Once in Rawene all of the other riders went to the four square, I filled my bottles up with water and I was the first to leave as I was all stocked up with food to get me to Dargaville. I was pretty anxious about today as thee was the fey from Pouto Point at 6pm which I had no concerns on getting to in time but it was stated that they would only take 30 riders at a time and I had a lot of people in front of me from wave 1 and 2. The ride started of pretty flat following the Hokianga out to Opononi and Omapere out by the mouth of the Hokianga.
Some beautiful views and I was starting to pass people which was some relief as I had worked out form the Map Progress tracking site I needed to pass about 20 people before Pluto to get onto the boat. I rode pretty solidly climbing up into the Waipoua Forest and my photo destination on Tane Mahuta (Giant Kauri tree). I passed a few more before Tane and met Kate at Tane Mahuta whom I had met at Pukenui. She took my photo of Tane and I and I was quickly on my way.
A bit more climb and then a great down hill for quite some time, it had to come to an end and now it was onto a shingle road and one of the worst I have ever ridden on and it was actually the roughest of the whole journey to Bluff. Dargeville was about 40km from here on a mix of gravel and sealed roads, once in Dargaville it was straight to the supermarket for more muesli bars, bananas, muffins, peanut M and M's and lunch which was bread rolls, bier sticks and a tomatoes, A local teenager asked me where I had biked from and when I told him what I was doing he said cool and oh that's a long way. His parents came along and they were intrigued also, I asked them about the road down to Pouto Point it sounded pretty straight forward. Back to the route but fist I had to go to the post shop to send my chain and my passport to Christchurch, I ate my lunch outside and checked the tracker website. There were still quite a few riders in Dargeville and quite a few more not too far up the road so off I went in pursuit. It wasn't too long before I started passing some of the other riders to my pleasure, eventually the road turned into a forestry road and it started to undulate quite a bit it was pretty warm now in the early afternoon and it was hard work. I picked of a couple more riders and in the last 800m before Pouto Point I passed another. I put my helmet in the line up for the boat and I anxiously started to count, lucky me I was number 30 but as it tuned out they took 46 on our boat. It was now 4pm and the boat was due at 6pm, so I got my tent out to dry and then headed up to a small camp ground and hall where most other riders were hanging out. I had a shower and washed my clothes, ate a back country meal that I had been carrying for the last 350km, time to lighten the load. The boat arrived and we all lined up, there were now up to 40 riders and they were still coming some of the last were Andy Ross, Steve Cackle, Walter and Evan all from the same wave as me. It was great to see them make it and we now had about 46 riders, maybe the most on the boat throughout the TA?
It took at least 30minutes to load everyone on and it was pretty cosy on board, definitely no room for stretching out and sleeping like apparently the first riders from wave one did as there was only 16 of them. It was a calm trip and we got to experience a stunning sunset to lift our spirits. There was lots of chatting and banter which was very enjoyable and we even got tea or coffee and biscuits as an unexpected treat.
The crew had also organised with the local takeaway to stay open and they called ahead our orders. I arranged with Makita a TA rider to pick up my burger for me as I planned to stay at the Parakai jetty to wait out the rest of my 6 hour rest. Everyone left and I was there alone for the next 30 minutes which gave men a chance to get ready for what lay ahead. I biked the 3km to the Helensville yacht club where most had gathered and were staying the night. I ate my burger and at about 10.45pm I got back onto the bike. It was a 50km undulating ride into central Auckland and then a maze of cycle paths though the CBD, it really seemed like I was going around in circles following the pink line on my GPS. I think I went over the Harbour bridge and then it was up to the top of Mount Eden and then on to South Auckland.
It was actually a great time to be travelling through here as there was basically no traffic and I have since heard quite a few stories of riders having issues with motorists. It started to cool down now and I headed for the inland option to the Hauraki Rail Trail. This section was pretty tough for me due to the terrain and the lack of sleep, it was now 4 in the morning and the mind wanted to sleep. Looking back now at the profile of this ride it seriously seemed like I was climbing more than 120 metres at a time. There were many moments where I was momentarily sleeping on the bike, the sunrise helped to lift me a bit but when I arrived at Waitakururu and had to get off the bike I sat down at the public bus stop come toilets for a bit of a rest and some food to try and bring me back to life. Back on the bike for a 1km or so and the calling of the local dairy was to strong. A coffee, a bacon and egg pie and the most un interactive and un friendly service for the whole trip. I soon left there and turned on to the Hauraki Rail Trail a few kms down the road. I rolled into Paeroa and the trail pretty much finishes at McDonalds so in I went in but only for a Frappuccino my as it was pretty out there now. I filled water bottles and just relaxed for half an hour or so, the icy Frappuccino was just what I needed it had revived me quite a bit and now it was time to get back onto the trail. It was a pretty un eventful 60kms to Matamata and I made it to Matamata around 1.30pm, I took my photo of the I-site Hobbit House and then it was time for lunch, Subway today.
I sat down for about half an hour and read up on what lay ahead to Mangakino which was my planned destination for the night. It was about 92kms to Mangakino mainly on the Waikato river Trail. Next stop was the supermarket for supplies, it's really hard to make decisions sometimes but it was much of the same, muesli bars, fruit, muffins, savory scrolls water and another Almond Magnum. The ride out to the Waikato river trail was hot and when I reached the Trail I stopped and went for a swim, well actually two swims, the trail from here was pretty friendly until the Arapuni Dam where there was a fine Gentleman cleaning chains for the TA riders. I took advantage of this and we had a bit of a chat about carbon bikes direct out of China as we were both riding one. From here the track got pretty tough and it only got tougher, with many very steep short pinches all the way to the end pretty much. I reached Magakino at about 8.15pm and reading the notes I misinterpreted them a bit and ended up riding the around the lake for about 6.5km this was still part of the course but it now meant I had to cycle another 5kms back into Mangakino. I was cursing my self at the time as I was pretty spent but in hindsight it was good to do this in daylight rather than in darkenss the next morning. I was seriously hoping I could find a real bed for the night and hot food as it was now getting close to 9pm. I had my Fingers crossed and Thankfully I was in luck the Mangakino Hotel was open, I went in and asked how much and if the had a room, I don't no why I asked how much because there was no was I was spending the night in a tent the way I felt. The proprietors were very welcoming and generous, I ordered a fish and chips meal with a salad and went off for a shower. They even let TA riders bring there bikes into the rooms, awesome. I went out for my dinner and asked if the could wash and dry my clothes, this is not a service that they offer but they must have felt sorry for me the way I looked and did it pretty promptly, I just about felt sorry for myself. I was completely spent and I truly wondered how I was going to feel in the morning, this part of the journey started in Kohokohu at 6am the day before, I had ridden 175km to Pouto Point had my 6hr rest with no sleep and then rode a further 369km through the night. That was 39 hours in total, no sleep and 544km no wonder I felt the way I did.