Tour of Northland Cycle Challenge – Day 2 – 84kms – The Big Hill Day
Nervous and excited was how I described lining up for the start of todays journey from Dargaville to Opononi. I wasn’t the only person feeling the pressure as I looked out into the groups of riders I saw a lot of deep breathing and fidgeting going on.
This day starts at 8.30am, which hopefully gives you plenty of time to get going before it gets too hot.
This ride takes you through what can only be described as New Zealand at it’s best. Beautiful landscape, especially the Waipoua Forest with it’s ancient Kauri Trees.
But before that a good couple of hills. one at 30km and another around 40kms. Then a big descent (12km) down into the Waipoua forest before the gruelling 12km climb up past the famous Tane Mahuta until finally you reach the top and get a glimpse of the West Coast of New Zealand. Last year I must have had my head down, but this year I managed to take in the awesome Kauri and never ending greenness of the forest that offered amazing shade as you kept peddling up and up.
Once out of the the forest it was only 20km out of Opononi, but first you had to take on the very steep 10km descent. Passed a rider who had unfortunately crashed….told you it was a fast descent!
Finally at the bottom with less than 10km to go and only two hills left. The first is a toughie as there isn’t much left in the legs, but the last one is even worse, with a short but very steep rise to the top.
Last year I had terrible calf cramp and walked up this hill….not this year. It had tormented me for almost 365 days, so I wasn’t about to let it get the better of me again.
Lucky for me I had just enough in the tank to climb up and over….yahoo!
Down the other side and then just a few more kms to the finish line.
Frome there it was a 10 min dip in the sea at Opononi, or should I say Ice Bath, it was absolutely freezing! Then a 15 min massage that you can book everyday while you are on the tour….worth every cent!
Now it is time to kick back, relax and prepare for Day 3