Chris and Nigel’s attempt at far too much
- 2018, North Island, Chris Wiltshire
- Our initial plan
- Spotwalla Captured route:
- Getting there
- Checkpoint 1: #19-Tukituki, back of the Angkor Wat Bakery (2,000 points)
- Checkpoint 2: #11-Pureora, lake side south-west of Tokoroa. (5,000 points)
- Checkpoint 3: #5 – Cape Colville, North West Coromandel (5,000 points)
- Checkpoint 4: #4 – Coromandel, Whitianga – Ferry (3,000 points)
- Checkpoint 5: #3 – Bay of Islands, Paihia – Reserve at Eastern end (8,000 points)
- Checkpoint 6: #1 – Ahipara, Southern end of 90 mile beach (10,000 points)
- Checkpoint 7: #2 – Waipoua Forrest (8,000 points)
- Saddle Sore 1600K in under 24 hours
- Decision Time
- Checkpoint 8: #12 – Maungamangero – west coast, out from Waitomo (5,000 points)
- Checkpoint 9: #17 – Volcanos – Tongariro Chateuax (2,000 points)
- Checkpoint 10: #21 – Vinegar Hill (2,000 points)
- To the finish…
- Time for a well earned beer
- The journey home
2018, North Island, Chris Wiltshire
Our initial plan
I have learned a lot from this, about myself, about my resolve, about trying to do too much.
Last year we did an IBA SS1600, and combined it with fundraising for Aran Animal Rescue. I wanted to do the same this year. I had planned an LD ride in Feb, then saw that the TT was running at the same time and thought, let’s combine them.
The TT was 2k, and I figured, if I’m already planning on doing 2000km, then why not just bump it up a little a aim for the next level up in the IBA certification rides, a Bun Burner – it sounded simple. – That part was a mistake.
It turns out that the TT has plenty going for it, and plenty to do during the riding in order to do it well. I had grossly underestimated how much harder the IBA rides would be, by overlaying the TT requirements over the top of them, and vica-versa.
- Not being able to chose where you start and end.
- Not being able to chose when you start and end.
- Not being able to freely determine the best route for the IBA ride.
- All while doing this in the already challenging NZ setting
- which has no real straight roads,
- no high speed limits,
- and at this time of year, lots and lots of roadworks,
- tar melt, rain etc…
- Then take an hour of riding time out for the various photographs which you have to take along the way…
Our initial plan was to prioritise the TT2000 event, and if we could, complete the SaddleSore 1600K, and if we could attempt a BB1500 and if we could add another 84km onto of that within the first 36 hours and call it a BB2500K.
Here’s our detailed route planning sheet for the whole thing (up to the BB1500):
What ended up happening was we burnt ourselves out in the initial 24 hours by completing the checkpoints for the TT along with the SS1600K, we did complete the Saddle Sore (pending verification).
The short version of the below account is that when we were riding into Kaitia, we both pretty much hit the wall and it was as much as we could do to keep moving through until sunrise. We picked up a little after the sun came up, but then decided that the SS1600K end-point was going to be it for Saturday.
Nigel was called unexpectedly into work on Monday morning, which compounded timing issues for him; he would have had to have ridden a 17 hour day after the 23 hour riding session which we had just completed in order for him to make it back to Auckland for his Monday work. – He was out of the Rally at this point.
I had a blissful 6 hours sleep crashed in front of the TV on Saturday afternoon, and when I ‘came to’, decided that I needed to push on after a reasonable night’s rest. – I had three remaining checkpoints to grab on Sunday, and 724km to ride to do this, and get to the finish.
My wife made a very sensible suggestion that I aim to complete the TT within the extended finishing window rather than bust a gut to ride from the very very early hours, so I planned for a 3pm finish, and pulled quite a bit of time back throughout the day on Sunday, finishing at 12:59pm.
Here are the summary details:
- 50,000 points from 10 check-points.
- 48:59 hrs
- 2,453 km (by ODO)
My blow by blow account, and photos follow below the route details.
