|Racecourse start venue, Day 1|
Day 1 took us up the Parapara, now a much improved hill-country road loved by local riders, with the first stop at the Railway Cafe at National Park.
Gotta say at the outset that this event has a sort of 3 face value to it, part cafe crawl, part scenic tour, part set your own comfort pace burn-up.
National Park Railway Cafe, in the old station, does a good menu and has a nice cabinet if you're a bit shorter on time.
Then up to near Taumarunui turning right over Waituhi Saddle to Turangi. Have done this a couple of times on a push bike in the old Tour de Trout, 25 km grind up hill, and a 25km fly down the other side where you can give yourself the cramp in the braking hands, or the sphincter if you dont.
Lunch and refuel at Z/BK Turangi, then home via Waiouru and Karioi, across the Whangaehu to Fields Track/Parapara, then home, nice ride in late afternoon hues.
|Rangitikei Valley, near Apiti|
Day 2 out to Hunterville via Fordell and Turakina Valley, for morning coffee at the old BNZ, now sporting a bike museum, then up to Ohingaiti and a particularly pretty stretch of hill country curves to Apiti Hotel for a cooked lunch menu under umbrellas in the back court-yard. Another over the hill to Pohangina Valley, down to Ashhurst and up over the Saddle Road, with a quick stop at the Windfarm, before pm coffee at Cafe 88, Woodville. Through the Manawatu Gorge, now repaired of the massive slip, and home via Colyton and Makirikiri Rd.
|The group at the Wind Farm, Saddle Rd|
|Republic of Whangamomona|
A couple more saddles to crest before the Tangarakau Gorge, a river wending its way through a bushed gorge to join the Whanganui. This part of the road is unsealed, but has an excellent surface. If it was sealed it'd be the equal of any scenic road on the South Island's west coast, but would hardly be a Forgotten World anymore.
|Closer to Taumarunui|
Each day's conclusion, Roger had arranged a group entry into the Games hospitality enclosure for the medal presentation ceremony, placings determined by poker run basis with a draw from a card deck at 5 check points each day, with somewhat hilarious result, but emphasising the social aspect of participation.
Roger concluded a successful round of events by saying it all went free of 'incident', we all got home safe and sound, but we did pass a prang in another group going the opposite direction, which was a timely sober.
Only got a few pics, as time didnt allow for the camera stops I would have liked through the winding and scenic bits.