Category: Life

TT2000 – Ride report (2016)

It’s Tuesday night after my first TT2000. I’ve just ridden my motorcycle 2,406 kilometres over a 48 hour period. The riding went from checkpoint to checkpoint amassing scores of between 1,000 and 5,000 points depending on the severity of the checkpoint. I ended up with 68,000.

The ride was ‘invented’ by Mike Hyde who wrote books about motorcycling in the USA, Australia, and around New Zealand. Sadly in 2015 Mike passed away but there are enough enthusiasts to keep the ride running.

Line-up of bikes for 2016 TT2000 in Picton

Line-up of bikes for 2016 TT2000 in Picton

This year there were two starts – one in Picton and one in Dunedin. Both ended in Christchurch. The checkpoints were released several months before the event so riders could plan their route to meet the distance requirements, and to get the minimum number of 50,000 points.

Mileage at the Picton start

Mileage at the Picton start

I’d recently bought a Garmin Zumo 590 and so spent time using the Garmin Basecamp app to work out where I was heading. The logical place for me to begin, as a Wellingtonian, was Picton. The ride began midday on Friday 19 February. The deal was to make it to Christchurch before midday on Sunday 21 February.

Road to Rainbow Ski field - the road was closed so we could only go as far as the first ford

Road to Rainbow Ski field – the road was closed so we could only go as far as the first ford

I’d planned a route that headed first to Hakahaka Bay east of Picton, then back to Picton, down the Wairau Valley to Nelson Lakes National Park, across to Tapawera, up the Moutere Valley, over the Takaka Hill all the way to Whanganui Inlet (8km from the start of Farewell Spit) then back over Takaka Hill taking in Mairahau and Kaiteretere. I’d worked out that I’d arrive sometime around 10.30pm in Murchison where I had booked a cheap cabin for the night.

Whanganui Inlet near Farewell Spit in Golden Bay

Whanganui Inlet near Farewell Spit in Golden Bay

North end of Kaiteretere Beach

North end of Kaiteretere Beach

The first day was around 650km. I managed 25,000 points, already at the half way mark on points at least.

Hakahaka Bay 5,000
Wairau Valley 2,000
Rainbow Skifield 5,000
West Bay 1,000
Tapawera 2,000
Whanganui Inlet 5,000
Courthouse Cafe, Collingwood 1,000
Pupu Springs 1,000
Mairahau 2,000
Kaiteriteri Beach 1,000
SUB TOTAL 25,000
Murchison campground for the night $25

The first day riding was great weather. No wind and the temperatures relatively mild.

Despite requests from the organisers for riders to take care on the road to Hakahaka Bay there were some speedsters who decided the road was too much fun to move sedately. Three riders tailgated me on the way back to Picton so I indicated to let them past. Two made it successfully, the third went a little too fast for the immediate corner. He got caught in the loose gravel on the shoulder and, despite me thinking for a moment he was going to recover, the lip back up onto the road proved too big an obstacle and he went down into a ditch. His right leg went under the bike. By the time I had found flat ground to park my motorbike two other riders had pulled this chap out of the ditch and were checking him, and his bike, for injuries. He said he was OK but the way he kept rubbing his leg indicated to me that he was running on adrenalin and that he’d be in a lot more pain and discomfort further down the line.

I found out at the end of the ride that one other rider had come off on that stretch of road.

The Takaka Hill is always a highlight for motorcyclists and it didn’t disappoint.

Travelling back through Motueka I couldn’t bring myself to have McDonalds, or Fish & Chips. So I carried on riding. By the time I got back through Tapawera I was starving. I’d packed a small gas primus so sat on a park bench outside the closed Tapawera cafe and cooked up a freeze-dried meal of Lamb Curry. Just what the doctor ordered.

My bike, a BMW R1200GS, only has a cruising range of around 330km. And it seemed that there was limited 24 hour petrol in the top and west of the South Island. Murchison seemed to be the logical place to stay if I wanted a decent rest before what I knew to be a huge ride the next day based on how far I could get on a tank of gas. I arrived at the Murchison camp ground where I had pre-booked a cabin around 10.30pm. Got chatting to two other TT2000 riders who had decided to stay in the same campground. We traded war stories and hit the sack not long after.

