Sunday, September 22, 2013

Recce in the Wairarapa

Today's weather was a bit of an improvement on Saturday's but with next weekend out for riding I had to make sure that I got a ride in somehow.  After walking the dog and mulling my options over (walkies is good for that) I decided that I'd hit the Wairarapa and check out a couple of the 2014 TT2000 checkpoints.

I left home in pretty reasonable weather but the track and Mangamire were a bit damp.  Looking further South I could tell that I was gonna hit some rain at some stage and sure enough by the time I was in Eketahuna I was getting watered with a reasonable amount of vigour.

Rather than take the normal and more picturesque route through Mauriceville I stuck it out on the wet SH2 to Masterton.  From Masterton I made my way out to the first checkpoint I wanted to see at Te Wharau.  It turns out that I've ridden all but the last 13km previously.  That last 13km was some nice windies too...

By now both mine and the Connie's tanks were getting low so rather than head onto the next checkpoint I opted to shoot through to Martinborough to locate some fuel for man and machine.

There was more light rain and slippery roads on the way and at one stage Paul Simon was telling me "the nearer your destination the more you're slip slidin' away" - as I was in a tight slippery bit I decided to take his advice and pootled my way into town.

After a quick lunch I sorted out the Connie's fuel problem and then back-tracked a bit towards that second checkpoint.  Getting to it only involved about 10km of "unknown" Hinakura Road.  This section was very windy and narrow country road and the last 1.6km turned out to be some pretty nice gravel (not in Mike's ride notes).

Having succeeded in my mission for the day I told the Zumo to take me home and started to retrace my tracks.  On the way in though I'd spotted some nice views so had to have another quick photo stop.

I managed to get into Masterton without too much in the way of rain but headed straight into a bit of a bomb as I left town.  It really came down on me all the way back to Eketahuna - the roads were very wet but nice and clean so I still made pretty good time right through to Pahiatua.

In Pahiatua I decided to ride through to Ballance as the Tagorama tag had been moved there earlier in the week and I thought I may as well grab it.  Trouble is I didn't quite replicate Sam's pic...doh!

Spot the difference...

After this last stop the rest of my ride was just a quiet one through the gorge and back into Palmy.  Total distance around 378km and mission accomplished!

Monday, September 09, 2013

Another fabulous video from Neil

The Trumpy was going just fine at this stage.  I was playing it pretty safe on my shot rear tyre...still had a blast though!

Sunday, September 08, 2013

BRR Gravel Tips Ride

Yesterday was a bit of a different style of BRR ride.  Neil had advertised it as a low key ride with the emphasis on sharing tips for gravel riding - or a bull session with a bit of riding thrown in...As mentioned in my sneak preview the day was going to end up being a bit more action packed than Neil had planned...

There was a fair bit of drizzle and light rain hanging around when I left home to go and meet the guys in Hunterville.  This meant that I quickly noticed that my worn out K60 rear was starting to behave fairly averagely in these sorts of conditions - any slippery tar was producing wheelspin so I dialed things back again and took it pretty easy on my way over Vinegar Hill.

In Hunterville we took over a small cafe and while coffees were slurped had a bit of yak about tyre pressures, counter-steering and all sorts of riveting riding stuff that I won't go into detail here (a shame, I know) before heading out to give it all a bit of a go.

Our first bit of gravel was to be the delightful Watershed Road and as planned when we hit the first of the gravel we stopped so some of the guys could have a play with their tyre pressures.

Tyres sorted and we were off.  The recent rain had left the road in pretty nice condition but in some areas things were a bit slippery and I had to be a bit careful with the throttle on the Vee in this stuff.  Poor Don even surprised us by having a little incident - luckily no damage to man or machine.

Here he is up in front of me just after the incident and getting quickly back into the flow of things.

At the end of that video you may have noticed us pulling off the road and parking up.  This was due to our first "little" mechanical issue.

The poor wee Triumph had decided to blow the main fuse - and in a particularly impressive way.  Luckily Neil knew where to find it - buried way down underneath the battery.  When he extracted it we discovered that not only had the fuse blown but the fuse holder was fairly melted and damaged too.

We ended up with all sorts of equipment in there digging out the melted plastic and even eventually cutting the corner off the fuse holder so that we could get a new fuse in.  After a couple of attempts we finally got there and the Trumpy was ready to roll again - phew!

After finishing off Watershed Road and taking in some quick but damp tarmac we turned off to take Ridge Road and Pukenaua Roads (in the opposite direction to last time) into Taihape for a well deserved lunch.

After lunch we back-tracked a little but were soon back onto one of our favourite roads again - Turakina Valley Road.

Rather than continue on down the valley Neil's route took us up a new to me road that proved to be a fantastic bit of gravel - the V-Strom approved also...

At the top Wayne, Neil and I waited for the other two guys and when they didn't appear to be coming we all turned around and headed back down the hill...only to run into them a little way down.  Oh well, another chance at Okaka Road...

When we regrouped at the top we discovered the cause for the delay.

