GC Mode! I love switching into GC Mode and letting the K’s roll off the rubber.
With the Grand Challenge (1,000 miles in 24 hours) looming at the end of October and me having done very little riding, today I decided to go for my first conditioning ride in order to harden up the butt and try to get the mind and body into the endurance groove. It was a last minute decision to do this, so it was to be a solo ride and to expedite matters, I just pulled an unused 1,000Km ride plan and loaded it into the GPS. This was a good ride to start with because, even if I did the whole ride, I would never be more than 200Km from home, so if the predicted bad weather got dirty, I could bale at any time and wouldn’t be too far away.
The bike was good to go so it was just a matter of loading up the usual gear, put the wets on in anticipation, call past the office to pick up the cell phone and hit the road.
The planned ride started with the Paekak’ hill and Makara, but I skipped them and joined the route after that with a scoot out to the Wainui’ Coast. The ride started easily at around 0915 with little traffic on the road and I still had 3 bars on the fuel gauge so that would be plenty to get me to Caltex Rimutaka for a fill on the way out of town. Maintaining an easy pace (albeit a little more brisk than the 80kph speed limit), I was fueling by 1020 and back on the road to head over the hill within 10 minutes.
From here, I upped the pace a little more, taking the Western Access road around lake Wairarapa, ducked by the pub at Lake ferry then shot over to Ngawi. The roads were all pretty good up to this point but there are still a couple of short sections of gravel heading along the coast and I entered one of these with a bloody great FWD stuck right in the middle of the road and with no intention whatsoever of easing back to his own side. I did have enough room but the camber and thickish gravel were trying to encourage the Big Red to head for the ditch!
Not to worry, I was soon pausing for a natural break in Ngawi, then took a pic and headed back towards Martinborough. Just before there though, I needed to deviate again to visit the Wind Farm on the White Rock Rd. By now the expected front was looming and I had my wee moment for the day as I got close to the wind farm. I was barrelling through a left hander which was unexpectedly littered with crap and the bike decided that a two wheel drift was in order!! ....and transitioned about two feet to the right before regaining traction...fortunately with no fuss or drama! (Note that point for the return)
I stopped for a moment in the carpark to note the location on the GPS for future reference and continued on my way just as the rain started.
From here I scooted into Martinborough, then onto Greytown, taking Swamp Rd and Watersons Line to pass around Carterton, exiting on Chester Rd at Clareville, then taking Hughes and Francis Lines to sweep back through Gladstone, around the Water Towers, then out to the Coast. I still had 3 bars on the fuel gauge and figured I should be OK, so I turned for Riversdale, figuring that when I hit the last bar I would turn back for Masterton.
The rain had caused me to drop the pace quite a bit because of the proliferation of tar slicks, but I guess I must have been enjoying the freedom of riding alone because, the economy was hovering around 15.8Km/Ltr and I made it to Riversdale, then over to Tinui when the last bar ticked up and indicated an 85Km range, but thanks to early testing of this, I knew I only had about 50Km left and I was 40 from more fuel.
That put a damper on things so I eased into economy mode and pretty much had a ‘no-brakes’ ride back to Masterton.
It was now 1515 and I had managed 540Km at an overall average of 88kph, my arse was sore and I figured that would do for the day with 100Km to get home. The bike took 25.76 Ltrs (so much for having a 29Ltr tank) and I would have been lucky to get another 10Km before running out, having done 450Km on the tank (up to 16.4Km/Ltr thanks to the easier pace) and within 10minutes I was back on the road and heading for home.
I was pretty annoyed when I was still short of Carterton and my music cut out and I looked down to see a dead GPS!....bloody hell, not again! This was a warranty replacement after my first unit died and with the GC coming up, I don’t need these sort of problems. I tried switching and removing the unit from the cradle, but no luck so I just pressed on.
There was a huge amount of traffic on the road but I made good time and was home by 1630, having completed 654Km and the bike now on 118,381Km
It was good to get my first conditioning ride under the belt and it was bloody great to get out by myself and slot into the GC Mode. I certainly needed it as the bod was pretty stiff by the time I got home. I did manage to loosen up though by making room in the garage for a second ST.....but maybe more on that next week.
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These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.