Thursday, February 09, 2012

Takapari Road Part Two

So where was I?  Oh yeah, that's right, at the top of big hill facing a rocky and treacherous descent, it was raining and foggy and I wasn't wearing my glasses...

Myles led the way down Graeme's Hill and then nicely waited for me to edge my way down to him.  To say I took it quietly is a bit of an understatement.  Once again I broke it up into short little hops and tried to pick my way through the minefield of rocks.  And guess what?  I made it down!  Now for the rest of the descent...

Myles waved me through and I carried on cautiously downwards.  At a brief pause Myles suggested I try my glasses again as the rain had died off a bit.  Great idea!  I could see again and started to get my confidence back again.
Descending  and things going well...
Soon I was rediscovering 2nd gear and enjoying the ride again but then it happened.  On a short section which included some wet clay the rear wheel decided to overtake the front and bike and rider ended up on the ground.  What actually happened I think was that the rear hit a small rock which upset things causing the slide.  I felt her start to go but was only a passenger once things kicked off, although I did manage to grab the clutch and hit the kill switch on the way down...

Myles was quickly on the scene and we soon had the bike upright and began to give her the old once over.  Luckily (and slightly surprisingly) the bike seemed pretty good - just a good coating of mud, a bent camera mount, grass between the crash bars and fairings and possibly a couple of scratches (I'll have to wash the bike to check properly).  Very lucky considering how rocky it is up there!  As you can tell the old GoPro kept on going too...

She'll be right!
A little annoyed at myself (after all I'd managed to stay on over much more difficult terrain) I restarted the bike and resumed the descent with even more care.  I probably drove Myles and Rob mad at times with my tentativeness but I did not want to push my luck.

By now it was getting a little later and the light was beginning to fade which funnily enough started to become more and more of a problem...

Still a bit of light
Still ahead were quite a few rocky corners and some pretty scary descents (well for me anyway) but the three of us managed to make it down safely Gate 3 again.  Unfortunately we now had another issue to deal with.  Myles dropped his bike at the gate and his headlight started playing up before finally giving up.  What next?

There's that view again
Rather than attempt to fix the problem half way up the hill we carried on with Myles sticking as close as possible to me and Rob following closely behind to give Myles the best use of both our headlights.

Yes, it is now officially dark!
I would have hated being in Myles position and really hoped that I wasn't going too fast for him to see - it was hard to tell if he was behind me or not at times but I figured if I could see Rob's headlight then Myles must be there!  At least the road got better and better the lower we got and soon I saw the reflection of Al's jacket and his tail-light waiting for us at the bottom of the road.  Phew!

Hi again Al!
We parked the bikes and after a quick look at fuses etc on Myles Wee, we decided that we'd carry on as before with me leading, Myles following with my led torch around his neck and Rob bringing up the rear.  Al went on ahead dubbing Graeme home and I let them get ahead of us so I could use my high beam for maximum light.  I also kept the speed down (especially in the tight stuff) to what I hoped was an easy speed for Myles to keep up.

Dark but back on the tar!
It turns out that Myles must eat his carrots because he had no trouble keeping up although initially I was all over the road because I was keeping a sharp eye on my mirrors for that little led light around his neck.  I believe that we even hit the speed limit a couple of times on the longer straights!

Anyway, our little bunch managed to get to Myles' place without any further incidents and it was great to get home just after 10pm and park the bike, have a quick bite and crash into bed.  This was surely a true adventure and although not thrilled with dropping the bike (and feeling very sorry for Greame's more serious troubles) I actually enjoyed the ride a lot - there's something about a real challenge and overcoming the odd issue that gives you a real sense of satisfaction.  I hardly slept that night reliving it all over and over again...

One last thing to say and that's a big thanks to Myles for helping me out in places and for both he and Rob for being great tail-end Charlies making sure that I got down the hill ok - top guys!


  1. Wow, what a long day. I am glad everyone made it home safe and sound I sure wouldn't have wanted to be riding down the hill in the dark or with no headlight.

    Good thing you were able to wear your glasses again. Do you find it odd that your bike didn't nap until you put them back on?

    1. I think that I was probably being a whole level more cautious when I didn't have them on. Got a bit cocky when I could see again eh?

  2. I was on the edge of my seat reading this. What an adventure. Glad you all made it home safely.

    1. Well it was an adventure ride! ;)