Today was very windy but was still supposed to be offering the best weather for riding so I decided to go try out a road that I'd been down once before (on a road bike) but turned back due to it going to gravel on me. After checking it out both on Google Maps and my GPS software I discovered that rather than being a dead end, it takes you basically from Apiti across to Rangiwahia. Further investigation showed another little loop worth investigating around Rangiwahia so I ended up programming a route into the GPS to make sure that I didn't miss a turn in the middle of nowheresville.
View Orua Valley in a larger map
Geared up I rode out through Ashhurst and then turned off to ride around Pohangina Valley East Road - a favourite of mine and it was nice to be riding it in daylight again after my last ride through there in the middle of the night. I pretty much had the road to myself and it was good riding as the valley offered a reasonable amount of protection from the wind.
At the end of Pohangina Valley East Road it was time to detour from the usual route around the Apiti Loop and take in Main South Road. This was the road I was road I'd wussed out on previously. It turned out to be a pretty nice ride through to Rangiwahia as the road dropped down to the Orua river a few times and then rolled on nicely through the countryside. As you can see from the video the gravel was reasonably deep with no nicely defined ruts to ride in so I had to take things pretty carefully (still getting use to this gravel stuff) but it was good to get in some more gravel riding practice.
Once back in Rangiwahia I began searching in earnest for the road that the GPS was telling me was there. The idea was to take in another little loop (probably gravel) before heading back home via Kimbolton. The trouble was the road was not where it was supposed to be (both Google Maps and my Garmin were lying) and when I gave up and turned homewards I eventually spotted the place where I would have popped back out and noticed the no exit sign at the turn-off...Maybe the road will go all the way through to Rangiwahia one day...
Next up was a superb ride through to Kimbolton. The road was mostly dry and clean so the V-strom got a little bit of a work out and the smile got wider on my dial - a really fantastic bit of road! From Kimbolton I settled down and cruised home battling a blustery cross wind most of the way - still a cracker of a ride!
Distance: 168kmRiding Time 2 hours, 2 minutesAv Speed: 82.4km/h