Spotwalla Captured route:
Nigel and I both live in / north of Auckland, so we planned to leave at around noon on Thursday, we have friends and family down in Wanganui which made for a good base for the weekend, and it’s only around 100km away from Ashhurst, we decided this was a better plan than having to pay for a weekend’s worth of accomodation when we wouldn’t need it at all for Saturday. So our initial trip down was 512km to get to Wangavegas.
We met up with Jim on the way into Taumarunui who said he was staying the night in Raetihi.
Weather was a mixture of HOT, or Raining which meant if we wanted to keep our riding gear dry, we needed to wear our waterproofs for the trip down. I was sweltering when I took them off at the end of the day. We grabbed some dinner and headed to bed for an OK sleep (due to excitement and the mind running at 1 million miles / hour).
We headed out at 09:30am on Friday and arrived in Ashhurst at ~10:45am, we caught up with Jim on the way at some road works, then took a different route around Palmerston North; Jim knows best as he was there waving at me when we arrived at the Ashhurst pub, I hadn’t realised we were there and waved back as I rode straight past him!
Nigel hadn’t twigged either and followed me down the road to do a U-Turn and head back to the pub. – I remember thinking, I hope things don’t carry on like this… 🙂
We all gathered round for the rider’s briefing at the back of the pub, where we were given our TT2000 T-shirts which doubled up at ‘Rally Flags’, to be used within all of the check-point photos as proof that they hadn’t been taken at any earlier point in time.
So, at 12 noon, we all headed out to the bikes and set off… We were in no major rush as we needed to obtain a time-stamped fuel receipt for the start of our IBA SS1600K ride, so we went 200m down the road to the local fuel station and filled up. 12:04pm was the official start time for our SS1600’s 24 hour period.
Checkpoint 1: #19-Tukituki, back of the Angkor Wat Bakery (2,000 points)
The Manawatu Gorge was shut, so we took the Saddle Road around the Northern section of the gorge, then headed North East through Dannevirke and onto our first checkpoint. We came across a few of the Rally Riders along the route and meandered through some of them. There were 2 bikes at the checkpoint when we first arrived with another 3 there before we left. It got quite crowded in the alley and I ended up blocking someone in briefly – Sorry!!!…
This was at 1:15pm, the clock on the camera is out by an hour! This stop was planned for 1:36pm, so we were already a little ahead (~20 mins) of our planned times.
Checkpoint 2: #11-Pureora, lake side south-west of Tokoroa. (5,000 points)
We had two fuel stops and the whole of the Napier area to get through before our next checkpoint. Napier had some significant roadworks and mid-afternoon traffic to contend with, but they also have these very special ‘motorcycle’ lanes in the middle of some of their roads, a dotted line section without any chevron markings about the width of half of a car-lane. – Perfect for us to filter through at a steady pace. The rest of the country needs these!!!
We got held up in some pretty major resealing works along SH5 (Napier-Taupo highway), but the weather was so glorious, with blue skies, not too warm, at 23 degrees it was absolutely perfect riding weather. We were on cloud 9. Running a little ahead of our planned timings was what we had hoped for; we were trying to ‘bank’ some time during the daylight and faster flowing sections which we could apply back overnight if things got tricky. We stopped for our ‘lunch break’ at 3:52pm, ahead of the plan at 4:20pm. 30 mins ahead at this point was very pleasing!
The plan had us arriving at Pureora at 5:21pm. The photo below shows it was 5:05pm (*allowing for the 1 hour discrepancy on the camera’s clock…) so our ‘lead’ had dropped to only 25 mins. – We had 15 mins planned for our ‘lunch’ but Nigel was perhaps a little casual about things and it ended up taking us 30 mins… – That’s fine, a girl’s gotta eat!
