On Saturday night/Sunday morning I was woken a number of times by pouring rain, thunderstorms and a dog that is not too keen on thunder. As I lay in bed early in the morning the temptation was certainly there to just roll over and have a bit of a sleep-in. In the end though I got up and half-heartedly went about getting ready for the day still unsure whether or not I was game for the monthly Back Road Riders Ride.
In the end I decided (rather optimistically for one with so little sleep) that I could actually see patches of blue sky that possibly were trying to nudge their way Northwards to hang around over our planned route, and that perhaps I should take a concrete pill and hit the road...
At the gas station rendezvous I filled the mighty Vee and went to pay for the fuel. Waiting there and fuelling up on coffee were three Colins (perhaps for a bit of clarity we should name them African Twin Colin, DR Colin and Wee-Strom Colin) and as we were getting ready to make tracks we were joined by Myles on his Wee. Sweet, the V-Stroms were outnumbering the DR's today...
African Twin Colin was our ride leader and he led us out of town and over a wet Pahiatua Track to our first little taste of gravel for the day on Tararua Road. This is just a short little stretch but as a grader had been through reasonably recently there was plenty of gravel on the road and it took me a little while to get used to the Vee floating around beneath me again.
From Pahiatua we made our way along Pahiatua-Pongaroa Road where some non-blue clouds started emptying themselves out on us with a respectable amount of vigour. This made the first (thankfully seal) section of Pori Road a bit of a mission as both my visor and glasses decided that I didn't really need to see things like banks, fences, ditches, corners, or sheep and fogged up to the max despite all the anti-fog stuff I'd applied to them...
Luckily just as we hit the gravel the rain decided to hold off for a bit and this meant that I could actually see where I was pointing the bike. The gravel here was also a bit on the deep side in places but I managed to surf my way to our usual photo stop.
|Can you see any blue?|
|Not the brightest critter on the block|
|Good enough to post again|
|DR Colin's Landrover is down there somewhere (and that's a little piece of his DR too). Not bad pointing of the GoPro either I reckon...|
|Huia Road turn-off|
This was a first for me and it was more great gravel that eventually took us to the familiar Wahi Valley Road and the climb up Towai Road. At the end of Towai Road we turned right onto Waitahora Road (remember that name) to start our cruise into Danniverke for lunch.
After lunch was demolished it was time for the afternoon section. Unfortunately it was also time to drop a Colin (DR) and a Myles, both who had some sort of excuse or perhaps had just had a bit too much fun and needed to head home for an afternoon nap?
Our afternoon's ride started with us retracing our steps out the Weber Road before turning Northerly on Ngapaeruru Road. This road started out with some great twisty tar through some nice bush before finally turning into a mintastic gravel road that led onto Mangahei and Te Uri Roads.
|Pausing for the rain to catch up with us|
Just North of "the place with a relatively famous name" (well that's a shorter version) we turned West on Birch Road. This is one road that I've been wanting to ride again ever since I first did it with the BRR Team. Last time around it was pretty dusty but whatever the conditions this is a superb gravel run.
Unfortunately the rain had returned and unhelpfully my fogging issue returned with it. This combined with some pretty slippery conditions (love my K60's!) made for some pretty slow progress but I enjoyed it all the same. Just before we turned onto Tahuokaretu Road (to take us onto Route 52 again - of course) we had a brief pause and it was hear we said goodbye to Wee-Strom Colin (down to one Colin now so we can drop the ATC) who decided to make a dash for home. I also was in two minds about bailing too as I was getting a bit sick and tired of my fogging problems but I could not let Team V-Strom down - one of us had to ride the entire route!
Our Route home had us first turning back onto Waitahora Road (well actually Waitahora Valley Road which then led onto Waitahora Road - confusing?). This road was just as good in the afternoon as it was in the morning and by the time we got onto Coonoor Road I was glad that I'd hung in there - the gravel was superb and the three of us were having a ball!
|A Colin-less Africa Twin pauses by Suzuki's finest (KTM cowering in the background)|
In the end I got home at around 7pm, a bit damp after plenty of riding in watery conditions and about 460km added to the Vee's odo. Another great day out but man that hot shower was good!
A few more pics here and plenty of video in the playlist below (no, you do not have to watch all of it). The first video is a slideshow and then the rest are gravel bashing video.