TT2000 - 2019, Yaldhurst Tavern, Christchurch
The TT2000 is a very well-established long-distance riding event held in New Zealand in February each year. The event takes the form of a scavenger-hunt rally with details of checkpoints being released before the start of the event. Riders have plenty of time to consider and plan their ride ahead of time.
To qualify as a finisher a rider must collect photographic evidence of checkpoints visited during the rally using their rally T-shirt. They must also score a minimum number of points from their checkpoints visited, as well as completing a minimum distance of 2000 km during their ride.
The ride starts at midday on Friday and ends on Sunday at midday. There is a grace period of an additional four hours provided to riders beyond the base forty-eight hours so as to discourage the need for riders to speed in the case of their planned ride hitting the odd snag.
2019 is the eleventh time this event has been held. It now attracts around a hundred riders each year.
One of the event's attractions is that the distance required and the time permitted, allow for two eight hour sleeps within the ride if so desired. Alternatively, if you want to be hardcore about things, then the event provides the ability for a rider to choose to ride almost non-stop in an effort to collect all of the bonus points on offer. There are regularly a few extreme, hardcore riders who attempt this.
It's fair to say that this event provides something for everyone and that you can make of it whatever you choose. - Which is why it has such a wide appeal to so many different riders.
I wish I had heard of this event sooner, I first entered the TT2000 last year with a friend Nigel. You can read about our misguided efforts here.
This year the event was held in the South Island and Stella and I were keen to make a holiday of it and to incorporate the rally within a longer trip.
Making the trip South
The rally started on Friday, 22nd Feb so we wanted to be staying in the local vicinity on Thursday night. That meant catching the ferry to the South Island at some point on Thursday morning. It's about an eight-hour ride from Auckland to Wellington and we were taking two bikes with us. Stella's not used to riding much more than an eight hour day and so we needed to break our trip up a little on the way down. Our main options were to aim for Wellington in one hit or to visit some good friends in Wanganui on the way down. We choose to go and visit our friends.
Rather than spend the full night resting and taking the normal ferry, for some odd reason I decided that having a half nights sleep and going on the very early ferry (3:30am, overnight) seemed to be a good idea?! I've questioned this decision a fair bit since... So we had an early night in Wanganui, set the alarm for just before midnight, left at 00:20am to arrive at the ferry just after 02:30am. The trip down was clear and uneventful. We popped into Wellington city to fill out bikes up since we had a little spare time.
Check-in was quick. Waiting around in the dark in the parking area at that time of day seemed to take ages and unusually, bikes were the last group to be allowed onto the ferry.
We've taken bikes on ferries in Europe before but never in New Zealand, I'd done a bit of research before or trip and had some advice from friends about what to take with us. Luke had even given me a set of handlebar cups and tie-downs as a gift, and lent Stella his set, so we were well prepared. We were rushed though since we'd been let on last and honestly at that time in the morning I didn't need the hassle from the ferry staff which we were given, it did nothing but inspire an antagonised response from me, something about 'letting us on earlier then...' I don't care how frequently you might have to tie a bike down, five minutes is never enough to do it properly and not feel rushed!
Given the time of day, the crossing was quiet, we had no problem finding a free bench seat to accidentally collapse on and get a reasonable amount asleep...
By the time we arrived in Picton, it was daylight, the ferry arrived just before 7am. We stopped in Picton to put on some warmer clothes and for Stella to change her clear visor for her darker one. I used my lemon pledge to clean my screen since I was attempting to video through it. - You can't beat lemon pledge for a quick windscreen clean, and yes, it does need to be lemon for the full effect!
South from Picton
So it's 07:15am, we have the whole day to get down to Christchurch, the sun is out, and we're in no rush. This is the perfect way to start a South Island tour. It was at this point that Stella and I agreed that the madness in our method of our ferry booking had paid off. We cruised through the vineyard areas around Blenheim taking note of some of the names, calling out those which we recognized and had enjoyed.
Having comms on the bikes is a modern luxury which we wouldn't know how to do without. It's only really in the last couple of years that we've had them but they make such a difference when riding together to make it much more of a shared experience. Ours are only a cheap and cheerful set of eBay but they work very well for bike to bike comms and also for a Bluetooth set when riding alone.
