The best laid plans do not always work out. Today was one of those days.
All night it poured and poured, along with plenty of thunder. I lay awake in bed rethinking what we should, or should not do.
Safety is number one though.
The plan had been a 143 km ride, over the hills to Tauranga, then back to Rotorua. We planned to catch up with the iconic cyclist Fraser Sharp, who has represented New Zealand in Paralympic cycling. Fraser competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics, finishing 8th in his best event. He has also medaled at World Cup level. What an achievement!
Between Matamata and Tauranga is a long hilly range and the pass across is known to be dicey when wet. Our Air BNB hosts and Fraser both advised us not to cross for safety reasons. Reluctantly we knew it was the right decision…..next time Fraser.
This was the view over those hills as we left Matamata.
The traffic on the highway was really really awful. Laden log trucks, milk trucks and then there was SWOOPT. That is the registration belonging to a hotted up orange car that came within cm of hitting me. So very close, my adrenalin surged heaps.
We could not wait to get off this road! It was pouring so we were also getting heaps of water flicked up.
We had a rest at the Fitzgerald Glades cafe which was slightly off course, but I knew where it was. Sue and I had sought refuge here in January and again I was heading there for refuge. Ah, great coffee – no Sue! We sat at the same table!
Whilst we chilled, we heard a very loud donkey, so sought him/her out as we left.
This picture then explains the rest of the ride…well in part. We climbed! In the rain! Limited to no verge in places resulting in us riding on the grass…..
Once we descended into the suburbs around Rotorua it bucketed down and we took refuge where we could. We started to get cold as it was now only 14 degreees plus we were wet, and the little breeze had a greater cooling effect.
Whilst we waited this sign amused me.
Then there was this mural. It is of the Kuranda railway in Queensland!
You can see the water dripping off the bike and my soggy hair.
The vacant car park spot below was totally flooded shortly after this photo. A car parked there had water half way up its rear wheels.
We had toyed with the idea of riding around the lake, if the weather was ok. It was far from ok so we contacted our Air BNB hosts, who kindly allowed us to head to their place. The warm shower was just the tonic needed.
We have headed into town to check out the bike shops, picking up a few extra tubes ready for the two days of lots of gravel coming up when we hit The Forgotten Highway on Sunday and Monday.
So sorry about the lack of photos today. The ride was seriously more one of survival on the roads today, concentrating hard to keep our line in adverse riding conditions. But, safe we are!!
We are hoping better conditions prevail tomorrow as we head to Lake Taupo, some 103 km or so away.
Thankyou to those who have sent us words of encouragement via Facebook, Messenger and Strava. It is nice to know where our support is and it heart warming.