Saturday, 29 November 2008

Cycle: 2008 Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge

I arrived with high expectations for the 2008 Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge. This is the event that recreational roadies in New Zealand measure themselves against. Last year I had improved a lot with a sub 5-hour time, after a puncture on the start lone and early cramps or something in my legs. I also had a brand new bike so mechanical issues would surely be of no concern.

I was pretty happy with the way I started. If you are familiar with this event you will know most of the climbing is in the first 80Km. While I did not have my Garmin Edge last year I am pretty sure I was well ahead of 2007 effort after the first 60km. At this point, I was averaging close to 30km/h even though I had already done most of the climbing.

Unfortunately, I proved how much less fitness than last year and could boy maintain effort through the much easier second half of the race to the finish. It ended up a tight battle with my 2006 time, which was eventually lost :(.

Now after three times around the lake I have had two 5:34's with a more impressive 4:58 from 2007 separating them.

My 160km Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge Results
2006: 5:34:38 ~28.7km/h
2007: 4:58:36 ~30.9km/h
2008: 5:34:54 ~28.7km/h

I'm determined to get back under 5 hours again next year. This lake is quite a sizable puddle to get around!

Garmin Connect doesn't provide options to embed ride stats yet, but
you can find my full Garmin Connect data of this ride here.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Tour of the Wairarapa 2008; Bitter and twisted and so is my frame

The 2009 Tour of the Wairarapa saw a change of course in order to avoid traffic, due to a clash in dates with Toast Martinborough. The new course took us over the chip sealed roads past Dryers Rock, Alfredton and Eketahuna to arrive back at Lakeview School near Masterton.

The embarassing slowness of the statistics are completely absent due to my absent mindedness in leaving my Garmin at home, but it was well charged while I ambled around this 113km course. Yes, the last 13km was free of charge, in this 100km event.

I broke a spoke again, after only about 25-30km, it really is getting frustrating. I even sent it to a bike shop to get fixed after last weeks failure. Paying for cycle repairs is not something that I normally do!

So I ambled around in a very disappointing 4:19:57 (26.08 km/h). This was a very unfavourable time compared to past performances. Particularly last year, where my result in this event was by far my best in any event I have ridden.
Tour of The Wairarapa
2006 - 3:18:13 - 30.27km/h on the old 100km course
2007 - 2:42:47 - 36.86km/h on the old 100km course
2008 - 4:19:57 - 26.08km/h on the new 113km course.

So what is going on, three races in a row and three failures. Not to mention two broken axles in the past year? Well, tonight I have measured out my frame and the rear stays are twisted 6.5mm towards the drive side. Lennard Zinn, suggests this should be less than 1mm. While I hadn't noted this in the steering and handling (at 10mm I may have?), it is most likely resulting imbalance in load across the axle. Hence axle breakages and spokes popping out on the drive side. Yes, my beautiful BMC Streetfire is bitter and twisted, just like me! I have no idea how! Such a shame, she was a nice bike. Hopefully I can get the frame replaced on warranty?

It is now only eight days until the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge. Best I find a new bicycle this weekend! After that it will be a matter of checking the warranty terms on the frame. Still, thats not going to happen quick enough get me around the Lake. I'm sure I could always do with another bike!!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Martinborough Fun Ride, Murphy Returns

About MotionBased
Location:Pahautea, New Zealand
Activity:Road Biking
Distance:113.25 (km)
Comments:Broke a spoke :(
View Activity at MotionBased

Map of 2008 Martinborough Fun Ride

Being the third time I competed in the Martinborough Fun Ride, I saw this as a great opportunity to compare my speed and fitness against previous years. With a brand new chain I was certainly looking for better than the previous weekend in the Coromandel. This ride consists of two laps, the first being a shorter 48km loop and the second a slightly more extended 67km loop.

I was sure the leave the groups thats set out between 37 and 40km/h go for it and settled myself into a bunch that was average about 30km/h in the early stages of the first lap. Yes, fitness was down a tad from some races last year. In the latter stages of the first lap we picked up speed for an average over the first lap of about 33km/h which was good for me, as it placed for a PB for this event.