Checkpoint 3: #5 – Cape Colville, North West Coromandel (5,000 points)
The route from our second checkpoint took us back in, through Tokoroa, then up SH1 as far as Tirau, up SH27, then across to Te Aroha, and up to Paeroa. It was just on dusk and so we changed visors over at that fuel stop and took a couple of pain killers for the numb bums and stiff shoulders. We’d done 530km at Paeroa.
The sun was just going down as we went through Thames and started up the Western Coromandel road up to Manaia. We were in for a pretty big surprise. – The road almost all the way up to Manaia was restricted down to either 30, 50 or at most 70kph. The damage and extensive road works sections were all the way up there. – This was not good for our timings or our hopes at staying ahead of the clock.
The Cape Colville checkpoint is around 35km north of the Coromandel township, we were expected in there at 9:09pm. The photo shows 8:49pm. So we managed to hold around 20 mins of lead.
A side note about planning. – We use BaseCamp, a piece of software written by Garmin, chosen so we can work really well and closely with what our on-board garmin GPS does and says. In the software I backed off the speeds for most of the highways, by as much as 20km/h from the standard defaults, to allow us margins throughout the whole trip. It is hoped that we should be able to get in front of the clock, and stay there, knowing that if we do, then we’re very likely to be able to achieve what has been planned, and we’re able to potentially take from that lead-time and use it for rests etc as we need.
The checkpoint at Cape Colville, at night is nothing spectacular, we found the coordinates, located the nearby sign, positioned the bikes to try to light it up as much as possible, and took the required photo, showing both bikes, the rally T-Shirt and enough of the surroundings to hopefully make it identifiable.
Checkpoint 4: #4 – Coromandel, Whitianga – Ferry (3,000 points)
This section of the ride was one of the hardest for me. The roads north of Coromandel, up to Cape Colville were tricky and tight with a dodgy, patchy surface, with narrow, single lanes in each direction. We were settling into nighttime riding, getting used to limited headlights, and it was raining in patches with predominantly wet roads down the eastern side of the Coromandel.
The ‘Coromandel Loop’ as it’s locally known to bikers, is notorious for catching riders out with series of corners which unexpectedly tighten up at times. – There are sign-posts reminding us to all ‘Ride our own Ride’, but when you’re following a BMW R1200RT at night because it has fantastic headlights, you don’t want to allow that dreaded ‘black patch’ to get in-between you both.
It’s a tricky and demanding section of road during the day; I found this particularly draining at night.
I was very relieved to get to Whitianga and to the Ferry to take our next check-point picture. We were due at 10:17pm, but got this taken at 10:12pm – just 5 minutes ahead of our plan.
Checkpoint 5: #3 – Bay of Islands, Paihia – Reserve at Eastern end (8,000 points)
This was a very long leg. We needed to get from the Eastern side of the Coromandel, through Auckland, and up to the Bay of Islands. (460km in this one leg). We had three fuel stops and 3 routing points to contend with.
We got to the first of our fuel stops at Tairua, where there is a 24 hour Gull station, almost bang on our planned time; only to find that their self-serve fuel system had run out of receipt paper. – Great! – ok, so I’ll be explaining that to the IBA then!… The staff have been excellent at helping out after the fact and supplied me with a photo of a re-printed receipt today! – Thanks Damien! 🙂
Onwards and upwards. As we left Tairua, I had struggled to get the GPS set to use some of the routing waypoints which we had planned into our route, taking us off SH25, and dropping down to SH2 – this was added into the route in order to add 22km which we would need at the very end of our first 36 hours, to achieve our BB1500 by Wanganui. – We missed the turning. We tried to compensate and found another way to get down to the second of the routing points, but the GPS wanted to take us on unsealed roads, so we blew that off and carried on. – ‘There’s always something else we can do to add it back in’, I figured, and perhaps we might not need it for the BB anyway…?
We got through Auckland and continued up to Warkworth where we had a very pleasant surprise waiting for us, my wife and our good friends Luke and Tania Mitchell had come out to cheer us on. Due at 1:53am we had made up some substantial time – partly by dropping the 22km section from the route, we filled up at 1:10am.
