As usual, us Palmy riders (James, Monie and I) started in Palmy at 05:00 and after little sleep - the damn rain kept waking me - I was up at 4 getting my act together. I bet the other 2 to the BP and got tanked up while watching some other guys trying to sort out a crappy old ute on the forecourt - a little early morning entertainment...
|Monie ready to roll at o-dark thirty|
We rolled in to Caltex Rimutaka at about 6:40 and were probably amongst the last of the riders there as they'd not had to ride 150km or so to get to the start. We signed on with Anne, said gidday to James R and Monie even picked up a prize!
Minutes later, we were off, making for the 'takas with the sun in our eyes and a red ST (James) in tow. I had a pretty good run over the hill, not getting held up too much so pulled over in Featherston. The other 3 were not far behind me and Monie tore past taking the lead to Masterton. The two Connies trundled along behind checking out James R's dancing/riding styles - apparently cruise control gives you time for other things on SH2...
In Masterton we pulled in for our first scheduled fuel stop (James R carrying on without us) before setting out for the first photo checkpoint at Castle Point. I should have been taking pictures riding out here as it was turning into a very nice morning and there was plenty of nice scenery to check out. It was a lovely ride out to the beach and one of James's first comments was how he'd forgotten how much fun that bit of road is - he wasn't wrong!
The next Check point was just around the corner at the Riversdale Shop. I'd ridden through here a few times on the DL but having taken gravel options had not ridden all the sealed bits or even gone into the township. After one short windy bit of tar there was a nice stretch of road into Riversdale where the Connie had a little bit of fun - only some shepherds moving some sheep slowed me up for a minute or two.
James led off from Riversdale and after some frustration with the GoPro, I managed to get it going and sat behind the speedy little Z1000 for trip back to Castle Point Road.
Back in Masterton we turned North on SH2 for a little before breaking off to ride through Mauriceville. This was just me trying to avoid main roads again...
In Pahiatua we crossed over the first hill but then ducked through Ballance and the gorge to Ashhurst and then across Feilding and Halcombe to our next fuel stop (after 330km) at Turakina. By now we'd done 500 odd km and we stopped just North of Wanganui for a decent lunch break.
|Even Team Kawasaki need a break every now and again...|
The next hop was take us the Para's to Raetihi. As usual I enjoyed this stretch a lot but we did get to enjoy some wet roads here and also some of the cause for the wet roads...
In Raetihi James made the inspired decision to stop to add his waterproof liners to his jacket and better gloves. I stuck with swapping gloves and we rode off into weather that quickly got worse. We got plenty of rain cruising through to National Park, a nice soaking at Owhango and then sunshine and wet roads on our way to CP4 at Raurimu.
The road up over to Kuratau is always fun but today we had a little light rain, wet road and an absolute idiot in a rental car. This guy had a major death wish and was consistently drifting over the centre line. I watched him do this a number of times as I caught up to him and in absolute horror when he crossed the line by about a metre as he entered a blind right hander. I was looking for places to go as a 4WD came around the corner...
Well, nobody died, and as I passed him (rather be ahead of people like that!) I gave him a bit of sign language indicating where he really should be driving and we carried onto the CP.
While there, our mate went past so I quickly gobbled him up again and rode on into some more rain on the last bit of SH41 into Turangi.
From Turangi it was a pretty quiet cruise down SH1 to CP6 in Waiouru. The road was pretty quiet with just the one radar Buddy out and perhaps just the odd drop of rain to keep us on our toes.
Next up was a trip down Fields Track to the last checkpoint at the Whangaehu Bridge. On the way across SH49 we passed a VTR1000 doing the ride and he joined up behinds us for the trip over the track.
The ride to the bridge was pretty interesting and a lot of fun. First up there was quite a stretch of roadworks which involved quite a lot of reasonably chunk gravel. Luckily I was on my Adv bike eh? Then there were damp and sometimes muddy roads and plenty of patchy roads - all designed to keep you on your toes - it was great little wake-up after boring old SH1.
|Decided against Burma Hill Road - fun as it may have been...|
By the time we had dropped down onto the Paras it was raining again and this time we turned South. I was really enjoying things (although my butt was not quite as happy) and once the rain stopped and the roads were drier, well...yeeha!
We stopped briefly at Upo to decide on our next plan of attack and ended up deciding to just go straight home so said our goodbyes there. A squirt through to Okoia, a putter across to Turakina, another squirt over towards Halcombe and then I waved off the other two as I made my way to Mt Stuart and home while they carried onto Ashhurst and then we were all done for another great 1KC!
|Better sort out that message...|