I got away from home a little later than planned - trying to find something vital probably - and so was quite surprised when I got to Fielding and saw a lot of bikes already there and ready to rock and roll.
And as per usual, rather than simply changing worn tyres, there were some new steeds on display - some just a little bit special too...
Our first leg took us over through Okoia to meet up with two more riders in Upokongaro.
Next up was a delightful if slightly cautious (cold, damp roads in places) trip up the Paraparas to the bottom of Fields Track. Here we lost the Tracer and a hungry super-charged beast (with a rider who didn't fancy pushing) while the main bunch headed up Fields Track.
What a neat little ride! The road was in far better condition than I expected (it is winter after all) and up front I chased the sheep and peacocks off the road for everyone before stopping near the top to take in the fantastic view.
The rest of the ride through to SH49 was just as good. Here is just a little taste of one great back road.
In Ohakune we stopped to say hi to Neil who was out and about wearing fluro lycra for some reason but didn't hang around to eat there as the town was flat out with their "Carrot Carnival". Instead we shot across to Raetihi for a late lunch.
After lunch it was time for the main event - the River Road. I hadn't been down it in a while as it had been closed for a time due to storm damage. Reports from those who had been down recently warned of roadworks and mud...they weren't wrong...
At the beginning of the road we had to go through a lot of patches of new seal with plenty of marbles available to slither around on. South of Pipiriki things got even more exciting with the odd slip and several sections of mud/clay to negotiate. Have no fear, I was on a road bike with worn out PR4's - no problemo apart from wheelspin at just over idle...I should have had the GoPro on to capture this action - the below video is from where the road began to improve...
The further South we got though, the better the conditions and we had a nice little squirt before pulling up to check out the view and wait for stragglers.
|Not sure what Robin had been up to...|
|KTM's can't help playing in the mud|
|Rob in particular really enjoyed the River Road - 200hp must have come in handy...|
|This poor wee Gladius took a wee mud bath but rider ok|
|And another Wee brings up the rear.|