Saturday, March 31, 2012

Someone Special.


Every now and then you meet some quite amazing.

On Saturday I joined the Northern Gravel Riders for a ride around Poronui Station, I will write a full blog about this soon, but first I want to dedicate this blog to someone who I met on the Saturday morning, and consequently rode with all of Saturday.

While we were waiting at the Mobil in Taupo a lady pulled up towing a trailer with a little xt250 on board. I was later to meet "Alma".  She has a dairy farmer just out of Taupo, and was joining us for some training. 

A couple of years ago Alma's husband came home, excited about an adventure ride he had heard about through outer Mongolia.  "What do you reckon?" he said...."lets do it" said Alma.

The sum total of their riding  was around their farm on dirt bikes for years.  

Sadly Alma's husband was later diagnosed with prostrate cancer.  He lost his battle 5 months ago, and they never completed the trip.

Alma is going to complete the trip in July of this year, in his honour.  She spoke fondly of her best mate, and I was moved and touched by her down to earth attitude about life. "Salt of the earth" is how I would describe here.  She is not going to sit around in her grief (Although I wouldn't begrudge her if she did) but has set to do some thing that many of us will never accomplish.

She rode with us all day, the first time she had ever ridden on the road, and it was a long day of riding. She putted along on the xt, crossing streams, riding gravel, over rocks....she rode brilliantly, as if she had been doing forever.

So to you Alma, you inspired me, and I found your attitude to life heartwarming.  Meeting people like you is one of the many reasons I love biking.   My life is richer for having met you. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Spy Pics.

These pics were taken by a spy camera after the recent IAM ride.

The pics, taken from high altitude with a high powered lens reveal a Mr Geoff James (recently retired international blogger)  seen checking out a Piaggio MP3.  He was also seen riding it around the car park. No pics were available of this as security was tightened beforehand. Sources reveal he was "quite taken" by the little 3 wheeled scooter.

A source close to the days events also reveal that Mr James had recently ridden a Triumph Bonneville America, and was quoted as saying that "the feet out front position was very comfortable".

Rumors persisted that the Street Triple was becoming far to much of a sexy beast for Mr James to handle. Although when approached for comment, Mr James refused.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

IAM - The Test.

It was raining (again) Sunday morning as I headed up to Westgate to join IAM for it's monthly ride.  Buy the time I got to the meeting point the weather had begun to clear though.  During the last month Phillip had been to Christchurch to test some guys from down there.  I had been busy to, so I had not rushed to sit my test.  For those regular followers of my blog you will recall that on the last IAM ride I had passed my check ride (you can read about that here).  During that time I been riding to work a lot, in fact every time I get on the bike I am trying to ride to an advanced level.  Consistency has never been a strong point so I have been working on that a lot. 

Since I completed my very first Advanced riding course I have been really challenged to improve my skills, and many of you will know the failures and struggles I have gone through even to get to the stage of sitting the test.  Geoff James who's friendship and support has been indispensable to me as he  has gone through the same thing.  My mate Richard Turnbull, Andrew Leys, Bruce Everett and the hours that Phillip and Simon had put into my training needs to be mentioned as well.  It all came to a head on Sunday morning when Phillip pulled my aside and informed me that since we had an opportunity he wanted to put me through the test in ten bloody minutes......oh crap.   Of course the advantage of this is I didn't have time to get stressed , or worry.  I just had to get on the bike and ride.  Ride like I always do.  Ride like Phillip is not behind me.  

We pulled out of the car park just on 10.00am, headed north through Orewa, Warkworth, Woodcocks Rd, through Helensville and back towards Westgate.  Two hours of riding, various speed zones, overtakes to be completed, various obstacles to encounter and be aware of, (cow on side of the road on SH16, Lady riding her horse along the road) all sorts of stuff.   Woodcocks road is a nice tight and twisty back road. It is a good road to test advanced riding standards on. Chasing the vanishing point, right gearing, right speed, all come into play on this road. I was trying hard not to over think any of the situations that arose.    What would I do normally if Phillip wasn't following me? After two hours and close to Westgate we pulled over.  It was time to see how I went.

I personally thought I had done well, I felt I had missed an opportunity to make progress at a roundabout, and also missed a overtaking  chance, I didn't think either was a major.   When we began to discuss things Phil brought up both theses incidents.....I was pleased in a way,  it made me realise that we are both working form the same page.   The end result.............


You *&^$ beauty....

Phillip reached out his hand to congratulate me....I just hugged him, and fought back the tears!  God I was feeling a bit emotional.

It has been a 12 months since my first Advanced riding course with Tricia, and 9 months and many observed rides to get to this point.  I had suffered setbacks and failure, almost gave up, swore at myself a lot, and at times felt very demoralised.  But here I was, a full member of IAM.  Phillips words to me afterwards really meant some thing to me, and really summed up what I have been trying so hard to achive.  "To me"he said; "You rode to an advanced standard, right gear, right position and right place".