The roads were really clear from here all the way up to Kawakawa, no roadworks to contend with, no reductions in speed limits, no ‘safer speed zones’, apart from those around Dome Valley and having to ride through Whangarei. So we made really good time on that section.
24hr Caltex in Kawakawa was our next stop as I had known about the diversion in place between Kawakawa and Paihia. We knew we would need to divert around, and come back to Paihia from the west. Due at 4am, we filled up at 3:09am.
The Bay of Islands checkpoint was somewhat inaccessessible at that time of the morning; they close the reserve with a chain across the access road. – I had informed the rally organisers about that weeks before the rally when I did a recce ride around Northland. There’s not much to distinguish within this photo itself, so I’m hoping that the embedded GPS meta data helps the organisers to check these photos… This was at 3:37am, we were due at 4:38am. – So we had gained an hour on our plan at this point. – We celebrated with some more pain killers and a ‘Snack Log’ with some water.
Checkpoint 6: #1 – Ahipara, Southern end of 90 mile beach (10,000 points)
This was a biggie to aim for, not only in terms of the points on offer, but also the effort required to get there. The planning for the Paihia detour was within the final week before the Rally, and so it hadn’t been part of my recce ride some weeks before. When coming back out of Paihia, we ended up on a road parallel to SH1, heading up towards Kerikeri (SH10). My sense of direction is normally pretty good in the day, but at almost 4am, it’s pitch black and well, I missed a turning on the GPS as there were two turns in quick succession and when you’re following the GPS turn by turn, and not looking at a map view, it can be pretty easy to let one slide by.
As a result we ended up accidentally heading up SH10 for a couple of kms, before I got a sense that we had missed an important turning. I knew we didn’t want to go to Kerikeri and the roadsigns were telling me we were. The GPS didn’t seem to care, it had found another route; but that wasn’t one which I had checked and pre-vetted to be suitably sealed etc. So, on gut alone, we turned around and found the correct turning through to Waimate North, a cut-through which took us nicely back onto SH1.
When I did the recce ride a few weeks back, I came home a little concerned. – The section of road on SH1 up to Kaitia is extremely twisty with switchbacks so close to each other that the changes in camber end up making little humps for you to ride over if you’re able to almost straight line some of the bends… It’s ok in the day when you can see what you’re doing, but it was pretty hard going at 4:30am, and the surface was damp too.
One of the learnings from the recce ride was that I applied a further +5-8 minutes to each of these sections, above and beyond the already slowed pace. This meant that I could hand-on-heart, say to Nigel, there is no rush for these bits, we take them as slowly as we feel we need to. That, coupled with the hour ahead of time that we were running, came in very useful. As we neared to Kaitia it became very clear that Nigel had hit the proverbial wall. What had been jibber-jabber chit-chat on the intercom had become silence, or very short answers. I became a little concerned.
He insisted that he was ok, and that he would say if he wasn’t, but there was already a clear change which was apparent to me, I started to feel uncomfortable about it. As we got to the 90 mile beach check-point I asked him again what he wanted to do, stop for a while, rest up, find a park bench (and check into the IBA hotel) for 20 mins power-nap? – Nothing I offered seemed to be a good idea. – There was a significant change in him from the previous checkpoint to here.
We got the photo taken and he headed off promptly while I got my bike turned around in the sand and then caught up with him. Due at 6:18am, photo taken at 5:22am. – Still comfortably ahead of our plan, almost an hour still, despite the slow work through to Kaitia.
Checkpoint 7: #2 – Waipoua Forrest (8,000 points)
So we rode off, back through Kaitia and south towards Kaikohe for our next fuel stop.
Working through this with Nigel was tricky. He’s an adult. He has his own free will, it’s hard for me to tell someone what they should and shouldn’t be doing, but I was also tasked with looking after him as a fellow rider, riding companion and good buddy. – We reasoned a little, but he insisted that the best thing we could do was to continue on, and push through until day break. – Honestly, I wasn’t 100% comfortable with this.
