sort of soften the blow though by adding, "We have got the Akaroa buffer tomorrow and you could stop now, but you'd have to go to Akaroa tomorrow." So they relented and after a little discussion, we opted to go straight out to get it over with, then enjoy a relaxed dinner when we got back.
And so it was that we had fueled and were on the scoot again at 1832, 31km out to Totara Valley by 1852, on to Burkes Pass by 1921, across to Sherwood Downs by 1953, then back into town and fueled up by 2048. Rain had threatened most of the way around but we were only subjected to a bit of drizzle and settling down for a feed at the Lone Star by 2100. By the time we came out at 2220 though, it was absolutly pissing down.
Once back at the cabin, I let the boys off the hook and said they could sleep in until 0600 and we'd have a more relaxed ride on Sunday...after all, we already had 74,500 points and 1802km
919km + 204km = 1123km
Sun 22 – Day 4
I arose before 0600 and after a liesurly prep, we were on the road just before 0700. It wasn't raining but it was glopomy and we were kitted up in wets. We only had 5 CP's to collect and took a relatively sedate pace getting to Woodbury (War Memorial), but the pace did creep up a bit along the straight Arundel-Rakaia Gorge Road, but we eased off a bit as we made our way in on the wet, narrow road to the Stone cottage at Hakatere Corner and then around to the Doc Sign at Sharplin Falls. That rotten Mike Hyde....he said the Doc Sign was in a carpark and the road was sealed!! It was stuck in the middle of extremely thick bush down a horrid gravel road! OK, the gravel was only 504 metres...but that's over 1km return and we were treated to more Southern Hospitality. Shortly after we had turned onto the darkside we met a massive 4WD coming out and he was followed by Biggo and his mate Ed. I shuffled across the greasy slick rut and into the thick slippery mud that was the verge and still the prick came at me without flinching. He held his line like he owned the road....which he did because he was the biggest son-of-a-bitch in the valley, and as he passed me, with his window down and I was in a frantic state, I exclaimed, "Ignorant Cunt!!!" I guess I was at a loss for words but it did seem to sum the situation up rather succinctly. Phil explained later the the poor wee pet had flagged them down and he was rather cross that all these rotten nasty bikers were invading his turf.
From here we had to get across SH1 and over to Pendarves and that meant negotiating Thompsons Track, which has a 21.6km straight between kinks. The trees and power poles disappeared into a point, so consequently the pace crept up a little along the way. We made it to the hall at Pendarves then into the mobil at Rakaia for fuel and extended 25minute coffee stop and now had our required km's with just the one CP to go at Brookside, but for good measure and to avoid all the awful traffic on SH1, we got our pic and continued out through Coes Ford to SH75 by Motukarara before turning for home via Taitap' and Halswell, arriving at Hampton Honda at 1141.
What a great ride! We checked in, had a sausage sizzle, mingled and chatted and there weren't too many left wen we headed for 219 On Johns at about 1300. We checked in, scrubbed up, had a coffee, fluffed around and went out for chinese at about 1730, resupplied with a couple of wines and retired to the cabins.
91 Moving average; 328km; Arrival at Finish – 1141hrs
= 2130km & 81,500 points (2156km on the odometer)
Mon 23 – Day 5
Time to head for home and I was up around 0700, repacked the bike and we were filling at Z Belfast by 0830. I'd done my share of lead so slotted in at the rear as Steve led us up SH1 at a sedate pace....that was until we were up the road from Parnassus and I felt an urge come on. Suddenly I found myself in the overtaking lane and there were some odd comments filtering through the Sena....like those other guys knew what I was up to!!?? Well I guess they did because I was rocking and grooving to squeeze a final fang out of the trip, although a sign mentioning new seal did put a slight restrainer on it, but I was soon on the coast road and had a big grin on my face....and slotted back into the rear again.
We stopped for a snack and fuel in Kaikoura (but the Pepper Steak pie at Rakaia was way better), went for another coffee stop in Picton before lining up for the ferry and finally got off the boat in Welly at 1740.