For me this is just the beginning, I stilll have a lot I want to accomplish, observer satus is next on the cards...carnt wait, but for now I will enjoy my recently poured double (actually good be quadruple ) vodka, and enjoy a moment of accomplishment. 

For those who have supported me through this journey, and there are many, I offer my sincere thanks. Special note to my partner Terry who's love and support has been awesome.

Took this photo last year at the pink ribbon ride, Andy, Geoff, Richard, me and my son. Thanks guys.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Broken leg.

Don't worry, not recently.  But I thought I would relate top you all how I broke my leg a few years ago.

It was June 07, my marriage had broken up the year before, and it was before I got into biking.  With the breakdown of my marriage and only having my kids a few days a week, I found myself a bit lost in the evenings.  I was still going through the divorce so wasn't much fun to be around anyway.

We had finished a book programme at work which was for the Auckland Film Festival.  I have always enjoyed the off beat films, and have sat through some great ones that never made it to the commercial cinemas. I went through the book and circled a few that I wanted to watch.  So on the Thursday night I took myself off to Rialto theaters in New Market.

As I left the movie at about 11pm I tripped on the stars, I was to far away from the rail and I took off at a hundred miles an hour downwards, landing on the slate at the bottom and breaking my left leg in several places. Tiber and Fiber...compound fracture to make it worse.

The first ambulance that turned up was horrified to discover the seriousness of the break.  They were informed when first notified that it was just a sprain! Doh....bloody bone sticking out of my leg.  They radioed for another as they didn't carry any morphine.  While he was waiting he informed me they were going to cut my jeans off, "beg your pardon" I said, "we need to cut your jeans off",  "like hell" I said, "these are my G-Stars and cost me $300 , just unpick the seams"!  No luck though and off they came.  

"You have quite a sense of humor for a man who's leg is facing the wrong way".

"Hell you should see me pissed, I am hilarious"

Finally I went off to hospital where they operated for 6 hours putting it all back together.  10 days in hospital. 3 months non weight bearing on crutches.  Man I had triceps that Brad Pitt would be proud of, but what a mission living on my own with a broken leg. The surgeon thought I had smashed it up on a motorbike, I must admit that bit sounded better than telling people I broke it falling down bloody stairs. As soon as I could I was up and about on the crutches.  I hobbled down to the hospital cafeteria as I was hanging out for a pie.....but then dropped it.  All that work for nothing.  

Took me an hour in the morning just to have a shower.  Trying to get a cup of coffee from the kitchen to the lounge meant re organizing the furniture so I could strategically place coffee cup, then hop a long.

I still can't run properly, which is fine cause I am not keen on running anyway.  I don't think the leg will ever be a 100% but hey, you just have to get on with it.  As they say , life is like a box of chocolates!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Waiting for...err...Winter!

So here I am my pic with the we cam, just to keep in line with Trobaritz!

Carnt really call it waiting for spring though.....I am at the wrong end of the world remember!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

South Head Forest- A Rogeys Gravel Rash Adventure.

I pull the garage door up, it is Sunday morning, 6.45 and I am looking at the rain poring down. Thoughts of my comfy bed that I had left half hour earlier filled my mind.  Do I really want to do this today? I really just felt like climbing back into bed.  The flu I had all week was still affecting me, I am sure I could justify my non appearance by using that excuse.  Cough, cough, sniffle sniffle...



 Bugger...I am up now, bike gear is on, I might as well go.  If it is teaming down when I get to the meeting point in Shelly beach then I will head home.  At least I would of got out for a ride.


 The ride up to Shelly Beach takes me a good 1 1/4 hours, the time I arrived there was no rain.  Yes it was overcast, a little drizzle at times, but certainly not enough to stop me riding. Most of the ride this day was done in dry conditions.   And that is all I am gonna say about the weather.



Once at the meeting point other bikes started to arrive.  I in all  20 I think.  Perhaps if it wasn't for the early morning rain (oops i mentioned it) there probably would of been more. There was a good mixture of bikes from KTM;s to big BMW's, and off road bikes. As the ride through the forest is only allowed with a permit we all had to pay a small fee. Adam Shani who has spent the last three years riding around the world also joined us.  It was a pleasure to meet a guy with such an adventurous spirit. Por bugger is heading to Australia next....I took it upon myself to warn him about all the things that can eat you over there.  I am good like that.

Once up at the gate to the forest we met our guide for the day, who opened the gates and let us in.

Most of the gravel was nice and compact and has I had voulentered to be TEC so I just sat back and plodded along.

A small diversion off the road and down a grass track to look at the lake was fun. Then back onto the gravel before we encountered some heavy sand to ride through.  This was a bit different and new to me.  You just have to keep hard on the throttle and drive through it.  At one stage we diverted through the forest to ad void a big up hill bit. Glad we did otherwise I would probably still be digging out the bike.  Times like this I wish I had a knobbly on the back.  I think I lost about 3 kgs riding this sandy bit...was swating by the end of it.  

We stopped by the beach and I saw a couple of sharks washed up.  Thought of taking one home for dinner...

Her is a video link of some of the sand...hope Ian doesn't mind me stealing it to show everyone.