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KoroJ's Blog

2015 TT2000 (Pt1)

Rating: 2 votes, 2.50 average.
Another TT done and dusted and it was a beauty!

After the frustrations of last year I took a slightly different approach this year, .but then Mike Hyde has constantly evolved the concept of his ride so each year is different anyway and this time swung back to a ride where one could easily get their required points, then ride where they liked to stack up the km's.

I didn't do that though!

I looked at the layout of the checkpoints and my plan morphed theough about 10 stages until I finally had a route that picked up almost all of the checkpoints apart from the gravelly ones and a couple that weren't convenient, it had early check-ins then further riding that meant there was no time pressure to get to the end (apart from trying to get plenty of sleep) and on the Sunday it had a 200km buffer of scootong over to Akaraoa just because we could.

I started out with Steve (& his V-Strom) as my riding buddy, then we got joined by Woody )on his Z1000) and then later in the piece, Chris (on his Multistrada) joined us for his first TT2000.

As per usual, I tried to plan the route to the nth degree, starting with the route in MapSource, then laying out the CP's and points on a spreadsheet with leg km's, total km's, working out potential fuel stops based on Woody's maxed out 300km range and finally assigning leg times from MapSource plus 2minutes per CP photo stop, 10minutes per fuelstop, 30minutes for lunch on Saturday and approx an hour to check-in to the cabins each evening and have dinner. I finally loaded the route into the GPS unit, noted the km's and route time from there, calculated the moving average and applied that to the spreadsheet to then have a fast time. (The unit comes up with a faster time than MapSource and it tends to be more accurate to my riding) (I also expected that the faster unit times would still be conservative.....yeah right!!)

By compiling all this info, the route would get tweeked until we finally had a plan....Oh yes, and as I went, I also discovered the exact locations of the two Mystery checkpoints. Mystery 2 was easy as that was Moa statue constructed of wire, so I googled the image which linked to an old Stuff article that revealed the name of the sculptor and the farmer that commissioned it (on his farm and it's general location) The white pages identified his address, then a scoot along streetview revealed the statue about 300 metres from his gate! Voila, it was in the plan.

I discarded Mystery 1 early in the piece because it was 3km from the end of the seal and there were no clues to start a search, but one tends to revisit these things and one evening it suddenly clicked that behind the two dunnies in a paddock was a bridge with a river running under it!! That prompted a scan of MapSource and Google Maps which identified that there were only two gravel CP's that went anywhere near a river at 3km from the end of the seal, Klondyke and Highview, but Klondyke passed by a loop in the river where Highview crossed it. Sure enough, zooming in at 3km along the Highview track on Google Maps did indicate there were two wee dots that had to be the dunnies!

Entries were registered, ferries booked, accommodation booked for two, and it was big enough for three, then expanded for four, the bike was serviced, re-shod with a new set of Z8's, Sena S20's were purchased all round, the route loaded to GPS's and we were ready to go....on the 0230 sailing of the Arahura on Thursday morning.

Thurs 19 Day 1
After grabbing a couple of hours kip, I was up at midnight, scrubbed and geared up and as the bike was already packed, I was soon on the road to fill the bike, then check-in at the ferry terminal. Chris arrived shortly after so we paired up our Senas, then Woody turned up but Steve didn't arrive until almost time to board.

We chatted for awhile before grabbing another hour plus of nap and we were on the road out of Picton before 0540. The temp started out at about 12 but hit 9 before Spring Creek and didn't really rise much as we made our way north in the dark.

I had a wee moment as we hit the roadworks through the Dashwood pass and I suddenly found myself on gravel, so probably not a great time to be on intercom but I'm sure my choice of expletives would have alerted the boys to what lay ahead. Nothing untoward happened though and an hour or so later, as we made our way up the Kaikoura coast, we were treated to a lovely sunrise when the sun sneaked out of the sea with a pink glow all around it, then as we turned toward the Kaikouras through Clarence, the whole mountain range was covered with the same pink glow for a bit.

I recall thinking that at least the temp would start to rise with the sun but shortly after we turned inland on SH70, the temp bottomed out at 7 and hardly went above 9 all the way through to our first fuel stop in Culverden. At this point we had travelled 262km at an average of 90kph and we got there at 0832, filled, had a play to try and improve the intermittent connection we were experiencing with the Senas and we finally got back on the road at 0906.

We made our way out to Waipara, on to Amberley, then turn inland again to take SH72 via Oxford to Geraldine for lunch and the next fuel stop. This was an easy scoot, managing an average of 95kph, and we passed Dreds and his two mates through here, so they paused to say gidday before we went in for our feed.

