Day 177, Wednesday 14 February 2018.
Today’s North Harbour Ulysses ride was smaller than usual, possibly because wet weather was forecast for the afternoon. As all the riders were gravelistas, we went to Waionui Inlet at the end of Kaipara South Head. The South Head Road is a lovely winding country road and we got a good rhythm going sweeping along it at about 80 km/h. Then onto the gravel on Trig, Tasman and Lagoon roads. The gravel was not deep and wouldn’t pose problems for almost any bike, but there were some corrugations at the start, a few patches of mud we rode around, and a few water-filled potholes initially which became more prevalent towards the end, so the final stretch was a game of ‘dodge the potholes’. The cleanliness of the bikes at the end showed who played this game most successfully.
Waionui inlet has a sandy beach with mangroves, and a view across to a sandspit which is the breeding ground of the fairy tern, of which there are only 40 birds left in the world. Some of us went for a walk along the beach; one chose to ride along it instead. It was just after high tide; at low tide it is apparently possible to ride out to the small island at the north end of the beach.
Lunch at the MacNut Cafe on the way back to Auckland. Rain was looming as we left the cafe. I almost made it home before the deluge.
Distance travelled: 180 km. Total distance so far: 23,351 km