89 moving average; 326km
64617km on the bike....and it needs a jolly good clean.
It was a great trip and we had a good team. The Senas took the ride to a new level....when they worked....but that was more to do with ignorant finger trouble on our part rather than the equipment and we seemed to be getting better at it by the end of the trip. We'll have to work on that.
The route was a great offering by Mike and it was much easier to get the required km's this year, although it would seem not so much for the northern starters. I was expecting to ride at a more sedate pace and one of these days, I will have to visit the deep south to actually take in some of the scenes and towns.
As for real rides, that's pretty much it until the NI1600 October but there's plenty of planning and work to do to get that organised! Life can be really rough sometimes.
Last week I had the bike serviced and a new set of Z8's fitted and yesterday we did our World Tour of the Whanganui River. This was a conditioning ride in preparation for the TT2000 and it was quite good to be able to do it with Steve and Woody (Chris didn't turn up) as we were also able to test our new Sena S20's.
The original plan had us heading out through the Wai'rapa, but with the weather forecast having that side as the last to clear, we opted to meet at BP Mana at 0800 and go from there. By the time we had paired up the units (none of us seem to very technocratic) it was 0830, but that also meant that Chris definitely wasn't turning up and Steve led out for Shannon, with Woody between us.
Because we didn't really know what we were doing with the intercoms, we just left them on 'Group Intercom' and we each had our own music playing, Steve with his i-pod, Woody with his Garry Glitter (via the GPS) and me with the GPS as per usual. We didn't chatter a lot but just made the odd comments here and there.....like at Shannon,
"Left here Steve!"
"What!"...."Are we going to Foxton?"
"Nah, up the middle to Mt Stewart." ....and so the last became 1st and we carried on.
Our route took us up to Shannon, across toward Foxton then up through Bainesse, Glen Orua, & Rongatea to Mt Stewart, then on to Halcombe, Kakariki & Makirikiri Rd back to SH3, then off again at Fordell and into BP Dublin St for fuel (well, those guys got fuel). We got there (202km) at 1048 and I just had one of those 'natural breaks', thanks to the temp only hovering around 13°, most of the way up and I didn't have a scivvy on.
We were back on the road just before 1100 with me back in front and we were soon taking the turnoff to head up the Whanganui River. I've only been up the river once and that was about 16-18 years ago, in a car, and only up to Koriniti. I didn't recall how narrow the road was!
We weren't in any desperate hurry but I still didn't manage a photo stop when we had made the 1st climb that comes out on a right hander to one of the most spectacular vistas one could wish for, with the river meandering up the narrow valley of farmland with stands of poplars and other trees scattered across the landscape. We were puttering along at between 40 – 70 kph and the Senas came into their own as I was able to warn the others, "car coming", "Sheep...two to the left", "Grit", "Car coming....Bugger me! He's moving and that prick was cutting the corner on my side!"....and so on.
Then at about 12km from the SH4 turnoff I caught a car, and at 13km, the road followed the river around through a right hand sweep where I could see it was clear for a few hundred metres so I started to ease past him with the speed actually reaching 83kph......and then the Whanganui River turned to Shit Creek!
As I pulled level with his rear door, the prick eased right on me and my 2-3 mtrs of space was suddenly down to 1mtr so I buttoned off with the speed dropping back to 70kph as I drifted to the right hand verge as far as possible. The memory is pretty vague but I was in a squeeze, I must have hit the picks at some point and it was touch and go if I would be able to stay on the seal or not. I lost!
The GPS shows the speed at 70, 26,16, 0.8kph and at some stage through that I left the seal, nearly lost it, nearly saved it, nearly lost it.....did lose it! The verge was grey papas clay that dropped away into a shallow culvert, I was down to walking pace by this time when the bike fell over to the right with me doing something between stepping off and being thrown off, but I bounced back to my feet and surveyed the carnage as Woody pulled up and Steve found a place to park.