2006 - 3:52? (29.7km/h)
2007 - 3:36:04 (31.9km/h)
2008 - 3:45:51(30.6km/h)

I was feeling pretty good and maintaining cadence even up hills was proving that. In fact, I was managing to speed the pedals 90+ times a minute on the (small) uphills which is preferable to slowly grinding them out. However, after about 60km I started to find myself struggling to hold on to their wheels at the back of the bunch. Yikes. I then could not find the kick to join the back of the following bunch as it went on by. As a third bunch came past me, the mentioned my rear wheel looked buckled. I looked down to see it wobbling all over the place but kept on riding nonetheless.
"Murphy was an optimist"

O'Toole's Commentry on Murphy's Law

With around 80km covered the brakes rubbing had become so frustrating I had a brief stop to inspect the damage. I had broken a spoke. Not much I could do about that so I got back in the saddle and limped on back trying not to load up the power on the wheel thereby twisting it further. The last thing I needed was it rubbing on the frame as well as the brakes.

It was labelled as a fun ride, but broken gear is never much fun. However, I did get to play with my new Garmin Edge 705. I have certainly never had so many statistics to measure my (non) performance during rides.

Next weekend I have the Tour of the Wairarapa ride, so I have all my fingers and toes crossed for a mechanically uneventful day.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

2008 Kuaotunu 2 (K2): Twisty Hills; Twisted Chain

Summary: Sloooww; broken chain link
Around Lake Taupo seems easy after this one!
Activity Type:Road Biking

Event Type:Race
Total Time:09:18:43
Distance:177.97 km
Elevation Gain/Loss:2,801 m / 2,608 m
Calories:9,033 C

Data from

Correction: There was 18:58 when I bumped the Garmin freeing the chain. My real-time was an even slooooooower 9:37:41 :(

Okay, so that was an absolute disaster. The race I had been so looking forward to and it was essentially over after a mere 8.51km the summit of the Pumpkin Hill, which seemed appropriate for the first hill on the day following Halloween.

Everything started so well. I was comfortably in the middle of a well paced bunch, ascended the first category hill up the 240m Pumpkin Hill without any difficulty. I felt like I was set for a good day. My bike was running beautifully. Awesome.

"If anything could possibly go wrong, it will"

Murphy's Law

At the crest of the hill as I changed the gears for the downhill the chain jammed. After easing my way out of the way of the bunch, I had the chain in two loops and needed to remove the back wheel to free it. There went the bunch.

"Murphy was an optimist"

O'Toole's Commentary on Murphy's Law

I was soon on my way again, only to have the chain bouncing everywhere. I'm sure the gears were in tune before the race and even at the start I thought to myself. After stopping once again, I noted the twisted chainlink.

It seemed a long way to come to pull out after a mere 8.5km, so I perservered to personally assess the magnitude of the famed hills of this course. Perhaps I can find a friendly bicycle mechanic on the way I promised myself. Not to be.

Over the only slightly undulating hills to Whitianga I went, up and over the Kuaotuna Hill (170m), not so bad I thought. Yikes bad looking crash there I thought as the Police waved me past what looked like a multiple cycle pile up and a truck. Then it was over Myundermans Hill (145m) and a few more undulations before the famed Whangapoua Hill. It was starting to seem like I was the only one without a puncture, so at least something was going my way! Did I contradict Flannagans Precept?

"Nothing is that predictable.", interpreted as "You cannot use the inevitability of Murphy's law to avoid its consequences"

Flannagan's Precept.
The Hors Categorie Whangapoua Hill sure felt like a climb, and I have to confess to stopping for a breather and a banana on the why up. With an gradient of 18% I could see why one of the corners in the upper reaches of this hill was signposted Cadiac Corner for the event.

"Hors catégorie is a French term used in cycle races (most notably, the Tour de France) to designate a climb that is "beyond categorization", an incredibly tough climb. Most climbs in cycling are designated from Category 1 (hardest) to Category 4 (easiest), based on both steepness and length. A climb that is harder than Category 1 is designated as hors catégorie. The term was originally used for those mountain roads where cars were not expected to be able to pass."


It was a particularly twisty descent with corners marked for cars with 25km/h signposts demanding respect. The most caution is probably required at a double left-hand bend, that has two sharp corners in a row, of which the second and unseen bend certainly had a nasty kick to it. Thankfully this was well marshalled with a the marshals reminding the descending cyclists to slow down.