Anyway, it wasn't long until we hit the beautiful coastal road around Kaikoura and got to see first hand, the extent of the road works and reclamation work which had been done. We stopped to take some photos at the lay-by next to the seal colony and to take in the scale of some of the earthworks.
We detoured on the way to Kaikoura to scout the Kaikoura compulsory checkpoint. This one was quite a way down what looked to be an out and back road, however, with the scouting we were able to find a reasonable dirt road shortcut which we ended up using on the actual ride.
When we arrived in Kaikoura we headed straight for the hotel accommodation which we'd booked for Sunday night. We had booked, but not paid and wanted to say 'hello' and tell them what we were doing over the weekend, to explain that we might be later than their normally check-in. We also wanted to offer to prepay so that we'd ensure they didn't give our room away if we were later than planned. - This helped as they were able to tell us which room they had booked for us and that they would leave the room open for us with the keys in the room. We'd already had a similar conversation by email with our accommodation in Tekapo for Saturday night.
We headed into Kaikoura for some proper breakfast. We found a nice spot overlooking the bay which served full, cooked breakfasts and nice coffees. We were having a ball. The bikes were starting to get a bit of attention and some nice comments from some of the tourists.
It really was pleasant feeling like there was no rush, I knew what the next few days were going to feel like and this was such a positive contrast from what we had planned. It's not that the TT needs to be rushed, more that you're constantly on the go and need to ride with a strong focus on getting it all achieved according to a detailed ride plan, this was the opposite.
Arriving at Yaldhurst
The ride from Kaikoura into Christchurch is straightforward, the roadworks added a reasonable delay to the trip but the traffic controllers were trying very hard to be friendly and positive. Every one of them greeted us with their stop sign and a smile and a wave. Clearly, they had been instructed to disarm potentially irate drivers with kindness and a smile. It appeared to be working well.
The amount of work which was being done by numerous individual contracting companies, in conjunction with each other was notably impressive. It was clearly very well coordinated. Being asked to wait and allow them to continue their work whilst they were clearly active was no hardship at all and a stark contrast to most work sites where you might wonder if anything is being done.
We wondered how much of an impact this would have on the TT riders, especially those who might not have had an opportunity to experience them before the ride. As it turned out, their activity levels had dropped off significantly over the weekend and the number of unmanned stoppages had been significantly reduced to only those which were absolutely necessary. These guys had done an exceptional job at considering and minimising their impact on locals and other road users. They'd clearly noted the importance of this when planning such a protracted project. The scale of theses works was impressive.
On the way down we had considered scoping out the final checkpoint on our ride, we found the turning off SH1 and pulled off, but then stopped for a chat and decided we were just too hot to be bothered with more riding than was necessary. I remember it being close to 30deg on the ride down. The call of the pub and some cold beers was just too much.
It had become apparent from the reaction to some of our facebook posts that we were early travelers to the TT. Most others seemed to have the sense to take a slightly later ferry at around 9am. We had yet to see any other bikes on the road going to the TT.
This proved to be true at the Yaldhurst too, we were the first to arrive at about 2:30pm on Thursday afternoon. This worked out well as we had plenty of time to check-in and to sort out gear out.
We'd brought two bikes down with us but the plan was always to park the R1 at the pub over the weekend and for Stella to jump on the back of the Concours 14 for the TT. The staff at the pub were very helpful and opened up a lockable storage area for us to shift it into.
We prepared for our two nights away by repacking our touring luggage and leaving a heap of extra holiday gear behind. We were able to stash two of our larger bags worth of gear at the hotel while we were away. So after sorting out all of the necessities we showered and changed and became the greeting party for other riders while enjoying a few well-earned beers in the pub.
TT Day 1 - Friday 22nd Feb
Having done most of our packing and last minute prep the night before, Saturday morning was quite relaxed. The hotel did a nice hearty breakfast and we got to meet a few of the other riders who had turned up early.
Anticipation was building. We shuffled the bike out from its overnight parking spot between two of the hotel buildings into a shady spot in the car park and did or final pannier packing.
In the wait, a degree of nerves built too, so I did other final things like checking my electronics and re-cleaning my screen with lemon-pledge. 🙂
With an hour or so before the briefing, we managed to catch up with a few friends who you only seem to catch up with at these events and got a chance to meet a few new ones.
