TT2000 2018 – The Wait Pays Off (February 2018)
It is now the 21st February and only two days until the TT2000 starts for 2018. Cyclone Gita has just past over last night with just a power cut of 3 hours here at home. Have been watching the weather closely for the last week now because 10 days out it said that it would be showers most of the time and I am quite sick of the rain while riding at present. Forecast now says mostly fine with a few light showers. There is also two road closures in the North Island that will affect me. One my GPS already had me routed around on SH2 so no issue there but there is another on the way to Browns Bay in the upper north that will add some more time to my already long 2nd day of 16 hours riding.
Preparation included getting a new set of tires. There was still quite a bit left on my Metzler Roadtec 01 HWM’s, but I didn’t think there was enough for the ride and I didn’t want issues during the ride. GPS had the maps updated and the route transferred. Had to do this a couple of times due to the road closures.
This is the route that was planned but did not happen.
TT2000 2018 – Day 1 – Friday 23rd
Day 1 started at 6am and got up and had breakfast and tidied up a few things. Loaded the last bit onto the bike and then watched a TV show until 9am. 9am and I was away. Tire pressures down to 41 each so wanted to pump them up a bit but couldn’t find a decent unit. All these petrol stations one now let air out before they pump, and you can’t actually see the pressure. My display is temperature compensated so even when they are hot and probably about 45psi they will show the actual 41. So, left them alone for the day.
Refuelled in Bulls and headed for the start at Ashhurst. Arrived at 11:30am just in time for the briefing and then we were off. Did not see any one in the mirrors following me over the saddle as I headed for my first stop off at Chapter 20 on Route 52 and the longest place name in the world. The road wasn’t bad for a start but soon got worse with bumps everywhere giving the suspension a wicked workout. Never saw a single vehicle along the way either. When I got close decided there was too much pressure on bladder and would relieve it at the stop but stuff me, the only vehicle around I passed just before the stop and he stopped there as well. So much for that idea. Took the photo and it was off for stop number two at Chapter 19 – Tukituki. I was tracking well with my times at this point but that soon went out the door. The road got better and was able to speed up a bit and all too soon the GPS told me to go down an alley and arrive. I was 2 hours ahead of where I thought I should be. Took the photo which had changed, and a sign was no longer there but was recognisable.
Next was stop number 3 which was Chapter 9 – Tiniroto Road and a dairy in Frasertown. Road out was good and no issues at all. Took the photo and was still 2 hours ahead of schedule. The road back to Gisborne however was nothing but twists and turns for 86km and I was getting tired by the end trying to keep my average speed up. Road was in reasonable condition and my new tires were awesome.
I had one more photo to take and I was going to stop at my rest for the night and check in before getting it but decided I still had plenty of time and went straight for Chapter 6 – East Cape in Tologa Bay. The road out was nice, and I was now seeing other TT riders. Took the photo and then headed back for my sleep for the night. Refuelled in Gisborne and got some fish and chips for tea and 4 KGB blacks to wash it down with. Settled in for a 6-hour sleep.
While here decided I would give the Motu checkpoint a miss. It was only an extra 30km and 5,000 points so didn’t really need it and didn’t want to run that road early in the morning.
TT2000 2018 – Day 2 – Saturday 24th Hell Day!
I only needed 2000km for the whole trip and by the end of today I have them all but let’s start at the beginning.
The bunk for the night was not comfortable and there was an access road just outside my window and camper vans coming and going at all hours nonstop, so I did not get any real sleep. I gave up at 12:30am and decided to start day 2 which turned out to be a good idea. Originally day 2 started at 2:50am in Gisborne and finished in Hamilton at 5:50pm getting 4 checkpoints. I decided the previous night to not get Motu as I had enough points and did not need it. Wish I had now.
Anyway, off at an early 1am start and the tire pressure was down to 40psi both. Tried three service stations to pump it up and all I managed was to remove another psi out of the rear. It would have to do until I found a tire shop open. Ate a moro bar for some energy and was off in the dark heading for Chapter 7 – Waioeka Gorge.
Was bang on my new time and the GPS was saying I would be in Hamilton at 16:30 with plenty of time to do other things. Now at this point the road was wet and the were some spits coming down. I could still see stars, so the outlook was good. Not for long however and the next town I had to pull under cover and get the dreaded rain suit on. It hammered down pretty badly, and the slick roads were now a nightmare. Now there was a road closure on SH2 at this point but Mr. Garmin had already decided the bypass was shorter, so we took that. Nice one Mr. Garmin (you loser – more later). Before I hit Tauranga, the rain had vanished, and the stars were out again so before topping up the gas tank I removed the rain suit. Yah!
Mr. Garmin tried routing me up SH2, but I said no and over the Kaimai’s we went only to find a new speed camera pole on the far side. I had just past a car and was slowing so I hope it was not active or that I was close enough. This was the first of four of them but the other three got my good side with no plate. Someone needs to add those to the database! There was two more south of Wellsford and 1 north. They must have a lot of speeders doing over 80kph in that area but damned if I saw any even on the 100kph roads.