I stocked up on Banana's at the transition in Coromandel and over the Manaia hill (181m) and then Kerata, which was not steep but a 228m climb that seemed to last forever!. From there it was a wind blown, flat coastal ride. This was the point at which I was really missing the use of all of my gears. A friendly small bunch invited me to jump on. This was great, but ultimately brief - without the use the small sprockets in my cassette, which cause the chain to jump and derail I could not hold for long.

After a toilet stop along the way I soon found my way through Thames and on my way up the long and arduous 425m Kopu-Hikuai Hill. I thanked Newton's Law of Gravitation and freewheeled at breathtaking speed on a straightish descent with only a few shallow corners before being caught behind some traffic.

During the last 20km or so, I was able to spend a bit of time talking to my fellow back markers in the race which was nice. I sure had been cycling a long way by myself!

I finally made the finishing line in about 9h18m, as the timing equipment was packed up. A pretty disappointing time but I have now done my "requie" of the course and hope to be back next year and about two hours quicker.

Overall, this was probably the best organised and most well marshalled race I have participated in.

Then as if to rub salt into my wounds, I open my e-mail up on Monday morning to a newsletter from the organisers of the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge.

The most important thing is to check your chain for wear and replace it before it's too stretched.

Yep, I learned that one the hard way!

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Saturday, 25 October 2008

Training in the Equinox / Almost time for the K2

Again I find myself as a typical masochistic Wellington cyclist. With the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge being the goal for most of us recreational roadies, we find ourselves on a bikes again and beginning training at the spring equinox. In most places this would be fine, but in Wellington we find ourselves persistently blown about by the breezes that the equinox brings. Heading out on our cycles, and noting the slow times on our regular routes, and unsure of how much to allow for the breeze. It is not until the actual races come around that we finally find out, are we faster? Fitter? Stronger? than last year?

With confidence from the improvement in my time in the 160km Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge last year, I was silly enough to enter the 192km Kuaotunu 2 (K2) cycle race in the Coromandel. It is sure to be a fine challenge with seven classified hills to climb. And goodness me, it is now only just over a week away. Yikes!

The training began with a broken axle. Could someone explain how one breaks two rear axles on a road bike in twelve months? It seems insane!! As a result, I splashed out on some new wheels - American Classic Hurricane. As these are wheels are for use in cycle cross and have a traditional 3-cross, 32 spoke setup I am planning for it to be a far too challenging task for even I to damage these babies. Regardless of the full 32 spokes, I have still saved 400g on the Mavic Aksium wheels I have swapped out. First ride out I whizzed downhill at 93km/h, so speeds good :).The K2 organisers suggest the race includes a 100+km/h descent, so we'll see how these babies go next week.

"This is followed by an exciting downhill section with a few turns to begin with followed by a 100km per hour straight. This downhill section will probably give you enough momentum to get half way up the next uphill."

Thankyou Mr Newton, I think your law rocks. 

The race organisers have been very good at sending out daily e-mails to those who have entered, generally being kind enough to remind us of how brutal the race is and the magnitude of the hills to be climbed.

"The 200km RoadCraft K2 has been described as one of the most brutal rides in the Southern Hemisphere and is a real test of how good you are on the bike. It is certainly one of those inspiring challenges for both Elite Cyclists and the weekend warrior."

Great, thanks for reminding us! What masochistic moment made me enter ths race anyhow?

"The tyre had split. Descending these hills at speed puts a lot of stress on the bike, the brakes get hot and my tyres were probably a bit warn."

Could Newtons Law might save me? Sure going to need a rest on those descents.

So, how does one assess a realistic time goal for a race the harder and further than they have been before? Can I finish before the prize giving? Will I be able to walk afterwards? All to be revealed in my next posting.


Friday, 1 August 2008

Tararua Forest Park: Penn Creek/Table Top

It has been far too long since my last post. I have not been out tramping a recently, the last time was in the first weekend of August, where we managed to get out between severe storms that created a lot of carnage in the Tararuas. Having been too slack to pen my account on this trip,  below you can find Fraser's version that he e-mailed me, and some of his friends who thought that the weather was too severe to head for the hills.

You may also like to read Mike's account of the same trip.