Seeing Andrew in the car park on his Grom certainly created conversation, we all thought he was mad but what made it worse was that this was his first TT! When we got chatting it turns out that he makes a habit of doing challenging events in inappropriate vehicles. This may have been his first TT, but it wasn't his first rodeo!
We all had plenty of time to walk around the car park and admire all of the other bikes. Of note were the bunch of five or six gold wings who appeared to be tackling the event together, a lot of Triumph Tigers, Teneres and GSs. The Adventure bikes definitely outweigh road-biased tourers at this event now.
Andrew Thomson had acquired a new mascot for his Tenere, and I'm not talking about Colin, he had a slightly smaller monster mounted behind his screen...
There was mounting excitement as the briefing neared, I'm pretty sure that we were allowed to find and collect our T-shirts before the briefing this year? Wayne kicked the briefing off spot-on time and got us underway bang on 12 noon.
It's funny, when you're let loose and you're heading back to your bike, any plan you might have had goes out the window and you find yourself in an excited flap. Thankfully I didn't forget my pillion or this would have been a very long ride indeed!
So, with a final reset of the GPS trip details, starting both Rever and Spotwalla on my phone, and then putting the first checkpoint into TomTomGo app, we were off. I had already set the GPS to navigate to the first checkpoint, and so we were underway.
Immediately I ignored everything I had just done, and in the excitement blindly followed other bikes which were heading on a northerly course. And so, within two hundred meters of leaving the pub, we were lost!
We should have turned right at the roundabout directly next to the pub but instead had gone straight on. I knew which general direction we needed to go to correct this and so did one big loop around the block, through a housing area... Never mind, this is a long event with plenty of time to make up for that little slip-up. 🙂 Stella, on the back, had no idea what was going on. Within a matter of minutes, we were back with the main flow of bikes who were heading south out of Christchurch on SH1.
The spotwalla link for our TT is here: https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=1ca225c6a1c4a3f1cb&hoursPast=0&showAll=yes
With the amount of built-up areas and road works, it was a bit processional heading down towards Ashburton. Through the line of traffic we were making a polite amount of progress, not much more - Battlestar Galactia (heavy), coming through!
I remember seeing one active police patrol heading northbound on the way down there. We were all behaving well and were also constrained by the general flow too. Needless to say, that made the first checkpoint a very busy spot! It was good to know that my radar detector auxiliary sounder (air horns) was working well. 🙂
Our checkpoint 1 - Rotunda @Ashburton @75km due at 12:53pm photo was at 12:50pm
We spotted a little, red Mazda MX-5 at the checkpoint and then again on the road a few times heading south. I forget the full story Wayne told us, but the guys in the MX5 were granted a special dispensation to do the TT in the car. They were wearing their rally T-shirts and waving at us every chance they got. I thought at the time that they ought to have chucked their helmets on for full-effect. I think we may have also seen it once on the northern loop on Saturday..?
Our checkpoint 2 - Mystery - flags @The tin shed @114km, due at 1:26pm photo was at 1:21pm
We continued on SH1 past Timaru, and past the beautiful coastline, right beside the road, to the South. We soon had spots of rain and it started to get notably colder. Some of the riders took a diagonal road inland towards Kurow, we needed the distance on our route, and so had to continue down SH1 for a little longer, then take the road more directly up the side of the river. We were pretty much on our own doing that extra milage, and so when it got quiet, we made some enthusiastic progress.
We made good time into Kurow (our checkpoint 3) @268km, due at 3:22pm photo was at 2:58pm
Stella was getting cold and needed to put another jumper on, we headed across the road a fueled up. I think the sleepy little petrol station was doing a pretty good trade from us all that day! After filling up, we headed back towards the coast. This section is where a lot of the adventure riders split off from the tarmac riders, halfway down towards SH1, there was the turn-off which takes you over Danseys Pass. It would be about 70km in total with the middle ~50km of it unsealed. About 20km in from the other end is the Danseys Pass coach inn. - Somewhere which looked really interesting to us from the Rally pack to the point that, while we were avoiding it and that road during the rally, we had booked in there during the following week as part of our extended South Island tour. Because of this, we took great interest in the road and the turning as we were going down that way.
