Thursday, April 29, 2021

Bush Riders Trail Ride

On Sunday the Bush Riders had arranged another trail ride just out of Pahiatua and as I'd missed another ride the weekend before I had to be there.

We had a bit of rain the night before so I was a wondering what the day would be like and perhaps of more concern, how slippery things would be.  In the end the forecast mentioned showers but they didn't happen.

It was actually a very nice day on a really nice farm with some great wee rolling hills.

Somehow I got there fairly early but over the next hour or so plenty of others arrived including Steve S who I'd met on the TT2000 and a mate of his, both on KTM 2 smokes.  Steve also had his old XR350 on his ute which he'd raced in a Vinduro on the Saturday.  I probably should have taken more photos...

Eventually it was time for the ride briefing and then we were into it.  A muddy gateway led us out onto a big paddock with some really neat little hills to charge up for the warm up.  Then we were into some more bumpier stuff with some tracks cut out for the ride, some steeper descents and climbs, a couple of mud bogs and a slippery bridge before one last climb and descent back to the pits.

I think that they said that they were about 17km loops (I may be wrong) and I have to say they really did lay the ride out well with fantastic signage at corners and descents.  There were a few more optional technical bits for the guns but this time around I gave these a miss.  I've been to a few rides where I thought that the rides were pretty difficult considering that these are not competitive events and are open to all sorts of bikes and skill levels.  This one was spot on (plenty of kids on small bikes, families and interesting bikes), well done the Bush Riders!

Here's the map I made from the camera GPS file.  As per usual, I don't think it is terribly accurate as there's too many straight lines and my maximum speed was 353km/h...

Here's some video of lap one.  Unfortunately I didn't have my normal mount on the helmet and the camera pretty quickly got knocked around a bit.

After the first lap it's safe to say I feeling fairly confident and was definitely enjoying the ride so my pace went up a notch as I went out for lap 2.  About half way through I ran into Steve who was airing down his rear a little and I ended up doing the same for more grip on the greasier sections.

That done, Steve led off and gradually disappeared off into the distance as I stuck to my pace and concentrated on picking decent lines and improving my riding on the steeper downhills sections (I think I definitely improved there).  Loads of fun.

Anyway, as I said, my pace was up on the first lap and that and maybe a poor decision led to me having a really good off.  

I was coming down a hill (not a steep one) in fourth with a fair bit of pace on when I came across a group of slower riders (Mum, Dad and kids I think).  I pulled to the right to pass and tried to give them plenty of room but when I crossed back I clipped a shallow rut at what turned about to be the wrong angle and pace and was flung into a fence that was running parallel to the track.

The bike stopped immediately as it got hooked up in the fence and I was fired into the air at probably 60km/h.  I was in the air for what seemed like weeks (plenty of time to decided that this was going to hurt) before I finally slammed into the fence.

Surprisingly, I was up on my feet straight away and didn't really feel too sore anywhere.  I think I was damn lucky!  Not sure if my chest protector wore any of the impact (no apparent damage) but I did come into contact with a batten which left a bruise from my right armpit down my side.  Other than that I had a couple of really minor scrapes and a knock to my left index finger.  Strangely, one of the fingers of that glove was torn completely off but there was no damage to that finger.  My repaired helmet peak was torn off and who knows where it is now.  Very lucky!

Bike wedged in fence pointing back the way I'd came...

Gloves for sale, going cheap...


Anyway, what you really want to see is the video eh?

Action all over, another rider gave me a hand to extract the bike and it fired up straight away so that I could ride it out of the grass and back onto the track.  Another dip in the muddy bits and I was back at the ute to have a wee breather.

I gave the bike a very quick look over and all seemed ok (maybe I'll need to readjust a bark buster) and then I removed the remains of the peak off the helmet as they looked fairly sharp and dangerous.  I then had my breather and dug out another set of gloves before heading out on Lap three.

This time around I had a nice run with only one issue at the bogs where I got tangled up in a rope someone was getting ready to use to tow someone out of the bog.  I never saw it and had attacked the bog with a bit of vengeance so did a good job of wrapping it around the rear wheel.  It took us a few minutes to sort that out and then I managed to get out of the bog without any issues.

At the pits again, I stopped early for lunch and was looking forward to a few more laps in the afternoon so I did top the tank up - partly to make sure I had enough fuel but more importantly to get some idea of how much I'd used so I could work out how to judge the level in the new tank.  I think I put around 3 litres in so yeah, there should have been nearly 7 left in it.

