Nanny Ann and I were off for a week of R&R in Taupo. We were due to leave early and have a cruisy ride up via Rimutakas, Pahiatua Track, Kimbolton to Utiku then SH1, but a late departure, and meeting my parents for a 1500hrs check-in, meant straight up SH1 all the way.
I was surprised that most of the traffic seemed to be sitting between 115 & 120 kph, which was good for me being behind schedule with no radar detector. The trip was uneventful except for tailing ‘The Redeemed’ rider from Bulls to Hunterville, (either God or a radar detector was on his side as we never got picked up and we were a little over the limit), and the temp drop over the Central Plateau (25 – 10 – 15 – 22 degrees C) was fresh to say the least.
Relaxing Day, Sausage Sizzle and Hot Pools
We decided to nip over to Napier to check-out the Art Deco Festival and drop off a Light Catcher to friends. What a great ride and what an awesome festival. Napier really turns it on with the vintage cars, period dress and weather.
We combined a visit to Orakei Korako with a ride by travelling via Reparoa to Wai-o-Tapu, then back down via the Waikite Valley. Unfortunately my navigation skills and the map I picked the route on, didn’t show all the gravel roads so we ended up crossing the Waikite Valley to SH30 and back down SH1 to Orakei Korako. Was still a good ride in 25+ temperatures and the walk through the thermal attraction was very pleasant.
Took a boat ride from the Aratiatia Dam to the Huka Falls. (They seem smaller from the river level)
I took John, from a neighbouring apartment, on another Ride Day. We went across the back road to SH32 and up to Whakamaru, then SH30 via Bennydale to Te Kuiti and SH3 & 4 down to Taumaranui for lunch. Then SH41 to Turangi and SH1 back to Taupo. 300+ kms, great weather and great roads except for a wee glitch at roadworks on SH4. Entered the gravel at a slight angle and didn’t bring it around soon enough so had to take on a 10cm berm of the ‘loose-stuff’. Couldn’t touch the rear brake as I had my feet down and managed to stop in the centre of the right lane. Fortunately the oncoming cager saw my predicament and paused before going around me on my left….whew…another close shave/save!
Another ride-less day, just R&R and drinks at the resort.
Check-out at 0930 hrs and depart for Rotorua. Had all day so took Ann over another bit of the 2006 RNGC route, ie Taupo to Te Kuiti via Bennydale (as per Wednesday), stopped for brunch, onto Putaruru via Kihikihi and the Arapuni Dam, then SH5 over the Mamaku Plateau to Rotorua. We were taking it easy but still shaved half an hour off my RNGC time for the Te Kuiti leg, thanks to a dry road. More great weather and great roads, just a little splattering and drop in temp along SH30.
Mokopuna (Grand-daughter) and Sight seeing time.
Return home and we had to get back to Wellington by around lunch time so we decided to return direct via SH5 to Taupo and SH1 to Wellington. Departure at 0635 hrs (8 degrees C – bit chilly). I made the trip interesting by endeavouring to make it economical and kept the speed around 110kph. Temp got up to 11, but then we got to the Desert Road where it dropped back to 6. By the time we got to Taihape (0903 hrs) we were in need of breakfast and a thaw and when we departed the temp was up to 18 and much more comfortable.
We got to the J’ville turnoff at 1208; 5:33 hours total and about 4:45 ride time for 450kms. I still had 2 bars on the fuel gauge which could be anywhere between 50 to 100 kms (normally around 75 kms per bar but less on the last one). Economy was 5.5 lts/100km or 18.1 km/ltr and the average speed was just under 95kph. That would be enough for the RNGC + extension….pity Lee Rusty won’t pick main/known roads and good weather.
The roads in the central North Island offer great rides in every direction with SH5 (Napier-Taupo) and SH41 (Taumaranui-Turangi) being a couple of my favourites. In all we racked up nearly 2000 kms for the week. Just a pity there were a few more riders to share it with.
