BAC New Zealand - 2015
February 1 - Auckland To Pukekohe
The sky was grey when we got up this morning. There was a slight drizzle as we walked over to our special breakfast buffet room at 7:30. There was lots of food including eggs, ham, sausage, potatoes, mystery pasta, cereal, fresh fruit, juices, yoghurt, coffee, etc. We ate our fill.
We all met again at 9:00 for our group photo, posing with our new New Zealand cycling jerseys.
Our bags were loaded in a trailer being pulled by an 11-passenger van by Asbjorn Pettersson. Then we were gone.
It took us 35km to get out of Auckland and its suburbs. Most of the time we were on the Great South Road. We rode past many districts with their strip malls and residential areas. The traffic was moderate on this main road and the drivers were courteous. We even had some of them welcoming us to New Zealand.
When we turned off of the main road, we were in bucolic country where we could see grazing cows. It was along this stretch of road all the way into Pukekohe where the rain started. It was light, but it became heavy on the steep downhills. I was riding with Pam Kane and Michael Blake. We decided to stop and put on our rain jackets. It was still warm (in the low 70s), so we did not have to cover our legs.
We arrived at The Countries Inn around noon.
Our ride was short and reasonably flat.
I met Ann at the hotel. She is riding in the van. To do so, she is in charge in setting up our nightly social hour. Our room was not ready, so we walked down the street with Michael Blake to a local cafe. We were soon joined by Pam Kane, Paul Ciano and Richard Hanke. We had really good sandwiches and salads. We also had fun rearranging the furniture so that we could sit together. We got some strange looks from the staff and other customers.
After we got back to the hotel, Ann went shopping with Asbjorn, our driver and general Australian nice guy. They brought back supplies for our social hour. The social hour began at 5:00 in our John Gradwell's room. It was crowded, noisy and hot. We had to have it in a guest room because of a liquor serving policy - the hotel must supply the liquor if we had the meeting in a conference room. It was pleasant, though. Everyone was happy and everyone could make their PB&J sandwiches for tomorrow's long ride. During our route review for tomorrow's ride, there were some changes in the route because of road construction. I will let you know how many riders got lost.
Asbjorn drove several of us into town for dinner. We had a decent meal in a Mexican restaurant. On the way back, we missed a turn and were able to see a very nice neighborhood.
I took no photos today. The run out of Auckland was not very inspiring and once we were in the country, it was raining.