For the distance required in the rally, we had planned to head back out to SH1, and travel along it for a short while, then back up to the far side of Danseys Pass using SH85, turning at Palmerston. Our friend David Roberts was starting the TT2000 from Palmerston (by arrangement) on Saturday morning. We knew he had traveled down ahead of us and was already staying in town by the time we were going through. We made an effort to contact him to see if he wanted to say a quick Hello as we rode through, but failed to get him on the phone as we were going into town. Just after we'd gone through we had a call back from him to say that he had heard us riding past. It's nice having a recognisable bike. 🙂
SH85 is an interesting section of road, we were warned not to cross the yellow lines on this section of road as we were told that the local police will often get dropped off (so they leave no visible police car), then hike up into the rocky outcrops in the valley with a video camera to capture people crossing the yellow lines! - We're not in the habit of crossing yellow lines, but this behaviour sounded a little odd to us. - We were aware however, that if we got held up being a slow stock truck or horse float through here that there was absolutely no 'squeezing past' it, unless it was clearly OK to do so.
We were loving the flowing ride up to the highlands (Keystone and beyond), this road was pretty special. Super windy, though forest areas, gullies, the road condition was great and the corners just seemed to keep on coming. Over the top and the weather changed for the better. It was full of sunshine in Otago.
We had such a nice ride into Ranfurly for our 4th checkpoint @466km, due at 5:51pm photo was at 5:11pm
We grabbed the bike fence checkpoint (our 5th) checkpoint @Alexandra @548km due at 6:51pm photo was at 6:02pm
.... before heading to Alexandra for date night, due at Monteith's pub at 7:06pm but we would have been there almost an hour earlier than planned. We had left, having eaten before we were due to arrive there. I mentioned the TT to the pub staff, and since we'd beaten their dinner rush their service super quick.
We had another fuel stop in Alexandra before heading northwest, through some of the hydro dam areas above the town - that was when we realised that they had built Alexandra beneath the dam! Really? Right up until that point we were saying how nice it looked, and how it was so pleasant that we thought we could live there. When we saw the dam we were like, ummmm, no.
Heading north-bound up towards Wanaka, but avoiding heading into the town, we continued up to the Luggate Hotel, and got the @Wanaka checkpoint (our 6th) @632km, due at 8:27pm photo was at 7:40pm
We bumped into another rider there who was sat outside in the very pleasant evening air, eating his fish and chips. We recognised him as one of the riders who we were riding along with, just before the Kurow checkpoint earlier on in the day. We left Kurow before him, so he must have looped through on us as we had been having our own dinner in Alex. From the Luggage hotel we headed north briefly before turning right, crossed over the river and back down the other side of it.
As we were traveling southbound down the other side of the river, the sun was starting to drop over the hills across the other side, it was very pretty. The route we were taking swung around again and started to head in a northerly direction, up towards Omarama, SH8, over Lindis pass. It was around here that we saw Andrew Walton coming the other way on his Grom! Amazing, we gave him a big toot and a wave. Then started to wonder how on earth he was there, coming in the opposite direction? - What route did he have planned? I would love to know...
We were loosely in touch with Wayne, and we called in our sighting of the Grom to him.
Mystery checkpoint (our 7th) Graffiti shed. Nr Lindis pass. @696km, due at 9:15pm photo was at 8:23pm
We carried on up and over Lindis Pass, the sun still hadn't set by the time we went over the top. We turned left at Omarama and continued up to Twizel. By the time we reached the next checkpoint the sun had properly set.
Our checkpoint 8, @774km, in dark, construction pipe with a dumper in it, due at 10:03pm photo was at 9:04pm
From there we went on to Tekapo, where we stopped for the night @822km.
We had a pre-booked cabin, there was a very easy key collect, we saw no one there at all, we were due at 10:48pm.
We had showers and went to bed. We took a photo of the bike outside our cabin at 10pm, so we had arrived an hour ahead of our plan.
TT Day 2 - Saturday 23rd Feb
Feeling good about how our first day and pace had run, we were awake slightly later than originally planned, 30mins on the alarm. We thought it was safe to spend another half an hour enjoying breakfast, based on Friday’s pace. We left the campsite at 7:10am over an hour late. 🙂 - Stopped in Tekapo for fuel and breakfast in the bakery.