Fraser writes:

After eating a bowl of soup and drinking an ale in Byron's Resort on Otaki Beach (that had no power due to the storms having blown the power lines down), I set off to meet the WTMC trampers. On my way to meet the WTMC people, I found two people and their dogs wandering about in the dark on the gravel part of the Otaki forks road. I asked them the situation, and they said that they'd been wandering in the dark for two hours, that there were major slips on the road and I would not be able to continue. They also said that anyone that wanted to tramp would need spikes and be in serious trouble due to the weather. Due to their distressed state, I gave them a lift back to Otaki Beach, calling Craig to inform him what was going on. Cellphone reception was very poor, so I had trouble talking. It turned out that the people I'd picked up were very stoned from smoking oil spots in the hut, and knew nothing about tramping, so after much hero worship for saving them a long walk (and a cheeky spot!), I returned to meet the trampers. 

They were parked up just before the slip, and because I was late I had to change out of my work clothes and pack properly all in a couple of minutes. We began tramping with head torches a little before eight, and it was very hard to communicate to the trampers what I had heard from the people I had picked up due to the mild conditions and the fact that there was only one slip. Once I managed to tell them them what had been said, there was much laughter about us 'needing spikes' on the hill. Our party consisted of a dour Scotsman named Pete, (who comes from somewhere that sounds more like a cough than a placename) ; Mike from Treasury (somewhat reminiscent of the character Choo Choo from the cartoon Top Cat), and Craig McGregor, who was tramping for "red lines on the map". The first night's walk felt like little more than a walk in the park, yet we reached Field hut after eleven due to the elemental chaos that had been unleashed on the hill in the days before. Spectacular scenes abounded... At one point, more than forty trees had fallen onto the trail, which was blocked in several places. Mike and I appointed ourselves pathfinders, and used night tramping experience to find the best ways to follow the track. The other party of trampers that had gone ahead of us had become disoriented and walked half an hour in the wrong direction, meeting me coming up the hill. It seemed they had accidentally turned around only a minute or two away from the hut. In some places around Field Hut, the earth and trees looked as if a giant hand had crushed everything together, creating a huge mess of earth and trees. Everyone bedded down at Field hut that night, keen for a good night's rest. 

On the next day and after the two trampers who were going mountaineering had left, we decided that the best destination would be Penn Creek Hut to see if the river was too swollen for us to cross into the mountains. We set out Penn Creek Hut. Craig decided the river was too swollen to cross, and we were too lazy to tramp to Kime hut (also known as the freezer) so we spent the rest of the day hanging out at the hut playing cards and generally joking around. We pondered such philosophical statements as 
"You know, those who know enough to be able ignore D.O.C signs are usually competent enough to handle ignoring D.O.C signs... While there are those who are insane enough to think that they know enough to ignore D.O.C signs... They're weeded out by a process of natural selection." - Mike McGavin
I cut apart an awful feminist paperback novel to make a deck of very interesting cards, which provided such hilarious quotes as "The doctor opened his surgical bag, removed a scalpel, and began to cut away the man's pants". We ate well (Craig made Tiramisu!)  and slept for twelve hours while heavy rain pounded on the roof.

On the third day, one of the small streams we had crossed to get to the hut had been replaced by a raging torrent of white water and doubled in depth. We decided it would be best to climb through the dense bush to tabletop using compasses and maps to navigate our way. I led the way up the hill, and came upon a 'tramper's superhighway' which turned out to be pig tracks, and took us up to six hundred meters in a little more than an hour. After this, the forest gave way to dense Tararua leatherwood, which we forged a path through taking ridiculous amounts of time. We came to the trig of Tabletop in high winds and very thick fog, and quickly found the track to Field hut at around two thirty. The track after Field Hut was spectacular in daylight. Two hundred year old trees had been uprooted and blown by the winds.The track was covered in foliage, and Mike and I split off from Craig and Pete to move at a 'fast pace' to meet the other party back at the van, getting overtaken and beaten to the van by half an hour : }. The fog had cleared, and the way back to Otaki forks had some really good views. You guys missed a really good tramp. 

We tramped for about nine hours today, and I'm feeling pretty relaxed and good. Don't know about next week. I recommend tramping in the western Tararuas due to the changes in the forest from the storms. Very exciting stuff!