I made an early start on Saturday morning leaving at around 6.30am. The first checkpoint was Six Mile Walkway about 9 kms from Murchison. There was fog around at that time of the morning – it was a really nice little valley albeit a bit chilly at that time. An old white mare looked over the fence as I took my checkpoint photo.

sixmile

The valley east of the Six Mile walkway checkpoint

I headed back to Murchison and on to Inangahua. Following that it was to Westport.

Carters Beach at the mouth of the Buller River was a very impressive checkpoint, and not one I would have enjoyed being at in bad weather.

Carters Beach at the mouth of the Buller River

Carters Beach at the mouth of the Buller River

After that I headed to the Fox River Bridge, then Greymouth for breakfast, then down to Kaniere. I realised that I had stuffed up my planning a little and missed Roa which I should have done before hitting Greymouth. I decided at only 2000 points I could leave it out altogether.

The route then took me over the Arthurs Pass where I hit rain. I decided not to put the rain suit on, rightfully expecting that the 30 degree temps in Canterbury would dry me out in short order.

(A) – I didn’t get that damp, and

(B) – I was right about the hot temperatures.

Six Mile 2,000
Inangahua 2,000
Carters Beach 2,000
Fox River 2,000
Kaniere 2,000
Inchbonnie 1,000
Klondyke Corner 1,000
Cave Stream 1,000
Coopers Creek 2,000
Pudding Hill 2,000
SUB TOTAL 17,000
TOTAL POINTS 42,000

Coopers Creek was interesting. My GPS sent me down a gravel road. Not a gravel road with tyre tracks and hard packed shingle – a gravel road with three inches of metal. I slid all over the place. The GPS then took me to an intersection with more gravel and a ford! FFS! A road sign said the ford was closed. It didn’t look that bad to me so I crossed it. After taking my photo I recalibrated the GPS to avoid unsealed roads. The last thing I wanted was to tip off in a remote country lane and not be able to pick up my bike.

Coopers Creek checkpoint just after I crossed a (closed) ford

Coopers Creek checkpoint just after I crossed a (closed) ford

Pudding Hill is the beginning of the road up to Mount Hutt. I saw a few bikes travelling to the checkpoint as I was heading back out to the main highway. I didn’t know if they had started in Picton, or were bikers from the Dunedin start heading north. It felt about halfway between the two starts so either was possible.

I gassed up in Geraldine, and had a restorative lime milkshake in Fairlie. It was bloody hot. Even the man in the fish and chip shop said so.

Next through the Mackenzie Country – some of my favourite roads in New Zealand. I witnessed a few stupid tourists in small underpowered sedans pull out and overtake truck and trailer units with not much room to spare, and then if that wasn’t enough they promptly overtook a car on a blind bend. I was yelling expletives inside my helmet! It seemed to work and everyone survived, just.

Mt Cook airfield is a stones throw from the Hermitage. There was a massive black rain cloud hanging over the Hermitage basin. This impending deluge demanded a rain suit so I pulled over to pull it on. The wind was blowing hard, directly at me. I was being buffeted and blown all over the road. It wasn’t pleasant. Then the downpour hit. I took my photo as quick as I could (another 5,000 pointer so worth the effort) and got on my way. The ride back was stupendous with the wind directly at my back. Absolutely no wind noise in my helmet as my road speed seemed to match the wind speed. I did the normally 40 minute ride in what seemed about 25 minutes.

Mt Cook airport in howling wind and torrential rain. It's worse than it looks

Mt Cook airport in howling wind and torrential rain. It’s worse than it looks

Fueled up in Omarama. Next stop was Aviemore. The road to the lake took me across the Benmore Dam. It was around 6.30pm and the sun was getting lower in the sky. Such an amazing experience riding across this massive man-made structure surrounded by incredible countryside. Last time I rode across there I was on a Yamaha TT500 in the early 80’s when I was at university in Christchurch. I have to get back to that place and spend a bit more time there.