Because the verge was a slope into about a 1 metre deep drain, the handle bars and seat were below the wheels and picking up the 350'ish Kgs took all three of us, it then wouldn't start so we pushed it back onto the road, where I refitted the the right mirror cover over the broken mirror...the only damage that was incurred. By this time the driver of the car had walked back to see if I was OK and I asked, "How come you came across at me?" to which he replied. "I didn't have a choice." but offered no other explanation. Having since looked at the spot in Streetview, it does look like there is a kink in the left verge, but I couldn't see that as the car was blocking my view. *Sigh*....I didn't argue with him but just accepted it, got the bike started and we got under way before he could get back to his car so we didn't have to try to overtake him on the road.
Hindsight says it was dumb to try to pass there, but at the time I figured I had plenty of clear space and if I passed sooner, then one or both of the others would also be able to pass on the straight section!!??
We continued on, me in the lead and averaged 60kph through Athens, Corinth, London and on to Jerusalem, where we stopped to have a look at the church (while Steve changed from his boom mic to the wired one. It was quite another special moment to arrive at Jerusalem and see the church on the rise nestled into the bush. We went around the back, then strolled up to have a look at the grounds and take a few pix.
We were ready to leave about 15 minutes later and had a queue of six cars (including my 'mate') waiting for us to vacate the parks.
We only averaged 50kph on the road to Pipirki and I was surprised that a road only sealed 1-2 years ago was littered with patches and new ruts...but at least it was reasonbly clean of grit. The pace never lifted much from there until about half way across to Raetihi and even then we were luck to hit 80kph so the average from Jerusalem to Raetihi was only 57kph. We arrived at 1256 and spent about 50 minutes have a snack and chatting.
Although the River Road is 'very' narrow, it was reasonably clean and well worth the visit. If it were a wider road with centre lines it would be a spectacular ride, but then, one does have to negotiate frisky sheep, scaredy sheep and dopey sheep, not to mention semi-interested cattle (standing on the road), so more pace could be a nightmare....and then there's the scenery. A wider road might give one more opportunity to take in the sights rather than focus on potential assassins.....but we could have always stopped and taken photos I guess??!!
After lunch I found myself back in front to lead a moderate roll off – roll on pace back down the Para's (averaging 95kph), taking the turn at Kaimatira Rd to go via Fordell to Hunterville, where we stopped for gas.
From there we scooted up to Mangaweka, then down through Kimbolton and Cheltnham to Ashhurst, down to Aokoutere, across the Track and down via Mauriceville to Masterton to get gas for the other two, while I took the opportunity to fit a battery pack to the Sena as I hadn't charged it before the ride. (It died as we turned off on Faukners Rd).
Steve then led back over the hill and I arrived home at 1921, having done 784km for the day at a total moving average of 84kph. It was a good day, albeit a bit cool to start with at 12-13°, but finished nicely at 20-21°. We did some good roads, with the River Road being new for me, plus a couple we haven't done for awhile and the butt is just that little bit harder and more accuxtomed for the TT2000 in less than two weeks.
I'll get a new mirror this week and the bike now has 60,705km on it.
I pretty much finished my TT2000 prep by printing our Route booklets on Friday, so yesterday was scheduled for a conditioning ride (ie 500-700km).
The first thought was to do the World Tour of the Whanganui River road (you know, Jurusalem, Corinth, Athens & London), but since my tyres are on their last legs (booked in for 60K service and new pair of Z8's on Thursday), I thought it might be more prudent top stay closer to home, so a loose plan evolved to just go over the Hill and see where I ended up.
I was unsure what to expect for the weather, so I put the wets into the bike, along with the camera a stray nut bar that I found in the pantry and a bottle of water, checked the tyres and left home at about 0900 and headed down to Z Crofton Downs for some air but I thought I'd put some 98 in, so then stopped at BP Melling on the way out of town and finally got on the road from there at 0925.