The mudguard/Rego plate carrier had broken off Steve's 3,000km old Husky!  It had cracked through, fallen off and gone into the wheel.  As you can see they had made some fast but good repairs to get going again but what a bummer!

Next up it was my turn.  While a couple more cable ties were being used to shore up the Husky I looked down at the Vee and noticed oil on the ground!  Oh crap!  What had I done?

We were kind of in the middle of nowhere so didn't have easy access to a mechanic so we checked the oil in the bike and as it wasn't pouring out I decided to ride on and stop and check the oil level regularly.

Luckily the next bit of road was a really smooth one (Pohonui Road - gotta go back there!) with very little gravel on it.  I took the lead and nursed the DL along, short-shifting and puttering along in higher gears than I might normally have used.  All the while worrying whether I was ruining the mighty V-twin.

Somewhere along the way we got a bit split up.  One minute Brian was behind me in my mirrors and the next he had gone.  I thought that he had just stopped at an intersection to make sure that everyone else took the correct road (assuming I was on the correct one) but as I found out later that was probably not the case.

I ended up stopping on the next reasonably flat bit of ground so I could check the oil level and wait for the guys.  By this time it was after 4pm but the sun was still shining across the valley from me.

After about ten minutes of waiting I decided that I needed to keep going - I was worried that the garages may not be open after 5 in Hunterville and I was pretty certain that I was going to be needing some oil.  I took off quietly again and kept a sharp eye out in my mirrors - still wondering what was going on with the other guys and if I was just heading off in completely the wrong direction...

As it turned out I was going the right way and I ended up in Hunterville just before 5pm and the garage was still open.  I parked the Vee on a flat spot and checked the oil.  There was still plenty in her!  The oil was just below the full mark and there didn't seem to have been any leaking going on in the last hour or so.  What a relief.

Next up I had to know what was going on with the others.  I got on the phone and was surprised (given where we'd been riding) when Neil picked up.  This did mean that he wasn't riding though...Unluckily for him, the fuse had gone again and even though he had another spare, they just couldn't get the bike sorted.  Neil had sent the others on ahead of him and called for the AA to come and get him.  Apparently they found a not very happy camper at about 8:15pm.  What a crap day for Neil!

The rest of my ride was a quiet one straight down SH1 (I was still worried that I might need a garage and some oil) and I was home just before 6pm.  Now to sort out that oil leak ready for the next ride...

More pics here.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

BRR ride preview

An action packed BRR ride today.  Here's a quick preview with more to come...

Monday, September 02, 2013

Great wee vid!

I can't think why but this is my favourite video on the interweb at the moment:

More of Neil's videos.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Spring has sprung

Yep, and with a delay in a big project at work it meant that I wasn't working this weekend so I just had to escape somewhere on the Connie...

I left home just before 10 in the morning with a couple of ideas in my head and they all begun with a trip over to Wanganui and onto the Paraparas.  From there I had a few options, some that would have me home sooner than others.  I decided to just see how things went and decide on my ultimate route home somewhere along the way...

From Palmy I took my usual route across to Marton and then to Turakina and Fordell.  As I had plenty of fuel I decided that I didn't need to stop in Wanganui so took my usual detour that would see me on the Paras sooner...

Before long I was on the Para's proper and enjoying one of my favourite bits of road.

Having a ball, I slowly getting closer to decision making time with the option to carry on North to Raetihi and beyond or to take Fields Track (another favourite) and then make some more decisions when I popped back out on SH49.  Both directions offered up many choices further on the way - it just came down to how far I actually wanted to ride.

I opted for Fields Track figuring I could still go through to either Ohakune or Waiouru depending on how I felt at SH49.  The climb up the hill was fabulous and I have it on video except the camera had fogged up ruining the footage - damn!  I did manage to avoid the temptation to just keep riding all the way through and ended up stopping at the top for a few pics.

The rest of Fields track was just as nice and I didn't see my first other vehicle until probably two thirds of the way through - my kind of road.

At the end of the road I decided that I was getting peckish and so I decided to cut the ride short by turning for Waiouru and the road home.  It was definitely a bit cooler heading through to Taihape and there was even a few spits of rain that ended up coming to nothing which was just fine by me.

In Taihape I gassed up and ate a terrible pie and had a chat to a couple of guys - one with a Tiger Sport and the other a DL identical to mine.  The DL guy was interested to hear how the Connie compared to the DL...

From Taihape it was another quiet cruise down SH1 to Mangaweka where you guessed it, I turned off again to take in the road to Rangiwahia and Kimbolton.  (Apologies for the crappy music - hard to find decent stuff on YouTube).

Yes, I was having fun!  But a few more photos were in order:

Not today...

There was still more good riding after this and trust me, I enjoyed every km!  Along the Cheltenham/Feilding straight I got caught up in a short shower and even had some wet roads near Bunnythorpe.  There wasn't really enough rain to get damp but it was getting cooler - even though it was still early in the afternoon.

Home by 2pm after a good little squirt and now relaxing in front of a nice fire - what a great day!

More pics here.