A bit over an hour later we had filled and were back on the road, then realised what a good idea it had been to take the inland route because once we got to Timaru, the traffic was diabolical. We were being diverted for roadworks (or perhaps a big accident) and we were constantly leap-frogging through long lines of cars and trucks. The traffic did ease from around Waimate though and we got to the holiday park at 1555, having had a relaxing day in the saddle.

We checked in, scrubbed up, sorted our stuff, went a feed and settled in for the night.,..and that was day 1.

89 moving average; 765km;

Fri 20 Day 2

We didn't start until midday so we enjoyed a sleep in with plans to check-out by 1000 (managing to leave by 0930), finding a cafe for brunch before filling and registering at McIver & Vietch. We met Topher outside the cafe and Bandit Rider in it, as well as a couple of Blenheim Ulys (who didn't manage to finish the ride after she had a close encounter with a sheep) and got to the start at about 1100 to mingle and chew the fat. At this point we discovered that Mike Hyde wasn't well and couldn't make it, but all went off to plan anyway.

We were briefed, collected our T-Shirts, which I quickly clipped into my shorts-hanger that I'd duct-taped into the lid of the top box for quick photo CP turnrounds, and after waiting for Woody to be already to go....then take his helmet off to put his earplugs in, we got underway for our first checkpoint at Aramoana at right on 1200.

This was always going to be a slow start but we did alright to make our way through the traffic as well as passing a few other bikes on the way over. I was surprised to find that we only passed two or three bikes on their way out and half a dozen at the CP. There were another 10 15 that followed us in and a few more that we passed on the way out, so it would seem that not that many riders opted to grab these points?

I'd never been there though and enjoyed the ride, then back to Port Chalmers and especially heading out to SH1 at Waitati....then from Palmerston where we turned onto the pig route and the pace lifted to a km-eating steady speed. We caught Dreds and his mates before Palmerston, slotted in behind them, then got caught by one or two others, so we had quite a wee train as we made our way to CP3, being the Macraes Gold Mine. Shucks....that's one big hole in the ground!....not to mention the huge pile of tailings sitting on top of it. It's amazing because I rode that road back in 2011, but between the fog, the sunstrike and the pace I don't recall seeing a thing of it....not to mention the other great scenery.

From Macraes, it was onto CP4 at Hyde then over to Ranfurly and CP5 at Idaburn, but we were treated to a smirk as we approached Ranfurly when Dreds and co took to Bypass Rd (a gravel jobby) and I commented to Woody, "Did you see that, those pricks hit that gravel and they didn't flinch, they didn't falter and they didn't miss a beat!" I had assumed they were off to some dark-side CP but then got another surprise when they popped out just ahead of us again 6.7km later (them having done 5.6km) and I thought, "Huh, Gary, (who was leading us at the time) you haven't been going fast enough!" (We'd only averaged 103kph).

They eased off a bit on the 16km to the Ida Valley turnoff, so I slipped past and the others followed because we did want to pick up 10 minutes on our schedule to add the Mystery 1 CP to our haul. We grabbed our photo of the dry dam, scooted past Chatto Creek and up to the Clyde Dam for CP5, then back to Clyde for gas. (what a quaint little town) Then we lit out for the Roxburgh Dam, CP6, and the ride along Conroys Rd was quite a treat with plenty of corners and views.

From Roxburgh we had quite a cluster of relatively close CP's starting with Mystery 2 on Moa Flat Rd, Wilden, Edievale, Switzers, Mystery 1, Heriot, Kelso and Waikaka, before heading to our check-in at the Gore Cabins, at which time (being 1745) we were a quarter hour behind schedule.

The ride plan had our departure on Part 2 at between 1850 1945, and after getting dithered around at the Kebab place, Woody & I scoffed down a couple of foot long Subs, while Steve & Chris went for a McCafe and whatever, with us getting back on schedule by heading out of town at 1853.

Our 226km outing started with a quick scoot east out to Kaiwera, then back to Gore to head north-west on SH94 for Manderville, where we had to photograph an old train next to a community hall, then a hall in the middle of nowhere at Wendonside. That road had a somewhat out of the way 6km long straight which inspired Chris to check his speed on....but that's all I have to say about that!

Our track from there briefly linked back onto SH94, then we took a link road across to SH6 to bypass Lumsden and down through Dipton to photograph a War Memorial, that like many in the Sth Island (and CP's on this trip) are tucked away on side roads out in the WopWops. We finished the day going down SH6 to Winton, across SH96, turning off before Mataura to collect the last CP for the day at Waimumu, where the route guides had a picture of the church, but noted the hall as the we took both and were back in Gore and refueled by 2130 (8 minutes ahead of schedule)

We finished the day with a scrub, then chewed the fat over a few wines before hitting the sack at about 2300,

89 moving average; 452km + 226km = 679km
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