Monday, June 24, 2019

Solstice Ride

So, as mentioned in the last blog, Chris was at it again, riding yet another Saddlesore 1000 for charity.  This time around he had his wife Stella on the back and a mate Luke to join him in his mid-winter madness.  Colin and I approve of this sort of madness and decided to crash the party for just a couple of hundred kms of their ride.  We made plans to meet them in Bulls and ride through to Napier with them.

Our ride over to Bulls was uneventful except for being passed by some scumbags with patches on their backs and absolutely no respect for any other road users.  What made it worse was that their support vehicle also drove similarly and was practically running oncoming traffic of the road.  Over coffee in Bulls, Colin and I both came up with some imaginative ways of sorting out this sort of problem...

While we were getting the caffeine levels up to an acceptable level we got a couple of progress reports from Chris and kept an eye on his Spotwalla page.  Eventually the team turned up for their quick fuel stop.

Racing pitstop

Colin & Stella supervising

Luke filling the mighty 14
Photos taken, Colin and I hustled into our gear so we didn't hold things up and we were soon on the road and then promptly caught up in some slow moving traffic (you may need to open a bigger version of the picture).

After a quiet pootle across to Ashhurst it was time for a trip across the Saddle into the Hawkes Bay.


Next up was the cruise up SH2 to Waipawa which was about smack on the half way mark (800km) for the guys and they needed some pics :)

Colin really needs a Kawasaki...

Important documenting complete we hit the road again - next stop Bay View.

Here's a little video from the trip up.

Bay View was where Colin and I chickened out and said our goodbyes as the team got ready to hit the wonderful Napier-Wairoa Road.

Still keen as mustard!

Yes, that ZX-14 sounds nice...
Colin and I grabbed a drink and a snack while we figured out how we were going to get back.  I ended up tucking in behind the GSA for a trip down SH50.  We like SH50...

A quick fuel stop in Dannevirke and then I took over the lead to take Colin through some more fun back roads to Pahiatua and then a blast over the track to finish.

Superb winter's day

Sun getting lower on the shortest day
I got home just before five and the fire was lit before getting all of my gear off or even putting the bike away - it was definitely cooling off.  Chris and Co still had a good 5 or 6 hours to go...

But, the great news is that the team all got home safe and sound (Luke even picked up the milk he had promised his partner...And they managed to raise over $1800 for their favourite charity - top work guys!

Friday, June 21, 2019

What the?

I don't usually post up too much about my planned rides (ok, maybe planning stuff for distance events) but tomorrow I am planning on going for a little ride.

Chris, his wife Stella and a mate are riding a Saddlesore 1000 (1000miles in 24 hours) on the shortest day of the year and are also riding in aid of an animal rescue charity - Aran Animal Rescue.

Colin and I have decided that we needed to meet up with him and make sure he doesn't get lost down here in our neck of the woods.  And after a day of rain (preceded by 3 very frosty mornings), the weather looks good!

Here's a link to Chris's plans and more details on the charity if you are interested:

My little rescue when she was actually little...

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Two WR's Tackle a Trail ride

This post has been a while coming - I've had some trouble with video quality after uploading to Youtube.  If you look at the two videos you'll notice one is pretty yucky quality even though uploaded in 1080p.  It turns out that tuning the video software before exporting the files makes for better quality once Youtube is finished with it.

Well, that was a boring first paragraph, hope you managed to stay awake and are still with me because the rest should be more interesting and was definitely a lot of fun for two WR riders...

On Sunday the Oroua Downs School ran their yearly trail ride (although they skipped last year due to the M. bovis issues our dairy farmers were facing).  Apparently it's always a great ride and I was really keen to take in my first trail ride in over twenty years - what could possibly go wrong.

After quite some rain earlier in the week, Sunday was a cracker and after driving through a little light fog I met Colin at the event just after 8am.  The ride didn't start until 10 but we got good parks, registered and chatted with a few people we knew while we waited.  As it turns out, arriving early was a good plan - there was a huge turnout and a lot of people all arrived late together to make parking a bit more challenging.

Still early...

Utes and trailers on both sides of the road
Roll on 10am and we (along with what someone said was over 500 riders) had a refreshingly quick ride briefing (don't hurt yourselves, mind the mud in the races) and then we were off.

Detailed route map by yours truly...

