Friday, February 10, 2012

Day 11: Lake Karapiro to Rotorua

Distance: 65.2k
Distance so far: 655.1k
Speed: 14.3k/h

Runkeeper log: 1
Have you ever picked up a suitcase, believing it to be full, only to find it empty? That's more or less what today felt like.

I set out later than usual, after a large breakfast kindly provided by my hosts at the Lake Karapiro Lodge, getting on the road around 8AM. The road was already pretty busy, but the shoulder continued to be ample much of the way, and things quietened down a bit - though not as much as I would have liked - after I split off from SH1.

The weather was largely overcast, with ominous looking clouds, though the forecast says no rain until later in the week.

Since I knew I had a lot of climbing lined up, my goal for today was energy conservation: take it really easy on the flats, take rest breaks whenever the opportunity presented itself, and generally take it easy, saving my energy - and my knees - for the climb. I trundled into Tirau, about 15k from my start point and took a short break to stretch my legs and have coffee.

An interesting sculpture I spotted on the way to Tirau.
From there I continued on, taking another short break just after Tapapa, at a cafe in a stand of native bush that I have fond memories of from my childhood, though its name escapes me (and Google Maps fails me). At Tapapa, there were some interestingly decorated - and seemingly fairly recent - Maori totems on display at the Marae:

After that, there were no more rest breaks for the rest of the climb, so I set at it, taking it nice and slow, though pleasingly none of the slopes were so steep I had to resort to my lowest gear.

This is where the easier-than-expected bit comes in. I was still in the grinding-along mindset, figuring I had at least 5k, maybe 10k to go, when things started evening out. Then there was some up and down, with a bit more down than up. Then it was all down, and I was pretty clearly past the top. With impeccable timing, the sun even came out briefly.

The rest of the way to Rotorua was a joy. First, a long gentle downhill stretch with no sharp corners let me roar down the hill at probably about 50k/h for a good 10 or 15 minutes - all of which left me in a "let's go again!" type mood. After that, nice easy straight stretches the rest of the way into town - and having saved my energy for a hill that never materialized, I made short work of those.

I've taken two nights at a Backpackers' here in Rotorua, figuring I'd need the rest day, but I'm half wondering if I really do. My knees are protesting somewhat, but I still feel pretty energetic, and there's a temptation to head on to Taupo, since tomorrow is supposed to be the last non-rainy day I'll get for a while. I'll probably take the rest day, though - there's plenty of interesting ways to spend a spare day in Rotorua, and I'd best tackle the hills on the way to Taupo with fresh legs.

No comments:

Post a Comment