Lost Weekend 5
I had heard mysterious bits and pieces about an invitation only adventure ride, and finally I got this years invite to go along! Emails flew back and forth re reservations for accomodation and the like, but the bulk of the details were a mystery to most of us - but a fun time was promised by among others the organiser of the Capital Coast Adventure Ride, so how could we possibly go wrong? A select 14 riders from all over the North Island meeting up to ride from Raetahi to Whangamomona via back roads and farm trails....sounds fun!
For the northern 8 of us the ride down country ended up going via the famous 42nd Traverse, and I have to add that the mostly dirt roads we rode to get there alone made it a great Friday!
Here is a pic of me and Ricky at the start.....since this was all gear I just grabbed and threw on amazingly I sort of match my bike in a retro fashion...red and black like the mighty Dominator!
Okay guys....add your photos and stories -
View from the south
Us lads from Wellington came through the Tararua wind farm east of Palmy
Weather was perfect with unlimited visibility. Ruapehu and Egmont were both visible from here which is a rare sight.
Dave led us up some stunning Manawatu country.
Past a road you just couldn't miss! :D
Then through Ridge Road west of Taihape
A few nails and a lick of paint...
Getting close to our destination now
Angel Louise in Raetihi turned on a mamouth feed for us all to cap off the day.
The course was loaded into the GPS
and the team assembled and Snowy Waters Lodge for an 8am start.
Including String's awesome looking GranPaso on her maiden voyage
First up a somewhat easier Fishers Track with the eastern half gravelled up for pussy bicycles.
But the western part (from the 'Public Road' sign) still in farm track condition. Let's hope it stays that way.
Next up Gold Road through private property to Kirikau on the banks of the mighty Wanganui. The track includes a snotty papa clay river crossing that kept the crew busy....
While Stretch checked his iphone for new messages...
... bugger, no reception!
Stretch assessing the situation - "there must be a better way..."
Serious hard work eh Rik?
Rear tyre hits dry ground and he's away - that cloud is tyre smoke!
Finally everybody reaches the top
Here's the same gateway in 2003 on another adventure...
And in about 1999, my first time through. See Ngaruahoe and Ruapehu in background...
The 42nd Traverse
There were plenty of reasons to go on this ride, but one of the main ones for me was a chance to ride the famous 42nd Traverse track (and as it turned out on the main ride day - Fishers track also).
The Northern contingent got there by a pretty fun (extremely indirect) route including winding gravel roads I never knew existed, and finally we turned in at Owhango onto the track entrance. I had heard about the 42nd Traverse from plenty of riders, but since it is not very close to home I had never ridden it on my trailbike...here is a video of our north to south trip...
<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/7TLfik--tT0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Great pics guys, I'd better look through mine & see if I have any decent ones to put up.
The ride down...
Ever been on one of those fun rides where it takes you 300km and 4 hours to get to a place 100km and an hour away, but you arrive with a smile on your face? This was one of those and views like this were one of the reasons why..http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/...weekend012.jpg
The long and winding road....
not the song...just the perfect description for the rising falling twisting back roads of New Zealand.....if there was one complaint it was dusty - which did make racing for pole position a real race at times. http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/...weekend013.jpg
Tyres: I had chosen to take heed of the warning in the emails about Saturdays ride needing Knobblies, so being a Pirelli fan I had fitted my 17 inch rear with a new 130/90 MT21 Rallycross (which are chunky, but homologated for road use), and my best used Scorpion mid soft MX tyre, which no longer had sharp enough edges for my KTM350 on the slick tracks we trailride on, but still had lots of rubber left. For some reason I am really hard on front tyres, so I had a few kicking around and I may have chosen a pretty hard old one now I think about it.
The first few Km on the road had me shaking my head at making this tyre combination choice - the front was sledging all over the place, barely feeing connected to the Dommies old style rubber mounted handlebars - and the rear slipped on anything, like white lines and slick patches. It was downright hairy to ride! I was finding it hard to keep any sort of line through corners, and other riders noticed me struggling trying countersteering, leaning less or more, and all sorts of antics. I had also added an Airhawk seat pad and had a bag strapped where a topbox would normally go since my soft saddlebags had not fitted on the bike without touching the rear exhausts (I will make some guards soon). This certainly raised the centre of gravity on the whole setup, though I was still nowhere near as high as Ricky on his recently purchased XR650L which sits much much higher (on Michelins that I was coveting before and during the ride).
