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Old 09-03-10, 04:18 AM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: New Zealand
Bikes: Giant Defy Composite, Trek 1.7c, Avanti Circa, Nishiki SL1, BMC GF02
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Winter NZ central north island tour

Just a quickish report on my tour from last month.

I had five days to plod around so thought I'd tick a few roads off the to-ride list.
Kitted out the roadie with a small topeak bar bag and a carradice nelson seat bag. Surprised how much that bag swallows.

Day 1 Palmerston North - Napier.

Dropped the family at the airport on tuesday morning and didn't get on the road until 11:30am.
Luckily the rain had cleared by then, and I had a nice tailwind.
This was my first ride through to Napier. I didn't really want to ride through the Manawatu gorge but time was a bit short and it avoided a 300m climb. Traffic was predictably pretty crappy with a few toots through the narrow sections and a few people passing on blind corners.
But the tailwind was fantastic. Averaged around 30kph for the first few hours.
A few sketchy moments with some strong crosswinds too.
This was certainly the easiest day terrain wise with just a slow climb up to 400m and then back down to the coast but I was in a hurry due to the late start so was pushing hard. Had a brief stop at 60km to investigate a rattle(never found it) and stopped at Waipukurau for a pie, an iced coffee, and to refill the bottles. Hit 160 in just under 6 hours but then turned into a headwind and kinda ran out of steam getting into Napier. Thats my legs toast for the rest of the trip.
Someone shifted my motel so I had to go hunting for it.
Biggest success of the day was just getting to the fish'n'chip shop before they closed.
188km in just under 7:30

Day 2 Napier - Taupo - Turangi.

Probably the toughest day.
Left at 9am and stopped soon after at the gas station for breakfast and supplies.
A very slow 120km into the wind with some long steep climbs. Stopped at a welcome cafe for a toasted sandwich and a coffee for lunch. Very happy to reach the 15km downhill section into taupo, arrived on dusk and got a coffee and pie at the gas station. Warm gear went on and headed down the lake with a side/tailwind.
I have looped lake taupo 6 times and it was interesting to ride the "flat" section to turangi on buggered legs. Not so flat! Rain started about an hour out from turangi. Oh well.
Nice hot shower and three burgers from BK.
183km in just under 10hrs. Felt like more.

Day three. Turangi - National Park - Taurmauranui.

Easy day!
A nice sleep in and cafe breakfast before getting on the bike.
400m steep climb, 200m down, slow 400m climb up to 1000m, altitude making me puff a little.
After the climbing I stopped to put on arm warmers, though it as quite warm. Shortly after I was riding in hail and the temp dropped to 5 in 10 minutes. GE top and pants went on and I quickly warmed up. Coffee and toasted sandwich at the fantastic railway cafe in national park then rolled down the hill to taumaranui.
Had a few walks around town and a nice Thai meal.
94km in just under 5hrs

Day 4 Taumauranui - Whangamomona - Stratford - Inglewood.

NZ back country at its best. Stunning views, native birds singing in the trees, wild goats wandering the roads, hicks declaring their town an independent republic!
Lots of climbing to start the day as the road tried its best to follow the whanganui river. Settled down after 35km, 8 significant climbs after this but nice downhills in between. 13km gravel section which was nice and smooth.
Good lunch at Whangamomona, huge toasted sandwiches and delicious coffee.
A few more climbs into Stratford and then the run into the wind to inglewood. More uphill here than expected.
Nice venison roast with my sister, and too much booze.
172 in 8:20. A lot more climbing than expected.

Day 5. Inglewood - Palmerston North.

On the road about 9:30.
Rolling hills all day and lots of river valleys to drop into and climb out of. Wind was variable and nice to see the sun now and then at last. Got through to Whanganui just before dark and decided to continue on home, arriving a little before 9pm feeling pretty strong.
215km in 10:20.

All in all a good trip. No mechanicals, big days on the bike but timed everything well.
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