GLCC Ohakune Weekend Away
GLCC Ohakune Weekend Away
The GLCC Ohakune Weekend Away started well. It all started with me riding down from Auckland to Ohakune. The plan was that 4 of us would ride down, and then meet the other 6 down there. Well, that didn’t happen. By the time we got to a week to go, all but two of us had dropped out. It was going to be a bloody hard slog with two of us. Little did I know that would become one before we’d even left Auckland on the Thursday.
So 5 of us headed out of town. Mark left us on Great South Road, followed by Mike, Sherie, and Stefan at Tuakau. It was the start of a potentially long and only ride. I was comforted by the fact that the IndiPac #IPWR was on, and the Tour of Aotearoa had just finished. All of the competitors had managed extremely long days in the saddle, back to back. I was just faced with a journey of 410 km, easy, eh!
After leaving those guys behind and heading south, it wasn’t long before I took a wrong turn. Intuitively I turned right, when in fact I should have turned left. This detour would add about 10km and 600 meters climbing to my journey. Eventually I found myself back on track. I cycled towards Rangariri to follow the waikato river. I managed to follow it for about 10km, before taking that dreaded turn. That ripped my undies, and probably was the cause of what was to come.
I rejoined the river just before Huntly. I refuelled there, before heading on my way to Ngaruawahia, where I turned inland along state highway 23 to Pirongia. The stretch of road from Pirongia to Otorohanga is delay. The trucks speed past and you are always on guard and that feeling of intimidation is ever present. I reached Otorohanga and had to call it a day. I’d reacted to my chamois cream, so much so that I couldn’t walk.
The next day
The next day I spoke to Mark and arranged to be picked up along the route I’d shared. I got up that morning and headed straight for breakfast. The talk all around me was of farming, cows and milk. If someone had kidnapped and blindfolded me, then sat me at a cafe table and asked where I was I’d be able to get within a couple of towns. Otorohanga is famed for the Kiwihouse near the centre of town, oh, and farming.
From this moment on, Otorohanga will be best remembered for having a pharmacy that sold me ‘Neat 3B Action Cream’. I have absolutely no idea what that shit is made from, but it works miracles for chafing. My balls were as red and swollen as a baboons arse. I slapped some of this on, eh voila, it sorted it out. And sorted it out pretty damned pronto. No more painful balls.
Otorohanga is a typical New Zealand one horse, but many thousand cows, town. One large main street which trucks thunder through. It’s not attractive, but would have been in its day. If Mark couldn’t have picked me up along the route I had hoped to have caught a train. There’s only one minute problem with that, there’s just one passenger train that runs up and down the country, on alternate days. My day the train was heading back towards Auckland. That paragraph alone is embarrassing. No fucking trains! WTF, this is the 21st century!
Cycling along the from Otorohanga to Te Kuiti is a must along the Old Te Kuiti Rd. It’s quiet and safe, and has some awesome views of the surrounding area. You pretty much follow the railway line. It’s also pretty speedy, as it has some of the best tarmac. You enter Te Kuiti from the side. This place is famed for sheep shearing and Colin Meads (an ex All Black known for his toughness, also called ‘Pine tree Meads’.
Te Kuiti and beyond
It was whilst here that I got a text from Mark saying he was close. I headed out of town along state highway 30. A cracking road and not used that much by trucks. This is where the climbing would have started if I’d had managed to get all the way to Ohakune. It’s pretty hilly from here on in. I managed another 10km before Mark finally arrived.