Elephant Rock is on the south side of the Waitaki Valley. You head some of the way to Danseys Pass but before you hit shingle veer off to the east. The landscape is rolling pastureland with outcrops of limestone. I spent a bit of time at the Elephant Rock checkpoint eating a muesli bar and watched the reddening sky as the sun set.

Sunset at Elephant Rock

Sunset at Elephant Rock

Elephant Rock was a point at which I had to make a big decision. If I just wanted to meet the minimum guidelines I could head towards Christchurch and pick up Clandeboye and Pleasant Point to meet the 50,000 point minimum. The ride back to Christchurch at that point would have given me the required 2,000 km.

If I was feeling good the alternative was to carry on south to pick up three checkpoints south of Dunedin. One of them at Lees Flat was worth 5,000 so it was a serious consideration.

I’m not one to do things to the minimum. The Iron Butt Rally(11,000 miles in 11 days) in the USA is on my bucket list so I was keen to see how far I could ride. I felt OK. Remarkably so. What would be the consequences if I felt tired? I’d stop and pitch a tent, have a rest and carry on.

I decided to head south.

I reached Dunedin around 10.30pm. I got caught up in a breath testing traffic stop on George Street, surrounded by partying new university students. The nice cop, an elderly man, laughed with his breathalyser and said “This is going to be interesting!” as there was no way I could speak into the thing with my helmet on. When I told him I’d driven down from Murchison he decided to let me go without the official measurement. After all, it didn’t look like I had been out on the turps.

Gassed up and had a coffee in Mosgiel. Then began the ride inland to Lees Flat. It was closer than I thought. The challenge for the next three checkpoints was getting the bike and the location correctly exposed in the photos so that the scrutineers could determine if I had actually been to where I said I had. Lees Flat was OK – the checkpoint was photographing the bike in front of a highly reflective road sign.

Lee Flat, the easiest of the 'dark' photos

Lee Flat, the easiest of the ‘dark’ photos

If I thought that was the biggest of my problems I was wrong. The GPS decided it wanted to send me on shingle roads again. Because a GPS only looks as far ahead as the next intersection or turn I thought that surely 4.1 km of gravel would lead me to a sealed road. Remember, it’s pitch dark. I’m in the country. From what I could see there were no farm houses, and there certainly wasn’t any other traffic. While I have HID headlights it was difficult to read the condition of the road. It appeared to be hard packed but very corrugated.

After 4.1 kms of riding I get to the next intersection. Still more gravel, this time I think for about 6kms. I carried on, again hoping that this was leading to a nice sealed road. Wrong. The next stretch, again unsealed, was 19.1 km. And the conditions were getting worse. It was too late to turn back so I kept going. Steep downward declines and upward inclines. Extensive corrugations. Not a soul to be seen anywhere. I was completely discombobulated. The GPS showed I was heading north which I thought was non-sensical. At one point I thought I was on the coast as I crossed a bridge near a heap of what looked like fishing boats. It turned out when I looked at the map the next day that I had crossed Lake Mahinerangi. Who would have thought.

I finally arrived in Lawrence where I struggled to photograph my bike in front of the stone house which was set quite a way back off the road. I was shining a torch at the house, using my camera flash, and keeping the bike running so I could make use of the headlights. It’s after midnight and I figured any moment someone is going to come out with a shotgun and drive me off.

I left Lawrence on a sealed road – next stop the Clutha Ferry. But, 3 km down the road the GPS tried to send me on more gravel. Enough was enough. It might have been quicker as the crow flies but certainly not quicker in terms of peace of mind. I re-routed and headed off. But I was still confused as to what direction I was heading. I honestly thought I was heading UP the Clutha River with the ferry crossing on the east side, when in fact it was completely the opposite.

I found Clutha Ferry and rode half way down the small track to get closer to the sign so the photography would be easier. Halfway down I realised the track was narrow, and I couldn’t easily turn around back up the hill. There was a big ROAD CLOSED sign at the bottom of the track with a larger turning circle beyond the barricade. Only thing to do was ride beyond the barricade, do the photo and then ride back out. I have a slight nervousness making tight turns on narrow shingle tracks. This stems from a solo ride I did seven years back when I dropped my bike on a steep section of the Dunstan Range. For the life of me I couldn’t pick the bike up. And I didn’t want to be in the same predicament in the middle of the night this time.

