Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Holiday Snaps

Four days aways from Wellington, fantastic company, and three sweet rides.  Here's some of the evidence...

Mike, Ash, Steven and I ready to roll out at the northern end of the Pureora Timber trail.  We'd left my car, and a change of clothes each at the Ongarue end.  Bound for Vegas from Wellington, we could tackle this 85km point-to-point ride without any extra driving.

We were surprised by the lack of signage on the highway, and the signage we did find was alarming, especially with our car so far away.  We now know the track is over a year behind schedule, and not quite ready for use.

A 1928 "Crawler Tractor".  One of a few nifty historical relics on the Timber Trail

The Red Hut, about an hour in, marking the end of the open track in the north.

Mini pinnacles (right near a perfect place to stop for a wee...)

Slippery surface indeed!  This section of track is going to require a huge amount of drainage and long-term maintenance.  The moss on the trees is testament to how wet it is, and there's often a batter on both sides of the track giving the water nowhere to go

Big bridge #1!  It is currently an offence to let anyone cross.  Thankfully, there was no-one there to let us, so we didn't get anyone in trouble.  Very impressive structure, your honour.

The second half of the Timber Trail is a lot quicker than 15 hours when you're on a bike!  A lot of it follows a sweet gravel road, though some of the bypass sections need a bit more work to bring them up to that standard.

Sorry Ash...

A rare shot on yet another massive bridge

We met Rose and Jackson Green, who were near the end of their out-and-back ride from Piropiro Flats to Ongarue.  It's not often I see them on one bike each, though, at 6-months pregnant, I guess Rose was riding tandem.

An old railway cutting.  Some of the singletrack has been built a bit like this! 

Ash approaching the Maramataha Swing Bridge, which alone cost $178000!!!  Good for someone's economy I guess! 

Ash and Steve crossing one of the longest swing bridges in the country, at 141m

By the time we got to the Ongarue Spiral, the heavens had well and truly opened.  In drier conditions, it would have been very cool to study the design of this section of track a little more carefully.

Rotorua Thermal, the next day.  We were lucky to get the tents up before it started raining again, and after a massive cleaning detail the following morning, we had clean bikes and riding gear.  I left my three cobbers in various states of disrepair in search of some more lively company!

The next day, Simon and I hit up the Turoa Mountain Road.  It's something we've done together many times now, and a climb which I enjoyed writing up a couple of years ago in a fit of creativity.  After the steep section at 5km, I went ahead, but the insane wind near the top put paid to my first sub-1-hour climb.  Good to find Yeti have a presence on the mountain!

Back at base, we had a good brain-storm about riding in the lead-up to Le Cycle-Tour de France.  Subsequently we thought a one-day Raid on the three Ruapehu Ski-fields would also be in order.

The last day of 2012 was Simon's 45th birthday, and to celebrate, he and I drove to the Tukino Ski-field access road.  We parked about 6km in from SH1, but back-tracked to check out some of the dramatic scenery on offer.

Bikes on the horizon.  I was very surprised at how soft the ground was given its appearance.  I guess it's had very little compaction over its lifetime.

Despite the blue sky, it was very cold.  11 degrees according to my car, not taking into account the bitter wind-chill.

About half way up, I stopped to put my jacket on, while Simon forged ahead.  Luckily for us, we were on the fringe of the rain, and what little there was, was moving horizontally.  Had Simon not been up the road, I think I would have made a tactical retreat.  Numb face is no fun! The waterfall in shot on the left seemed to be struggling in the wind too!

Clad in dry singlet, woollen hoodie, parka AND long sleeved top, it was time to do a bit of sightseeing.  Cowering behind a large rock, camera in hand, I watched Simon doing the same.

The descent was a rip-snorter, with incredible views back to the Desert Road.  It was a bit bumpy though.  Someone needs to invent shock absorbers for a bicycle.

Happy New Year all.  May 2013 bring you new challenges, and lashings of joy.


  1. Happy New Year to you, John! All the very best to you and your wonderful family for a great 2013, bro.

  2. Happy New Year John! Nice rides! Really looking forward to hearing your Tour de France exploits. Should be amazing!