DAYS 4 & 5
The defining feature is the heat.
As we left Helensville and rode toward Auckland, the sun got hotter and hotter. And it was quite hilly. We made it to Auckland, and impeccably navigated ourselves to McDonald’s. Despite the 3.5km detour with the 42m of climbing, it was worth it. It was to be our ‘pre-lunch’ snack:
However, after that our relaxed approach to navigation nearly saw us unstuck .. until we came across and friendly chap named Ken, out for a ride, who happily showed us the way to Mt Eden, and our next photo checkpoint. (Thanks Ken!!)
Following that, in the heat, we made a series of navigational blunders, saw some unintended parts of the city, met nice drivers, met rude drivers, and eventually by early evening made it back to the airport where we started our adventure on Monday. Coincidentally, here there was also a KFC, so we had ‘lunch’, a little later than planned (but better late than never!)
Because of our frustratingly slow day, we continued to ride into the much cooler evening, until we came across a mountain bike race at Totara Park where we were slightly too late to enter the Raleigh 20s but had an entertaining chat with the organisers. It was nice to randomly talk to people after a day of little progress. We then put our heads down and rode to Kawakawa bay, where we camped for the night.
Next morning we headed along the coast. We made good time until the temp hit 31°c near Thames. Even a bit of a tail wind didn’t really help - our speed increased slightly, but then we lost our breeze and it felt even hotter.
After another ‘pre-lunch’ pie snack at 11am, we finally made it to Paeroa around 5pm for ‘lunch’ (we're a little like hobbits: we like our multiple meals and we're pretty good at this whole optimistic spin thing ..!) Finally, we arrived at Te Aroha, where we gratefully set up camp in the camp ground.
In the last two days we’ve learned a few things - there is a period of the day (normally around 2pm to about 5 or 6pm), where we feel rubbish. Normally we’re tired, the bike seat is too hard, the wheels are too small, it’s too hot, the road/track is too dusty, too rough, too smooth. We take very few photos, and there is not much talking happening. But once we make it through that, everything is suddenly rosy again- the raleighs are marvellous, we take photos, our speed goes up. That’s why we’ve been riding til it gets dark these last couple of days, and it has been great. Whoever invented the siesta was onto a good thing!
DAY 4 vital stats:
1351 elevation climbed
7:36 total riding time
Max 65.5 kph
Calories 4444 each
Day 5 vital stats:
6:53 total time
Max temp 31
Max speed 66.2