It was raining as we set off from Ahipara. After a short shuttle to Kaitaia it was on the bike for two of us headed for the Cape. The rest got shuttled a bit further, starting their ride after a morning coffee. The initial drizzle slowly abated as we headed North with a strong easterly wind providing some assistance, but not always favourable.
We both skipped morning coffee but the extra distance meant we met the rest of the group as they started riding from near Houhora Reserve. I stopped for some fuel at Pukenui, Picnic Bar & Energy Chocolate, and the rain started again going from drizzle to heavy rain.
There was a further fuel stop at Te Kao — amazing how good dispensing machine coffee can be in the right circumstances — and by then torrential rain & gusty strong wind required a change of plan. The picnic lunch was abandoned in favour of Waitiki Landing Café. The sensible stopped riding and got back in the warm dry bus for this section.
I didn’t and arrived there drenched. Soon after sitting down I was amazed to be approached by a couple of work colleagues who were showing some visitors the Cape.
I was feeling good after lunch and chose to carry on cycling, the only one stupid enough to do so! The last 20km had quite a few climbs, about 200m high, made tougher by the blustery wind. One bonus was the rain abated as I approached the Cape and some parts of the road sheltered by cuttings were bone dry.
It was great to get to Cape Reinga, both the relief to have made it and spectacular scenery. There is a new path and I couldn’t resist riding down to do a loop around the lighthouse itself even though it meant one more hill. There were no photos for me today as it was too wet to carry a camera, didn’t even have my iPhone for most of the day. Hope to get some off the others on the trip when time allows.
Although the weather was challenging I found the riding good. A bit of side/tailwind at times took the sting out of the distance — about 110km — and the last hilly section was fairly sheltered until you climbed to the exposed ridges.
It was also nice to have a bus ride back to our accommodation at Taipa Bay, hot shower and dinner at the "World Famous Mangonui Fish n Chip Shop". Their Fisherman's Basket refilled the fuel tank ready for another big ride tomorrow. I knew some of the roads we were heading towards would require it.