Sunday, January 27, 2008

Chateau to Plateau

05:25 and I'm awake before my alarm - always seems to be the way when I've got something on that requires an early start. Never mind I guess the time I don't set the alarm will be the time I need it...

Anyway, onto more important things - the ride. By 6:30 I was ready to rock and headed around to Brian's to make sure that his alarm had gone off. After picking him up we headed over to Fielding to meet up with Mark & Tony (a fellow Kiwi Biker from Danniverke).

After a quick gas up we headed out Makino Road and onto Vinegar Hill. There was quite a bit of low cloud around the hills so not the normal nice views of the valleys and the mountains in the distance. This just meant that we could concentrate more on the riding and had a blast through here and all the way up Highway One to Waioru.

We had a quick stop here so that Tony could top up his Bandit before we headed on to Ohakune. At Ohakune we stopped for a quick coffee as we were still very early for the 9:30 registration. It seems we weren't the only ones in this situation as there were a number of bikes parked up with the riders getting stuck into coffees and cooked brekkies.

More and more bikes came through on their way up and when we left Ohakune we soon caught up with quite a big bunch and sat behind them all the way to National Park and then the Chateau.

At the Chateau we picked up our badges, lunch token and a wee map of the route before catching up with a few other bods that we knew.

After a rider's briefing we were off on our way back to National Park and on up to Taumarunui. The pace was quite slow and with the long straight roads a bit boring - bring on the Forgotten Highway! We made another quick pitstop at Taumarunui so that we had plenty of gas to get through the highway and then we were off.

We quickly caught the main bunch as they were travelling very slowly (70km/h) which wasn't really our cup of tea - particularly on a hot day. So we pulled over at a rest area and parked up for 15-20 mins to let the masses get ahead. This proved to be a really good idea as we were able to ride at our own pace with less traffic etc and we did not catch up to any other bikes until the small gravel section.

The road was in a bit better condition than last time although the tar was still quite hot and slippery in places so it wasn't unusual to feel the bike squirming around underneath me when I hit a particularly soft bit. The gravel section was also in good nick but just as dusty as last time.

We arrived hot & thirsty at Whangamomona towards the end of the pack and parked up ready for a breather. We quickly located our lunch and then wandered around taking photos and looking at all the bikes.

From Whangamomona the ride was to go onto Stratford and then up to the "Plateau" and then back to Stratford for the prize giving. By now it was around 1pm and we decided that rather than wait around we'd rather head off and get home at a reasonable time. So it was just Brian, Mark & myself that snuck off early and headed for Stratford.

The rest of the Forgotten Highway part of the ride was just awesome - the roads this side of Whanga are in much better nick and we had a blast. Even waved to one of the two mufti cops on the road...

From Stratford it was just a quiet ride back to Palmy with just one more quick fuel stop at Wanganui, a couple of spits of rain just out of Wanganui and some road works at Mt Stewart to contend with. Home just after 4:30 with another 600kms on the Connie's odo and two new tyres well and truly scrubbed in.

More pics here.

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