I'd closed the zips on the back of my jacket and down the sleeves but omitted to close the panels on the front and the weather looked really dirty on the Hill, but I figured I wasn't stopping until Ocean Beach so I managed to unfurl them but if it rained I would get wet...I hadn't brought spare gloves either. As it turned out, it was pretty clagged in over the hill and the visibility was very poor at the top but I only had to weather misty drizzle so faired OK. The road was wet but, and with my marginal tyres care was needed, plus there was a bit of traffic but I seemed to generally catch it just right so managing to average 71kph was OK.
Shortly after turning off onto the Western Lake Rd, Miss Sena advised that my battery was low, reminding me again within the minute, then she said goodbye, but I wasn't stopping until the beach so I rode on in silence. It's been a year or two (probably two) since I last came out this way and I recall thinking last time that the gravel was way shorter than the time before that. Well this time it is down to 1km and 300mtrs of that coming down the hill to the beach has always been sealed, albeit in poor condition. The gravel is bloody crappy though and really badly corrugated but I was soon stopped and enjoying a natural break, then took the helmet off to connect a wee battery pack to the Sena ....although I wasn't sure how effective that would be as a quick check revealed it was down to 1 bar (of 3), but I had music again, then I secured the front panels in the jacket, took a couple of pix then got back on the bike.
I'd arrived a 1030 and dithered for 10 minutes, then decided to head around to what looked like an exit track, only to fine it went nowhere but into thick, loose gravelly sand....Oh dear! Have you ever tried to handle a 300Kg beast in soft shit! There was no way I was going to back out so I had to pick a path of least resistance and go for it. The back imediately sunk, digging itself in, and I had a wee berm of soft stuff to get over but with a bit of careful application of clutch & throttle with whatever assistance I could manage with my own weight (a little difficult as the ST is quite a tall bike), I got the bike around and back on the hard.
Back on the road I was soon scooting back and over to Lake Ferry, pausing here for just a minute or two to take a couple of pix at 1117 and then it was on to Ngawi. That was a mixed bag of clear weather but some still wet roads, so more care and once again, some horrible corrugations on the gravelly bit, a brief sub-2 minute photo stop at 1145 and next stop was the Wind Farm on White Rock Rd. More mix of some wet but mostly dry and I arrived at 1237, 267km done.
I was only down to half a tank, but from here I had to go through Martinborough, then wasn't sure where I'd be when I'd need a fill so I headed for the BP in Martinborough (I think probably the first time I've ever filled there), then I hit the road through Tablelands and Gladstone, taking the Water Towers road to Wainuioru. More pleasant scooting through small pockets of rain and this time I paused for 5-6 minutes for a snack and drink, before turning right onto Stronvar Rd.
I've been through Wainuioru dozens of times over the past 10years, but I haven't been out towards Stronvar or Ngaumu since I was pruning trees during school holidays when I was at Highschool....let's say in the region of 45 years ago....so I figured it was time I checked it out. As per many of the Wairarapa roads, this was another nice clean, flowy road. Unfortunately I arrived at the end of the seal in 13.6km so turned back and checked out Ngaumu Rd, but that's even less at only 7.7km from Wainuioru, however, this time I took a few minutes to check out the old bridge over the Upokongaruru River (or Deep Gorge as it is known). It's quite interesting as it's a strange feeling to look down off the bridge and see the topps of fully grown trees well below. There is a big plaque there, no doubt outlining the history of the old disused bridge, but I couldn't be bothered reading it and got back on with the job....next stop Castlepoint.
By rights Riversdale should have been next, but I figured that since my sister lives there, I would make that an extended stop before heading for home, so it was on-on for Castlepoint.....and no, Te Parae Rd doesn't feature on my ST radar, so it was back to Te Ore Ore. At this point I'd done a relatively sedate 371km and I felt like a bit of a squirt so I lifted the pace a little to manage the 80km to the beach in 50 minutes (95kph), continuing around the back to get closer to the lighthouse (without walking).