All was fine. I turned the bike around and rode out of there, back through Dunedin heading north to Christchurch.

On the way down SH1 four hours previously I had spotted a camping spot (actually, just a blue sign with a tent on it) in Herbert, about an hour north of Dunedin. Doing the return trip I arrived in Herbert at 3.30am – at this stage I’d been riding 21 hours. I was buggered. I needed to rest.

I rode as quietly as I could into the Glencoe DOC campground and cut the engine. With a head torch strapped to my noggin I erected my small tent, blew up a 3/4 air mattress and fell into a deep sleep. Woke up freezing at 5.50pm. I can tell you two hours sleep was a pretty good effort. As quietly as I could I packed everything up and left the campground at 6.30am. No-one saw me arrive and no one saw me leave. I’m sure they heard me though.

I slogged it back up the line, having breakfast in Timaru (finally succumbing to a bacon and egg McMuffin, yes at McDonalds) before picking up Mystery Bonus #4 at the Pleasant Point railway museum. Further down the road there was the official noted railway station checkpoint in Pleasant Point, and finally the flag poles at the Clandeboye milk plant. Then on to the finish at Hamptons in Christchurch.

Pleasant Point railway station

Pleasant Point railway station

 

Mt Cook Airport 5,000
Aviemore 2,000
Elephant Rock 2,000
Lee Flat 5,000
Lawrence 2,000
Clutha Ferry 2,000
Mystery #4 4,000
Pleasant Point 2,000
Clandeboye 2,000
Hamptons, Christchurch 0
SUB-TOTAL 26,000
GRAND TOTAL 68,000

I arrived at Hamptons at 10.50am. There were quite a few riders there already. I handed over my camera card, and my score sheet, had a sausage, spoke to a few riders I had met along the way, and then left to stay with friends.

The finish mileage at Hamptons

The finish mileage at Hamptons

I want to thank the organisers. It was heaps of fun. I feel like I exceeded my own expectations. And while I can’t remember every part of the ride I know that I experienced some amazing weather, some amazing countryside, and a real sense of accomplishment.

Finishers, every one of them, I hope!

Finishers, every one of them, I hope!

I’ll definitely be back next year.

My Spotwalla track including the trip from Christchurch to Picton on the Monday afterwards.

My Spotwalla track including the trip from Christchurch to Picton on the Monday afterwards.

TT2000

So, this Friday I’m starting the TT2000 – an endurance event for motorcyclists. I leave Picton at midday on Friday 19 February. and arrive at Christchurch at midday on Sunday 21 February. The idea is to accumulate 50,000 points from collecting photos at checkpoints, as well as riding a minimum of 2,000km.

Without giving my route away I’m going to be riding 800km the first day, having a 6 hour sleep, and then riding around 1600km the second day.

South Island Tour – November 2015

On Sunday 22 November I begin the annual motorbike trip with some old mates. We’ve been doing it for around five years now and each time bar one we have ridden around the South Island.

Day One – Sunday 22 November 2015:

My journey starts on the Bluebridge Ferry (Wellington to Picton) on Sunday morning arriving at Picton at 11.30am. The others are a day ahead of me as I had to stay behind to attend a friend’s wedding. So, my first day riding is a long one – from Picton to Tekapo in an afternoon. I’m aiming to get there by around 7pm.

Day Two – Monday 23 November 2015:

Tekapo to Catlins

Day Three – Tuesday 24 November 2015:

Catlins to Te Anau

Day Four – Wednesday 25 November 2015:

Te Anau to Milford Sound to Te Anau to Glenorchy

Day Five – Thursday 26 November 2015:

Glenorchy to Franz Josef

Day Six – Friday 27 November 2015:

Franz Josef to St Arnaud

Day Seven – Saturday 28 November 2015:

St Arnaud to Picton to Wellington

You can follow my trip on the Spotwalla map below (refresh as you go). This map relies on me remembering to keep my iPhone in tracking mode. It will start tracking from 7.00am on Sunday 22 November and finish at midnight on Saturday 28 November.