I lead, slowed the pace down, kept him in my mirrors without pushing him and commentated the bends in the road over the intercom, by the time the sun broke, it had taken a toll on me, but Nigel was starting to bounce back…
Here’s a photo from our fuel stop at Kaikohe; I wanted to record the moment as it felt like we’d hit a major milestone – making it through to day break! We took our time at that stop to use the facilities, we had some more pain killers, and drank some more water.
I scoffed some nut and fruit mix and made the mistake of putting my helmet back on before I had finished chewing and swallowing it. Big mistake, it’s almost impossible to chew a mouthful of that stuff inside of a helmet with your chin-strap done up. – That’s how mentally exhausted we were both getting!
So we settled back into a nice easy riding rhythm on the way over to see Tane Mahuta. The forrest road is also very twisty, with some unexpected, exceptionally tight corners, but at least in daylight you can see them a lot easier.
Due at 8:54am, taken at 8:06am. – Still holding on to a good, safe margin for the ride and the Saddle Sore.
At this point we had collected 41,000 points. The remainder of the points were due to be collected after we had finished the SS1600, and after we had been through my home, for lunch… We had completed 1466km at this point, in 20 hours.
Saddle Sore 1600K in under 24 hours
We had planned to finish the SS1600 ride at the BP Connect in Warkworth which is just 23km away from my home. We had until 12:04 to fill up and obtain a fuel receipt. The plan had 1678km on the route, but we had dropped 22km inadvertently by missing that turn after the Coromandel section. – We knew the distance would be safe if we continued along our planned route which took us back up, almost to Whangarei, before travelling down SH1.
We had another route option which went from Dargaville, more directly over to the base of the Brynderwyn’s and cut some of the KMs out, quite how many I couldn’t remember…
So, we reflected on our state and talked about the options. Here’s what we knew:
- Neither of us ‘were as sharp as we wanted to be, riding our bikes’.
- We wanted to finish the TT.
- We were very close to finishing the SS1600.
- We were quite happy to make changes to our plan in order to be sensible about things.
We knew pretty quickly that we couldn’t possibly carry on for the next ~16 hours for the Bun Burner. – That would have been insane.
We knew that we needed to stop for a decent period of rest when we got somewhere reasonable. We knew how close to the end of the SS we were.
The decision became to focus on completing the Saddle Sore at Warkworth, ensure we had enough KMs, by continuing up to Whangarei before cutting back down SH1, then to head home and involve the ladies in a discussion around what we ought to do next. – We knew that the ladies would make sure that we made the right calls. And so we pressed on, with a small change to the refuelling plans; we didn’t stop in Caltex Dargaville, but headed over to use the GAS station near the Marsden point turn-off from SH1. – I knew we were tracking along well as I had taken note as we rode passed the planned stop in Dargaville.
The weather had brightened up properly, it was becoming another glorious day!
By the time we hit SH1, I had a second wind and had recovered from my slump which had hit me through the forrest. Nigel was back to himself again and had taken the lead. He was starting to leave me on the road, so I checked him and made sure he realised that his ‘switch had been flicked’. 🙂
We got down to Warkworth and my ODO read 37,210 which is an ODO indicated 1696 (IBA don’t accept ODO readings). I expect that Google Maps will confirm something more like 1,656 once I re-check it all. The time on this final receipt was 11:08am, we were due in at 11:57am. – Our Saddle Sore 1600K attempt had taken 23:08hrs, without any decent periods of rest. – This was the first of my major learnings from this event, the TT is plenty in itself without needing to make things further complicated by trying to do any IBA rides within it.
My Dad was waiting for us there at the petrol station, I felt terrible that we didn’t stop and stay longer to share the stories of the ride with him, but we were bushed and needed to get some decisions made and a few things sorted out at home. So we rode the 23km over to home and met up with our wives for a chat…
Ok, so clearly we had over done it, we’d attempted to cram in too much. The first decision was easy; do we continue for another 12 hours of riding, right now and attempt to complete the BB1500 (2,414km in 36 hours), we had it planned: picking up two more checkpoints on the way around the western Taranaki cape and into Wanganui for midnight, or not.
