BAC New Zealand - 2015
February 6 - Taupo to Napier
We had a typical morning - rain and wet road - when we got up. We arose early because this would be our longest and hilliest ride of the tour. Our buffet breakfast started at 7:00 so that we could get on the road early. I was not in a hurry which you can see why later.
The streets were dry when I left mainly because the wind was blowing so hard. This time it was a tail wind or cross wind unlike yesterday's headwind. When I left the hotel I was not concentrating and I started to ride on the right hand side of our street. A friendly honk from a driver set me over to the left.
The first 20+ kms were a gradual climb. We were, however, on one of the dreaded SH roads. This meant lots of traffic, rough chip seal and shoulders that disappeared altogether or had lots of gravel. Because it was the start of a long holiday weekend, most of the trucks stayed home. There were lots of cars, though. I sort of zoned out during most of the ride and stayed to the right of the fog line. Cars would go around me without any trouble.
The first part of the ride went through a vast plane with brown grass blowing in the wind. We then reached what might be considered forests. I could see where timber on the hills had been clear-cut and then replanted. There were lots of small trees that looked very healthy. We were then in hill country riding alongside a river that had formed ravines. I stopped at a roadside attraction that had a view of a beautiful waterfall.
The road started to slant downward and I had several fast descents. Even with downhill relief, I was feeling tired from the previous days' rides. I decided to stop at our preplanned rendezvous point at the Halfway Cafe. Several of us were there. It was a perfect place for lunch. I had a cappuccino with my PB&J sandwich and banana. I had already ridden over 40 miles and the next 40+ miles were very hilly. So I decided to hitch a ride in our van back to the hotel. When Asbjorn arrived, five of us loaded up our bicycles. After checking the list of people who decided to cut the ride short, we discovered that the Lance and Jan James tandem was missing. So we retraced our route for a couple of kms, found them and loaded them and their bicycle into the van. We had to rearrange the bikes and put a couple of them in the trailer. It was a struggle to stabilize them, but Asbjorn and Lance did it.
The temperature on the ride ranged from the high 40s to the low 60s. We had a couple of rain showers but none were significant.
Several people who completed to almost 90 mile ride have entered this tour's Hall of Fame. Although I didn't see all of them arrive (we had gone to dinner), here they are: David Williams, Chuck Jackson, Greg Fowler, Richard Hanke, Bob Barrows, Germain Berube, Paul Ciano, Jane Whicher, Andrea Kneeland and Katherine Scott.
We hit the jackpot with our hotel room. I was able to soak away some of my sore muscles in our jacuzzi.
We had our social hour in the hotel's lounge. Afterward, Ann and I walked down the street to an Irish Pub. Pints of Guinness and Kilkenny went well with fish and chips and beef and Guiness pie.