Monday, January 04, 2021

New Years ride

Ok, so it was actually on the 3rd, but I did ride and it was the first one of the New Year...

Yesterday a planned Adv ride didn't happen due to some bad weather in the area we were going, making the ride a no-go, but, the WR was ready for action so I just had to take her out for a whirl...

I had a few ideas up my sleeve - including a trip up Takapari Road or across north Range Road but in the end Puketoi Road jumped to the head of the queue.  I've ridden Puketoi Road a few times in the past and the road can be extremely "interesting" if there has been much rain and it's not one I really want to take the Tenere over.  And, we'd had a thunderstorm overnight...

With the main destination decided, the  only thing I then had to come up with was what the rest of my route would like to make the most of my trip over to the Eastern side of the hill.  A few minutes playing around in Basecamp had a neat 240km loop planned and downloaded to the Zumo.

After chucking 10L of fuel in the thirsty wee bike I made for the track and am pleased to say that even the mouse can make this fun - it managed top gear on a few of the uphill bits and I even passed a car or two.  What a weapon!

My first port of call was going to be Eketahuna for a quick bite so naturally I took our normal gravel route down there.  It's quite fun relearning to ride the WR after riding the Tenere and I have to say I probably was a lot faster in some places and not a lot slower in others as the little bike ate up the gravel - even some of the deeper stuff was not really an issue on the WR with it's reasonably knobbly rubber.

Along the way I had two Adv bikes (an AT and a KTM) go past in the other direction just as I hit some of the faster stretches.  They would have just seen a little blue and white blur...

In Eketahuna I stopped for a quick lunch before making my way out onto more fabulous gravel across to Alfredton and onto Route 52.

The next bit of gravel was Pori Road and it was great fun blasting up the hill to the usual photo stop.

Just up the road a bit was the turn-off to Puketoi and the usual warning:

I didn't have a trailer on so I figured I'd be sweet as until I saw this sign:

I was a little confused by this one as the way I read it the two larger signs conflict with one another.  I decided to press on and if necessary turn around if the road was toast or being worked on.  You'll notice in the video that there are plenty of fresh tire marks on the road.  The only real damage to the road was the odd little slump like tin the picture below, otherwise the track was fine even on the unmaintained dirt side.

Anyway, it was a neat little ride.  Great to ride the WR on something a bit more interesting than a gravel or sealed road.  Check out the action:

Back on 52, I had about 10km to ride before my next turn-off and things went well for a while - until the weather changed dramatically.  What started off as a few spits quickly turned into heavy rain and then a thunderstorm.  I missed a couple of opportunities (trees overhanging the road) to stop and put in my waterproof liner but eventually found another one and parked the bike in the ditch while I wrestled with the gear...

Once the bike was shut down I could even hear the thunder and lightning - it was even just a little frightening and by the time I was ready to go I was probably just as wet as if I hadn't stopped at all...

At this point I could have pulled the pin on any further gravel excursions and ridden back via Pongaroa, but I figured that taking my chosen Rimu Road was probably just as quick and perhaps even safer - more grip, less traffic.  The first bit of the ride was pretty slow as I couldn't see a heck of a lot but the torrential rain eventually eased off to some lighter but still wet stuff.  I still didn't feel like stopping for photos...

Back on the seal it was still wet and quite slippery as I dropped down into Makuri.  The gorge itself was a lot more fun.

Riding out towards SH2, I felt that it actually got a little warmer.  I stood up ever now and again but unfortunately no amount of warmish airflow was going to dry me out in a hurry.

At the main road I turned towards Mangatainoka and then turned off to try out Ridge Road North in the opposite direction as last time.  This was quite a fun little blast and there's some pretty decent views from up on top of the ridge.

Looking down on Pahiatua

Then, before one last thrash over the track, I had to get my last gravel fix on Tararua Road.  I always enjoy this quick little diversion but clambering up the little hill was especially as the surface was just right for a little sideways action.

Arriving at home, it was easy to confirm that yes, I was wet through so it was great to sort that out and get a coffee into me.  Besides nearly getting drowned, it was a really cool little ride to get 2021 started off properly!

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