Yet another fantastic day this morning. Way too much sun for the one postage-stamp sized cloud. I go through the usual morning routine, except that I REALLY cram in the breakfast - 6 eggs, scrambled, on 4 pieces of toast with a liter of milk. I am packed, but will need the energy - a cursory glance at one of my books show today to be flat for 12km, then uphill almost constantly for the remainder of the way to Rotorua. Sometimes, I should just not look.
Off I go. With all of that breakfast energy and the initial slightly rolling terrain, I average a seriously good (for me) 15mph. Come into Te Puke, where I cannot resist this picture.
The Te Puke Food Hut - where meat is NEVER well-done.
The highway soon turns inland, and the real work begins. It's initially a nice, easy grade, and I run at about 10-12mph. Still working off breakfast energy.
Before long, the road engineers show their true cruel colors and slowly steepen the grade until it is at its steepest toward the top. Still nothing like Piha, for which I am very glad, and no rest breaks are needed - just water breaks.
From palm trees to pines. This is about 600 feet up from where I was this morning. There are lots of little flowers in this picture that didn't come out well, sorry.
The constant grade lasts for, literally, hours as the slow miles pass. I sweat out 4 liters of my water under the unblocked sun, as well. There are a couple of downhills, one that is a kilometer long, but they are immediately followed by more hill climbing. It takes literally hours to finally hit the top.
Close to the top at last.
At the top, it is still 12 miles of ups and downs to Rotarua. My speed is down significantly from 15mph this morning to about 9-10 now - legs burn even with easy cycling. Wheeeeeee! I love vacation!
Passing Lake Rotoiti, getting close to Rotorua.
Another view of Lake Rotoiti. These hills are getting tiresome. But the views are great.
Roll into a campground at last around 3:30PM, five and a half hours after starting. 47 miles total today.
I am completely out of energy by the time I get camp up, but shower and take a short (30 min) nap in the tent with a light breeze passing through. Soon bike into town (about 2 miles further on). Check out some restaurants, but my energy requirements need instant food, and cheap would be nice. Hello Burger King. I order everything on the menu (it felt like) and put it down like a champ. Free refills are the bomb.
Make it back to camp and am now sitting outside under the sunset typing this blog.
Taken before sunset, but it's sunset as I type this. Just lower the light a bit in your mind and tint it red.
I am really going to crash tonight. Got to check the weather - forecast from a few days ago is warning about big storms tomorrow, may call "uncle" and relax. We shall see. Planning is not my forte on this trip.