Day 5: Waipapa to Whangaroa - Foray into New Zealand's far north - CycleBlaze

December 9, 2022

Day 5: Waipapa to Whangaroa

How to do hills

Today's forecast:  Becoming fine. And this proves to be technically accurate. Now, at 5.30pm, I'm sitting in breezy sunshine at our home for the next two nights, Taipa Resort  in Doubtless Bay. We seem a million miles and weather patterns away from sodden Paihia, which is less than 100km away by road.

The ride, though, takes us through numerous wetting showers before delivering us to drier climes.

Once again, we are shuttled to the start in order to avoid becoming roadkill on the main road. And this is actually a lesser highway we're avoiding. State Highway 1 up here has been closed by a large slip for some weeks so we are not the only ones taking the detour. It's 11.30 by the time we depart, the delay being planned to give the weather time to sort itself out. This is partly successful.

Of more concern to me is the elevation profile for the ride. It looks alarmingly like a heartbeat monitor you'd see on a medical drama on the telly. I haven't come to terms with actual hills yet, despite having spent hours on Zwift hauling my avatar up more than 100,000 metres.

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But today, I'm pleased with my effort. It's a state of mind as much as a physical strength and I feel I nail the art of turning the pedals with no expectation of reaching the summit and thus no disappointment when more uphill appears around the corner!

Our first descent was to the beautiful beach at Matauri Bay. We've been here before, staying the night in our motorhome, and were keen to visit again.

On the way down . . .
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On the beach . . .
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. . . and on the climb back up.
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Lunch is at the cafè at the top of the hill, an effective carrot. Then we cut across a headland and enjoy the day's second steep climb. After this, the hills no longer hold any fears for me. We are cycling around the coast, passing through Te Ngaire and Wainui bays. This coastline is spectacular.

As in previous days, the road has no shoulder but is blissfully traffic-free. Leaving the coast, we turn southwest inland. The tiny town of Whangaroa  nestled in its eponymous harbour is our destination and we spend a happy hour propping up the bar at the sports fishing club in the marina to mark the end of another fabulous ride.

Whangaroa harbour
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Dinner tonight is at the world-famous-in-NZ Mangonui fish shop. Delicious!
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Today's ride: 43 km (27 miles)
Total: 226 km (140 miles)

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