Being perhaps the only plated bikes at the event (everyone else on far more serious motocross/enduro bikes/quads) we didn't hurry to get away, figuring we were only going to get passed/roosted by the quicker boys and girls.  I guess we were also not in too much of a hurry to embarrass ourselves either - the smaller audience, the better!

Colin champing at the bit with a clean WR...

Trundling through the car park we eventually got to the start of the track.  This consisted of a mug bog leading to a grassy looking hill.  No probs eh?

Outta my way!

Mmmmmmmm, mud.  Any grip in there?

Not sure what the bike's doing over to the right there...
Riding along the ridge of the hill was a good warm up.  Getting used to what sort of grip I had and how fast I could climb and descend was the order of the day.


Some bloke getting in my way...

Blasting up the hill - go Mighty Mouse!

Having fun Col?
Dropping down again we found ourselves in a series of races which were cleverly disguised as rivers of mud (and other stuff).  Some of the mud and puddles through here were fairly deep and this soon started sorting out the men from the boys.  It turns out we were just boys as we slipped around all over the place while the men on moto-X bikes went past at somewhere approaching the speed of sound.  It was pretty hard work too so when we finally were free of the races, we took a break to get our breathing back down off redline.

Everyone taking a cautious approach at the start

Speed was your friend here but it was damn scary and often accompanied by some butt-clenching moments

Sunken DR-Z, roosting quad and a Mighty Mouse

Waiting for Colin with Jason

Crucial indicator adjustment...
Back on some decent farmland we could use a few more gears and enjoy some slightly easier riding for a while.  From this point on I decided to take video so no more photos...

For the next 35+km the terrain went from farmland to sand dunes, forest tracks (more sandy tracks), the odd short but more familiar gravel track and more mud...

One of the dunes was a doozy.  Very steep and with plenty of whoops on the way up.  I attacked it in 2nd gear but very quickly had to drop down to first and give the mouse everything she had.  I just made it up over the top where I was then faced with even more whoops, a lot closer together and tricky to get just right.  This was pretty tough work too and as soon as I could I pulled out of the way for a breather.  Colin appreciated that too, we were working hard but having an absolute blast!

In amongst the pines the track was generally sandy and occasionally dirt.  It was also narrow and wound in and out the trees a lot (we had to follow signage and also avoid tree stumps) so mostly 2nd gear stuff with the very occasion dally up into 3rd.  Of course, sometimes it also involved short climbs and descents and plenty of slippery bits of fallen wood to avoid.  The sand made things interesting as you definitely needed to maintain some momentum and while some corners had nice berms that you could nail it around, others required caution as they were deeply rutted or you had to watch what was over the top of the hill...

Both Colin and I loved the short bits of gravel as they were more of what we were used to and the WR's actually had more speed than some of the other more offroad machinery.  I had great pleasure in passing two guys who had taken off in front of me on the gravel (roosting me as they went).  Colin also smoked 'em - WR power!

On some of the more open stuff the pace could come up a bit and I really enjoyed getting used to picking the correct speed and stance to tackle the varied conditions.  Standing on the pegs and hitting whoops in 3rd was a blast - but every section was different.

After a lot of riding and quite a few breathers we finally popped out of the forest for the last time - only to be faced but yet another set of muddy races.  This time around about 500 bikes had been through so they were fairly churned up.  They were a different set of races and I'm sure a lot deeper and muddier than the first section - and we were a bit more tired by now...yes, it was a bit of a battle and we had the odd issue...

Around 40km and 2 and a half hours after starting we arrived back at the car park (where the GoPro finally died) and trundled down to the school for the provided lunch.  The cup of coffee after my pumpkin soup, pig in blanket, chicken pattie, muffin and biscuit was outstanding!

Unfortunately we didn't have enough time for a 2nd lap (I'm sure our absolutely knackered and battered bodies would have managed it eh?) so we cruised back to the vehicles and loaded up.

Dirty mouse

Say no to slow!
Both Colin and I had an absolute ball.  It didn't matter that we weren't the fastest guys (nearly though, I'm sure) out there or that we may have had a few "issues", it was just good old fun - probably shouldn't be legal...

Here's a ton of video if you can stand it...

or just some highlights...

Oh, and three days later I almost can't feel any effects of the ride...

I'm sure the bike is smiling under all that mud