Monday, March 29, 2010

The final word

Well I told Steve that I wanted the final word so here goes!!!!!!!
I would like to start of with thanking a few people, Firstly Carol Herbert for getting behind us when we approached her. Her enthusiam and drive played a big part in the success of our adventure. Then I would like to thank the Libby's for giving us the use of their vehicle, allowing us to keep our costs down. I would also like to thank Steve's fellow riding companions Kim libby, Shane Page, Tod Penberthy, Alistair Johannesson, Brian Evans and Geoff Chilcott. Their companionship and humour made for the success of the whole trip, then you the readers of this Blogg and all our friends, Relations, clients and customers who have donated to the Hospice cause, people we met on our journey who gave us cash donations like the American tourist who gave me donation as I was taking photo's at the top of the Crown Range, the competitors of the BDO Spicers TwinCoast ride who filled the bucket and donated a grand total of $450.00, the Beachcomber Restuarant of Kaitaia who gave us $50 and the owner of the Flying Fish Gift shop in Paihia who gave us a cheque for $150.00 all contributing to our fund raising effort of $11,600.00 and finally to Bill and Loraine Powell for a Donation of $500 that has put our Funds raised over the $12,000.00 well over our target of $10,000.00. I had a wonderful time and enjoyed going from one end of the country to the other, I especially enjoyed the West Coast of the South Island we are certainly very luckly to live in such a beautiful country. Thanks for reading, over and out.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Day 18 Kaitaia to Cape Reinga ..113km

Today was the day we had all been waiting for......Cape Reinga was just around the corner. Our finely tuned drill had us up at 6-30am each morning but today we had decided for a 7am rise...ah a sleep in. So with the final pack of the vehicles we set off at 8.00am in search of a certain light house.
Again the weather gods were looking after us. With brilliant blue skies and little or no wind, we got into a good pace and were soon averaging a little over 30kph. At around the 43km mark the mandatory cafe stop was had at a place called Houhora. We were a little unsure how many more cafe’s would be up the road so this seemed like an excellent spot....the extra hot coffee was good as were the cream do nuts!
As I was getting back on the bike, I knew the next time we stopped it would be the last. Leaving Bluff seemed an absolute age ago....not far to go now. As the ride progressed we noticed the terrain was tipping upwards with allot more intensity. Good solid “snorters” as Kim would say. Allot of 10% climbs with the odd 14% climb thrown in for good measure. At about this time word had got to us Mike had won the final stage in the Tour of Northland and clinched the yellow was going to be a Great Day!!

The scenery on the ride to the light house was superb. Ange has captured some great shots. So after approx 4hrs in the saddle we reached our final destination..Cape Reinga. ....what a feeling.! From here we all went down to the lighthouse for the obligatory photos. This was the moment we had all been waiting for. After countless hours training and planning we had done it. Everybody was all smiles including Dad who was there to enjoy the moment.
So it was back to the cars but this time as a passenger. We set off for a picturesque Bay down the road called Tapotupotu Bay. We had a swim in the surf then a barby followed by a glass of champagne. Paihia was our next stop where we were joined by Page’s family. A great night was had by all where we relived some of our experiences from the past 18 days travelling the length of the country.

Some Statistics :
Days riding...........18
Total distance...2,277km
Total time.....79hrs 55mins
Total elevation gain.....21,297metres
Average speed....28.5km
Average cadence....77rpm

On a final note, although Ange is going to have the final say. I would like to thank all of our sponsors,
Ian Stewart of House of Travel Takapuna , Kiwi Velo, Big FM, Quadrant Properties, Balance, Mother Nature’s, Ascot Park and especially all those who have donated to such a great cause AND exceeding our target of 10K.
Finally I would like to thank Carol and Gaynor from Nth Shore Hospice and to all of the riders (Bluff to Cape) Kim Libby, Shane Page, Tod Penberthy and (Bluff to Picton) Geoff Chilcott, Brian aka Dave Evans and Al Johannesson. Also thanks to Ange for driving the support vehicle and capturing all of the photos. It was a pleasure and heaps of fun spending time with these guys. It’s going to be interesting getting back in to work mode.
Page’s stats for the day, 9 road kills, 3 one lane bridges and 2 road works.
Thanks for what a way to see the country.

Departure from Kaitaia
Last day in the saddle

Yes Toddy this is the way to Cape Reinga.

Next stop Cape Reinga.

Seagull in flight

Thirsty work Kimbo

Another warm day

Making good time

Boat in harbour

Great weather again today

Sand Dunes

Alot of climbing in the last 40k's

Almost there

Arriving at Cape Reinga

From the bottom to the top of NZ

At the light house....

It was good having Pop there in support.

