About nine of us met up in town and headed off under uncertain looking skies for the first squirt up over the track. The road was a bit damp and there was a bit of fog hanging around but the track wasn't in pretty good condition - you could still see where the tree and the big slip had blocked the road a month or so ago.
The fog was gone as we dropped down the other side of the hill and the reason for this was probably a chilly and frisky breeze that was blowing us around a little. A quick squirt through Mangamire was followed by a short stretch of SH2 before we crossed over onto Mangaone Valley Road. The weather was definitely a bit better over this side of the ranges.
Rather than popping out onto SH2 again at Pahiatua, we crossed over to Pahiatua-Pongaroa Road and took this for about 150m before turning off to parallel the main road in behind Mangatainoka and through to Hopelands. It was through here that we confirmed that we were indeed travelling the Back Roads as we were stopped by stock movements twice and were riding through plenty of "sign".
Next up we crossed SH2 again and made our way up over the Saddle, dropping down into Ashhurst where we stopped briefly for fuel.
From Ashhurt we took a convoluted route to our lunch stop at the Waterford by popping out to Colyton and then fanging across Valley Road - slippery going in places.
After lunch we carried on around the loop towards Apiti. The roads were very similar to the ones we'd ridden in the morning - damp and covered in winter wreckage of mud, stones and small branches. Nearing Apiti I noticed a familiar warning on my gauge - "Low Rear Tyre Pressure". Yep, my poor tortured PR3 had picked up a sharp stone or something and was on it's way down. A wee pause to fix it was on order.
|And people laugh when I say I carry a compressor!|
Tyre fixed and we were off again. Here we left the "loop" and carried on towards Rangiwahia on Main South Road - this being my first trip on it since they finished sealing it. A nice picturesque little ride.
Once again we avoided another big township (Rangiwahia) by turning right at the end of Te Parapara Road and making for Mangaweka. As expected the road was fairly messy as we dropped down to the bridge.
At the SH1 turn-off we lost Neil and a few others (a better place to be?) and cruised down towards Ohingaiti. Oh well, time to hit the back roads again, keep an eye out for the turkeys...
If you watched that video 'til the end you'll notice that I had another little problem...
I know it's good practice at fixing punctures but this was getting a little annoying. Nevermind, I reckon we were on the road again in about 10 minutes and the rest of the ride through to Kimbolton was uneventful.
We stopped in the hope of getting a coffee in Kimbolton but alas, the cafe was shut so we just said our goodbyes and made for home. I was only just able to keep up with Colin as he pedalled his Wee furiously into Fielding - what a demon!
Home just after three, I parked a filthy Kwaka in the shed and went inside to start planning next month's ride...
More pics here.