Another day – another ride in the sun.
The plan was an 8:00am start, with breakfast at The Naked Bun in Mapua township, before a leisurely ride along the coast to Motueka and Kaiteriteri.
Well, that was the plan, until we found that Dale’s back tyre was looking decidedly soft, and the highly technical collapsing pumps provided on our bikes defeated our collective endeavors and made it even worse. Defeated (deflated, perhaps), Paul dropped the wheel out of the frame and rode off to the nearest garage to use the “proper” pump. Fortunately he didn’t need to go that far, as the groundsman in the shed at the Park was able to provide access to their compressor and pump, and the bike was ready to go.
By this time it was abundantly clear to all that Paul was feeling somewhat “delicate”, apparently suffering the delayed after-effects of a recent course of strong medicine, and in his case breakfast was declined in favour of a walk around the fresh air of the neighbourhood, while the rest of us fueled up on open bacon and egg sandwiches and hot coffee.
Out of deference to Paul’s delicate state, and recognising the challenge of climbing two large hills was probably unnecessary, we decided to ride directly to Motueka on the highway, avoiding the two climbs. Traffic was relatively light, but it did mean we made rapid progress on the sealed roads. Arriving in Motueka a quick stop so that I could pick up a new pair of riding gloves (somehow managed to lose not one pair, but two, in the excitement of the morning departure!) and a Tiki Tour around some of Dale’s former haunts, then onto the GTT proper for the leg through to Kaiteriteri.
This section took us over The Motueka River bridge and into Riwaka. The trail then wound through apple and kiwifruit orchards and over another specially built suspension bridge. The trail meanders along between the road and coastline giving wonderful views of the Tasman Bay as it climbs a little, switching to the old (and now disused) Kaiteriteri road for part of the climb. After passing through an underpass we entered the Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park and the chance to try our skills on a swooping winding bush MTB track (The “Easy Trail”) as we bypassed the busy main road. After some steady climbing through a series of hairpin bends and passing across a ridgeline the trail drops fairly rapidly to the formal entrance to the MTB park, and a short ride into the beach area and camp ground.
Accommodation at the Kaiteriteri Camp was in two “en-suite” cabins, with Kem, Kev and Steve in one and Paul and Dale in the other. Very comfortable, except for the top bunk (my option) which was rather too close to the ceiling for comfort. Mattress onto the floor then . . .
A visit to Kaiteriteri is never complete without at least one draught on the deck of the bar overlooking the Bay. But that’s all it was – the prices far too steep to be attractive for the evening. A short walk around the corner to the “Beached Whale” provided a more relaxing environment, a friendly neighbourhood dog, and the promise of an extensive and well priced menu. And so it proved.
At the height of summer Kaiteriteri is generally a very popular beach, typically overrun with tourists and locals making the most of the beautiful golden sands. In early November though, despite warm weather and no wind the place is far more relaxed, and a slow walk around the almost empty camp and along the deserted beach wrapped up a relatively incident free day and a relaxing ride.
PS: According to Paul watching international poker on a 5 inch cell-phone screen is not a great way to learn how to play.