The simple answer was no.
Then things became slightly more complex. We had originally planned to stay down in Wanganui after finishing the TT event and then ride back up together on Monday. Since leaving Auckland on Thursday, Nigel’s work situation had changed and he had decided that he needed to be back in work, in Auckland on Monday morning.
This changed things, quite considerably. We’d just done 23 hours solid, and now Nigel was talking about trying to do the rest of the TT and ride back up again on Sunday. Because he was coming back up, he also needed to leave at a decent time which meant we needed to be finished the TT strictly at or before midday.
I put the route into the same planning software which had just guided us round, reasonably for the last day and told him that it would mean another 17 hour day. I thought that was madness. After a bit of discussion we all agreed that it was madness.
We reflected that if we were still able to stay down there that it would be a different story, that just going down there would be achievable still, but since that wasn’t an option, we decided not to do any more.
I called Rally HQ and told them that Nigel and I were retiring. Then I crashed on the couch, and slept until about 7pm.
I felt so much more with-it after that decent nap. But a little niggle had set in, I wasn’t happy with the idea of not completing the TT. I had fundraising sponsors who had backed me for Aran, I had the well-wishes of friends… I wanted to be able to wear my TT-T-Shirt with pride… So I began re-planning Sunday.
It looked like I would have to leave at 2am, but I wasn’t that well rested yet; I felt I could do with more. Stella, my lovely wife suggested that I use some of the grace period which is offered within the Rally’s end-time and plan to arrive by 3pm. This meant setting my alarm for 4:30am, and being out of the door by 5am.
I called Rally HQ and told them that I had recovered sufficiently to plan to head out to finish the TT, but that I would be there at around 3pm. 🙂
I printed out all of my new route planning sheets, with times, distances, etc etc, got everything ready on my bike again, then went to bed. I slept right through until my alarm, and was into it again, solo to finish the TT.
In replanning my route, we didn’t need the extra kms provided by going around Taranaki, but I did need another 9,000 pts, so I now planned to grab: Maungamangero (5k), Volcanos @ the Chateaux (2k), and Vinigar Hill (2k)
Checkpoint 8: #12 – Maungamangero – west coast, out from Waitomo (5,000 points)
Traffic in Auckland was nice and quiet at 5:30am on Sunday morning, but as soon as I was past Pokeno, the fog closed in. At points I was struggling to see more than about 200m ahead. The fog stayed with me for most of the Waikato and only really brightened up properly as I got closer to Otorohanga.
I called in to home and checked in with them before heading off on the Waitomo Road, we knew that this section would not have phone coverage, so I agreed to call in both before and after I had done this section.
I’d never done this road and it was really nice to ride. Again lots and lots of twisties, with plenty to catch you out. At one point I noticed a single skid mark on the road, it was linear and going into the corner. I smiled, thinking ‘oh yeah, that’ll be one of the boys overcooking it a bit’. – They didn’t appear to go off the road, so I happily assumed that they had slowed down enough to bank it in again and make the corner?? – Does anyone want to own up to that one?
This was the first checkpoint which I’d done alone, until now Nigel had the T-Shirt duties and I was snapping the photos… Wanting to make sure that I’d done a sufficiently good job by myself, I took a few photos, but then realised that I hadn’t moved the T-Shirt to show the number plate… Doh! All of this was because the camber of the road was sufficiently awkward that I couldn’t park facing the other way, towards the signs. I tried this first, but the bike was too upright to leave it. (I’ve got no centre stand).
I think the bike might be recognisible enough that the number plate might not strictly need to be visible. 🙂
I didn’t have the same type of time pressure as we did within the SS1600, but I had made up some time here. I was due at 9:14am, and the photo was taken at 08:24am – So almost an hour ahead at this point! – Excellent, perhaps I might be earlier than 3pm.
