Before starting the Hamilton 1KC for 2022 I had to get a new camera. My old Nikon D7100 DSLR was giving error messages that pointed to the body/lens not making contact properly and was getting to be a pain. I settled for a Nikon Z5 with a 24-200mm lens package. I wanted the Z7ii but it was out of my price range. Camera sorted.
Grabbed the gpx file off the website and thought this time I will add more shaping points to avoid the GPS recalculating weird routes. I was using the NZ Open maps and they don’t appear to have been updated since 29/9. This will be relevant later. All set and transferred to the GPS.
Got up just before 2am having got the bike loaded the day before. Had breakfast and got under way at 2:40am. Well, the road is getting worse and there were no fewer than 3 areas with stop/go traffic lights. One at Waitara, one in the Awakino gorge, and one not long before Pio Pio. Then there was the multiple road works where they attempt to patch potholes.
Arrived at start location at 5:40am having made good time and signed in and got my indicator tape. I was about the 6th one away at about 5:55am. Loaded the route and GPS said I would be back at 17:24. Out the gate and then to the bypass to Otorohanga only to quickly realise that I forgot to turn on the GoPro. Quick stop to turn it on and let it find the GPS stations and away again. Saw the first government collection agency officer sitting in a van on the south side of Pirongia in the 70kph zone. Slowed as I passed him so as to not to contribute to this fund.
The first checkpoint was 311km from the start and as no Mobil stations open on the way I decided that Taumaranui was a good place to top off. My first planned stop was Wanganui. There were a few light drizzles but nothing bad. Saw my second government collector on the long straight out of Otorohanga. He was well concealed behind a dirt wall, but he had he radar on so was picked up before I even came round the corner onto the straight. Saw my 3rd collector just outside of Taumaranui coming towards me checking all out with the radar. Really out in force today. Went through a couple of small showers but soon was through them and there were no more for the rest of the ride.
Arrived at the Avoca pub after a quick ride down the Para Para’s and waited for the GPS lock on the camera to come on and of course it started raining. Quickly snapped the photo at 9:15am without the lock and was on my way to get out of the rain.
After a quick stop in Wanganui Mobil to get back on the fuelling schedule, it was off to checkpoint 2 which was the Memorial on the roundabout in Halcombe. A short ride of about 60kms. Had not been on this road yet so another one down. Photo taken at 10:01am and off for number 3.
Checkpoint 3 is a sign on Dreyers Rock road. Just outside of Wanganui there was another collection agent, but he seemed uninterested in gathering revenue. To get to CP3 this was over the Saddle and down SH2. My next planned fuel stop was Pahiatua so just topped it off here. and just past Eketahuna and left. Here my GPS tried to put me down the wrong road and it looked narrow, so I just went past it and it then put me down the correct road. Arrived at the sign and took the photo at 11:25am. Making good time and GPS still saying I would be back around 17:30.
Checkpoint 4 only about 23km away continuing up the road. It arrived quickly at 11:45am and snapped it off.
Checkpoint 5 another 40km odd away and I used a shaping point to get this one the right way. However, there was a sting in the tail of this one and when I arrived the GPS location had it as Hopelands Rd and River Rd and Kumeroa Rd which is where it was. The instructions however referred to the school. The instructions said take a left, so I went down the road and then spotted the school in the distance. I think it was about 3km from the GPS location, but I did get the photo at 12:21pm still making good time.
Next checkpoint was Piripiri bridge so back to SH2, over the saddle again and up Pohangina Valley road. It was a nice ride through here and was soon at the bridge which I snapped at 1:09pm.
Checkpoint 7 was another road sign near Rangiwahia and was only a short hop of about 30kms away. I think it somewhere around here that there was a freshly painted sign on the road in a corner and I went across it and the bike instantly lost traction and slid across the road. It was an extreme pucker moment but once off the paint it gripped and shrugged it off. Got to the checkpoint and snapped the photo at 1:38pm. Still on track according to the GPS which ranged from 17:24 to 17:42 as its arrival time.
One final checkpoint to do but first a final refuel. I was going to do it in Turangi, but Mobil Taihape had a great price, and I could still easily make it back without another stop. Here I also spotted another gatherer, and he already had his victim. So, it was up SH1, refuel and then up the desert road to Turangi. Along the desert road I might have spotted another camera vehicle. It looked too flash to be one, but it was parked correctly for it and my radar detector went off as I passed it. Guess I will find out as I was doing about 112. A left at Turangi and up SH32 and to the Tihoi pub to take a shot of the sign which I did at 3:54pm.
Now it was the last leg. The instructions said I should have done 873km by now, but I had only done 866km. So, I planned to take SH1 back to Hamilton via Tokoroa. Traffic was not bad and still made good time into Hamilton. Now the GPS failed me. It did not have the new part of the expressway in the NZ Open maps and the route took me past the last turn off into Hamilton. Had to go an extra 5km to the next overpass, revers track back to the airport turnoff, get back on the expressway and take the correct off ramp. I filled up for my return trip home and set off to the club. GPS was not finished though and tried to send me up a bicycle track (well I guess I was on a bike) before finally delivering me back at the finish at 17:37. It would have been 17:25 had it not been for the expressway issue. I think I was the 3rd one back and a few more arrived soon after.
Another great ride from the Distance Riders club. Much appreciated.
One my ride home I spotted another collector. He pulled out in front of me at Waitomo and checked every single vehicle from there to Te Kuiti. He sped himself and never actually slowed to 70kph until after he passed the sign. Even the speed board was telling him to slow down. Seems to be Do as I say not as I do for them.
As usual, I will post the Hyperlapse video to my Youtube channel once I have processed them.