So early this morning, after popping into work briefly, I hit the road heading for Pohangina. I hit my first bit of gravel less than 10km from work on Watershed Road and began to slowly get into my gravel riding groove.
After taking in a few more great gravel roads I finally ended up on Ridge Road which as the name suggests runs along the top of a ridge giving great views that alternate between the Eastern (Pohangina Valley) and Western sides as the road snakes it's way Northwards towards Apiti.
Eventually I dropped down off the Ridge and into Apiti. It was a good thing I didn't need fuel...
Next up I continued through towards Rangiwahia taking in Main South Road which sadly is just about all sealed now. It's still quite a cool ride as you drop down into some nice little valleys and cross rivers a couple of times.
Instead of going into Rangiwahia I turned the other way and went in search of some roads I'd only done once with the BRR guys - Karewarewa and Auputa Roads. This some great riding - starting off with a big gravel straight to unleash the Vee on before entering some more winding road through nice bush and past a small reserve.
And then my navigation failed me - I took a right instead of a left and ended up taking Upper Kawhatau and Rangitane Roads until I eventually came to a closed gate. Luckily the riding had been great and it was just as good when ridden in the opposite direction.
|Not a road|
I eventually popped out on SH1 and made my way into Taihape for a lunch break that I'd been hanging out for and to top up the DL for the afternoon's adventure.
After lunch I headed North and then promptly took the wrong turn-off. But this time it was a good mistake as I was still heading in the right direction and it meant that I would also get to take in another Ridge Road - along a completely different ridge.
|Not quite on top of the ridge yet.|
It's one fabulous ride down the valley and although I had to avoid turkeys, sheep and a couple of cattle I really enjoyed it (again).
Eventually all the good gravel had to end but it did mean a nice quick ride on tarmac back to SH1 just South of Hunterville. From there it was time to enter cruise mode and make for home.
I ended up doing approximately 300km in about five and a half hours (including stops) so a nice little outing to see out the old year. Here's to more great gravel in 2014!
More pics here.