This year hailed the inclusion of a road riding event (Poker Run), for the first time, at the Masters Games in Wanganui. Upon hearing of this I decided it had been 12 years since I participated in Touch Rugby at the Masters and this was all the excuse for a ride I needed, so online I went to register.
The Road Ride was scheduled for Sunday & Monday, 11 & 12 Feb, so we travelled up from Wellington on Saturday afternoon, checked-in at the Games Village to get our bags & bits, checked in at Ann’s cousies for our accommodation and returned to the village for the night’s entertainment.
Sunday morning, we filled-up and reported to the Wanganui Race Course at 0930 for a 1000 departure. It turned out there were only 11 entries thanks to the event being excluded from the games book then, falling-off the website for about a month along the way. We were the only out-of-town entry and most of the others were Wanganui Ulyssians, but there were a few extra social riders who turned up for a day out, giving us 18 bikes on a lovely Sunday for a ride.
Introductions made, briefing and route map given, cards drawn (4 of Diamonds…pits), photos taken and we were off. Down SH2 to the Fordell turnoff where we passed some keen cyclists of the leg-it variety, through Fordell to Hunterville, then onto a café further up SH1 for Morning tea. I was pleased we went on this road as I have been keen to see what it looked like in daylight ever since crawling along it at night on the last RNGC 1000 miler. We maintained a brisk pace and it wasn’t that bad after-all.
From there we gassed-up in Mangaweka (at least the others did but I figured the ST was good for another 400+ kms), then carried onto Utiku where we turned off to return to Kimbolton via Upper Kawhatau and rejoined the Mangaweka Rd at Karewarewa. Lunch at Kimbolton was very nice, we drew our 2nd cards…10 of Spades…dbl pits) then back on the road, up to Apiti , back down to Pohangia (where a puncture got pando’d) and the return made via Colyton, Fielding (where we found a couple of lost souls), Halcombe and a wee detour round the Turakina Valley (where we experienced a slight delay for an off) before coming out on SH3 by the Antique shop and back to the games village for a drink and draw (4 of Hearts….Yippee…I’m winning). 344 kms done, the day had a couple of teething problems for the organisers, Darryl & Roger, but everyone seemed happy with a good days ride.
The day finally finished at about 0200 and we were up for the repeat performance a few hours later. Fill-up, briefing & route map, 12 riders and 2 pillions were off up the Paraparas, a brief regroup at Raukawa Falls, gas-up at Raetahi, then morning tea at National Park. From there the plan was to head to Taumaranui, up SH41 to lunch at Turangi, then Whakapapa via Rangipo – Turoa – Ohakune and return via Fields Track…but the best laid plans….
About 10 km up SH41 our leader & No 3 Rider-&-Pillion were taken out in a close encounter with a car. This appeared to be far more serious than it was as we waited for about 3 hours for the rider to be ‘Choppered’ to Waikato hospital. Fortunately, as it turned out, he only suffered a dislocated shoulder and some bruising but the CX-650 is a bit worse for wear. The other rider got off with a grazed elbow, his pillion a bruised shin and his bike a broken side cover.
We went back to Taumaranui for lunch and regrouped at 1600, before making our return to Wanganui the way we had come. At lunch I drew my 4th card…3 of hearts and the only good news was I still had the only pair, but 4’s were an easy-beat.
We returned straight to the Games Village for a drink and last card while waited for the organisers to tidy-up any loose ends. I was preying for a 3, 4 or 10 and what-do-you-know…10 of hearts…You Beauty) Roger returned and pulled a 2nd 6, confirmed my pair was 4’s before getting excited, only to be deflated to hear it was now 2 pair. We arranged a rent-a-crowd for the medal ceremony (presented by Dick Taylor), enjoyed a drink to finish off the weekend and headed back to Wellington the next morning.
I thoroughly enjoyed the rides, experiencing a few more new roads and re-visiting some old ones. The roads were all in pretty good condition (even the Parapara’s weren’t too bad) and we were able to maintain a good pace most of the time. After a couple of glitches on day one, day 2 was running very smoothly until the misfortune struck and I for one will be keen to return for this event in two years. Well done Wanganui.
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.