Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Fordell Trail Ride

A few months ago I sniffed out an upcoming Trail Ride and after Colin and I had so much fun on our last one, I set to inviting all and sundry who I knew had a suitable weapon in the shed.  In the end I only had one keen man sign-up in the form of Cookie.

Now that we're in September it is supposed to be spring so the weather should be on the improve.  But, no, there has been some decent rain at times and this is what we got on the way over to Fordell.


Luckily, this was just a shower and when we arrived at the ride the weather was a lot nicer.




The below pics may give a hint at what the riding conditions were going to be like...



Did you work it out?  Hint, both bikes have side-stands fitted...

Bikes and riders ready, we had a quick rider's briefing and then we were off.


The first little stretch was a quite pleasant drop down into the pine forest on reasonably a nice, non-slippery track.  I'm allowed to show the following video as it was the only time I saw Cookie have a whoopsie and he got to see me have more than one...looks like he was just a victim of some sort of brain fart...


Once down the hill the fun really started.  The track got a lot wetter and any grip that had been there well and truly vanished.  Pretty much everyone was in the same boat with bikes slipping and sliding all over the place and plenty of bikes requiring the odd lie down.

I certainly had plenty of drama with my tyres probably not really being up to it (we ended up airing them right down) and the little WR is actually a lot heavier than most of the moto-cross bikes (it's about 20kg heavier than Cookie's 500).  Combine this with my splendid state on unfitness and I was really working for a living.

Pretty soon we caught up to a log-jam of riders attempting to climb up a slippery section.  The delay was quite long and in the end one of the support crew came down and suggested that we turn around and hook up with the track via our first deteour onto an "A" loop.

Now, an A loop is intended for those who happen to be pretty damn good riders and an AA loop is for nutters...

I dunno when we came off the A loop and back onto the main track but there really wasn't much difference in conditions.  It was torturously slippery everywhere!  Somewhere in here I started having the odd off when the bike either went sideways or I got so damn tired that I couldn't hand onto it and keep it on line.  The poor little bike also got a fair workout to with plenty of revs being used in an effort to get moving and clear the rear wheel.

It was here that the idea to bring Cookie along came in handy...He made himself pretty useful by helping me up some tricky bits by pushing and even (I'm ashamed to admit) riding Mighty Mouse while I had a quiet heart-attack on the side of the track.  Here he is giving me a pep-talk...


Here's one section where I waited for Cookie (after he'd helped me up a section).  The video doesn't really show the steepness but it does show the slipperiness.  I hate that guy on the white bike...Cookie had a wee bit of excitement but got the big KTM up the hill no worries.


I think it was after dropping back down off the above hill that we got out on some pasture for a little while.  I managed to get stuck in some grass (avoiding the muddy track) and when I finally caught up to a waiting Cookie gave him a good show by biffing the bike away again and tumbling down a hill - sorry, no video of that one.

Another of the support guys then advised us of a another short-cut (yes, on an "A" section) to get us out of the wallows and back towards home base.  So, after another off in a bog we got back onto the main track and I actually had a neat blast up a reasonably tidy track (2nd gear even) until finally running foul of some goop again.

One last grind through the slop and we got out onto a decent track that took us back to the ride start.  I actually saw third gear a couple of times...

Well, that one (part) lap was pretty much enough for us.  I for one was stuffed and wasn't in a hurry to do it all again, so we grabbed our lunch and then loaded the bikes back up for the trip home.


That plate is supposed to be like that...
Back home, it was time to give Mighty Mouse a bath before my body seized up.






Waterblaster now needs waterblasting...



Anyway, as hard as the ride was (and now three days later, so the body is nearly recovered), it was still a lot of fun.  I'm just hoping the next one might be a little easier...

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Monday, September 02, 2019

Checking things out...

Last week I finally got the fork seals done on the Tenere and on Thursday someone suggested that they'd need to be tested properly...

Look Ma, no leaks...
Sunday was the first day of spring and that just happened to the day we picked.  It was nice to see that the weather gods played along with the calendar too...

I met up with Colin and his mate Brett in Sanson again and we had a coffee while we waited to see if any exotic wildlife would turn up.  Well, we were disappointed on the wildlife score so decided that we'd better go for a ride instead.

It seemed to have been ages (I think about 2 weeks for Colin) since we'd been up the Whangaehu Valley after sampling a little of the sealed section of Turakina Valley, we turned off up Mangamahu Road.  Shame about the weather.






As you can tell, I had the camera running but with it only taking a photo every 10 seconds it unfortunately missed a really spectacular sight.  Rounding a corner, I disturbed what must have been around a dozen peacocks which immediately took to the air to avoid the big blue Yammie bearing down on them.  They sure look pretty with all the colours and actually get off the ground and out of the way pretty easily.  Ok, so not an elephant, but still pretty cool.  I won't bother to mention all the sheep and goats out on the road....

Riding along, I was thinking that the Tenere was handling pretty damn nice now that it had some oil in the left leg and when we hit the first bit of gravel I found that it handled that fairly nicely too.  Colin mentioned something about us not slowing up much when we hit the gravel.



Brett on his shiny GS





The road was still in pretty fast condition fanging pootling up over Burma Hill, with just a small section of rougher stuff and a tiny muddy section in it's normal spot.


Busting out onto the seal of Fields Track we dodged more woolly mums and their lambs before turning off onto Owhakura Road for a mint gravel hill climb which dropped us down onto Turakina Valley Road again.

The ride out of Turakina Valley Road to Tangiwai was nothing short of a blast.  Smooth, hard gravel meant nice average speeds and some fun rear wheel steering out of corners.  Oh, and the mountain looked pretty good too.  Dammit, I need to go back there already...


Settling down a bit, we pottered into Waiouru for lunch and some fuel.  Yes, the day was starting to look halfway decent too.



After lunch it was time to introduce Brett to another of our favourite gravel loops.  This meant a wee jaunt over part of the Napier-Taihape Road.






A hook to the right and we were back into the gravel again.






Yes, the gravel was still pretty good going and still having to try really hard (and failing) to come up with any complaints about the weather.

Good dog






Further on up on Pukeokahu Road, the narrower road slowed us up a little bit but still no complaints from this guy.







Taoroa Junction was the end of the gravel for a while as we made our way back onto SH1 to start heading home.  Just North of Ohingaiti, SH1 was starting to suck and there were monkeys out on the road doing stupid stuff so I decided to throw in another diversion for the lads.

Otara Road got us to Mangamako Road but instead of turning left to take the seal to Pemberton, we went right 'cos I knew there be gravel thattaway...

The gravel was a bit deeper through here and it came as a bit of a shock to the system after the magic stuff we'd been on earlier.


I did get to go after a few rabbits though - there were a heap of them having some sort of gathering within the space of about 10m.


Eventually the gravel petering out, dumping us onto Vinegar Hill - oh damn!  One last little bit of excitement ended with a quick stop to say seeya to the guys before I made my way to the olds for a Father's Day catch-up.



A very satisfactory first day of spring!