Monday, June 22, 2009

The Fire and Ice

The winter solstice turned on a beautiful winter weekend, and one which required a roadtrip. And so it came to pass that the Whangamata Wander was conceived, planned and executed.

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Clear and cold would be a good summary for the day... how cold you ask? well cold enough to have us tip-toeing up the Kopu-Hikuwai hill through the ice. I haven't ridden in ice before, and at first I wasn't quite sure what was going on... the bike was just 'loose' under me, squirming even on the straights. I hadn't clicked to it being ice until we came across the accident. We stopped and when I put my feet down I realised the road was covered in ice... I couldn't have stood up. We had one of our bikes go a bit slow and lose it on a corner, and at least one sports bike from another group slipped over - but it was egos rather than insurance claims that took the brunt of the situation.

Stop to recover and regroup after the ice.

Once over the top, the east side was clear and 'warm' and the run through to Whangamata a blast. Lunch was successfully ordered and consumed, amidst our usual public disorder and disruption, at the Lizard Cafe. Actually we aren't too bad, but get a crowd of 20 people together on the street and it does create a bit of a commotion.

The road through to Waihi and then on through the Karangahake Gorge is great riding country, with beautiful scenery and good riding surface. We could have gone home from here, but the GPS's were programmed with the Tahuna Pub and after a quick sprint across the plains we were at the Tahuna Pub for a brief refreshment. Out of Tahuna heading west towards Ohinewai, we made a right just after Te Hoe to skirt around the back of Lake Waikare - which is surprisingly beautiful - and just off the main road far enough so most Kiwis probably don't even know it exists. And its quite big (from an "undiscovered lakes" perspective).

Sun strike - the other by-product of the low sun on winter days - at 3:30pm we were blinded on each hill crest - which isn't that good really... Then through to Te Kauwhata, on to Mercer for gas and home. A great winter's day ride in the sun.

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