We met up at a local gas station and on the dot of 5 mounted up to ride down to meet up with the rest of the riders who were starting from Upper Hutt. The morning was cool but calm and this made for an enjoyable ride down to Shannon where we picked up a couple more riders (barely had to slow down - good organising there). The highlight of this first stretch was a great run over Paikok Hill chasing a certain Tiger. The road was dry this time around (damp and slippery last year) and at 6am there was no traffic on it. A lot of fun.
At Caltex Rimutex we met up with most of the other riders although some were already leaving to make the most of a nice day. Brian, Mark and I quickly signed in and hit the road heading for the Rimataka's and some more corners.
By 7am we had already done around 170km for the day and Mark was looking for gas for his bike. We stopped quickly at Carterton and topped up all three bikes before heading off again.
From Carterton we took
the Masterton bypass and then trundled up State Highway 2 until the Mangamire turn-off. Riding through Mangamire and
over the track we started to get blown around a bit as the wind came up but it was all good on familiar roads.
More familiar roads took us across from Ashhurst to Colyton, Fielding and Halcombe before crossing over to Wanganui and then turning Northwards towards National Park. The Parapara's were in fantastic condition and what a difference riding them in fine, daylight conditions rather than pitch black and pouring with rain as they were on the Grand Challenge a few weeks ago. Only two sheep to avoid too! I love the Paraparas...
Our next stop was for fuel in National Park and this took us a bit longer than it needed to as some of the pumps were out. But soon enough we were on the road again and looking forward to lunch in Te Kuiti. The ride from National Park to Taumarunui was it's usual boring self but once onto Highway 4 we were back onto great riding roads. The only thing that marred this fine bit of road was a section of very rough road works which some riders likened to riding along a river bed...
Dropping down into Te Kuiti we had already completed 600 odd km of our target 1,000 so it was time for a spot of lunch at the Gas & Gobble. While we were there we caught up with Yod, Meanie, Monie and Koroj before hopping on the bikes again.
Our route then took us on through Otorahanga to the Te Kawa crossroads where we had to stop for a photo to show that we'd been there and therefore covered our required distance to get our certificates. Here we turned off to take some fantastic back roads through to Mangakino and Whakamaru. At one turn-off it was interesting to note that the road sign was down - I wonder how many riders missed this turn-off? It didn't affect us too much as Captain Zumo doesn't need no stinkin' signs and we were quite happy to trust him to lead us on.
From Whakamaru we had a pretty quiet ride through to Tokaanu - I couldn't see Mark behind Brian (and thought he may have stopped for gas) so took it pretty easy. In Tokaanu we had our last stop for fuel - and yes, Mark had made it without topping up (something like 320km or so).
The last leg home was just a gentle cruise down SH1 until the Vinegar Hill turn-off. Here we waved off the ZX-10 pilot who had been with us since Te Kawa and attacked the Hill.
In the end I would have been home by 5pm but for running into Cowboyz on the road and him breaking down (fuse) while chasing us down. A great day out riding the bike in good conditions for a change!
- total distance: 1,024km
- riding time: 10hrs, 40mins
- moving average: quite good
- Paikok Hill
- 8 mile
- riding some of the GC route in perfect conditions.