What a day!
We had heat, we had headwinds, cross winds and tailwinds, we had magnificent (and hilly) riding through forested gravel roads, and some very loud cicadas with the audacity to drown out our music ..
We also had slightly-less-magnificent riding on sealed roads into headwinds (which we don’t have photos of, because we’ve noticed that when have your head down and you’re just grinding away, the last thing you feel like is stopping to take fun photos), too much lunch in one go, a huge amount of water, been sunburnt, rained on and over three hours of riding in the dark. We got dusty, were witness to an accident, and most importantly: we'd had a great time.
By around lunchtime we’d done 60km, and we'd reached the Hokianga ferry. And then, in the heat of the day, into headwinds, and after too much lunch, we suffered, and so did our pace. By Omapere, hours later, we’d only added another 30km. But Vanilla Coke is amazing, rejuvenating stuff and as we headed into the hills of the Waipoua forest in the early evening, we started to feel like riding again. Our aim was to get as close to Dargaville as possible today, hoping to achieve 130-140km, to reduce the distance we had to ride to catch the Pouto to Helensville ferry early afternoon on Wednesday, which only runs once a day. As the sun set and our lights went on, we continued to feel better, and our optimism increased. After discovering a little coffee caravan, open, at 10pm, on a rural gravel road in the middle of nowhere, set up just for TA riders, we had some coffee and muffins, and our optimism increased even further. So then, between 10pm, with our optimism having got the better of us, we proceeded to ride through to midnight, to cover the remaining 50km to Dargaville.
We pulled into Dargaville Caltex just on midnight. As we sat, pretty well spent, eating our steak and cheese pies and drinking our chocolate milk, a low, loud, tinted car pulled in. The driver walked over to the Caltex window and ordered some stuff, then tooled off the street, rear wheels spinning.
After our midnight snack, we discovered a nice little pavilion in a reserve just across the road - an ideal place to sleep without having to put up tents.
In the peaceful Tuesday night, as we quietly unpacked our bikes, we watched as the same tinted car drove past a block away ... followed closely by a police car.
The police car flicked on its lights, and at that moment the tinted car took off, full throttle, sliding round the corner, away from the police car. Three seconds later there were two loud thumps as he slid sideways into the bridge pillar and bounced off into the other one. The police car pulled up sedately behind the (now) trashed car.
And we drifted off to sleep under the faint glow of flashing red and blue lights as they all cleaned up the mess.
Today's vital stats:
Total Elevation gain: 2628 m
Time spent on bikes: 10 hours 35 minutes
Max speed: 70.1 kph
Max temp: 27 degrees
Water: 10L each
p.s. I know, I know - this summarises day two, but we're actually already on day four .. we're behind on our homework already! We promise to post when we can, but realistically - it'll be every second day, max. With apologies and gratitude for your patience, E + J