The past couple of weeks have involved quite a lot of work, racking up lots of frequent flyer miles on flights to and from Melbourne and Sydney, and not very much riding. Which is not really ideal preparation for my first attempt at a SS1600 (kms that is!) but c’est la vie. To make up for it, the plan is to spend Easter Monday collecting a few bonus points around Canberra and working out what our routine is going to be now that we know the rules for pillions…

To claim any individual bonus, you must write the bonus code on your score sheet and correctly provide all documentation required (date, time, odometer mandatory; photo, receipt, answer to question or whatever is required for the bonus). Your rally flag must be clearly visible in all photos unless the bonus states otherwise. If you are a two-up entry, one of you must also be visible in all photos; if a bonus requires the rider to be in the photo, both members of a two-up entry must be in the photo along with the flag.

I say ‘we’ because Kiwi has a vivid memory of a Butt Lite VII bonus in 2014 (The Bubble, KY) involving John and Nadine Huval being incredibly efficient with their bonus collection. In short, Kiwi’s memory involved him overtaking the Huvals on the windy road into the bonus location, setting up his bike with he headlights on the bonus and then hearing team Huval appear while he was getting his rally flag and pack out. In his mind, Nadine jumped off the bike, walked past Martin, put their flag on the bonus using Kiwi’s headlights, took the photo and they were off… meanwhile, Kiwi was still reading the rally pack to work out what to do. Needless to say he was a bit miffed at this and it stayed in his mind as an example of the benefits of riding two up. It also serves as reminders both that our brains don’t always perfectly recall what actually happened in memories, and that you should ALWAYS READ THE INSTRUCTIONS! Unless the Huvals didn’t actually get the points for this bonus, John must have been the one taking the photo…

18) Tiptonville, KY 555 points 24 hours BUBBLE

Kentucky Bend, also known as Bubbleland, is an quirk of geography. The border between Kentucky and Tennessee was intended to end at the Mississippi River, which is the border with Missouri. Unbeknownst to the surveyors laying out the border, the Mississippi River dips south of the border line, turns back north near New Madrid, and then turns south again on its way to the Gulf of Mexico. This near 360 degree bend created a piece of Kentucky that is not connected to the rest of the state and can only be accessed by passing through another state.

Take a photo of the stone marker for the Madrid Bend Families’ Cemetery to prove you were one of the rare visitors to this isolated spot.

On the east side of Kentucky Bend Rd, 0.5 miles beyond the north end of TN 22. There’s nothing else out there, you can’t miss it. 36.50465, -089.49232

To finish the story, apparently the next bonus was something at the top of a toxic waste dump and Kiwi redeemed himself by getting to the top of the waste dump faster than John and Nadine… Though being the fastest person to climb a 75 foot pile of chemical and nuclear waste may say something about the triumph of a competitive spirit over prudence?

Aaaaanyway… that’s a very long-winded way of saying that tomorrow we will be out hunting bonuses (kindly provided by Simon Bell) around Canberra and the ‘no drinking on school nights’ rule is kicking in early this week ahead of next weekend’s shenanigans! I have to admit to feeling somewhat under-prepared for my first big hit out, but then I suspect that would be the case even if I hadn’t eaten somewhere in the vicinity of a dozen hot cross buns in the past week and spent a bit more time in the saddle. I’m also hoping the feeling is par for the course when doing something as blatantly insane as riding 1600km in 24 hours.

Which brings me to my next point “what was I thinking?” And the reactions to this blog from friends, family and acquaintances. On the one hand are the people we’ve met through Kiwi’s long distance riding who are all ‘yeah! This is great! So glad you’re getting into it and seeing how much fund this is!’ And on the other are my family and friends from other walks of life whose responses are probably best summed up by my this comment from my gorgeous big sis: “Where is my sister and what have you done with her?”

Most of the time, I, too wonder what on earth I’m thinking even contemplating next weekend’s ride – but then that competitive/stubborn streak that I’m pretty sure has some strong roots on Mum’s side of the family rears its head and I get all “If they can do it, I can do it” about the whole thing and know that I’ll be disappointed in myself if I don’t at least give it a try. If I hate it, then I’ll know for next time to let Kiwi go and enjoy it on his own but either way I’ll be able to say not just that I can do it, but that I did do it. Between now and then will be a few preparations to make it all go smoothly.

Kiwi checking out bonus points…

SaddleSore prep

So far, the longest day we’ve done is 14 hours and that was ‘only’ 1000kms. Even that challenged us as far as nutrition went, though it wasn’t too bad for fatigue and we agreed our hydration strategy worked well. A few things I’m changing to improve my personal comfort for next weekend:

  • I have purchased padded bicycle shorts to wear under my riding gear and hopefully reduce how much pain my butt is in and also new LD Comfort helmet liners for both of us and riding sleeves for me underneath my jacket.
  • I will take my back brace with me just in case
  • I’ve started doing strength and flexibility classes (combination of stretching and core strength exercises) on Tuesday evenings
  • I’m going sans alcohol all week
  • We’re going to pack more and better nutrition (protein balls, peanuts, probably some other trail mix, dried fruit and so on)

Other than that, the plan is to get good sleep and relax. Unfortunately I have a work trip to Sydney on Thursday but thankfully unlike previous weeks I don’t have to be on the first flight out and I’ll be back by 7pm. We’re also both working on Friday morning, so it will mean there’ll be some mental fatigue before we get on the bike on Friday at noon, but I think we’ll be fine. The weather has started to cool down, so there shouldn’t be a need to worry about vented riding gear and so on…

The biggest test of my self control though is going to be that we splashed out and bought new Sena 30K comms systems while we were at Phillip Island and have since bought Shoei Neotec II helmets to put them in… They’re due to arrive Tuesday (from Italy via France, India, China and Singapore according to FedEx) but apparently it would be a rookie mistake to wear the new helmets on a long ride without wearing them in first. Perhaps only the females out there will understand how I feel but it’s like buying a new outfit that would be perfect to wear for this one occasion but being told you should wait a while before you try it out… I’m the kid on Christmas morning who wants to get the remote controlled car out of the box now and what do you mean you didn’t buy batteries for it!?!?!?? The shops aren’t open today????

So instead I’ll have to be a grown up, wear my Shoei NXR with no flip top and change the visor over from tinted to clear when the sun goes down. Adulting is hard.

4 responses to “What’s next…”

  1. Martin Little Avatar
    Martin Little

    Exciting! A chance to visit Queensland and spend some quality time on the bike!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. OJ Moon Avatar
    OJ Moon

    LMAO – Just ask Kiwi what MY involvement was at the bubble with the Hudal’s? BTW they are a wonderful pair of riders – you could do worse than spend some time with Nadine. What a woman.


  3. OJ Moon Avatar
    OJ Moon

    Oh, and Kiwi and I climbed the toxic pile together. I think I have a photo of us getting irradiated together……


    1. Bec Avatar

      Hmmm… that might explain a few things 🤣


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