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What is the score?

 


WPGang Aly, David, Gaz, Harm and Stu at Jailhouse, about to escape.

The only thing more exciting than a Rugby World Cup final is riding a bike somewhere which has absolutely no contact with the outside world and staying there until it is all over.

The Moerangi trail is an excellent big day out. It usually requires a shuttle, or a strong desire to smash yourself. We decided to split it into two days of riding, and effectively almost double the distance by riding it as a loop.

Going bush for 24 hours can probably be done with no equipment whatsoever. Or the way we did it, which is semi-prepared for anything. As in, packing several beers each. It was World Cup night after all.

We had a varied selection of rigs, from state of the art trail weapons to rigid touring rigs. All readied for a camping trip with strap on bags: no racks required.

Like the old Hiace we drove into the ground last century, my Surly Krampus is a handful until you load it down. Add enough food and camping gear, cutlery and spare parts, two bottles of water and 1.5 litres of brew and it becomes a trail smashing hell beast. Its oversize wheels and tyres allow it to plough along with scant regard for roots, rocks, mud or ruts. Even ruts full of mud, rocks and roots.

We reached the first hut, deserted and picturesque, but it was too soon to stop. The second hut along the trail would have seen the perfect distance covered for the day, but it was occupied. It looked like the tenants were DoC workers on a long visit, unless hunters have started using weed-eaters to save ammo. There was an industrial sized example on the picnic table.

Short meeting ensued, decision made to take a side trail to another hut. It was a good choice.

The best bit of trail, a beautiful spot, and a tidy, vacant hut. Beers, fire, food, stars, moreporks.

In the freezing morning, wearing everything we had, we started the day on an unknown trail in the middle of a forest. That experience is a must-do.

Just wake up, kit up, and get going.

Rejoining the main track we found climbs that have been a struggle on previous trips were much more pleasant than usual. Loaded riding is slower, but so what? The day unfolded with plenty of time to stooge along, take in the forest, and make sure everything in our bags that was edible was accounted for by voyage end.

The final entertainment was provided by Stu, trying to get back to his TV recording device before finding out what had happened overnight. Not sure if he made it.

I didn’t. On returning to the Jailhouse where we had parked I asked the proprietor what he got up to while we were gone. Nothing much, he reckoned, just down to Murupara for a couple of games of darts. I asked him if he won, which he misunderstood, and said yup, All Blacks 34 - 17.

WPSled My sled, loaded for travel. About to get dirty.

WPam Early in the morning it was cold but otherwise great.

WPHArm Harm eats his breakfast. Or dinner. Probably dinner (note beer).

WPMap Map of our trip. Where we actually slept was off the map. Literally.

WPWine David brought this wine bottle along. It did not want to go, and tried to escape twice. It didn't get away.