Tour or Marokopa – Day 3

“Is there any better way to start a day than a descent followed by 10ks  flat  with a tail wind on a remote country road next to the sea?” I ask myself as Our Rider bursts into a Sunday hymn;

Pause a while, pause a while

in the humdrum of the city and behind a cloister wall

in the early morning and when shadows start to fall

see creation bending to the maker of it all

and all you have to do is pause a while

Day three of the Tour has begun remarkably better than the first two days.

We begin by pausing to enjoy the fertile land to the east, from where we had come.

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Jan pausing to revere creation bending

And a few turns on, we pause again to revel in the sea vista to the west.

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and again viewing Marokopa, after which this tour is named

As we move along the flat I notice Our Rider’s legs spinning freely.  The niggles of the past two days released.  The first climb presents itself and we make it up slightly faster than duck waddling speed.  Thankfully!  Then a lovely descent takes us to the Kawhia Harbour.  There is something magical about riding alongside the sea, even if we are hit with gusts of cross winds.

Undulations continue and at around two hours, Biggest Fan in the Wagon passes us.  We expect to see him at the top of the next hill to replenish the almost empty drink bottles.  He is not there!  On we continue up and down.  Still no sign of him.

Fortunately we are now back in cellphone range and a call is put out to determine his location and to summons his return.  We continue on and stop to talk with the locals, who inform us there is water at the hall back down the road.  Apparently all the townies come out to this spot to collect the water, it is that good.  Biggest Fan arrived so we did not get to find out if the advice was true.

We continue on to the Kawhia turn off, where the decision is made to stick to the original plan to ride the back road to Raglan (TVF would be too grumpy if she did not get out of the Wagon).  We turn left into the westerly wind for the descent (and ascents) into Kawhia.  Just before we reached the much needed petrol station (Wagon had consumed all her fuel) we spied a peleton of bicycles.  I could not resist out sprinting them all!

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Just a bit further down the road and along the flat into the headwind the turnoff to Raglan appeared.  It was now TVF’s turn to enjoy the day and she sure did.  That girl loves those dirty roads.  That’s what she said.

As time was running out it was decided that Biggest Fan should continue to Kawhia to find out what was there.  Not a lot it transpires.

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Kawhia’s residents, pausing to fish

Like Jan, my day started with a lovely descent that kept going and going, great off camber corners to keep me focused and hard packed dirt so my wheels stayed well connected to the ground.  Sheer bliss.  We went up for a bit and down some more, finding little bay after little bay and so we continued enjoying the fresh sea air and the warmth of the sun.  All too soon the sealed road appeared, with Jan waiting patiently by the Wagon for the final stage.

“I’ll see you in an hour if it’s hilly or less if it is flat,” Our Rider called out as she and Jan set off up the climb and climbed some more and more.  Eventually it flattened out and Garmin piped up declaring “Off Course”.  This mightily confused Our Rider as the paper map clearly showed only one main road and all other going nowhere.

Intrepidly she continued on.  Fourteen kilometres to go.  “That’s easy,” Our Rider said “That’s just a ride home from work and I do that everyday.”  Fueled by the wind at her tail and Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah bursting from her lips, she and Jan made fabulous progress with the kilometres quickly passing by.  Then Garmin stuck with the message 10.8km to go, and after another 5kms or so, it still said 10.8km to go.  “Uh Oh,” Our Rider thought, “I’m this close to the end I really do not want a scenic diversion now.

Garmin was reprogrammed and Our Rider thought it said 123 km to destination.  She pulled over.  No cellphone reception, which was fortuitous.  As she rode up the hill and around a corner for about 123 metres she saw Biggest Fan and Wagon waiting patiently.

Jan remembered this spot from many years ago, when he and Our Rider had ridden from Auckland to Raglan.  This was the spot that Biggest Fan and friends had stood back then with the sign of encouragement “remember to bring the green bin in tonight.

The completion of another journey of adventure, or perhaps it is simply a continuation; and all you have to do when riding a bicycle is to pause a while.

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