Day 15 – Whakapapa to Pipiriki 76km

Wheeeeeee! The fastest and most down hill day ever.

Heavy dew in the morning made packing up the tents a dirty pain in the butt. With breakfast finished, we set out for some down hill action! We departed Mordor and said our good byes to Mount Doom.

On first 6km back to the main road, we averaged 32km/hr. Then a further 10km in to a town named National Park for a second breakfast due to the lack of towns for the next stretch.

After a further 35km of mostly down hill, we rolled in to Raetihi. The scenery for the day was quite spectacular with Mount Ruapehu featuring in the skyline with bush and farmlands near by. We also followed the train line for a section.

By the time we hit Raetihi, we had averaged 25km/hr over the first 50km with about another 50km to go. We had lunch and stocked up on two days worth of food due to the remoteness of our next destinations.

After leaving town, we were treated with more enjoyable descent and we got our last glimpses of Mount Ruapehu. Then with about 10km until a town, tragedy struck. We were climbing the last hill for the day, only about 150m of altitude gain, when I was stung under the armpit by something. Now, I’m allergic to wasps so this scared me a lot and I out control of the bike and came down heavily on my right elbow.

We patched me back up and I took some drugs but I was unable to put any weigh on the right arm. Thus the final 10km in to Pipiriki was slow even though the riding was easy and mostly descending.

At Pipiriki, we decided I wouldn’t make the final 20km in to Ranana which was our intended destination. It included 12km of poor condition gravel road. So, we stayed in the camp ground.

The staff at the camp ground were helpful and sourced an ice pack for me. They area is remote and there was no mobile phone coverage, so we borrowed the phone to call Bill.

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