Lap four started off really well.  As I took off up the first couple of rises I let the 450 off the leash and got to enjoy a few careful moments of weightlessness.  Editing video later it seems that the camera had worked out where I'd been weightless and a couple of times when I'd been properly airborne.  I dunno how much I trust this but the yellow circles below show zero g for around 0.2 seconds at a time (no idea what sort of maneuver generates zero g) and the green ones show jumps of around 0.5 seconds.

One thing about lap 4 is that some of the slipperier bits had dried out and were easier to deal with.  But, the boggier bits were the opposite after hoards of mud-caked demons had been churning them up so lines that had worked earlier were now potential traps for everyone.

When I hit the first bog I took to a route that had seen me right twice and promptly got myself sunk in deep.  Four of us managed to lift the bike out and I rode it out via another line.

On the next one I took a line that I'd watched a few other take but the greasy climb out got the better of me and I toppled off the side of the bike.  While extracting myself I then had another chap lose it and fall onto me knocking me over the other way and sliding back down the hill.  We then helped each other get unstuck which wasn't easy as we could barely stand on the slope.  It was a bit easier for the young fella but this old geeza was working hard...

Arriving back at the ute I decided to call it a day.  I could probably have done another lap or two (although my legs were starting to tire) but I didn't really want to get stuck again.

Anyway, even with the big off the day had been fantastic - it really was a neat ride.  Can't wait for the next one...

It took half an hour with the water blaster to see to this mess...

Yep, I even water blasted my boots...

Monday, April 26, 2021

Anzac Antics

Three years ago I first met Chris as he was completing a special Anzac SS1600k on his R1 and this year he was at it again on Connie #2 while his wife Stella was tackling it on the R1.  And with their route once again coming through Ashhurst, I really couldn't come up with a decent enough excuse not to go out and say hi.

Colin and I both kept an eye on their Spotwalla tracks throughout the day and then Colin went up to meet them at their Levin stop while I got to wait a bit longer before heading out to Ashhurst to meet them there.  My timing was pretty good as when I checked their track after I'd arrived they looked like they were only about 5 mins out and so were soon on the scene with Colin in tow.

After some quick hellos, Chris and Stella had to hustle to take on a bit of fuel and get their evidence dockets and photos sorted while Colin and I just got in the way for a bit.

Synchronised refuelling

Stella is probably pretty good at fuelling the R1 eh Chillertek?

Important stuff done, it was now back into it for Chris and Stella as they were just over their halfway point so still had plenty of miles to ride.

Colin led us out through Colyton to Cheltenham and then onto Vinegar Hill.  I mostly stayed at the back until Stella and Chris waved me through.  Chris later gobbled me up as I was a bit slower with my PR4's having seen better days.

It was a nice we ride through to SH1 in reasonably temperatures and we had a quite stop there to say goodbye to the iron butters before returning back to my place for coffee via Halcombe and Feilding.

Something different to do on a Saturday night and a nice little ride to catch up with Chris and Stella!

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Mad tracks

Just a very quick TT related blog.  No, not our next day's ride but a link to an animation showing various riders (including Colin & I) tracks across the countryside.

It's created from our Spotwalla tracks that we use to track our rides.  These aren't really required for the TT200 (although they let Wayne keep an eye on us) but definitely are really useful for getting any IBA rides certified.

Click the picture to open the animation.  Can you pick out Colin or me?

Monday, April 19, 2021

2021 TT2000 - Coming Home Part 2

So following a great meal at the Cardrona Pub and a night at Kelly's cool little cottage we were ready to tackle a new adventure.

Kelly runs The Cardrona, a horse trekking and quad bike tour operation and she was good enough to organise a ride up into the hills for us.  I doubt you'll need much help in deciding what form of transport we were going to use...

Check out our awesome (and most trendy) safety shorts!

The Yammy quads were great - CVT trans, so just point and squirt!

Kelly led us up some farm tracks into the Pisa Range.  It was reasonably warm but windy in places but one thing we weren't missing was some pretty awesome scenery to gawk at.

Crossing over the top of the hill, we were led down into the next valley to check out Meg Hut.

Meg hut is an old musterers hut and apparently the musterers used to spend the days charging around after sheep in all sorts of weathers.  Apparently they were allowed one sheep a day as tucker, along with a bit of flour and tea and whatever else they could pack in on their nags.  It was a long way to go for takeaways.

Oh, and the name?  Well apparently Meg was quite friendly with musterers...

After checking out the hut it was time to climb back up the hill and drop back down into Cardrona.  The views continued to fail to disappoint.