I was getting very hungry by now and my drugs were rattling in their box so a stop and a nice café for a bacon and egg breakfast. Some bikers just up the road had another café fully booked out. Saw heaps of them on the roads so there must have been something on.
Anyway, next checkpoint was Chapter 3 – Bay of Islands and this had another road closure that this time did affect me. Added about another 20 minutes to the trip. Took the detour along with many others off SH1 and got the photo. Mr Garmin routed me back to SH1 to head for Kaitaia and then Chapter 1 – Ninety Mile Beach but he routed me a bit further along. I was amazed how many cars were going up the coast. But hey lees traffic on SH1 for me. Once on SH1 I got a bit suss when there was only me on the road and after about 50kms found a roadworks crew and asked then what the Goss was, and they said road was closed just below Kaitaia in the gorge. I had to head back and go to KeriKeri and then onto Kaitaia that way and cost me over an hour. Mr. Garmin said Hamilton now 17:30. Ha-ha.
Finally got to Ninety Mile beach and took my photo and saw a fellow TT rider.
Next stop was Chapter 2 – Waipoua Forest and the troubles really started. I made sure that I was at the ferry in the nick of time and the dude had just put the last car on and there was room for my bike, but he closed the gate, stared at me, and then they left. Wankers! I will teach them and ride around. With Mr Garmin telling me to U-turn and return until I turned him off I went back to the corner I thought I should have taken. Turned Mr Garmin back on and he said all good and told me to take SH1. It was just below the closure so all good. We then took a road to the right which looked good and although Mr. Garmin was told to avoid gravel he does not know his gravel from his tar seal and after a while he offered a choice of two gravel roads. There was still 70kms to go and I didn’t want all that gravel so I swore at him and told him he was useless, and he was now telling me that Hamilton was 18:30.
I decided to carry on down SH1 looking for an alternative and Mr. Garmin soon said SH12 was a good option. It was but it was also 98kms away now and Hamilton was now 19:10. We went with his suggestion as missing the Motu meant I could not afford to give 8,000 points away. It was a long ride and I was getting sore hands by now as I only had my summer gloves on and they rub. My left ear was sore from my helmet and my left leg was starting to cramp changing gears. Good thing I don’t need a clutch, or my left hand would have been shot as well.
Anyway, in due course I managed to get the photo and headed for Hamilton with my schedule completely shot, all the kms I needed already done, very tired from 18 hours of solid riding and grumpy I had to splash out for two more fuel stops than planned.
Mr. Garmin had the final say though and we arrived at the motel bang on 17:10. He has been very accurate the last two days but if he gets too cocky I will put him down a notch and remind him what gravel roads are.
Tomorrow should be a nice easy finish and I don’t have to leave until about 4:30am.
TT2000 2018 – Day 3 – Sunday 25th Expensive Day!
Well had a good night’s sleep at the Ascot motel in Hamilton. Was nice and quite with very little noise around. My alarm woke me up at 4:06am which is my normal work getup time. Packed up all the gear and somehow managed to get it back onto the bike and in the panniers. I had two checkpoints to get and a five-hour ride to the finish line.
Started the bike and asked Mr. Garmin where the nearest Mobil station was for my 21 cents per litre discount. It was close, and the only incident was when some stupid Bxtches jumped off the road centre by the lights and scared the crap outta me. Filled up and asked Mr. Garmin to start our track for the day. He said head back and out of Hamilton. Well got to the lights and the same girls were there. All of a sudden, I thought I saw blue flashing lights and though “great pulled over already” but couldn’t see him. He quickly turned the corner and zoomed off in a hurry. Headed out and original track from basecamp was to go down through Cambridge and down but that was not where we were going. At Te Awamutu I pulled over and had a good hard chat with Mr. Garmin and asked him just what the hell did he think he was doing. He said he had a better way and to trust him. After yesterday that trust did not go far but I could see a turn off coming up. His route would have been great in the daytime but was a bit twisty for the dark but we were soon at Chapter – 11 Pureora but it was dark and misty. Took the photo as best I could and headed for the last photo shoot.
The mist was now really bad and slowed me badly but tracking time was still good at 9:10. Was soon back on SH1 and heading down the desert road. It was very cold and got down to 5 degrees. Had the handle bar and butt heater on but was still cold. Also, hungry and arrived at Waiouru at 7:05am to look for breakfast. As I slowed and checked my speed I saw a warning triangle on the dash and a symbol I had never seen before. Pulled into the Z station to check it out and was going to check the manual but saw that it looked like a bulb with an arrow forward. Checked and yep my dipped beam had blown. That is going to be expensive as it is hard to get at. What was worse nothing open at Waiouru yet. Nothing at Taihape either but Mangaweka had one open and I had a good breakfast.
Finally, Chapter 21 – Vinegar Hill turned up and I took the required photo and off for the finish line. Arrived at Ashurst at 9:10 and was able to offload the photos and documents showing 55,000 points and 2426kms done. I headed away for home to see if I could get the bulb out myself but looks like a fair bit of plastic must come off.
So, it was enjoyable but day 2 was way too long with too many issues. Suppose I had to have a bad run sooner or later.