-Thanks for the awesome tramp guys,

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Tararua Forest Park: Northern Crossing

24-27 April 2008 - Northern Crossing

The trip plan declared:
One big day and two half-days - Thursday night, camp near the confluence of the Ohau and Blackwater Stream. Friday, up the South Ohau, Yeates, Arete and Waiohine Pinnacles to Tarn Ridge Hut.....
Punter responds:
Getting from there (campsite) to Tarn Ridge in a day at this time of year is a pipe dream in all but perfect weather - but I think perfect weather justifies the push

After a train journey and taxi we were soon at at the Ohau road-end where we discovered that Murray's torch did not work. Murray being from a tramping club named after such a fine range of mountains would have been perfectly fine without the sense of sight I'm sure. Regardless of this our efforts began to repair his torch. Somehow a shred of paper had managed to get jammed deep within its barrel, and as paper does not conduct electricity prevented the batteries from touching the contact points to power the torch. After trying various objects to remove the paper from keys to twigs to walking poles, a loose piece of No.8 wire was found and did the trick, genuine kiwi style. Meanwhile, on behalf of Placemakers Alistair was busy marketing his $9.95 head torch. After an amazing 25 minutes of faffing we began walking our way along the track up the Ohau river and quickly found out way to a brillant campsite in a little under an hour. It was a beautiful night so there was no need to pitch our flys and we slept under the trees to avoid any dew.

Sarah in the South Ohau
Come 5:30am, Craig instantly arose to fulfill his duty as trip leader and get the brew. We were on our way up the Ohau river by 6:30am. Our feet were wet well before 7am as we followed this scenic route up to the site of the new South Ohau Hut (currently under construction). We spent a small amount of time talking to the builders and began our ascent up the steep Yeates 500 with a startled look "Tarn Ridge tonight? You're keen".

Following a steep 500ft ascent up the Yeates track it soon "flattened" out to be merely undulating as we made our way to Te Matawai Hut and a well earned early lunch. Debate ensued as to how long it would take us from Arete to Tarn Ridge via the Waiohine Pinnacles. Estimates varied between and optimistic 2.5 hours (Alistair), we'll be there at 5pm (Sarah) and a pessimistic 3.5 hours (Craig). Meanwhile, Murray remained non-committal.

