Warning – This is a scenery ramming post, so read on, but you have been warned!
I am going to try something different today, usually I smash you with 19 photos and some text, but today I thought it best to start with a 3 min vid and appropriately lyriced song, so indulge:
Yes, roll your eyes, 1) this is supposed to be a Mountain Biking trip and 2) Road riding videos are boring… Yes, I know, but, road riding around Hawkes Bay is so fantastic, it had to be done and had to be shared. Its also probably appropriate to provide a little more context on the above video (now I will revert back to ramming in some pics and a story):
For the last ride of 2013 I wanted to do something decent (yes I am a day behind here) and I had received on the ground intel from the main local asset, the Panther on the best road ride to get into. Unfortunately the whole Panther Scenario is currently in Rehab as he’s been smashing Tri’s to pieces left right and MF centre, so he was unable to join for a tour of the Bay.
He had called out a few key roads to hit that I formed into a loop from Otane, or O Town if you want to get Hood on it. Heading out via Elsthorpe to the fabulous Kahuranaki Road… I have a massive hard on for rolling hills and dried grass, so I was hugely in my element here as the place was stacked with just this type of terrain:
It literally goes on and on… No complaints:
You can see from these photos why even though my Champsys shorts were doing their best to kill my nuts, I pedalled on serenely taking it all in, may as well have been in Spain FFS. One of the biggest issues I had was having to stop every 5 minutes to take photos of the stunning landscape… It messes with any attempt to train no end:
You eventually end up arriving at the crown in the jewel ride wise around this parts, the Tuki Tuki Valley, which again is a scenery feast for the eyes. If you suffer from status anxiety, or want to, then ride through here and take in some of the awesome properties that are dotted around the hills with epic views of Te Mata Peak, it will fuck you up completely:
The above video has already pretty much encapsulated its goodness, but some other key points about riding here:
- There is virtually no traffic on the back roads… Maybe 3 cars in the first 1.5 hours? Its deserted… When I did experience traffic, it was courteous to extreme levels
- The scenery it rolling and stunning, but the roads can be a little rough, its that classic tough southern hemisphere chip seal that can rattle you around. The Evo does a great job of levelling that terrain, but if I lived here I would be on 25mm Conti GP4000’s and perhaps even a Cannondale Synapse Black Inc machine would be the go
- Its a good work out here – The terrain is rolling and the climbs make you work harder than one of Specialized’s patent lawyers.
- There is more riding here than you can manage, so book a weekend or even better, round up the lads/ladettes and hit a training camp here to maximise. Te Mata Peak repeats perhaps?
My return leg from Havelock to O Town via Middle Road was a tough mission… Head wind, climbing gradually for 39km’s and on heavy roads, not to mention epic sun. The only thing that punctuated the solo hard toil was this kind of action, care for a river with your rolling hills porn show sir?
To be honest, the final ride of 2013 would have to go down as one of the most peaceful and scenic… Its hard to match Spain, but the Hawkes Bay is massively up there if you like a few road miles and like me, have a stiffy for rolling hills and brown grass. Was an excellent way to round out another big year of riding. If you want to hit this loop when in town, here is the Strava file: