We all met at 9am in the car park at the end of Muritai Road, Eastbourne, on a lovely Saturday morning.
Most people got there a little early to make last minute adjustments to their bike and meet the group. When all 8 riders (Pete, Maarten, Wayne, Jarard, Dave, Anna, Snaiet, and Natascha) were present Pete, our trip leader, showed us the map and made a plan. Pete said the wind was a southerly, but this could change later in the day; not sure if everyone realised that it meant that it could be head wind there and back!
After about 30 min (7 kms), we got to the Pencarrow Lighthouse so we knew the entrance to the lakes was not far around the corner.
At the entrance to the lakes, Pete tried to get a consensus as to whether we should go to the Old Lighthouse on the hill first or after we had been around the lakes. The vote was close, but Pete thought we should do it first, so uphill it was!
All 8 of us started the ride by Lake Kohangapiripiri on a gravel track, which soon turned into long grass. This surprised me. It was only a slight incline for 10min then, when it got a bit steeper, 5 of us biked on for another 5min to get to the old lighthouse, which stands at 98m above sea level.
After a little backtracking we picked up the “round the lake” track. It started OK but after 3 min there was a steep little 50m uphill to greet us. From here the tack was downhill and flat for quite a while, through trees, grass and on board walks over the marshy swamps.
Again the front group waited for everyone to catch up before proceeding. This hill climb was long but not terribly steep rising to 108m. For some of the riders, the uphill was getting a bit much, so at this point 5 decided to take the short route straight down the hill back to the gravel road by the sea. The three “hard core” riders (Pete, Natascha and Maarten) decided to carry on and go around Lake Kohangatera as well. Before we left, we challenged the others we would beat them back to the car park.
It looked like we only needed to go up a short distance to the highest point of the ride, from 108m to 145m, but we ended up having to go all the way down the hill and up the other side which was long grass – this was tough. It was so tough we walked up more than half of the hill. Once at the top, the 360 degree views were amazing. Knowing were at the highest point, not only were we enjoying the view, we were also looking forwards to the downhill!
It only took a few minutes to get down the bottom, and from here the track around the lake was flat. It only took the 3 of us 15min to get back to the gravel road by the sea.
Luckily the wind hadn’t changed direction, so we had the southerlies in our backs to push us back to the car park (only taking 15min) beating all but 1 of the earlier group back!
To cap off a great day, a few laughs were had and some stories told over a coffee and cake in Days Bay.