I did think it was improving with each few Km though, and indeed by the end of the days trip it was all working well. The front tyre had worn in on the road and now had sharp edges and slightly shorter knobs, and the rear had lost that glassy look. Both ends were run at 20psi for the whole weekend, though I had figured I might have to let them down at some stage if the going got rough. I had paid to have them fitted as I am terrible at tyre changing, particularly rears, so it was quite amusing when on the Saturday main ride I was on a gate and when I realized the sweep rider had not come along I went back half a km and found Dave with a flat tyre on his 950SE. As I pulled up and we propped the bike up to get the wheel off Dave said he was glad I was there as he was no good at changing tyres - ironically it was a Pirelli MT21 rallycross - DOH!! We did sort it out in no time though (I think because it was warmed up by the 950's prodigious power).
Suspension: My Domonator is certainly the softest trailbike I have ever ridden, and all I did to prepare suspension wise was change the fork oil (20w oil in the old style suspension - easy peasy, each fork leg has a bolt on the bottom to drain it!), replacing the grey slime that came out of them. I didn't notice any discernable change, but felt better knowing they both had the right ammount of fresh oil since they had no adjustment at all. The rear shock had one damper adjuster (I assume compression) which I wound all the way to hard then backed it off one click. It might have bottomed out here and there (ok, all over the place actually lol) but it works really well considering the weight and age of the bike. I have to admit I take perverse pride in riding one of the cheapest, and most certainly the oldest, bikes out there and going well enough to work my way through the pack in each section.
You can see the nice winding road we had come on....fantastic riding country!
Even in the quietest moments...
One of my mates had recently picked up the most immaculate 650 Tenere any of us have seen for years. It didn't even have stone chips on the front fairing, was shiny and in amazing condition. Stevie and I had ridden together for decades and at various times we were having real heated battles for the lead.
Guess who fell over in a slow boring right hand corner with no-one else around when we were all just cruising along spaced out because of the dust? Yep..Stevie. He picked it up before I could get my camera out - but the right hand side was mint no more!
No food pics....
but we all know that adventure riders need about as much fuel as their bikes...so for us it was the mandatory stop at Rosco's in Tekuiti for coffee and some tasty vittles.
From TeKuiti you would usually turn right and go up to 8 mile junction (insert Eminem song here) then left to Taumaranui and on through to National Park (and then another 30km to our overnight destination Raetahi). So of course we turned left over the railway lines, then right and onto some amazing winding sealed 'B' roads, then off those and onto gravel roads (that I had seen before but never knew where they joined into) which ran parralel to the highway main route, visible on the other side of the river and railway.
Insert Video here....
I didn't take any more pics once we got onto the 42nd Traverse, but that is where the video above slots into the picture, cutting the corner from Owhango to about 10km past the Chateau Ruapehu turn off which we rode past to get to National Park (the name of a town - not a park)... There had been glimpses of the mountains as we rode closer but none as nice as this...
or this - another mountain btw...
Beautiful eh (the Mountains too....)
Raetahi put on a nice meal and breakfast for us all, with Port and Whiskey tasting for the late night crew at the lodge. The chilly start meant I had to add a layer for the 30km ride up to National Park to gas up for the day....a raincoat for the body and a pair of latex gloves under my MX gloves for my hands.
Last gas for the day....
National park saw everyone gassed up and raring to go. I was excited to find that in less than 1Km we would be at the start of another track I had heard of over the years but never ridden..Fishers track.
Our illustrious leader Johnny did not dissapoint and in no time we were through the gate and onto the freshly gravelled eastern side. You could push on here, but we were told to be on the lookout for Cyclists and hikers who also frequented the track.
Johnny leads the way....
Gassed up and raring to go...
Great pics and writeup mate, lovely to see a Domi in the mix, I owned one for a few years and loved it.
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