Fairlie checkpoint (our 9th) @867km, due at 6:35am, photo was at 08:06am.
While we were there we scouted out the pub across the road where we were due to stay during the week following the TT. We were already pre-booked for our extended tour, the pub was directly across the road from the statue at the checkpoint.
The weather was a little cloudy and grey, and a little bit cold. We had made sure we were dressed warmly for the morning.
We continued on, northwards to (#10) Mt Somers - Hedge checkpoint @963km, due at 7:47am, photo was at 9:06am
What a funky hedge! I bet that's a heap of work to keep maintained.
We carried on north along SH77, past Mt Hutt. As we arrived at the Rakaia River bridge, we were stopped by a Stop/Go sign held by a member of event staff, controlling traffic across the bridge for a cycling event. The lady told us that she had heard that there had just been an accident just a little further up the hill on the other side of the river. She told us that one of their cyclists had collided with a motorcycle (which Stella and I presumed was one of ours). So on the way up the hill, we took things cautiously, looking for any incident.
We came across a rider on the side of the road who had managed to move his bike into a small layby. There was a cyclist stood talking with him. This was Murray. He was talking to the father of the kid who had just ridden down the hill on the wrong side of the road, striking Murray's RHS clipping his mirror and breaking his screen. The force of the impact was strong enough to do some significant damage to his bike. The kid was sat on the floor, across the other side of the road and was being looked after by a few other cyclists. While we were there, parked up, another batch of 10+ cyclists came swarming down the hill, taking up the entire width of the road. There was much waving, shouting and blowing of our air horns at this and the next batch that did exactly the same. - The father who was stood with us at that point verbally recognised the danger which their group had and were continuing to cause. Bloody idiots, in one case; literally!
So, after stopping for a while to make sure Murray was OK, we asked him what he wanted to do, he was pretty determined to push on... So we rode with him, with him in the lead from there for 43km until he stopped in Sheffield for fuel. We checked he was ok and headed on to our planned fuel stop in Springfield @1049km.
22km further along SH73 was the next checkpoint (#11) @Lyndon -shelter checkpoint, due at 9:11am @1070km, photo was at 10:19am
It was somewhere around here, likely in this pull-off, that we picked up puncture in the rear tyre.
Riding on the way to Arthur’s Pass, the TPMS low-pressure washing came on. I thought it must be an error as the bike actually felt fine to me. We continued to watch it while riding on, it was a rear-wheel pressure warning.
We stopped to check it, I kicked it, then I kicked the front. They both felt fine, so we carried on.
The warning continued to show dropping pressure. - Eventually, I started to feel it. It continued to drop, it ended up getting as low as 23psi so we had little choice but to stop and attempt to fix it. This was not an ideal spot, we had no cellphone reception, and it was too far to the next fuel station to continue on without doing something.
I've done at least once before, and so I knew that it takes a certain level of commitment and confidence to push a spiked reamer into your tyre and *open up a proper, and clean hole* so that you can then plug it. I read the instructions on the kit carefully anyway, just to be sure that I was going to attempt this correctly. Recovery from here would be problematic, and so this was definitely our best option, but it needed to work.
I found the hole through a combination of spinning, looking and listening. Then using spit, I tested what we thought was the problem spot, it was confirmed with a stream of bubbles. I managed to dig out a sharp, shard of metal with my toolbox pliers. Then reamed the hole a bit with some glue to clean and prepare it, then applied just one, single string to start with. To inflate the tyre we used all three of our CO2 canisters.
It was holding air properly but the pressure was only low at ~26psi. This would have to do until we reached an air-line to put some proper pressure back into it.
Check out that beautiful scenery. It wasn't lost on us, when we were repairing the tyre, we had commented on what a lovely (but highly remote) place it was.
That's the little shard which caused us so much grief... And the fun was only just starting...
The sight of the reamer sticking out of the tyre really freaked-out a German tourist who had never witnessed a roadside motorcycle puncture repair before. I laughed and said I thought I had something stuck in my tyre.
Those little 12g canisters really don't do much, if you have a kit, then add to it with at least 3x 25g CO2 canisters, you can buy these at bike barn for around $6-7 each, they are worth it.
