100km, 23 October 2011. By Murray Boase
Well, if you want to visit an old and cold town hall, but one with a great country atmosphere, try the one at Hunterville at 8am in the morning. I was there on Sunday 23rd October to register for the 7th annual Rangitikei River Loop Cycle Classic 100km. The race is very scenic and challenging and in my opinion is the best-value recreational ride on offer in the North Island!
After being warned about the red light half-way down the 4km-long Rewa Hill, we all set off up the long and steep Rangatira Hill. One way to warm up I suppose, but by time I got to the top, most of the 155 entrants had formed groups and gone! So I ramped it up to about 60km/hr downhill to catch a disappearing bunch, then hit the brakes when I saw the large “SLOW’ sign, before entering a S bend and finding an ambulance parked up on the side of the rode, half-way through it. Good for ya confidence I must say. Anyway, I caught the bunch in front and it was full of pretty young girls ex Wellington and a few older guys drafting at the back. So I used my smarts and joined the guys and let the young guns lead the way.
It started to drizzle just before the Kakariki turnoff but then the weather cleared fortunately. As we turned into Pryces line, I took the lead to give the girls a break. Then I accelerated down to Makino Road (just leaned forward going down the hill really) so I could get a run up the Makino hill ahead of the group. That worked a treat and as we went over the top, I was leading the young guns again and telling them the rest of the course was all downhill- yeah right! Then our group caught Dr Bull who was out on his own. He perked up when we caught him, let out a bellow and he did some good work up front for a few kms, including some interval work chasing the prohibited items. Then we nearly ran over Mr Spud, who also picked up the pace with us, until he got to MacKays Line. I booted it up MacKays Hill grabbing 3 wins to the prohibited items as I did so. I then backed off a bit to explain to one of the girls dressed in a pink, about how fine the weather was in Sunny Palmy but she didn’t seem to believe me! I guess the windmills were all under cloud that day afterall. Anyway, we pushed strongly up to Stormy Point as a group and then raced at about 70km/hr, with brake pads smoking and rims squealing, down 800 ft in 4km to Rewa. Then we grunted up three hills, including the steep and long Vinegar Hill to the main road. Finally we pushed hard down SH1 and burned off the wheel suckers in a sprint for the line. I knocked 10 mins off last year’s time and left a couple of mates (Dr Bull and Mr Spud) behind me. What more could you ask for?
Well the extras were a meal and spot prizes, all provided as part of the $35 entry fee. Hence my opinion that this is the best-value recreational ride on offer in the North Island! Congratulations to Barry Lampp and the Hunterville Lions for an excellent, fully-marshalled event. And I hope to see you all there next year. Full results can be found at: http://www.huntervillebikeride.co.nz/index.html