Our stomachs fully laden we made our way up the relentless climb to Pukematawai, over Arete and dropped down to the brand spanking new Arete Bivouac, which appears to have been moved a few hundred metres further south. Times for the sweepstake for the travel time from here to Tarn Ridge Hut continued to be discussed. Murray finally became committal and agreed with Alistair. Regardless of the banter we managed to make our way past Lancaster and to the Waiohine Pinnacles. In the excellent conditions we were walking in, these "Pinnacles" were only in principal as they were easily traversed with only one point which required an uncomfortably long stretch. If only each other landmark of XYZ Pinnacles were so easily traversed. As we stopped for a slight pause Alistair stopped his stopwatch and declared,
"You can only count time on the shoe".
Craig responds,
"Only if your name is Maui and you can slow the sun"
As we approached Tarn Ridge Hut the beard of Huey began to roll in. Still no sign of Huey flapping his broad, wind generating wings so all was good. And the time we arrived at Tarn Ridge Hut? 5pm. Must have been perfect weather!!
Tarn Ridge Hut
At Tarn Ridge Hut we arrived to a bench stacked full of apparently abandoned food. After some short debate about whether to have rice or fresh potatoes with our Spiced Lamb for dinner, the fresh potatoes naturally won over, especially for Alistair and Murray who set about preparing the mashed potatoes to go with the meal. With so much food around, we had no choice but to help clean up the hut so we had a few tins of allegedly spicy baked-beans for as additional sustenance while we preparing the meal. As we sat down to eat our fine meal two torches began to shine outside the hut, as Alistair received the glare from wife Sarah as she said, "I told you!!" and Alistair being left with no choice but to respond "Yes, you told me" to avoid the otherwise inevitable repetition. All was quiet as Murray, removed the three LPG cannisters that he had "borrowed" from his pack and returned them to the bench. As Alistair was ready to apologise profusely, and offer our rice he quickly realised these were not hunters back to enjoy a huge meal at all. In fact, it was his mathematics lecturer from his varsity days and his partner. Stress was over as we continued to eat our meal as were heard about the travel down to the hut from Mitre in the dark.
Craig, on top of Mitre
Not having a lot of distance to cover, we had a slight sleep in before Craig fulfilled his duty as trip leader and got the brew on. Our plan for the day was to walk over Girdlestone, up to Brockett. Drop our packs so that Craig & Murray could bag Mitre and Peggys Peaks and head down Table Ridge to Cow Creek. As a beautiful day had dawned Alistair proposed that we split. Craig and Murray would go over Brockett, Mitre and Peggy Peak with Alistair and Sarah heading over Adkin, the Three Kings and Baldy with us all arriving at Mitre Flats, by which time Craig & Alistair would have both completed bagging each of the peaks over 1500m in the fine Tararua Range.
Sarah & Alistair had a bit more ground to cover so Craig & Murray gave them a short head start while they swept out the hut. It also gave Murray the chance to once again fill his pack with free LPG cannisters. Taking in the views it was an easy two hours up to Mitre, and about the same down to Mitre Flats Hut. Coming down from Peggy Peak was like SH1 with party after party on their way up the hill to bag Mitre Peak before dropping back down to the hut. Surprisingly, with all these groups walking past not one of them was completing a Northern Crossing in the reverse direction to ourselves. With plenty of time to burn as we were taking the shorter route, we took the time to speak to each party on their way through. Some appeared incredibly surprised at our distance traveled but we were happy to take the accolades whether deserved or not. I think these same people would be surprised how much ground they would cover themselves if they tramped a little more regularly.
We arrived to a packed Mitre Flats Hut, with the best of the surrounding campsites already occupied. I told people our friends we arriving around 3pm and we'd probably head up to, or on the way to Cow Creek tonight. Come 3:30pm, with people asking me where my friends were I consulted the map briefly before remembering that Alistair wouldn't have left anytime for lunch. He can stop his watch, but not the sun after all. About 4:30pm, Sarah & Alistair emerged. Clearly too nackered to go any further, and a mere hour of daylight remaining we pitched a fly, and set about preparing another fantastic meal.
Having personally mixed the spices prior to the trip himself, Craig was sure not to disappoint as the beans did on the preceding evening. Shortly before the meal was ready to serve, Alistair inspected Craig's cooking and said "Thats going to have some kick to it". Craig just smiled. Sarah instantly declared herself a curry wiss, and asked for extra cucumber riata to help wash it down. A sizable Kumara chickpea curry was served. Not only was Murray from a tramping club named after this fine mountain range but, he was our guest so we could not send him away hungry. We continued to load his plate up until he was ready to pop.
Campsite, near Mitre Flats Hut
Following our meal we talked to a few other trampers in the hut. Alistair saw someone-else wearing the head torch as he, and said "Hey, you got your headtorch from $9.95 from Placemakers like me". "It was Christmas present from my father". "Good value for ten bucks" said Alistair. We eventually noted this other headtorch had a couple of features Alistair was missing. Must have been at least $14.95, mate. Alistair mentioned the great value of his $9.95 Placemakers headtorch approximately another 237 times before we had, had enough and went to sleep.

As is Tongue & Meat custom, trip leader stretched a good 40cm to start the brew and by 7am we were on our way on the track up the true right of the Waingawa River. It was fairly fast travel until three of us were attacked by wasps. Meat eaters those wasps, so all three of us fine Tongue and Meats were stung, while Murray was left alone. Following a quick break with an intake of antihistamines and sugar we soon picked up Peggys Stream, and followed it away from the track back into the Waingawa River. A scramble up the bank on the other side and we were on our way up the Donald Spur to Te Mara. It seemed as though Murray has done the least compass work prior to this trip. We loaned him a map and compass and designated him as chief navigator as we we made our up to join the Blue Range Track. It was good and quick travel even without a marked route up this bush covered spur, although near Te Mara there is a lot of plastic tape and some old permalats leading back to the Blue Range Track.

The Blue Range track was broad and easy. We had a bite to eat and waited for our taxi at Kiriwhakapapa. And waited. And waited. Uh oh! We asked some campers if they could give us a lift, "Sorry, we've been drinking too much to drive" and some others said sure we're just packing up. Our observations were, perhaps by midnight. We started walking in search of phone. Every property seemed unoccupied and for sale. Thankfully we found someone working on their lifestyle block. "We haven't moved in yet so we do not have a landline". We were offered a ride which we naturally accepted. Once back into Masterton, and cell phone coverage Craig discovered he had three voice messages from the taxi company which were of little use from the valleys of Mitre Flats and Kiriwhakapapa. Still, it was a fine trip and we found our way back to Masterton rail without too much difficulty.

Approximate travel times: