Thursday, November 29, 2007


We were up in Tauranga for the New Zealand Geology Conference, but we took the opportunity to hit some of the local mountain biking trails in the evenings. Although not extensive, we found a few really fun areas to ride - the Summerhill Mountain biking park was great fun with some beautiful forest and swooping downhill and some relatively easy, and not too scary, north shore structures to ride over. The park also provided some great views over the Bay of Plenty from the Pa (old settlement/fort) at the top of the hill.

Dodgy creek crossing

Helen and Geoffroy overlooking the Bay of Plenty

Monday, November 26, 2007

Whakarewarewa Forest

As if we hadn't done enough riding the next day we met up with the NIWA geology boys to do some mountain biking at Whakarewarewa Forest - NZ's mountain biking mecca! Fortunately they had had a big ride the day before - so they were equally as tired. We set off to the top of the hill, a slow one hour climb. Then we hit one of the new tracks, a twisty track that contours across the hill before heading down to hit some of the old favourites. Aaron and Josh decided to climb back up the hill for more punishment and to descend Hot X Buns and came across some young ladies in distress. The girls couldn't get their 4WD up the loose gravelly hill - so of course the boys came to their rescue and drove the vehicle up to the top of the hill - with their bikes in the tray of the truck. What Gentlemen! At least that is their story....

Relaxing near the end of the ride - the "Motown Bikers" sporting their wonderful "moustaches" that they had been growing during "Movember" to raise awareness and money for prostate cancer.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Around Taupo

Well after a tiring day of riding around lake Taupo the next day we spent relaxing in the hot pools which flow into the Waikato River and walking along the river to Huka Falls. It was hot and sunny and we had a nice picnic. Thank god we didn't have to ride in this weather - it was 28 degrees C.

Hot Springs flowing into the Waikato River

The cold Waikato River

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge

This year a friend and I decided to give the Round Taupo Challenge a go, but as neither of us had much time to train (I was out at sea and she was away at a conference) we did it as a relay, each of us doing half of the total 160 km. As you would expect the ride is on the road that goes around the lake, but several sections are fairly hilly. The ride is very popular with around 9000 participants this year. It is quite impressive to see the town of Taupo totally overtaken by bicycles...

This year the weather was perfect - cloudy and warm (not too hot), and no wind. This was ideal conditions for riding, and the course record was broken and many people got their best times. I was riding the second half of the ride, so I had to wait around quite a bit for Kareen to come in to transition - the waiting around was a little frustrating, especially as I had no idea how long she would take and I kept drinking too much and then running to the loo! Having never really ridden 80 km in race conditions I had no idea of how long it would take me, but I guessed around 3 hours - my official time was 2 hours 42 minutes, so I was very happy with that and I felt pretty strong at the end. Next year I will probably try and do the whole thing. The ride is really nice and the hills were no where near as bad as I had been led to believe.

Kareen and I in fancy dress with our support team, Aaron and Dave.

Kathryn and Kareen waiting at the start.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Tour of the Wairarapa

Sunday we and several of our friends participated in the Tour of the Wairarapa a 100km cycle race/ride thorough the wine growing region east of Wellington. The course was mostly flat with a few hills and rolling sections. It is pretty nice countryside and very green - this is still a slight novelty for us after being in Canberra for the last few years.

The course went from Masterton to Martinborough and back in a figure of 8. The weather was wonderful and we all got slightly sunburnt. Fortunately it wasn't too windy and we even had a slight southerly pushing home. Helen managed 100 km in 3 hours 25 minutes, averaging 28 km/hr, while Aaron was very kind and rode with a friend of ours who hadn't done any group riding or a road race before and Aaron and Kathryn finished a little after Helen.

The main surprise was how bad everyone was at climbing the few little hills that there were on the course. Surprising considering Wellington has so many hills and I don't know how they avoid them..

Setting off at the start

Monday, November 5, 2007


We have recently acquired two beautiful cats. Mifi is a grey Abyssinian X with tabby stripes on her tail and back legs. Safi is a Cornish Rex X Burmese and is a creamy white and "Apricot" or ginger in colour. They are very entertaining and already have nick-names - "Princess" - because Mifi loves to be the centre of attention the whole time and follows Aaron around, and - "Fluffy butt" - because Safi is much fluffier and fatter and does tend to leave quite a bit of hair around - so Aaron will have to start vacuuming a bit more often. They are 10 years old - so they are fairly mellow and sleep a lot of the time!

Mifi (Princess)

Safi (Fluffy-butt)