Unbelievably we were away on time and soon into the fog in the Manawatu Gorge - I hate the fog and it always seems to drop the temperature even more. Man grips set to 50% and screen raised was the order for the day.
In Danniverke we meet up with Sarge and then all got a bad shock when one of our number decided to have a lie down (luckily not on his bike at the time) at the gas station. This resulted in
a few tense moments and frantic calls to the emergency services. Happily he came around quickly but was trucked off to hospital for a bit of a looksee before being released to go home again the same day.
After our unplanned delay we carried on up to Napier picking up a Bandit on the way and parked up at the Toad Hall back-packers for brunch on the roof. A very nice day in Napier too!
In Napier we also picked up a few more local riders keen to tag along for our assault on the Napier-Taihape road - now fully sealed. Leaving Fernhill and getting onto the Napier-Taihape you immediately get into some extremely delicious riding - fast, flowing sweepers on a road with very little traffic.
About after about 20-30km of this we stopped briefly for a few pics before getting ready to get into the more serious stuff. Leaving this spot we had a spot of trouble with Monie's viffer deciding it didn't want to start (toasted battery) so we had a bit of unplanned exercise crash-starting it while half the team tore off oblivious of the issue.
Soon after this episode the road started to tighten and include more climbs and drops as we rode into hill country. We also started to encounter a lot of new seal (no signposts either) and gravel spread all over the road along with a few still damp and slippery corners. Through here Monie waved me through and we kept the pace down and simply concentrated on the ride and the scenery.
150km after leaving Napier we eventually got off this fantastic bit of road and found ourselves in Taihape for another quick stop before heading home. A quiet pootle down SH1 was followed by another great ride over Vinegar Hill to finish off a great winter's ride. I love cool, calm winter's days!
More pics here.