SS1600K: OzSTOC Group Ride

Today’s ride was the Australian ST Owners Club (OzSTOC) Group SS1600K organised by a very experienced and accomplished LD Rider, TJ. It was a roughly 2am start at the BP in Coffs Harbour, near the Macas, and the dozen or so participants were sent off in small groups. It wasn’t to be a group ride in the HOG sense, where everyone rode together and stopped together, participants were to ride at their own pace to the Dog on the Tuckerbox at Gundagai, turn around and ride back. Simple.

Here’s a few of the starters’ and their bikes

TJ decided to leave last and ride “sweep” and I was very happy to ride along with him, not having had the privilege of riding with him before.  It’s amazing what you can learn when you tag along with such accomplished riders as TJ. Our plan was to just mosy along. Before we got to Taree it had started to rain. TJ decided to pull into the Service Centre there and slip on his wets.  When he’d suited up and was about to start his bike I said “Hang on, I forgot to put my wet weather gear on!”  He looked at me, told me it was OK to do it now and I laughed and said, “Hang on, I I didn’t forget it” and laughed. The KLIM Latitude suit is very waterproof and I rarely wear anything else on long rides these days.

We rode at the speed limit and didn’t see any of the other riders until coming across a couple beside the M7. They were OK so we continued on and shortly after Goulburn they passed us.  It was an unventful ride to Gundagai except that I got some really bad stomach cramps and had to take care of business before turning around.  We took photos, had a long chat and a light meal, there was no rush. Another rider stayed back deciding to keep us company on the way home.

Here’s TJ at the Dog on the Tuckerbox

And here’s me

I like the Hume, I find it relaxing, not boring at all.  It was also a great choice of route for this ride because it’s safe, there are plenty of places to stop and get fuel. Night riding on the Hume also reduces the risk of wildlife intervention on the ride (but doesn’t eliminate it).  The fuel stops at Jilliby, Gundagai and Jilliby on the way back were perfectly situated for the ST’s range. With many of the riders new to Iron Butt distances it offered a great introduction and confidence builder.

I took a snap of TJ  during the trip home

The ride through Pennant Hills road was a bit busy and we stopped for a while at Jilliby to snack and add/remove layers as required.  It was an easy cruise back up to Port Macquarie and then the crap road, roadworks and every changing speed limits between there and Coffs elicited a higher level of annoyance close to the finish than they did close to the start.

We were the second last group to finish, some hours behind some others we were told. They must have been very eficient. After the paperwork was done, thanks Chris and Jean, we went back to the motel and had a few quiet ones and a BBQ with everyone celebrating a great achievement and a great day on our ST’s.

Here’s the route, simple but effective.