Heading out River Road we were on tarmac until reaching the turn-off to Glenora Road. This and Esdaile Road took us back onto Route 52 about half way between Weber and Wimbledon. It was a lot of fun too...
More tar took us through to Wimbledon and then a bit further North where we turned West onto Birch Road. This is another cracker of a road that takes riders through a pine forest. I was expecting some muddy conditions through here as we have seen this on previous rides through here but no, not this time - I guess the Hawkes Bay didn't get nearly as much rain as the Manawatu-Wanganui region.
In exposed places along Birch Road we found the wind again and got blown around a little but everyone managed to stay on the road this time.
Eventually we turned off Birch Road and onto Franklin Road which took us back to Route 52 again. Somewhere along here I caught up to Ross and we had a nice little battle on some great gravel back to the main road.
At the main road I decided to head home while the rest of the guys carried on to take a bit more gravel up to the limestone quarry and then down into Coonor before returning to our starting point in Pahiatua. I opted out as I was a bit cold and didn't fancy battling the wind back up on the tops again. By all accounts the guys had a good ride over the hill and got back safe and sound with no unfortunate incidents.
Riding back on the tar to Dannevirke I still got blown around a fair bit and the wind was definitely on the chilly side. In Dannevirke I stopped long enough to put on my neck warmer and swap to my warmer gloves.
A bit warmer, I hit the road again and carried on to Woodville where it was time to top up the Vee before tackling the Saddle again. The Saddle was very busy with a lot of people heading home after the weekend and a few trucks slowing things down too. I was surprised to see how much progress the guys had made on the road works since the morning - I guess with it being the only road open from the Manawatu through to Hawkes Bay there was a bit of pressure on.
I arrived home just after 4pm and after seeing to the horse (putting it away in the shed) my next priority was to get the fire going. Another fantastic day out smashing the gravel with the BRR lads!
More pics here.