I’ve been fascinated on the last bunch of rides I’ve done by the numbers, MA, OA, speed and time stopped. I don’t have the brain to be able to calculate the relationships, I’m more of a seat of the pants bloke. But the more I ride taking notice of it the better I become (hopefully) at predicting how a ride will pan out early on and it helps me plan along the way. Yep, I need to get a life and I’m working on it.
Let’s face it, anyone who is reasonably healthy, mentally strong, determined, can endure some pain and work out a basic route can get on almost anything and bang out an SS1600k, even a CBR125e (onya Karl). That’s why there’s over 50,000 IBA members. So my Sunday ride was thrown together on Saturday afternoon with some help from OX via a phone call he was kind enough to make between stints on the Oxley. The plan was an SS2000k with a bail point for a SS1600k if there was a reason to go home sooner. My real goal for the ride was to practice fuel stops, practice jerry stops, go really close to the speed limit and watch the Etrex 10 like a hawk to see if I could gather more info for the seat of my pants. So I’m going to jot down the numbers an share my experience of them. Feel free to chip in with advice/thoughts/interpretation any help you can give me will be appreciated. If the numbers bore you then go and ride instead of reading on.
Early to bed, up at 2am, my wife obliged with the witness form and then a start docket at Lambton bang on 3am. The ride out of Newy on the New England on a Sunday morning was the best I’ve had in a while, I really wish they’d finish the roadworks though. Then at Jerry’s plains I hit fog. Before Denman I was stopped by a red roadworks light for a few minutes. At Denman I could barely see the intersection I needed to turn at, the fog hadn’t abated. Then I was stopped at the railway crossing at the other end of town. At Merriwa I had to stop to dry the inside of my visor so I used the stop for other things too. Thankfully the fog finally cleared by Dunedoo where I did my first jerry stop at one end of town while I had two dirty little white dogs barking and running around my feet. A few roos both sides of Mendooran and a stop at the Shell Gilgandra. The OA there was 81.2, with nearly 23 minutes Time stopped already. By far the worst it’s ever been at that point and substantially below my target for the day. I thought I might be able to recover it over the ride. No I wasn’t.
I’ve never been on the road between Gilgandra and Walgett before, I was glad the sun was up, I was able to avoid most of the bumps. A bit of time wasted finding the BP there and then a phone call from my dear wife. Our daughter jammed her finger in the car door and passed out, the mother in law was in Hospital with a bowel irritation (unusual for her when I’m not in the room). “Do you want me to come home?” “No it’s OK you are 600k’s away and 35 minutes behind your schedule, what happened?” She’s a good woman! Always happens when I leave home.
Sensational weather at that point, it was a beautiful sunny day, clear but not hot enough for me to need to remove any layers. At Brewarrina I had to stop and change the batteries in the Etrex, took longer than it should have because I stuggled to get the batteries out of the packaging. I don’t think cursing in the street in BRE is uncommon. BTW, the batteries in it lasted 7 weeks including 1 BB2500k/36, A BBG1500M, Broken Hill to Newy, an SS1600k, Newy to Gundagai , an SS2000M last weekend with Tele and this ride, go the lithiums!
I was keeping the speed at no more than L+5% creep. During this part of the ride I hit my highest speed overtaking a road train @ 129 for a brief moment. I don’t recall having ridden here before, maybe once, but I was astounded by the size and frequency of the road kill and the huge numbers of emus running about. At one point I was in the middle of not less than 20 of them, very uncomfortable. At that point the OA had risen to just under 90kph. I was really surprised how slowly it was moving up. The average speed, despite the fact that I was doing the full 110 and had been for a while didn’t pass 101.
I rode through Bourke and did a sub 5 minute jerry stop in a rest area 40 or 50ks out of town. Heading towards Cobar the clouds appeared and it started to rain lightly, a few specs here and there, the occasional shower, wet roads and road trains. There was no blue to be seen anywhere, no matter the Klim Lattitude and Daytona boots have weather all sorted. At Cobar the OA poked it’s nose over the 90, I had a slightly longer fuel stop there and it dropped back. I decided at Cobar to go for Plan C and instead of heading for Yass and back to Newy for 2000k’s I’d head home.
The really good rhythm I’d started in Walgett continued, I rode though Nyngan, turned at Nevertire and filled from the jerry at Collie. Arriving in Gilgandra the OA reached it’s pinnacle at exactly 93kph, that was as high as it was to get and frankly I was stunned it was so hard to get it there. I parked the bike went inside and ordered a coffee and plain burger. I then filled the jerry only, paid for the fuel, cleaned the visor, the food was waiting, gone in 15 or so minutes. Very happy with that stop except as you know there’s always the annoying guy who wants to chat while you are getting ready to leave. I couldn’t hear him.
Through Mendooran the sun went down the bugs came up in droves. So did the skippies, I’ve not seen that many through there before and I seem to be there quite a bit lately. A final jerry stop and visor clean at Merriwa OA dropping all the while. Thankfully there was no fog and the pace was good. No train, got the green at the roadworks and light traffic back down the bleeding New England saw me back in Lambton with a full tank and jerry (fuel calculations for another day) at 9.38pm.
So there it is, riding close to the speed limit stopped me getting anywhere near my target OA. Taking the first and last legs out I managed just under 95 OA with 5 stops, 4 efficient one not. Even at 95,bringing it up from the low 80’s to 93 took 915kms at 110ish. The highest average speed over the whole trip, which strangely happened just before Merriwa was 102 kph, it was on 101 from well before Cobar and just wouldn’t shift.
What did I learn? Not sure, maybe you more experienced riders and planners can help. I did confirm though when you are under time pressure for a ride if your OA drops below what you need to get it finished you are done, or you find another way to make it up that might involve unscheduled stops.
Here’s the etrex at the end. Note it’s missing about 10ks from the battery flat time.
And here’s my nice new matt black Shoei looking crap for the second week in a row because of the Mendooran sunset swarm.
Boring photos, but had to prove the ride happened