All smiles, Steve, Tod, Shane and Kim some 2,200km's later

A Swim, sausage sizzle and a drink to celebrate

Click on Garmin connect to view the days activity:

Garmin Connect - Activity Details for Untitled

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Day 17 Omapere to Kaitaia ..99km

Hi All
Today was the penultimate ride. After another great night at the usual house in Omapare we headed in to see the start of the third stage of the twin coast cycle tour. Tod had been up since 4 am having breakfast and getting ready. We were a couple of seconds late to watch the elite riders head off but saw all the others take off. Chillie was there, he looked set to charge up hills and along the flats. It was a change to have so many other riders around us and their support was much appreciated.
The day started with the kind of weather we have come to expect, clear sky, no wind and warm. We now have three support vehicles. We have the trusty Mitsubishi driven by Ange, Ruth Libby in the Hyundai and Eric, Steve’s father in his camper van. We headed off for about 22 ks to Rawene to catch the ferry across the Hokianga harbour. There was only just time for Ange and Ruth to purchase us all takeout coffees before the 9.30 ferry arrived.
On the ferry Tod “worked” the small crowd as he does so well, hitting up one of the locals for the safest route to Kaitaia. The suggested road was 9 ks longer but with better scenery and less traffic.
Off the ferry the road was rolling alongside the harbour. We travelled for about 5 ks before we saw other traffic. We passed through the sleepy township of Broadwood. We struck a couple of decent hills but the views of the country side were some of the best we have seen in the North Island.
Today had one of the highest counts for one lane bridges being eight. Road kill was average with seven. Road works were two with one being a 1 kilometre stretch of freshly sealed down-hill road. This did not allow Kim’s to unleash his downhill skills. I think he only reached about 60 ks.
Today’s ride was only 99 kilometres in length which we now consider to be a short day on the saddle. The talk in the bunch was interesting with Tod coming up with a number of suggestions to spice up the ride. One was to ride along 90 mile beach for a period. That was quickly discussed with a strong “no” and a wag of the finger by Kim.
During the ride we were advised by Ange, wife of Steve, that their son Mike, and grandson of Eric now travelling with us, had taken the yellow jersey on that third stage of the twin coast tour. With his chest out Steve took on the next hill with a proud grin. Well done Mike and the team.
We are now resting in the Loredo Motel at Kaitaia watching the cricket, 31/3 might change channels soon. Shortly after we pulled in Eric had the kettle on in the camper. He made us all a coffee with a ginger nut biscuit. There was an extra coffee made but no sign of Al to blame for this. We sat on the grass talking and just enjoying another days riding completed.
Looking forward to tomorrows ride and meeting up with family at Paihia.
For me there are too many people to thank personally for making this challenge possible. I would like to thank Sarah, thanks Babe.
I have enjoyed the company of all involved, a variety of personalities which have complimented each other and got on. Well done to Steve for his organisation and watchful eyes on the bikes. As result there have been no hiccups to date. Ange, what can I say, a lesser person would not have survived 19 days with us all. Many thanks Ange for all the dinners and the passing of the drink bottles just at the right times.
Special thanks to the BeachComber restaurant for a terrific meal and a very generous donation of $50 to the Nth Shore Hospice.

Coffee at the Boatshed cafe after we arrived at Omapere.
This way to Kaitaia

Riding off the ferry...Tod tells me this was at least 27% gradient.

The view from the ferry looking back at Rawene

Looking out from Rawene

Tod in the tucked position.

Great sights

Passing through Kohukohu

Old Northland farm shed

Again the weather has been unreal.

Hold your line Toddy..

Totem Pole.......