If you can, add a mini compressor to your tool kit, but test it, and know that your bike's electronics can support the current it needs. Don't rely on either method alone.
We got to Arthur’s pass fuel stop and looked for their air-hose which they then told us was out of order. - No one else nearby had anything useful either!
We managed to borrow a single CO2 cylinder from one of the other riders (Steve Pope - thank you Steve!) who had stopped there to fill up. We were hoping that if needed we’d be able to boost our 26psi a little to hobble through as far as Moana.
After turning off at Jackson, we were considering stopping in a nearby farm to request access to a compressor if needed - most farms would have one.
Instead, we hobbled on keeping an eye on the rear tyre warning...
Got to (#12) @Moana boat ramp checkpoint due 10:44am @1197km, photo was at 12:27pm. We had been nursing the rear tyre issues since just before 11am.
We found Murray there at the checkpoint, he was there when we arrived. He’d ridden past us at Arthur’s pass when we were stopped. He had a compressor onboard and a 90deg tyre valve, and he offered to ride with us in case we needed either. He also offered us his compressor to use there and then, but we said we had already located a nearby fuel station and that we were hoping they might have an air-hose, so instead he agreed to ride with us there to see what we could find.
We found it, and they had a working air-hose, so we borrowed his 90deg valve and pumped a heap of air in it. Murray stopped at the fuel stop but said he would keep his eyes open for us on the road in case we had any further trouble.
We rode on and grabbed the next (mystery) checkpoint (our #13) , the red tractor @1240km, due at 11:19am photo was at 1:08pm! We noticed a leak at the higher tyre pressure, it wasn’t fixed.
We could have opted to wait for Murray, but not wanting to be too dependent upon others, we managed to hobble it into Reefton.
We stopped in the first fuel stop we found, the Challenge station, this was a little off the route through the town, it was about 100m beyond the turning which most of our riders would have been taking. we thought we might miss Murray when he came through but needed to see if they had air. If they did, then our plan was to deal with the puncture with additional repair strings. Until we found air though, we were not happy to touch the existing repair.
We were out the back of the Challenge station, trying to get air into the tyre, but had no luck without Murray's 90deg tyre valve. The stem on the station's air-hose was almost straight and tyre valves are rigid on the Concours because of the TPMS. They're not your normal, rubber, flexible valve stems which you might find on a car, or normal, 'dumb' valve.
Stella was heading back into the station to talk to the attendant to see if they had anything which would help, and to prevent us from needing to change the shape of their wand and amazingly, she found Murray filling up! We hadn't heard him pull in, and likewise, he hadn't seen us to the side of the station! This was a pure fluke!
So after he'd fill up, he came around the back and lent us his valve again, after which we pushed another four tyre repair strings into the puncture. Then we agreed to ride together to Springs Junction.
Another four strings in there!... This was at 2pm. We'd been working on the tyre issue now for over three hours.
We both really enjoyed the ride with Murray and the tyre held its 44psi! - We were so happy!
At Springs junction we filled up and stopped next door for food. Murray continued on went for flyer checkpoint, we agreed to wait for him to return, expecting him to be about 20 minutes or so. We had been so focused on the tyre issues and food that we had overlooked photographing that mandatory checkpoint! - Almost.
(#14) @Maruia @1328km. Due at 12:31pm photo was at 3:04pm!!
We remembered after we’d eaten! We were so close to missing this one!
The relief of working through the tyre issues must have distracted us both significantly. Gee, missing that would have sucked, it would have cost us the rally finish!!!
Murray arrived and we headed off together to the rail platform checkpoint (#15) @Kawatiri, @1445km, due at 1:51pm, photo was at 4:18pm!!
We're clearly feeling triumphant in this photo! Even though we were almost two and a half hours behind our plan we were still moving forwards and the tyre appeared to be holding its air.
Murray was heading north towards Nelson and we were east-bound to Blenheim, we said our goodbyes and felt confident enough that we didn't need to borrow any of his gear.
We saw our first, laying-in-wait police car hidden beneath a tree on one of Tasman's exceptionally overzealous, and ridiculously long 80km/h sections. Golf-clap Mr. Policeman, great job!