The 2015 NI 1600 in review

Checkpoint #1:

1 h 50 min (159 km)

My speedo at the start of the NI1600

My speedo at the start of the NI1600

The Avoca Hotel

The Avoca Hotel

Starting at the Turangi Holiday Park we headed to National Park, through Raetihi, along the Paraparas through to the Upokongaro Tavern (Avoca Hotel). This was the first manned checkpoint. We needed to take a photo of our bike (or a marshall) in front of the Avoca Hotel entrance.

https://goo.gl/maps/BZsWa76weAG2

 

Checkpoint #2:

28 min (33 km)

Whangaehu River bridge

Whangaehu River bridge

A short blast through to the bridge that crosses the Whangaehu River, with a photo of the bike as proof that it was visited.

https://goo.gl/maps/XP32Ps9VQ7G2

 

Checkpoint #3:

1h 3 min (68 km)

Pemberton Corner

Pemberton Corner

This felt a lot longer than 68 km. Very twisty road with lots of loose fine grit gravel. I came barrelling around a corner to find a fellow NI1600 participant standing on the side of the road signalling to slow down. One of the riders ahead had hit gravel and ridden straight into a fence. There were plenty of people helping – he didn’t appear injured and the riders had the bike back on the road so I continued on to Hunterville where I queued for petrol. We heard later that the rider who ‘crashed’ was not able to continue.

We headed north to Ohingaiti then hung a right and headed into the northern Manawatu. My GPS on my iPhone was all but inoperable so in these early stages I made the decision to try and stick with some of the other riders and just follow them – assuming that they would know where to go. ‘We’ found the next photo checkpoint at Pemberton Corner, apparently an historic place – I still have no clue as to the significance of this location!

https://goo.gl/maps/mDKQg7DqRNR2

 

Checkpoint #4:

51 m (58 km)

Halcombe Memorial roundabout

Halcombe Memorial roundabout

From Pemberton Corner we headed south towards Cheltenham. This included one of the longest straights I have ridden. Another rider shot past me at a rapid rate of knots. Turning right at Cheltenham back towards SH1. I kept up with two fast riders who ‘showed me the way’ to Halcombe. Never been there before. Not likely to visit again.

The objective was to photograph the bike near a war memorial on, or near, the town roundabout. When I arrived there was a bit of a queue to ride your bike onto the mound.

https://goo.gl/maps/nFCH5dgVVDn

 

Checkpoint #5:

2 h 55 min (232 km)

At Oakura with Marshall 'Stretch'

At Oakura with Marshall ‘Stretch’

This was the first of the substantial riding legs. Coming out of Halcombe I followed the Honda Goldwing guys – there were four of these beasts. Again, with no GPS I thought I’d follow the leader. What I didn’t realise was they were making a detour to Marton for their first fuel stop so I found myself off course, thankfully not by much. Instead of hitting SH3 at the intersection of Makirikiri Road I exited onto the highway several km’s north at Turakina. It didn’t add any extra time or distance to my journey.

Headed north west through Whanganui, then Hawera, then along the Surf Highway to Oakura. It was nearing dusk. The sun was getting low on the horizon, and the wind was pretty bad. I couldn’t help thinking why anyone would want to live in the Taranaki. Wind blown and devoid of any meaningful vegetation, along with the pervading smell of cow shit. They can have it. Needless to say I was very happy to hit the BP station at Oakura for the second manned checkpoint.

https://goo.gl/maps/iSva2rJSCrm

 

Checkpoint #6:

3 h 37 min (281 km)

Raglan Z - a dark and lonely forecourt

Raglan Z – a dark and lonely forecourt

Another big leg. There were quite a few bikes congregating at the Oakura BP. I tagged along with the Goldwings again riding through New Plymouth as darkness was falling. This was another long leg up through Te Kuiti, and then along SH39 and SH23 to Raglan.

The Goldwings left me for dust. I saw one other rider at the BP in Te Kuiti where I re-fuelled. I rode to Raglan pretty much on my own. I did stop at the Otorohanga McDonalds for a quick bite to eat. It felt like I was there for 30 minutes or so but my Spotwalla tracker suggests around 15 minutes for an Angus burger and small fries.

