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Route setting weekend - days 1&2. 700km and counting.

This weekend past I have mostly been sitting on the bike….

I went up to Gold River with the intention of test riding the roadbooks for days 1 and 2 of the GoldRiver 400 and setting the GPS gates for the Richta timing. Two long days later, that is exactly what I accomplished.

I learned a few things along the way that will be useful to share.

Rest and Relaxation

Firstly, bring a comfy bed with you! These days will be long (if you ride each route in completeness - there will be short cuts). You can expect to be on your bike for 8-9 hours each day. If you are camping, you will really benefit from something soft and squishy to lie on, and have an effective pillow for your head too.

Vitals, provisions and libations…

You do not need to work hard at catering as the good people at Uptown Cappuccino cafe in Gold River will be able to supply breakfast with tea or coffee, lunch can come from The Shot in the Dark cafe in Woss and the Crossroads restaurant in Sayward Junction and dinner with beer from the Ridge Roadhouse pub.

Washing the road dust off…

The Gold River municipal campsite has toilets and the shower and toilet block at the Ucona sportsfield will be open for us.

These four photos are of the same place in winter and late spring weather conditions…

Rain and how to keep it out of your USB chargers

Next thing is that rainwater in usb phone chargers usually causes them to shut down. A dry cotton cloth and a good squirt of WD40 restores correct function and saves the day. Ask me how I know.

More on GPS and odometer errors (discrepancies/approximations/variations…)

Previously, I have written at length about sources of error in the electronic means of distance measurement. There are easily understood discrepancies in distance measurement between GPS and wheel driven odometers, especially when riding over steep ground.

What I found riding the two routes at the weekend is that there are further distance discrepancies between the distance between waypoints measured by Rally Navigator (the PC computer system used to write the roadbook) and the distance measured by the GPS driven odometer in Rally Roadbook Reader.

I don’t fully understand where the variations come from but I think it may be a compound error resulting from limited “vision” of the GPS chip in the phone and approximations of distance measurement calculations made by the Rally Navigator computer system.

Usually, the distance measured by Rally Roadbook Reader agrees with Rally Navigator roadbook to less than 100 metres. This works well enough when the road options are widely separated and road choices are limited.

I observed that sometimes the discrepancies could be as much as 300m.

Before you suggest I simply go into the roadbook computer version and alter the number, I would like to add the computer system does not allow that. I have tried….

So here is the kicker and the solution. On both days one and two, there are “maze” sections - 20 to 30km sections that go through old, logged out wildernesses where the distances between roads is quite small (less than the apparent precision of the roadbook/GPS odo combination), the roads are quite overgrown and indistinct and the route through is not obvious. Dramatic scenery but one missed turn will have riders going round in circles. I had the benefit of the Gaia track to follow….

And I will provide the same Gaia tracks in addition to the roadbook and also publish them here to whet your appetites!

Day One maze section.

Day Two maze section.

If you can’t get the hyperlinks to work, you can plot these routes for yourself as there are sufficient clues on the maps to locate them.

Logging activity

These roads are open, public roads used by heavy (very heavy) logging vehicles. You can expect oncoming traffic at every stage of these routes. The set average speeds are between 40 and 60Kph, fast enough to keep your interest but legal speeds and slow enough to give you time to stop for heavy traffic.

Keep to the right.

Don’t cut corners.

Expect oncoming traffic.

If it is bigger than you, stop and let it pass!

You might think you have the “right of way” but you are a vulnerable road user and will always lose any argument. Stop and let it pass!


This one is open, despite what the sign says!

This one is is definitely not open (below)

And this, I thought was taking things a little too far…

The following picture gallery gives a good representation of the conditions you can expect. The road surface is mostly variations in gravel from recent crushed blast-rock to old rounded cobbles. Not much mud at all, if June turns out to be very dry it will be dusty but at the moment the intermittent rain is keeping things green and dust free.

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