Another brief pic stop and I got back on the road for my last stop at Riversdale. More semi-spirited riding to average 95kph, arriving at 1540. I took a pic by the Surf Club then called into my sister's and spent nearly two hours there, finally hitting the road for home at 1720....after swapping the now dead Battery Pack on the Sena with another very low one. For the 1st time of the day, I decided to use the GPS and asked Kate to set a course for home, which produce an ETA of 1919! Sheesh, 2 hours for 154km! I thought that was bit sedate and figured it would be nice to do get home by 1900, so I lit the fires and upped the anti to 'spirited'!
I didn't get silly as I did still need to take some care for my tired tyres, and on the way in I did notice the odd squirm as the rear transitioned accross the slightly squared edge, but generally just maintained a quick-steady with the usual roll-off; roll-on and by the time I got to Masterton the ETA was down to 1907 as I'd managed to average 101kph, but from there, a man with a few demerits needed to be a bit more conservative and I ended up pulling into the garage at 1908. The ride over the Hill being quite good but I did encounter a bit of traffic that held me up as I descended, so the return average of 80kph was better than the outgoing ride and it was nice to get home having done 675km for the day at a moving average of 85kph. It didn't seem too hard a ride on my butt and I'm not sure if I am in better condition than I thought or perhaps it was just all the stops (which is what it will be like on the TT2000 with about 43 CP's, plus fuel and feed stops).
I will charge the Sena and all 4 Battery packs this week and I'll go to Coneheads on Wednesday, then get the service and new tyres on Thursday and I might have to have another ride next weekend, which I think might have to be the World Tour of the Whanganui River? The bike has 59,795km on it now.
This month has been another reasonably quiet riding month, but there's been plenty happening and I have managed a couple of short rides. I'm certainly appreciating the DriRider jacket as I've been riding with the zips in the sleeves open, the zips in the back down and the front panels folded away.
I went out with the IAM riders on Sunday and it was 23° at 0900 and when I was heading home at about 1300 it was hitting 31°. It was quite a pleasant ride over the Hill, then down the Western side of Lake Wairarapa and back up to Martinborough for refreshments. I was fairly lucky with the traffic on the hill getting a reasonable run both ways, except for the last bit on each side.
Today I had a funeral to go to in Palmy so naturally I had to take the bike for the scoot up SH1 and via Shannon. I figured that it would be a bit of a waste of the day to come back that way though so I enjoyed a nice wee scoot over The Track, then one of my favorite wee diversions through Mauriceville, paused to check out how mum was getting on, then finished with the usual fang over the Hill. Once again, there was plenty of commute traffic heading north, but the southern lane was relatively empty so I had a nice free-ride.....and the temp today was only around 23-25°.
Other stuff that's been happening is that the recent fine spell has meant we have been having our Wednesday night Coneheads and I'm feeling I've gone to another level there, feeling a lot more comfortable to throw the ST over at slow speed and I've been managing to drop the expansions on the courses to get closer to the standard sizes the Yank Police use.
And then there's the TT2000. I've spent hours and hours pouring over MapSource and Google Maps, tracking distances and times on a spreadsheet, sorting the CP PDF's into ride order in a booklet, sorting accomodation etc....and then find out that there's things like the Wanaka Ironman to consider, head back to the drawing board to tweek the route, or woops, there's a bit of gravel, tweek around it.
After working my way through about 7 or 8 options from the 1st loose plan, I think I'm pretty close to having things right now, including working out where the Mystery CP's are, but because we have way more points than we need, and because Mystery CP 1 requires 7km of gravel, we'll only do that if we end up 15-20minutes ahead of schedule by the time we get there.......I can't wait for 18/02/15 when we head south on the 0230 Interislander Ferry.
Oh yes....and I've been trying out the new Sena S20. I'm getting the hang of it now and although my phone has bluetooth, it's a bit old and isn't really compatible in that, I can recieve calls but can't make them and it tends to block out the other functions. I got a few tips from Gremlin to get it right but a bit more training and practice is required to remember all the sequences and taps for the different functions.