Didn’t see any other riders until approaching Raglan as riders were returning either to Ngaruawahia, or up the SH22. Photographed my bike on a lonely forecourt at Z Raglan.

https://goo.gl/maps/KciDVvFTpnk

 

Checkpoint #7:

1 h 26 min (112 km)

A busy time at Bombay Hills BP

A busy time at Bombay Hills BP

 

I was getting a bit sick of winding roads so decided to take the marginally longer but easier ride to Bombay by heading out to Ngaruawahia, and then north on SH1. It’s pretty much a dual carriageway the whole distance so I made reasonable time and arrived at Bombay Hills where there was a rather large gathering of bikes for the third manned checkpoint.

It’s strange but there’s very little talking at these checkpoints. For me it’s about either refuelling the bike and the body, taking a toilet break, and then heading back out onto the road. I did have a long discussion with a lovely chap about his classic BMW R60. He was a marshall so wasn’t riding but was interested in the GS. One rider was catnapping on the lounge seats in the cafe of BP Bombay Hills. I have no idea whether he continued or not.

https://goo.gl/maps/JLYAv2PemCN2

 

Checkpoint #8:

2 h 9 min (135 km)

A remote checkpoint at Te Rerenga

A remote checkpoint at Te Rerenga School

By this time it was around 1.00 am. I knew the next leg would be a challenge. Riding around the Coromandel Peninsular in the daytime is bad enough but at night time is almost silly. I was heading for Te Rerenga to take a photo of the bike in front of the Te Rerenga school sign.

While the distance was not far the windy nature of the road meant that it would take a while. Seems I did it in 1 h 37 min which was pretty good going. I installed some great HID bulbs on the bike some years back and they really come into their own when doing this technical night riding. It’s almost as good as daylight – almost!

Stopped at the school sign with two other riders who I had managed to catch up.

https://goo.gl/maps/hBFwPGb4jWo

 

Checkpoint #9:

1 h 40 min (106 km)

Whangamata Z

Whangamata Z

From this point on I rode almost the rest of the way back to Turangi alone. I followed the two riders who were at Te Rerenga into Whitianga where we went our separate ways. Again, without a GPS I basically followed street signs into Whangamata and in the process made a few unscheduled detours and U-turns. I arrived at an empty forecourt in Whangamata at around 4.10 am.

https://goo.gl/maps/21K8oHyZ6vw

 

Checkpoint #10:

2 h 5 min (143 km)

Fairy Springs, Rotorua

Fairy Springs, Rotorua

I was running low on fuel so made a short detour to Waihi to refuel. It was a bit of a deja-vu as the BP Waihi was a checkpoint stop on the 2014 NI1600. From here I headed into Tauranga. To my mind Tauranga is a small city that thinks it’s really big. It’s the most frustrating place to find your way out of. I ended up driving along the ‘motorway’ and then having to do a U-turn where I promptly found myself on a toll road. Bugger. Nothing to do but to continue on.

At this stage I was completely convinced I was on completely the wrong road as I headed towards Rotorua. I found myself in a gnarly little gorge heading through to Ngawaro. It wasn’t until I arrived back at Turangi that I confirmed I was where I was supposed to be. The time was around 5.45 am and so the sun was beginning to rise.

I arrived at Z Fairy Springs where I had a cup of coffee, put on some more clothes as it was getting chilly, and headed south.

https://goo.gl/maps/iViLCipMn5z

 

Checkpoint #11:

2 h 42 min (192 km)

Ohura - ghost town

Ohura – ghost town

The ride through to Benneydale was cold but pleasant. I travelled some roads not previously taken. From Benneydale it started turning to custard. The roads through to Ohura could hardly be classified as roads – more like badly sealed farm tracks. By the time I got to Benneydale I’d been riding for 16.5 hours so my tolerance was low and my ability to concentrate wasn’t compromised but it was struggling. These roads were ghastly. Big potholes. Lots of loose crap over the road to trip you up and throw you down if you weren’t careful. It was bloody hard work and I remember a couple of times yelling and screaming for it to stop. Plus I saw no-one. No-one at all. Was I even where I was supposed to be? Apparently so.

