The weather forecast had been firmly in the "not great" category leading up to the ride so I'd finally bought some new wet weather gear to hopefully just take along for the ride. With any luck it could just stay in the topbox for the day...
Because the ride starts in Upper Hutt, the Palmy riders have to be even madder than the others and get up extra early to hopefully meet up with the rest of the gang at around 6:30. For me, I set the alarm for 4am and then got up at 3:30...
Well, I can quite confidently tell you that there is nothing on TV at that time of the night so I ended up being ready to rock pretty quickly and was first to the gas station where we were meeting. Not long after I arrived Yod turned up, followed by Meanie and Monie and then Rodney keen for his first NZDR ride.
|The Connie knows how to get up early too|
With the weather actually better than forecast (no rain, not cold), we headed South with Menie showing the way. In places the road was wet but there was just the odd spit. The trip over the Paikok hill got a little exciting for me a couple of times when I hit something that threw the bike a bit sideways before she shook her head and carried on. Then the idiot rider managed to hit a rock just two corners up the road. I gave myself a bit of a slapping, dropped back from Monie a bit and settled down.
In the Hutt we were at the ride start for just long enough to sign on and clean visors before taking off again.
|Just the 1 photo too|
We got a few showers and were on mostly on wet roads as we made our way up to Pahiatua where we stopped early for fuel. I'd planned out our fuel stops out with the first being in Dannevirke but two of the crew had been a little doubtful at the 307km first leg so I decided on the earlier stop - as it happened they would have made it easy.
Just before Dannevirke we turned off again and got onto the Weber road. Conditions ensured that our wet-weather riding skills didn't go wasted.
|In the background you can clearly see...not much|
From the checkpoint we carried on across more back roads to Takapau where the rain finally gave up the chase and let the sun take over. The next checkpoint was in Waipawa.
From Waipawa we started off on the way to SH50 with the aim of picking up two more checkpoints along the way. The first one at Argyll East School was an easy find - I was actually riding Menie's Connie so he could try out my bar risers and even though there was about 200m between us still got my GPS instructions over bluetooth...
After the school the roads flowed through some nice curves and Yod and I broke away from the others for a bit. We caught up with them again after making a slight little navigational error...
The next check point was supposed to be a sign saying "Somersby" and I had used the street address we'd been given as the waypoint in my GPS route. It turns out that the Garmin maps are not that accurate in the back roads of Hawkes Bay. We had a brief chat on the road and carried on a bit looking for the sign but to no avail. In the end we stopped at the entrance to a couple of properties, took some pics, lost some warm layers and took on water - things were hotting up.
We eventually found SH50 and carried on up (waving to KoroJ along the way) to busy Napier and then Bayview where it was time for another early fuel stop.
The next leg is the wonderful
Just out of Wairoa we decided to stop for lunch at a little cafe by the river. Unfortunately there was a 45 minute wait and that's not really ideal when you've 1,000km to do so we carried on into Wairoa and had a great lunch at the bakery.
|Don't fiddle with the camera!|
The next checkpoint was out on the Tiniroto Road and this is another fabulous bit of tar with more corners than you can chuck a stick at - great stuff. And so the videos...
Me having fun:
And catching some of the other riders - checkout the little Enfield Himalayan:
About 60km in was our checkpoint.
The GoPro was still recording, so here's the Pamy crew and others arriving at the checkpoint. Notice how dangerous it can be to be a photographer at a 1KC checkpoint...
Now it was time to turn around and head back to Wairoa. I initially behaved myself and sat behind Monie but she got sick of me and shooed me away.
In Wairoa we stopped for gas and a cold drink before attacking the Napier-Wairoa road once more.
Getting to our next checkpoint meant ducking up the Napier-Taupo road and then turning off onto Glengarry Road to go in search of some letter boxes. Now, this was one checkpoint I was a little worried about so had used GoogleMaps to locate it and then get the co-ordinates - and this time it worked!
By now we were over the 800km mark and this was the last checkpoint. But, we hadn't found that fourth one and after asking the troops we decided it was worth another looksee on our way home down SH50.
We crossed over the back of Taradale to Fernhill and then retraced our footsteps to roughly where we thought the checkpoint should be. In the end we found it by recognising the letter boxes in the ride notes but you may notice a slight difference in the two pictures below...
I that maybe there's been a few changes since Koro took his photo...
Now it was time to abandon the route map and hit home on the GPS. It turned out that the GPS sent us back past CP3 as well before getting us back onto SH50 and then SH2 to Dannevirke where it was time for one last stop for a cold drink.
It was a fair bit colder by now but the rain stayed away as we finished the ride off with a nice blast over the saddle and a cruise home. A nice way to spend 15 hours...
|I think we must have had a nap somewhere...|