I have a new set of Z8's waiting in the shop, the bike will get it's 60,000km service in about two weeks......and I'm loving this weather!!!
It's a bit rough to go two months between blogs, (espicially in ther middle of Summer) but it's not that I haven't been riding, just that I've been a bit remiss. Also, I did do a blog in December after a crap experience when flying with Virgin....but I just didn't post it up. And when I say I have been riding, I guess in reality I've only done one blogable ride!...although I have done 2,000+km! ...a lot has happened but.
Since getting the new supension James and I did a trip to Manfield to run a Coneheads thing for the VMCC. That was a nice day but having sod-all room we could only setup a GP8 course and the punters were there to race, not piss around in a carpark, so there wasn't much action.
Then at the beginning of December Ann and I took a week off to go and watch the Lion King stage show in Brisbane and relax on the Gold Coast....that was nice....apart from booking to fly Air New Zealand then finding ourselves on Virgin flights!
Christmas was quiet, then we had to go to Patea on the 27th for Ann's Parent's unveiling. That was good and I had to go on the bike as I needed to get back for work....that was even better! Did you know it is 660km from Wellington to Patea? Yes, well I thought it was only about 250km, but it's 660km if you go via Rimutaka's – Route52 – Gentle Annie – Fields Track & Paraparas to avoid the traffic! Bloody marvelous. It was about 25°, but that was hot enough to melt the tar on the Gentle Annie and Para's, so consequently I wasn't totally committing to the corners and taking cruiser lines which resulted in a few wider than normal exits....some of which had bikes coming the other way. I was in control but I was a bit pissed off with myself as the poor pricks coming the other way were probably shitting themselves to see the black death lurking on the centre line as they were setting up for a corner! Bloody good fang but!
Then, on Monday 29th Dec, I rode the bike to work and thought, "Shit, that was soft!" as I exited the driveway, then I knew something wasn't quite right as riding along Khandallah Rd and the slightest bump would have me bouncing for the next 200 metres (somewhat akin to riding a dragon). Turned out a seal had gone in the new rear shock but with some help from Andrew Templeton, I got it out and away to KSS and it was back withing two days. I refitted it yesterday and took it for a test run today.
Other things that have happened are:
I booked accommodation, sailings and registered for the TT2000 with Steve (and Woody is to join us) for 19-23 Feb.
I've bought a pair of Sena S20's for Ann and myself.
As mentioned, I needed to test ride the rear shock as well as sample the Sena to see how that went and in talking to Woody about the TT, he needed a ride so joined us for today. We just went over the hill and over to Lake Ferry, then after a snack and nice break, we returned via Martinborough – Tablelands – Ponatahi Rd – and the Hill.
I need to have a play with the preload for when I have Ann on, but otherwise, it was quite pleasant. The temp got to 29° so I had all the vents open and the wind was up a bit so care was needed on the hill and we did 290km. I do need to do a bit more riding to build up for the TT....and I'll need to get some new tyres before then.....and I need to get the Sena sorted! That's been a bit of fun and there's a fair bit of learning and experimenting required.
I've tried pairing to phone (as 1st phone) and GPS (as GPS) and pairing to phone (as 1st Phone) and GPS (as 2nd phone), and pairing the phone to the GPS and the GPS to the Sena (as 1st phone) but I can't seem to get it right. I phone receives calls but I can't seem to get it to speed dial out....and I can get FM radio, and I can hear Nav commands and music from the GPS, but when the GPS is on, I can't access voice commands or ambient sound??
Oh the joys of technology!
The other thing we've been doinbg a bit of ius the Capital Coast Coneheads practice on Wednesday evenings. That's going well and we expect to run the Grand Ginny Challenge sometime within the next two months.
So I'm busy! Busy at work, busy route planning for the TT2000 and busy with Coneheads....and the weather is finally nice. (It was a bit pissing off to see how brown it was in the Wai'rapa, so they've obviously had it good...but I guess that's normal). The bike now has 58,370km on it.
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.