Due to covid I decided to change from the Hamilton ride to the Wellington ride. Being a virtual ride I could start at any point of the ride. The Wellington one went right past my door. Also, the Hamilton one covered a lot of the ground the NI800 ride did so did not want to repeat that.
Having got the okay for my surgery on my wrist from ACC it was just a matter of waiting for the surgeon so decided the earlier the better. Also SH3 from Midhurst to Inglewood was two way again for the week so no chance of having to wait for an hour while they brought the trucks the other way.
With all that I decided to do my ride on the 3rd November a few days before the official ride. Weather was going to be a mixed bag of cloudy and occasional rain but forecast was the same the day before and it was stunning at home.
Got up at 4:30am and had breakfast, got my gear on and pushed the bike out of the shed. Turned the GoPro Hero 9 on so that this time it would get the GPS signals and record data. Should only take about 30 seconds but gave it a full five minutes. What a waste that was as it still didn’t record, and I am now thinking I have a faulty camera as far as the GPS side goes but it is out of warranty.
Headed for the Manaia petrol station where I was going to start the ride and get my start receipt, but the stupid machine refused to give me a receipt. Therefore, I carried on to Hawera and just snuck in 2 litres to get a receipt and a selfie for the record.
It was 5:30am and I was heading on my way to what would be the final stop for those starting in Wellington but for me it was the first. Trip down was good and stopped in Levin to top off the bike. The traffic was getting heavier as I got closer to the new turn off to Transmission gully and had to filter a bit. Then it cleared until the main motorway and again had to start filtering. Have to say the Wellington traffic is far nicer than that of Auckland. Many cars made sure they gave room with only one or two being arseholes trying to close the gap.
Down the gorge was my first taste of some really strong wind. It had been windy most of the way down but this gust blew me about 2 meters sideways. Into Wellington and the first stop at the Back Benchers Pub was reached quickly. Had to wait a bit for the gap in the traffic to get a photo but then it was onwards.
Next stop was the Welling start at the Rimutaka Caltex station. Traffic quite light going out so this did not take very long and a trucky got annoyed as I passed him and blasted his horn. Just ignored him. Stopped and took a photo.
Mauriceville is the next stop but before that I stopped in a rest area to relieve a bit of back pressure and put the heated jacket on. The wind was quite strong cooling me down. There was a bit of rain as well and this made the road a bit wet so took it easy over the hill as I could see someone had split diesel on the road. Got to Masterton and decided to again top off the bike before continuing to Mauriceville.
Was very wet here and took the photo and carried back onwards to SH2 and took the turn to get onto Nikau road and onto the Track. Nikau road is starting to get very bad. Next stop was Aokoutere School and did not take long to get there and get the required photo.
Next up was the Rangiwahia Memorial and for some strange reason I though I had turned onto SH1. Soon realised that SH1 was not this narrow and being wet, slippery in places. Rain was not heavy just a pain in the butt. Not worth getting the rain suit on for though. Rocked on up to the memorial and took the photo.
Next stop was the Whangaehu River Bridge, which meant up to Waiouru and turn left onto Fields Track. The road itself was not in bad condition but there were branches on the road everywhere and had to be careful especially in the corners. Got the photo of the bridge and carried on down to SH4 and up to National Park.
Next stop, Taumaranui and the BP station. Still wet and windy (light breeze really for what was yet to come) I came into Taumaranui and stopped at the Mobil station to refuel with only about 50kms worth left in the tank. Filled it up and went inside to pay and the lady exclaimed that it was the most she had ever seen put into a bike (cost wise as it was about $58). I said me too and said it was the price per litre rather than the volume.
Next stop was Whangamomona Pub but first the unsealed 12km to go through. It was not bad and very little loose stuff so made good time. There was quite a bit of rutting and potholes to avoid though. Came up to the tunnel and for the first time ever found a truck already coming through from the other side. Had to back up out of the way. My lights lit up the tunnel well and got a good look at it.
Arrived at the pub and took the photo.
One more stop to go. This was the Okato Memorial. Got to New Plymouth and topped the bike off again. Now the fun began. What I thought was windy during the day was just light breezes for what I was about to go into. I got pushed around like you wouldn’t believe between New Plymouth and Okato and I was glad to stop and take the photo.
I then had to decide if I went around the coast or up near the mountain. Decided around the coast but this wasn’t any good either. My helmet was trying to get ripped off my head and my head was getting moved around. My neck muscles were getting sore and I was feeling like a formula 1 drivers with no HANs device. The bike was getting shunted from side to side at least a meter at a time and at one stage I think I was on a lean angle of about 40 degrees just to keep it going straight. My wrist was hurting like hell due to the pressure on it all the time.
Finally once I got to Opunake I was riding pretty much into the wind. The fuel burn however went up massively and at times it was burning 10.6 litres per 100km. Nearly double what it normally does. Finally got back into Hawera and got my finishing photo with the fuel receipt having cover 1055kms and nearly 14 hours of riding. I normally complete these in 12 hours but wet roads, wind, trees on roads dragged that out. Got some KFC and went home to eat it.
Again I will have the TimeWarp video posted on Youtube at some point but again no GPS data on it. Some of the photos in this article came from the timewarp.