We passed through numerous vineyards heading over to Blenheim, despite the annoying slow speed limits throughout this area, it was enjoyable because of how pretty it was.
Then North, up to (#16) the Havelock checkpoint @1591km, due at 3:34pm, the photo was at 6:00pm!!
We circled Havelock to the fuel station there. While I was refilling, Stella went in to pay. The door chime made the exact same noise as the dairy in the film 'Hot Fuzz'... I started making jokes about Cornettos and Stella started cracking up. Once she's got the giggles she finds it hard to stop...
The attendant inside the store had no idea what was going on and Stella was really struggling to explain herself. The attendant had no idea that Stella had comms inside of her helmet. It was just one of those funny, memorable moments. I think it might have also been an indication of how much of a long day it had been for us both, perhaps we were both going slightly mad. - We had been on the bike for around 11 hours at that point.
Back to Blenheim for (#17) the (mystery) vineyard checkpoint @1620km, due at 4:10pm photo was at 6:25pm. - It was clear it was going to be a later night than expected.
Onwards, toward the east coast. We rejoined SH1 again, and found (#18) the checkpoint at Seddon - old station, @1658km due at 4:49pm photo was at 6:58pm, we were running just under two hours late at this point.
Here, we met up with three riders who were already at the checkpoint, one on a Ducati, an Indian and a Harley... (that sounds like the start of a bad joke...) One of them was having a smoke, and they did not look happy, at all.
The weather was turning to rubbish, and they were planning on riding all the way back to Christchurch from there, I don't think they were looking forward to it. Little did they know how bad it was going to get!
I'm sorry I can't remember your names, it was nice to meet you guys and we had a good catch-up back at the finish. This has been their first TT, and they did end up enjoying themselves a lot, despite the crappy weather that they suffered on the way back down to Christchurch.
We left the Seddon checkpoint before them. Within about 10 minutes we had to stop to put on our waterproofs. The others rode through while we were stopped. We met back up with them at the Kaikoura checkpoint (#19) @1763km. Due at 6:19pm photo was at 8:18pm
Trying to dry everything out in the hotel room, we were so happy to have stopped when we did.
Happy to be stopping the night @1773km. I dropped Stella off at hotel ~8:45pm and went to fill up and find food. I got completely soaked in the 30 mins I was away for, the heavens had opened, but we had a full tank, beers and fresh curry for dinner, and we weren't having to ride in the nighttime downpour!
We dried our clothes off as much as possible in the room, scattered across the floor.
It was still raining heavily the morning and it got progressively worse until just outside of Christchurch. We picked up an additional, unexpected checkpoint just south of Kaikoura. (#20).
Final checkpoint old stone house at Hurunui @1926km. Due at 8:41am photo was at 10:09am. Weather was absolutely crap!
We had to go beyond the widely used inland road turning, then in and out on the same road in order to collect the required kms. There were two riders who we ended up riding a good portion of the journey from Kaikoura with, but who turned off and took the inland road route. I'm fairly sure they ended up ahead of us, passing on the opposite direction as we were approaching the stone house.
The weather had completely packed-in, my USB charger unit got swamped and stopped working, which affected the iPhone, the GPS, and the video camera.
We saw another patrolling police car on the way back down that road coming in from SH1, just as we were turning onto it. This information may have been very useful for some of the later riders, I think we need a better comms approach for next year.
Further along, when the weather cleared up, I tried my other USB charger and managed to get the electronics powered up again.
There was plenty of time for us to get to the finish even with the late start and all of the rubbish weather, we were scheduled to have at least 30mins to spare on our return. - We cruised back into ChCh to finish at 11:15am with 2,017km showing on the Garmin, a total of 25:57hrs riding, with a moving avg of 89.5km/h, 2-up. 🙂
We were very happy with our effort and found that our balanced approach to tackling the TT was very enjoyable. Quite a contrast to the approach and effort which we made last year.
We felt like we deserved a well-earned beer. 🙂 We were staying overnight again at the pub, and so we were super-happy to sit around speaking to everyone about their rides and their own stories of the TT until we were the very last people left there.
So, from first to last at the Yaldy, we had a great TT!
Thanks Wayne, for all of your continued hard efforts which you put in each year to make this event what it is. - Cheers.