Ohura township was a delightful little ghost town with perfectly formed but run down, and largely empty shops. I had travelled through Ohura 6 months before on the Forgotten World Highway Rail Carts – in that experience we saw Ohura literally from the other side of the tracks.

https://goo.gl/maps/uV6trS4StkQ2

 

Checkpoint #12 and FINISH:

1 h 37 min (115 km)

And the finish!

And the finish!

From Ohura it’s a very quick jaunt out to meet the last leg of the Forgotten World Highway and into Taumaranui. Nearly back to base – thank God.

I have to say I was aching but not as tired as I had been on the 2014 jaunt. On that occasion as I headed down the western arm of Lake Taupo I sung every song from South Pacific that I knew in order to stay awake. This time because of the technical riding required in the last few legs there was no opportunity to be tired. I remember yawning ONCE, and once only.

I made it back to Turangi at 10.05 am. That’s a time of 21 hours and 5 minutes. I’m pretty happy with that. Google suggests that it should have taken 1,343 minutes, or 22 h 38 mins. That’s continuous riding with no stops for food or fuel and with no traffic. I’m bloody happy with my time, although I’m not convinced that in a weeks time I won’t get some mail with some speed camera fine collection. It’s very hard to slow down to 50kph at 4.00am in the morning when you have been riding at speed all night. That’s not a great excuse, but it’s all I’ve got.

https://goo.gl/maps/7dFQbwabVjM2

Thanks heaps to the organisers. I love this event. My friends think I’m mad which is why I’ve never been able to persuade any of them to do it with me. Maybe next year. When do entries open again? Can you let me know?

NI1600 route has been revealed

So, the route was revealed at 7.00pm last night. It is, as the organisers said, very windy and technical. That can also mean slow which might be a problem in the latter stages.

It takes in a lot of the North Island taking a tortuous route through the lower part of the Wanganui/Hunterville region. This is the one place that I’m likely to get lost on. Lot’s of navigation, so much so that my phone GPS can’t handle it. I’ve had to resort to making notes on my phone with turns etc. Hopefully this won’t hold me back. Actually, I’ve just bought a map – going old school – further pressure on time if I need to stop and check locations all the time.

There are 12 checkpoints on the route – around 5 of these are manned checkpoints, the others are photo stops where we need to capture us, or our motorbikes, in the prescribed location (in front of a memorial, on a roundabout, near a sign or bridge etc). It’s also an opportunity to stretch the legs and recover, marginally, until the next leg.

As well we need to time fuel stops. In the early hours of the morning we’ll need to rely on 24 hour petrol stations, or card pumps. Some of these are off the prescribed route so detours may have to be taken. My bike will do around 320kms on a full tank with reserve, so in the scheme of things it has a reasonable range. That still means that over 1,600 km I’ll need to stop for gas around 8 times. Best to time these with checkpoints so I’m killing two birds with one stone.

Here’s the link to my Spotwalla track: (It will be actively tracking from 1pm this afternoon 10 October 2015)

The North Island 1600

NI1600 logo for 2015On 1.00 pm on Saturday 10 October 2015 I’ll be leaving a campground at Turangi to attempt to ride 1,600 kms on my motorbike in less than 24 hours.

I have done this three times previously. Twice as part of the Rusty Nuts organised rally, and once as the Distance Riders Group. We won’t know the route we need to take until 7.00pm on Friday night. I’ll post that route here tomorrow (Friday night).

I’ll also be setting up a Spotwalla track so you can follow my progress through the night if you find yourself with nothing to do and you’re wide awake at 3.00am on Sunday morning.

The link for that is: https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=f10156163bdb960e8 – at the moment it’s just a map. When the ride starts I start an application on my iPhone that starts pinging location messages back to the map. All you’ll need to do is refresh the map to see where I am!!

The other exciting thing about this years event is that if we’re successful we are eligible to apply for membership of the renowned Iron Butt Association of USA. The IBA are the premier long distance riding group in the world. Their most famous rally is the IBA Rally held every two years where contestants ride 11,000 miles in 11 days.

And the weather is looking good.

weather

 

 

 

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