Monday, May 26, 2014

Dunes Trail Ride

Well Sunday was a day of rest….haha
I did the washing, by hand thank you!
There was a fair bit of it but it only took about an hour, complete with loads of rinsing.
Then it was house work and tidying up and cleaning bus. After that it was clean the bike and shoes, oil and check the bike.
Then a quiet afternoon reading.
So Monday arrived and with it some early morning rain, so I lay there thinking that I should go and ride the Dunes Trail even if it was raining. So after putting the kettle on I pulled back the curtains and low and behold a lovely morning with all the cloud blown away.
So grab a quick breakfast and pack the bike bag for a 22km ride along the Dunes Trail.
I joined up with the trail at the Opotiki Wharf and after a couple of hundred meters of combined horse/bike/walk track I headed across the back of the Memorial Park and off into the dunes.
The bridge over the river was great but it was the start of loads of narrow squeeze bars, my hips being a little too wide to ride through so had to dismount on them all.
So heading off down the track, double wide and nice surface to ride on, firm and not many larger stones. The views were great ducking in and out of the dunes. A little bit of up and down but good change of pace. Not much work at all really as there was a firm breeze pushing me. Yes I know, tail wind out means headwind back!!!
Met a lovely digger driver who was working on diverting the creek around a piece of the track where they are creating a new bridge and boardwalk area. It is currently closed and either you ride the main road or take the beach. I took the beach and had to nearly ride into the water before I found sand firm enough to ride on. But a great little detour of 900m on the beach.
From there it was a lovely wander through various settlements and houses and lovely areas until I came out onto the road and headed up into the hills. Ha! not bloody likely today. So this was the start of the Motu Road trail. I stopped at a lovely little bridge for a snack and refuel and turned around .
The return was nowhere near as bad as anticipated as there was loads of shelter and the wind was starting to turn sideways a bit.
So a lovely ride of 22km and was feeling great. A good stretch out to get the muscles going again.
After that I got to talking with Ngaio who with John her husband run the Motu Trails shuttle service and bike hire where I am staying. It seems that they were having some VIP’s arriving to do the trail the following day and John was working so couldn’t do the edges after the mower man had been. So instead of offering to do them I told her that after lunch I would be doing the weed eating around the edges. So after lunch we got out the weed eater and I put on my gumboots and off I went to tidy the place up.
After weed eating I decided to weed the garden boxes and then started weeding the edges as well.
It was a great afternoon, finishing off with water blasting the front covered area where the birds had made loads of deposits while sitting up in the rafters.
It now looks lovely and clean ready for the VIP’s from NZ Tourism.
And this morning low and behold, the VIP’s are not coming…. they are being choppered in to the start of the track and the guys here are just going to take some bikes up for them. Ah well at least its done.
So today I am going to wander around the town and maybe drop into the local budget service and see if they want a Community Education seminar…..
Safe travels everyone.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Pakihi Track and a sore rear

Pakahi Track is one of the three Motu Trails available from the lovely little town of Opotiki.
There is the Dunes Trail which is a 22km return ride along the coast.
Followed by the Motu Road Trail which is 67km from Matawai through to Opotiki.
Next is the Pakahi Track which is a legendary Maori trail that later became a horse trail used by Europeans to cross the divide.
So at 8:00 this morning I piled into a shuttle with a group of 6 cyclists from Hamilton who were doing the trail. Two had already left at 6am to do the full loop up the Motu Road and were going to meet us at the the start of the Pakihi Track.
All our bikes were on a cool trailer and we headed up SH 2 towards Matawai about 1 hour or so from Opotiki.
From there we left the main road and started climbing up the Motu Road through some awesome countryside. As we left Motu (last pee stop guys was the cry). We left the metal and hit a single lane dirt road that wended its way up the hills. We stopped at what is known as the Boundary, the dividing line between Opotiki District Council and Gisborne District Council.
Form there to the start of the Pakihi Track is a gentle ride of about 8km.
The weather was pretty cold and it was starting to rain as we headed off but it felt great to be out in it and I was enjoying myself.
At the turnoff we headed off down the trail and what an amazing trail it was, even with the wet conditions the track was great, no huge mud holes or puddles.
Just awesome 99.0% downhill and some fantastic vies as we followed the Pakahi Stream down the hill. The group decided not to call into the hut on the way which is a shame but I decided to stay with the group. So from there the track opened out more and we crossed the river to ride on the left hand side. WOW did that take a bit of getting used to. All the track so far had the drop off on the left and now it was on the right. Felt strange for a few km.
At one point I stopped to take a picture of one of the 25 bridges that we crossed and as I turned around there was a ute in the stream bed.
I knew that we couldn't be too far from civilisation. But it was still a good half hour ride to the end of the track.
From the end of the track we headed back to Opotiki via the road. A single lane dirt road winding its way out and a 30knot head wind! Oh what a slog.
It was 23km from the end of the track back to Opotiki and it was a huge slog all the way back.
So as I sit here tonight writing this blog post, my rear hurts, my shoulders hurt, my hands hurt, my legs ache and I feel fantastic. I have achieved a huge ride today, got all the way home and I am absolutely over the moon to have ridden on of New Zealand’s top three rides!

So now the commercial moment.....

Motu Trails CardDSCF0739DSCF0740
I am currently parked in their yard and they are the most wonderful people. Wouldn’t give me the mop to clean up the dirt I left in the shower!
They run a shuttle service (very cheap and reasonable) at both ends if you want it as well as bike hire, again very reasonable. They also have a bike wash area and the most brilliant thing they have is the bunkhouse. For $25 per person per night (bed linen included) you can stay on site here. There is an awesome BBQ area and free showers and oh boy are they just brilliant!
It is just a 5min walk to the far end of town and it is a delightful little town, close to the beaches and rivers here.
I have had enough of the day now, I have watched the sun go down but couldn’t move to get the camera to take a picture of the wonderful red sunset! So a good day tomorrow.
Depending on how I feel I may do the Dunes Trail to stretch things out … or not….
Travel safe everyone!