We had 29 people join us on Saturday for our 2nd long endurance training ride to Pongaroa, with a few new faces in there, and some that have never ridden this loop before. After keeping a close eye on the forecast all week, hoping we wouldn’t get rained off, we couldn’t have asked for a better day – blue skies, not too hot and not a lot of wind either.
Bike Manawatu Sponsor, Garry Buys of Bike Barn let us use his car park as our meeting point, and went above and beyond what I was expecting by bring there to meet us and having the doors open if anyone needed a last minute bathroom stop – thanks Garry.
From there, we split up in to our two groups and headed off with our first scheduled meeting spot at Pahiatua with the support van driven – supplied by Rob Ryan of Palmfeild Motors and driven by Neil Vertogen. Both groups had a quick catch up, and group 2 were joined by Pahiatua father and son, Marcus and Jackson Fellowes bringing our numbers to 31 for the day.
Normally when we ride this loop, we head out of Pahiatua on to Pa Valley Rd and Route 52 to Pongaroa, however this time we did it in the opposite direction. We carried on to Pongaroa with group 2 having a photo stop at the wooden seat that someone has carefully crafted at the front of their property, with only carol and Jackson climbing up for a photo. We climbed up the Puketoi range and were treated to some stunning views at the top. Normally when we ride this loop, we do it in the other direction and the climb is fairly sharp and steep in spots, but the way we travelled, it was longer, but a lot more gentle on us. Neil met us along the way in a few spots to check our progress, bunnyhopping between the 2 groups.
Upon arriving in Pongaroa, Neil met us with our lunches that were provided by Bike Manawatu sponsor Derek McNabb and the team at Rosebowl Bakery and Cafe. The lunches were a big hit, everyone enjoyed what was supplied, and not having to order and wait for meals at the pub meant we were back on the road quickly. We also had ice cold water and coke supplied by Palmfeild Motors in the van (and they also supplied lollies for us all). Both groups were able to have another catch up here before arranging to meet at Rendezvous for a drink at the conclusion of the ride.
After leaving Pongaroa, we headed towards Pahiatua – there were a number of small undulations before we had the biggest climb of that section, and like the Puketoi range, the climb was longer in this direction, but again, more gentle on us. Neil was there to meet us at the top of this climb, with some welcome ice cold water and coke. When we turned from Route 52 on to Pa Valley road – for most of us we were in familiar territory from here, as we’ve all ridden this road at one time or another. As we turned on to Mangaone Valley Rd for Pahiatua, Marcus and Jackson headed off home towards Rongomai – thanks for joining us, we really enjoyed meeting you both, and hope to see you again soon. We had two more climbs, before one last van stop in Pahiatua. We were 160 kms in by this stage, and a lot of us were feeling very tired, but we were all determined to see the ride to its conclusion. We rode on through Ballance and Post Office Road, before climbing the Pahiatua track, descending and one last climb at Aokautere before our Duval meeting point – Rendezvous.
Here we met with most of group 1, and enjoyed a few drinks, some hot chips and plenty of banter about the day.
The ride was a resounding success and enjoyed by all, approximately 200 kms and 2300 metres of climbing. A big thank you to all of the riders who came along – well done everyone and thank you to Garry Buys, Derek McNabb and his team at Rosebowl Bakery and Cafe and to Rob Ryan of Palmfeild Motors – your support is really appreciated and contributed to the success of the day
Team Hughes Joinery are doing two laps of the Tour de Manawatu course on Sunday 27 October, the Feilding Festival of Cycling on Sunday 10 November is followed by the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge on Saturday 30 November. This is probably enough long distance events as most people will be busy with Christmas and their summer holiday – but if you’re keen to join us in February for a 2 day trip, Rob Ryan is arranging a trip to Ohakune on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23 February 2020. Included in the $155 cost is transport for your bike, bus travel to Ohakune, 1 nights accommodation in Ohakune and a support vehicle, Once we are in Ohakune there will be a 65km ride finishing at the top of Mt Ruapehu, before returning to our accommodation for the night. On Sunday morning we will ride approximately 200kms to Raetihi and on to Pipiriki and Jerusalem along the River Rd to Whanganui, then home to Palmerston North via Marton. This is a spectacular ride, with some stunning scenery – this is a great chance to ride somewhere new, and take in some beautiful scenery – if this is something you would like to do, please register your interest here