What a neat adventure!  Thanks Kelly, we had a blast!  Apparently we need to go back in winter...

And there is video:

After all that hard work we had worked up a wee appetite so off we went in search of somewhere to eat:

Following our graze it was time for us to vamoose.  But first we had to work out which way to go.  A quick weather check told us that pretty much the entire South Island was about to get wet - particularly the West Coast...

So we decided to go up the middle and just see where we ended up.  That is until I dosed off and missed the turn to Tarras...

We ended up taking an unnecessary loop through Hawea Flat and back out onto SH6 and bound for Haast.  After kicking myself for the (basic) navigational error I pulled over and a quick roadside decision was made to carry on up the coast instead.

Well, it was well worth it.  Even though it was very windy (never seen Lake Hawea with such a chop), the ride through to Haast and then up the coast is always spectacular.  We got blown silly but after topping up our fuel in Haast we carried on up to Fox for a breather.

Arriving in Fox, the place was dead.  Normally you risk getting run down crossing the road but covid has really killed tourism here and there was only one other bloke in the cafe/bar when we stopped.  We had a quick graze and yakked to the other patron for a while before saddling up and carrying on North while the weather was good.

Just South of Hokitika we ran into the rain.  Luckily it was pretty light but when we hit Hokitika we decided to look for a place to stay.

Only photo I took on the trip up the coast - doh!

A quick browse on found us some really cool digs.  We ended up with our very own 3 bedroom house for the night - oodles of room, a carport for the bikes and all for the cost of a motel - nice!  We hit the hay to the sound of rain on the roof...

Sunday, April 18, 2021

I have a problem...

 Yeah, I shouldn't be let near the internet with a credit card...

Over Easter my finger slipped when browsing on the GoPro online shop and a Hero 9 somehow ended up being dispatched to NZ.

So today I went out for a little play.  I didn't fiddle too much at all and just shot some video at 1080p. 60fps and then experimented with the Hyperlapse setting too.  There's plenty more to play with yet...

Not sure about the automatic stabilisation.  It looks neat watching the bike move around with the camera sort of floating along beside it but I kinda like seeing the bike leaned into corners too.

I also edited the video with some of GoPros (ancient software) and was a little underwhelmed by it - yeah, I could have added text to the video but adding my usual overlays and wot not doesn't appear to be possible.  I also have to work out how to get the GPS data - the old software seems to only accept the data from Hero 5's.  There will be a way...

I'll have to play around a bit more me thinks...

Thursday, April 08, 2021

2021 TT2000 - Coming home Part 1

Whenever the TT is in the South Island (my preferred option), it is always a spectacular excuse to do a bit more poking around the mainland.  This year, one of our missions was to pop over to Cardrona and stay with Colin's step daughter and have some fun while there.  But first we had to get there.

There are a few different routes to Cardrona from Oamaru but checking GoogleMaps shows that the quickest sealed route is 250km but if we took Danseys Pass then it would only be 293km - and we'd also get to enjoy some more gravel.  And everyone knows that gravel is good!

In the morning we had a fairly latish start as we wanted to catch up with Chris and Stella before leaving to wish them well on their next wee adventure (hopefully Chris posts up a certain ride report soon) and also because we were in no particular hurry with only 293km to ride.

Our initial route retraced the start of our TT but before the Duntroon checkpoint we turned off towards Danseys Pass.

I believe that it was only a month or two before our trip when a big storm caused a lot of damage to the road (and I think it was even closed for a while), but when we tackled the road it was all good.  I also think that the East-West (or North-South depending on how you like to describe the route) direction we were taking is my favourite.  You're kinda eased into the ride by a nice trip up a valley and then get a decent hill climb up to our usual photo stop.

The road then drops back down the hill and onwards to the pub.  This time around we actually went in and had a drink and a bite.

The Oasis...

Trying to get service in the crowded bar

My arty shot...

Here's the video of the ride in:

Leaving Danseys Pass and heading back towards civilisation in Naesby the road just gets better - it opens back out into another great Southern gravel highway.  The big bikes love it!

Still in TT mode - engines running while taking photos...

Back out onto the seal, we settled down for the cruise through to Cardrona.  We had a quick stop in Omakau (just up the road from the Lauder CP) for fuel and then bypassed Alexandra to Cromwell and Wanaka before finally touching down in Cardrona.

What an awful location to stop for the night...

Maybe I do need a new seat cover?

We even had to struggle to find a decent place for a feed!

Actually, seriously good tucker!

What a great wee ride through some more of the South Island's magical country.  Roll on Tuesday...