As it turned out I got quite a few positive replies and even though the weather forecast was not stunning, 12 of us turned out early Sunday morning for an 8am departure from Feilding.
Terry was the last to arrive and while we were waiting for him to gas up the skies started getting darker as some weather approached from the South. Riders started getting nervous so we skedaddled as soon as we could and took off towards Halcombe. From memory we only got a few tiny spits as we made our way across to Wanganui. The roads were wet in places though and Wanganui looked like it had been hit by a good downpour not long before we arrived. We picked up Russell just out of town and carried on up through the 'naki to our first stop in Stratford.
The stop took a bit longer than I would have liked (but hey, not everyone was practicing for an endurance ride) so I took off without the rest of them to give them a bit of a hurry up. They soon caught up to me on the still wet roads of the Forgotten Highway.
The wet roads tempered our riding styles a bit and we couldn't quite have as much fun over the Saddles as we normally would have but it was still a fantastic ride with only the odd slip to weave around.
Eventually we dropped off the Whangamomona Saddle and into Whangamomona itself. No stopping for us though as lunch was waiting for us in Taumarunui.
Just out of Whanga the roads dried up for a bit although there was still the odd obstacle to deal with...
And then of course, it went dark for a bit...
Before the delightful gravel section which was wet and "interesting" in places but a lot of fun.
We had more wet roads on our way towards Taumarunui but eventually arrived (although not as one big group) and found somewhere to feed the worms.
Here we lost 2 of our riders as Neil's worn out tyres were not giving him a lot of confidence in the wet conditions and he and Neville rode on towards home (Ohakune and Wellington).
After our graze the rest of us followed them Southwards where we managed to find some weather for 5 minutes or so before tooting as we went past the Speed Triple twins in Owhango.
|Screen up, grippers on!|
The Napier-Taihape run turned out pretty good with the weather not being nearly as bad as we thought. It was fairly warm but we still had the odd light flurry of snow and on there was snow melting on the side of the road in a few places. We stopped once as I wanted to clean my visor - the snow was sticking to it and my preference is to be able to see where I'm going at least some of the time...
We got some nice dry roads on the last quick leg into Fernhill and it was nice to be able to enjoy the lovely roads in a proper fashion. From there we pointed South and carried on down SH50 until our next stop at Dannevirke. This was planned as a last fuel stop for those that might need it but I don't think any of our crew actually filled up. Colin and I said our good-byes and scarpered for home.
I ended up back home by about 5:30 and it was nice to get my gear off and warm up a bit after what had been a pretty cold ride in places. There were a few sore spots but I was as good as gold the next day (rode the Vee to work in -1 of frost) and hope that this little warm-up has got me ready for the main event in about 4 weeks time...
More pics here.