What a shame that just down the road the skies opened and gave us a serious drowning. We pulled over on the main highway and donned our wets before continuing on. Naturally, 5 minutes down the road it stopped raining...
In Himatangi we signed up for the ride and got our badges before catching up with some of the other Manawatu crew and watching the rest of the riders turn up. Numbers were definitely down on previous years (probably due to the weather) but there was still at least a couple of hundred bikes parking up and donating their entry fee to
After a riders' briefing we departed Himatangi and rode through to Foxton and then Shannon. Mark and I stopped quickly here for fuel and then joined the ride a bit further back in the pack. The ride then carried on up through Tokamaru and Linton before sneaking past the back of Massey and hitting the track. The track was a bit damp in places and pace was pretty slow with riders and bikes of all types generally taking it easy.
Riding through towards Ballance we came across a GSX-R in the ditch but it looked like the rider was ok - a shame to see this but unfortunately this ride often sees people on it who over estimate their abilities and do something silly. In Woodville we parked up with the rest of the bikes, grabbed our lunch and caught up with Shelley, Connor and his granddad.
After the lunch break we carried on towards Mangatainoka and really had to battle with the wind - it was blowing very hard in exposed places and made for some interesting riding.
Thankfully when we turned off towards Pongaroa we either had a tail wind or were protected from the worst of it by the surrounding hills. I had a great ride through to Pongaroa and finally Akitio where a cold drink was definitely in order after quite a hot ride.
Mark and I waited in Akitio for the rest of the hordes to arrive before leaving early (and missing the prize giving) and making our way to Weber and then Danniverke. We followed a DL650 for quite a while until we hit the wild windy weather again - his lighter bike seemed to not like the wind so much and I found a slightly quicker pace was best for me on the Connie.
From Danniverke we simply took the main road home, stopping just the once for petrol in Woodville. All in all, not a bad ride and good to be able to help out the rescue helicopter again.