Since August I’ve been dithering over whether to do the TT2000 on the last weekend of February, the Southern Cross on the 2nd week of March, or both. I was leaning towards doing the SX, but in the end, due to the time factor (4 days for the TT as opposed to 8 or 9 for the SX) and the route for the TT including lots of new roads for me, I made my decision this week. I then ordered a Garmin Zumo 660 GPS, booked my ferry crossings, booked Friday & Sunday accommodations and liased with Jantar over the route and I’m pretty much set to go now, apart from fine-tuning the route planning, aiming for Gold Flyers which will mean doing around 2800Km.
I haven’t been on the bike for the last couple of weeks because I’ve been focused on painting the balcony at the flat, which I finished on Saturday lunch-time, and after finishing off by doing the lawns…I found myself in need of a ride.
We’ve been contemplating including an economy run, a no brakes ride and a rodeo for upcoming Uly rides, so I thought I’d check-out the Wainui Coast Rd and a couple of carparks. The coast road was another road to be dropped to an 80kph limit recently but I was sitting between 90-110 and ended up tapping the rear about 4 times on blind left handers that tightened up. It was easier returning, when I only tapped it once. That done, I checked out the Riverbank carpark in the Hutt and the one above Te Whaea in town…but that one is now an Astroturf soccer field so I guess it’s been awhile since I’ve been over there…and means we need to focus on procuring a section of the riverbank park at some stage.
That done I started to think about a ride for Sunday. My usual buddies were unavailable so I posted a thread on KB, then thought about some options. I didn’t really expect anyone to respond with the short notice and that was to prove the case when I departed from Caltex Rimutuka at 1001, so I decided a TT conditioning ride was in order.
The aim was to travel to Wanganui, riding as economically as possible, (??) whilst endeavouring to maintain as close to a 100kph average, on roads not normally used. It was quite windy, which didn’t help, and Traffic on the Rimutaka Hill meant I was at a time disadvantage right from the start, even though I thought I was maintaining a reasonably good pace. I took SH2 through Greytown, then around through Carrington to Masterton and by the time I paused to visit mum, I had only managed 80kph.
After stopping for half an hour, I continued up through Mauriceville to Kaiparoro, then crossed SH2 to take South Rd and the Mangatainoka Valley Road around the Western side of Eketahuna. There’s about 8Km of gravel on this road and last time I went through here it was hard packed but today it was thick and loose so I found myself down to 40kph and worried that the front might go out…Bugger. Oh well, on-on through to Mangamaire, and Nikau to Balance, where I noted the windfarm was in full production so I erred on the side of caution, taking the gorge rather than the Saddle road.
Through Ashhurst and I was now on good wide open roads so stepped up to a brisk gallop through Fielding and Halcombe, taking Pryces Rd at Kakariki to take a long cut across to Waituna West, Vinegar Hill and back to Hunterville. I’d been running pretty much down wind through the South Wairarapa but was now punching into a stiff Westerly and it was wrecking my economy and now I had the Fordell road to contend with. The temp was up to 25º so the tar on this road looked suspect in places, there were patches of loose stuff scattered about, but I pressed on to Wanganui, getting there at 1415.
After finding that Ann’s cousies weren’t home, I decided to head straight back to Wellington via SH1. It was another downwind jaunt to Sanson, where I filled, then I turned into a wicked crosswind all the way down through Himitangi and Foxton, but at least it was steady. From Levin the traffic built up a bit, my butt was getting uncomfortable and I was starting to stew as I had jeans under the corduras…I was a bit out of condition and when I got home just before 1700, I was knackered.
It was a good day but! I did 585Km in the end over 7 hours which equates to around an 80kph average, but without the stops that would have elevated to around 85kph. I guess that wasn’t too bad for the conditions and roads but I need to have a few more rides to get the butt in shape for the TT and condition up for some hard riding. The Economy to Wanganui was down to 16.5K/Ltr and rose to 16.8 by the time I got to Sanson, then I managed 18.2 coming home, so once again, it wasn’t great but the wind didn’t help. The bike now has 106,128Km on it.
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.