Flat… and I mean flat flat. After days of humping hills in Northland I was at one end of the Hauraki plains and if the winds were at my heal I was in for a good ride and a good distance.
My route was a whip around the east of the wetlands close to Paeroa and then north to Matamata via a zig zag chain of interlinking back roads. All went according to plan except the insessent sou’ westerly wind woke up about an hour into the ride, from then on it was a joust. It took six hours for the 98km slog, getting hotter and dryer as the day progressed.
On arrival in Matamata I tracked down the local bike store and had them switch my tires while I went for a meal. I think I discovered the best chicken burger on the planet. CK Burger in Matamata.
Returning and after a brief chat with the bike crew about all thing daring and impossible (all of which I’m not) it was off for supplies. Water, more freeze dried goodness, carb rich nut bars and ample servings of porridge. Then onto the 29 for the ride through to Lake Karapiro and the short run to Arapuni.
Wind, wind, wind
Never a break, Never… I mean really. After days of humping hills and the beast of Brynderwyn into a sou’ easter I’m now on the flat lands. So as some form of demonic torment I’m now humping uphill into a howler. Where every oncoming container truck creates a redefinition of turbulence, and every outgoing stock truck the redefinition of flatulence.
I always find that in conditions like this that the closer to the destination you are, the further it seems to be. Just one more little hill, one more bend, over and over and over. Take my advice and don’t look at the map, it’s conspiring with the wind.
On one bend of the mighty Waikato, where the state highway follows it like the skin of the snake is the shedding of side road. Horahora, where it drops down to a terrace onward to Arapuni. In a warm late afternoon sun the river shined like a serpent still and deep. I rode the long sunning side until reaching camp after a good half hour.
I set up, ate and looked out over that river. I entrusted my little camp in the keep of the tanewha that must wait there in the dark waters. It had been a long ride today, I sleep in safe company.