Thumbs up

Tod, Kim, Pagey and Steve

Cresting another hill on the way to Kaitaia

The last stretch before Kaitaia

Garmin Connect - Activity Details for Untitled

Friday, March 19, 2010

Day 16 Dargaville to Omapere ..89km

Welcome back Bloggers.........Last nite the Team stayed out at Bayleys Beach Campground.A mere 12 k out of Dargaville......this wouldn’t have been a problem under normal circumstances.. But we had already ridden181k to Dargaville(1st stage end of Northland Tour) & in all reality that was ENOUGH!?..;the extra kms to our nites accommodation, into a westerly head-wind & somewhat surprisingly uphill was not exactly appreciated. Anyway, I appeased myself later ,(before a gorgeous lasagne dinner), with a gentle stroll down to the beautiful, windswept vista of a Bayleys Beach sunset!..simply stunning & a glorious way to end a massive day of riding!......But I digress viewers!!.........onto todays stage....
We rolled out @ 07.30 to enable us to get a bit ahead of the Nth Tour race. About 20 k in, the first group of elites passed us. We cheered on the respective sons, then carried on up the first BIG climb of the day to await the arrival/passing of the GROUP 2 peleton. Kate(the daughter of our early departed Sth. Is. buddy Geoff) was driving the bunch(or certainly assisting!)Her outstanding riding keeping her firmly owning the female ’maillot jaune’.We congratulated her from the safety of the sideline then trucked on toward OPONONI. The 12km climb up through the Waipoua Forest (avg. gradient 5%) was cool & spectacular. We had arranged to meet the support ‘girls’ at the Coffee caravan at the road-side stop of the famous ‘Tane Mahuta’(2,000 year old Kauri tree)...When we arrived I figured it wasn’t worth riding all this way & not STOP and walk the short 5 min. path to view such a wonderful Kiwi natural icon. Unfortunately, only the hardy;(Kim & Ruth,Tod & Ange)made the arduous trek..but boy was it worth it! awe-inspiring speciman.! Those who didn’t come ,missed out. We sat & gazed at the behemoth & contemplated ‘the-meaning-of-life’ for about 10mins , then back to the road.I downed a large chocolate icecream,3 Afghan biscuits & half a litre of water ,whilst Steve had an instant coffee.
For the next ½ hour, we chased down our lone leader ‘Surge’(who had taken a sneaky runner whilst we graised) . We finally caught him just before the nasty Opononi hill-climb(gradient 16%!!), thanks to the stellar efforts of us three & our ‘guest’rider Tom(who had selflessly given up his overall ‘G.C.’ chances to help his old man into town!)..Thanks & well done Tom.....don’t think we don’t appreciate it.
One last call for a photo opportunity at the top of the hill(WHAT A VIEW!!) & a rapid descent down to our nites accommodation. We narrowly, (make that ‘Surge’),narrowly avoided a nasty accident as we turned into the bach of the Nth. Tour riders tried to turn & stop with us ,obviously only semi-conscious after his days efforts, and befuddled as to the whereabouts of the true finish line(2ks further up the road)..Some tricky curb-hopping on Pageys part avoided an imminent hospital entrance exam!.......This would have been our FIRST on-road incident/accident!(touch wood!)
So...all up, another great day in the saddle....Tomorrow off to Kaitaia,via the Rawene Ferry....nite nite.......Toddy x
p.s. ‘ Surges’ road-kill count 8... one lane bridges 4..........

Departure from Bayley's Beach Camp ground
Guest rider Tom......where's Pagey?

First rise out of Dargaville

Spectacular Nthland scenery

The Team en- route to Omapere

Stage 2 Elite riders Tour of NthLand

Kim and Tod in front of Tane Mahuta

Tane Mahuta

Arrival at Omapere

Waipoua Forrest stream

View from our accommodation

Cooling off
Garmin Connect - Activity Details for Untitled

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day 15 Auckland to Dargaville..189km

Hi folks, back on the road again in the early hours at 0600hrs. Certainly experienced the changing of seasons with a very chilly start where arm and leg warmers absolutely necessary. Great to see Dave (formerly known as Brian) and John were at the top of Albany hill to wish us well.
Headed straight up Highway 17 to Orewa in the dark with traffic steadily building, the friendly roads of the South Island seemed ages ago and the rumble of trucks somewhat disconcerting with some trying to get as close as possible to cyclists as they can.
With only four in the bunch your turn on the front comes around quickly and contrary to what you would expect this was the hilliest stage of the trip climbing in total 2200metres over the entire stage. At 82 km we stopped at the old house cafe (Dragon’s Rest) at Topuni in the middle of no where and had an excellent coffee and food, highly recommended next time you are travelling through.
Due to the early start and good planning we got to Paparoa ahead of the Tour of Northland elite group who caught us on the flats after Ruawai. Was interesting that the fourth member of our team, Tod was on the back of the elite bunch after he suspiciously went missing at Paparoa. Again the cry went out ‘ where’s Toddy.’
6 hours later and 189 km we finally rolled into Dargaville and then had a very long haul all 11 km to our accommodation at Bayley’s Beach. Good to hook up with the Tour of Northland crew and at the prize giving Tod organised with the race Director Steve COX to give the Bluff to Cape ride some advertising and carried a bucket around and got $456.20 cash donations. Even got a lucky old school 50c coin. Thanks Steve for your help with this and to everyone who dug into their pocket!!
Had a joint dinner with the crowd of lasagne and salad which was very enjoyable.
Three days to go with another hilly but shorter stage to Opononi tomorrow.
Pagey’s stats for the day were 7 road kill and two one lane bridges.


Toddy makes a break

Anymore hills to come?

Coffee stop...Pagey has just been told there's still 100ks to go

A very relaxed team

Still great weather . Having a good run into Dargaville

Dont look back Pagey

Northland Vista

Colin Mike and Gorter in a break ..stage 1 Tour of Nthland