A friend from Wanganui had offered to ride out to the Chateaux and meet me there, joining me for the rest of the TT ride as a wing-man. I knew at this point that I’d need to call him as soon as I got back into cellphone range and change the meeting point to somewhere closer to Wanganui. – We settled on the Ohakune junction instead.
Checkpoint 9: #17 – Volcanos – Tongariro Chateuax (2,000 points)
The weather had again cleared up to become a wonderful day. The ride down through Te Kuiti and Taumarunui was lovely and flowing. From National Park over to the Chateaux, I saw my first other TT riders for the Sunday ride. That was such a lift in spirits! – I knew I was going to be ‘late’, but to see others still out and about grabbing the same checkpoints that I was, that was awesome.
This taken at 10:42am, against a new plan of 12:10pm. Without the BMW tanker with me any more, I carried my own spare fuel. 🙂 – This has to be one of my favourite photos from the trip.
Checkpoint 10: #21 – Vinegar Hill (2,000 points)
I left the Chateaux and met up with my friend Clayton at the Ohakune junction and travelled through to Waiouru. Here I came across my second set of TT riders filling up at the Z-Station. We had time for a quick chat before heading out on the road on the way to Vinegar Hill.
My GPS had packed in and wouldn’t boot up on the way from the Chateaux over to Ohakune, which wasn’t a problem until I need to find the checkpoint at Vinegar Hill. – I knew the turn-off from SH1 which I needed to take as I used to travel down that way to Manfeild when I used to race; but I didn’t know where the lookout was. I’d forgotten that Vinegar Hill wasn’t the same hill where the junction from SH1 was.
So I pulled over to have a chat with Clayton to find out if he knew where it was; that’s when Eugene turned in, he stopped to check we were OK, and we briefly managed to exchange enough info through ear-plugs and his playing music for him to gather that I didn’t know where I was going. – He told me that it was further along the road and then set off.
I tried my GPS one more time and this time it booted up, added in the next waypoint and it was all working properly again. Clayton and I pulled off and carried on, only to find Eugene and his riding mate kindly waiting for us a few kms down the road. – Thanks guys!
They handled me up to the lookout, and left me taking my photo – Lucky I had Clayton with me as the wind had picked up and my T-shirt didn’t want to stay put – Here’s Clayton in my checkpoint photo holding my shirt over my bike for me. 🙂 – This is at 12:30pm.
To the finish…
Clayton and I put on a bit of a spurt after Vinegar Hill and managed to catch up with Eugene and his buddy again to arrive in Ashhurst with them at 12:59pm.
According to the odometer, my TT2000 distance was 2,453km.
Time for a well earned beer
Thanks to Alan and Beks in Wanganui for putting me up and putting up with me, being flexible around my changing plans etc; and for supplying me with food and beer. 🙂 – Stopping over in Wanganui for the night was definitely the right choice, after some food and a sit down, my body and mind was ready to crash; I slept well, and woke to my alarm…
The journey home
Monday morning I met a few people to do with my ride and the fundraising which we’d done before heading home. I left at midday and went North from Wanganui only to find ‘The Paras’ closed. I had to turn around and come back into Wanganui, then out to Bulls, Taihape and then North to Wiaouru, over to Ohakune and up through National Park. It rained all the way from Wanganui up to Pirongia. That detour added 2.5 hours to my journey home. I arrived home at 8:30pm.
In all, from Auckland, to Wanganui, Ashhurt, Coromandel, Auckland, Bay of Islands, Kaitia, Dargaville, Whangarei, Auckland, Waitomo, National Park, Ashhurst, Wanganui, Bulls, National Park, back up to Auckland; from Thursday to Monday I covered 3,669 km.
🙂 – So now the fundraising and the TT are done, next steps is to prepare our Saddle Sore submission to the IBA, hopefully that will come together nice and quickly.
Thank you to the organisers, the nice people I met along the way and those who took the time to stop and help a fella out while I was unsure where I needed to go. 🙂
See you all again next year!