Day one of this year's TT assault was a short ride to the ferry, across the Straits, a little pootling and then staying the night in Blenheim. But...
In the days leading up to my departure Cyclone Gita was hammering the stuffing out of the islands and coming our way. I kept an eagle eye on things and hoped for the best. In the end the cyclone didn't really hit Palmy (we had some high winds the night before I left) but it did hammer a lot of the country including places I was supposed to be riding through...
With the cyclone still hammering the Wellington Coast I went to bed wondering what my ride down to Wellington was going to be like. I needed to be at the ferry by 8am so I got up around 5 to give me plenty of time to make the ferry - good plan.
Even though it wasn't raining when I left home I put on my wets as I really had no idea what sort of weather I was going to be riding into. In the end I needn't have bothered and I arrived at the terminal sweating in my gear.
The first part of the ride was uneventful but I soon learned that SH1 was closed from Paikok to Pukerua Bay due to the risk (or actual) of slips. Trucks were also not allowed over the Paikok Hill so they (and the cars behind them) were parked up and backed-up right back to North of Mckay's Crossing - they were going nowhere. Luckily, I was on a slim and agile Super Tenere and I was able to move through the mess and take the Hill route.
All this messing about meant that it took me about 2 hours and 15 minutes to do the 140km from home to the ferry...now, how rough were the Straits going to be?
|Not a bad morning in Wellington|
|The Kaitaki waiting for a Tenere to board|
|Slightly more upmarket tub...|
|Awful sea conditions!|
Eventually it was time for me to leave for Blenheim but I had planned to ride around the Port Underwood Road to get in a little gravel practice. Al was also keen for a short squirt up to the summit.
|Looking out across Port Underwood|
|Crappy spot eh Al?|
I left Ocean Bay just before the Ford Mondeo in the first picture above and thought that the owner was pretty keen driving it through this bit of road. Climbing up out of Robin Hood Bay there were some quite rough patches where the water had dug big channels across the road. There were also some road cones stretched across the road (but with enough room for vehicles to get through easily) and the road crew on the side of the road just watched me go through...
And so I got to enjoy a bit more gravel before this:
|A Tenere beating obstacle|
|Work faster eh?|
While at the slip I talked to the digger driver who was a little annoyed that I (and the Mondeo driver who turned up a little later) hadn't been stopped. Perhaps a road closed sign would have done it?
Well, I had only one option and that was to retrace my steps back to Picton. This was done a bit more rapidly than the trip out and I even had the pleasure of some rain showers, slippery tarmac and a tourist coming around the corner on my side of the road...
The rest of the ride was uneventful with just a quiet ride through to my motel in Blenheim. Day one done and dusted!
|Tenere's get the prime parking spots|