A motorcycle rally in which I ride until I feel the burn, and keep on riding. Although not on a 250cc machine, so perhaps not "madness" so much as neurosis that found me strapping my gear onto the pillion of my Kawasaki Versys and tearing off down the road towards the Confederation Bridge and Moncton, where I would be sleeping overnight in order to make the rally start at 0600 at Toys for Big Boys in Moncton New Brunswick.
I geared up, got onto the Kawi, and let out the clutch. What a beautiful afternoon to be on a bike, with scarcely a cloud in the sky, and as the weatherman was calling for a low of 4 degrees that night with a risk of frost, the temperature fell faster than I was expecting and I began to feel that cool air making its way onto me through gaps in my gear. By the time I hit Port Elgin the temperature must have dropped to about 12 degrees. I was getting colder and turned on my heated grips, but still didn't feel the need to stop and don my heated jacket, so it couldn't have been that bad, right?
It was by the time I hit Moncton, I knew who to blame for that one, right?
Do you notice that green indicator on the right? It's a newly installed battery voltage monitor that I'd put on the bike Thursday after work. Now I have something to tell me when I'm killing the battery with my heated grips, gps, high beams and heated clothing. I can't do anything about it other than to turn off the accessories and suffer, but it is comforting to know that the bike will start again after stopping.
It was a cool start, you know one of those rides where you just don't feel the need to pull over and don an extra layer, but later on you begin to regret that decision. It got cooler as the sun went down. I mean sore nipples type cold!
|It's 11 kilometres of this...|
|Sunset over Cap Pele New Brunswick|
|I wasn't the only one on the road tonight|
I really should have pulled over and at least plugged in my heated jacket, but oh no! Not Rotten Ronnie... I'm too thick to think of that...
|And I made it!|
I met up with the organizers Rob and Zac from Canada Moto Guide along with some of the other participants, Murray and Doug, who kindly offered me the pull out bed in the honeymoon suite they shared. I should have crawled into a waste bin somewhere, as I would have got more sleep, but then I'd have gone without the entertainment. :D Thanks again guys!
Right, so when Rob tells you that we'll meet down at the bikes at 0530 in the morning, you would expect that sensible people would set their alarms and try to get to sleep at a decent hour, am I correct? Not us. It was like a CMG slumber party only with Crown Royal and Labatt's, minus the pillow fights.
|Did I mention the rally starts at Dawn for the lucky few? For us it began even earlier...|
Damn, it was early. And cold, very cold. Brrr! But we few, we idiotic, few fell in behind Rob and headed out to Toys for Big Boys
in Salisbury and rolled into the parking lot to find Larry and crew had donuts and coffee waiting for us. Wonderful! We managed to get the waivers signed and witnessed before Rob's harangue, and eventually releasing us with what could only be called an optimistic picture of the route we were to follow that day. I should be kind here, as Rob went out of his way to send me a google map of the route we were to follow, allowing me to convert it into a track for my GPS, a venerable old Garmin 60cx that I've had for a few years.
|The Route as envisioned by the highly optimistic staff at CMG|
I was to lead the big bikes, and while I queued them up in the parking lot, all one of them, the other participants gathered in behind Rob and Zac. Think of Hare and Tortoise, although we'll call them CRF250L and Konker.
I knew these guys would string out and be unsafe to pass, so I got Dan and I rolling right away before they headed out... To find that I'd misinterpreted Garmin and had headed the wrong way down the road and had to play silly bugger and u-turn, sheepishly passing the riders in the parking lot once again. Sigh. Adventures by Garmin™.