Monday, November 27, 2023

Bouncing off rocks

So, as per normal, Colin and I needed to go for a ride on Sunday.  And I was very keen to get out the yellow bike and see if I could still ride it.  I somehow managed to talk Colin into a trip into his backyard.

The ride was great and as usual a real workout for this unfit old fart.  I pretty much stayed on the bike except for a couple of drops (no proper offs).  We took in some pretty gnarly tracks through the pine forest where there was plenty of steep and/or slippery climbs and massive bog holes to avoid.

Then there was the zig-zag which was great fun going down but I had one nasty hang up on rock step which stopped me and resulted in me requiring a rest (huffing and puffing like a steam engine) before we pulled the bike out of the hole and finally managed to get off the steep bit.  I then charged up the rest of the hill in second, bouncing off everything and somehow managing to stay on...

Slippery rocks in streams were also a problem a few times.  Momentum is your friend in most conditions...

The faster bits were great as you get a better rest and tend to run a bit cooler.  I always enjoy charging uphill and steering the bike on the throttle but I also enjoyed the downhills and hanging off the bike to help in the corners - I probably didn't look like a moto-x star but I was having fun.  Gotta love a 450!

Colin even got some pics of the action too.

Monday, November 13, 2023

Starbucks ride

Maybe I should start blogging the odd ride again...

Yeah, I have been riding quite a bit lately and not posting a heck of a lot so let's see if I can still string something together from yesterday's wee galivant.

After the usual we gravel shortcut across Tararua Road to Pahiatua, I stuck 18L of gas (took out a new mortgage) into the T7 and awaited the arrival of an 890.

Well, the 890 never arrived but a GSA did as apparently it didn't have a flat tyre, just some Shinkos that Colin is getting fairly desperate to say sayonara to - they're that good.

Leaving Pahiatua, we actually retraced our steps a little to try out Ridge Road Central just across the railway lines by the big F's Pahiatua plant.  This turned out to be a neat little gravel road that was in fairly fast condition.

We then needed this to hook us back up to our favourite roads to Eketahuna.  This involved a bit of seal to Mangamire and then back towards Palmy on Tutaekara Road.  Our favourite roads were a bit of a mix with some really nice sections and then some nasty (I'm talking about you Cliff Road) bits where there was some deep stuff to slither around on.  I particularly enjoyed Quarry Road which was fast and fun.

Next we were into a short stretch of nice gravel on Mangaoranga Road before this too turned into recently graded marbles.  We even found the culprit and cursed it and it's pilot.

Bartons Line was more of the same before we hit Route 52 and started making our way up to our usual turn-off on Waihoki Valley Road.  

This was also a little bit of a mix of deeper stuff before actually getting better in the tighter and previously more damaged sections.  We also had a bit of a surprise when we turned around one corner.

Three hinds were in the middle of the road and immediately peeled out when they heard/saw us.  We chased two up the road for a while and the third was apparently part mountain goat as it tore up a very steep slip face.  I was actually worried it would lose its footing and fall on me - I'm picking it would have won that tussle quite easily.  Anyway, they were great looking deer and I'm sure would be nice marinated with a side salad...

At Spur road, the road closed signs were gone so there was no sneaking required and road was actually a lot better now that its had a dry out and a few repairs.  There were still a few humps and hollows to clamber in and out of but no mud to wallow in like last time.

The next pleasant surprise was that the bit of Coast Road that was in the river last time wasn't.  The roading guys had done a great job of smashing the road back open.  They had left more marbles behind though 😜

Coast Road got us into Pongaroa for the usual lunch stop and the Starbucks rider finally got a coffee.  We also caught up with a few other chaps we knew who turned up with the same idea as us.  One of them was Russell from the BRR days and it was good to see him out thrashing his faithful DR around.  We were also surrounded by a crash (I think that's what you call a bunch of sports bike riders) of Ducati's and other sports bikes also out enjoying the nice day.

Following lunch, the bloke with the shot Shinkos decided he'd had enough gravel (believe it or not) and we decided to head back via the seal to Pahiatua.  Well, that was a little adventure...

We ran smack into a howling gale.  I've been through here a number of times in high winds (I had a guy's bike blow over onto me on a Grand Challenge and another guy was blown off the road as we watched) but I think yesterday took the cake.  The poor wee T7 was blown silly and I kept her a gear lower so that I always had some grunt available should I hit a wall of wind when turning a corner.  I definitely got pushed around a bit and was glad to drop down out into Makuri and the slightly calmer conditions.

The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful and if four guys on Ducati's say that they were given the learn on the track by a couple of adventure bikes then don't believe a word they say.