Tuesday, 29 January 2013


We saw Mount Taranaki in the late afternoon, the highest mountain in the North Island, and a most sacred place.

We were there for the Pirate to take part in the Taranaki Challenge,  one of 1500 entrants in the 156km around the mountain.

Up early again, only 6am this time, and the mountain showed her morning face, still with a little snow. The last eruption here was only 350 years ago.

They started in bunches, grouped by estimated times, fastest first.

The Pirate was somewhere in the second bunch....

There were motorcycle marshalls

 and more and more riders.....

They use transponders clipped to the front forks of the bikes, so as you start and finish you pass sensors are registered and receive an exact time.

I then had a three hour wander around the city before returning to the racecourse to see the first riders come in, after 3 hours and 40 minutes! 

This includes going through the hamlet of Cardiff...population 500 or so!!

The Pirate wasn't far behind, at 4h 28m, in the top 200 and fastest 70+ by nine minutes!!

The rest of the afternoon was spent sitting in the shade talking, before the prize presentation at about 5.30pm, as some riders took nearly twice as long.
This included a family relay team (taking turns to ride so no-one did all the ride) the Shepherds..descendants of one of who had ridden the original race in 1913...and his 93 year old daughter was there to watch!

Then off again, by van this time to Wanganui,  seeing the sun set by Mount  Taranaki, driving past a huge milk processing factory...and being told that we could only see a third of it, as two thirds are underground!!    It is the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere and milk is constantly being delivered, by train as well as by lorry.   If anything happens to factories in the South Island it takes milk from there too.

Arriving late, tired but happy to a warm welcome and a comfortable bed for a good night's sleep at last!!

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