I’m certainly racking-up plenty of wet weather riding in preparation for this year’s Grand Challenge and hopefully this will be a good omen that we are in for a dry ride this year….or not! It’s certainly not doing much for turnouts on club rides though and today was no exception.
The program was set for gravel and road options, with the dirt-trackers to nip up the Waiohine Gorge, then Mt Dick before heading for lunch at Wild Oats in Carterton, while the roadies would get there via Gladstone and where ever.
The sun swept in on a torrent, making a brief appearance in Ngaio at around 0900 and the rain held off as ken & I made our way to Brown Owl, but it was looking ominously dark over the Rimutakas. There were three riders there when we turned up and two more came after but the impending gloom had two bikes heading back to town as the rest of us kitted up for the worst and just five (three dirt-trackers and two roadies) made for Featherston.
I was first away and although not pushing it, I soon had a bit of space between myself the others thanks to some slow traffic, which gave me plenty of time to pull the camera out when I got to Featherston and try to capture the others on film as they arrived. The off roaders barely paused before continuing, leaving Dennis and myself an hour and a half to kill before getting to our coffee stop, so we needed to go a bit further than just Gladstone.
At least the weather was clearing and looked best towards the East as we picked our way to Martinborough on wet roads, turning onto Princess St to take the middle road out to Gladstone and around the Water Towers. With just the two of us, we were only sitting on 110’ish but still made pretty good time and were soon scooting up Tupurupuru Te Wharau Rd. As we descended toward Westmere Rd, the ground was dry and we no longer had to carefully pick our lines making it a real pleasure riding over the Stronvar & Lees Pakaraka roads before cutting along Manaia Rd, past the airport and back to SH2.
It was still only 1130 and we had a bit of time up our sleeves so took another detour out toward Mt Holdsworth on Norfolk Rd, but I refrained from going through Carrington as the roads can be a bit greasy at this time of year and, as we were back in the gloom and drizzle, we took Chester Rd all the way to Clareville, arriving at Wild Oats shortly after 1150, to enjoy a pie and coffee.
By the time the dirt-trackers turned up after 1230, we were just about ready to leave and were back on the road by 1250. The ride up the North side of the hill was dry and pleasurable but more care was required descending in the wet, getting home around 1410. It was quite a pleasant change not having to worry about a group and just enjoy riding at a consistent pace with minimal stops. We managed 270Kms for the day at 17.4K/Ltr, generally in 10-12º and the bike is now up to 95,419Kms
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.