As mentioned in the last entry, Leslie, Dove and I didn't make it to Bright's Farm. Instead we went over the hill to Daisybank, just out of Martinborough and on the eastern (drier) side of the valley. We usually make a Wairarapa trip an over-nighter, camping the night before or the night after the event, depending on the start time.
Daisybank is an attractive venue for Wellington based riders given it's relatively close for us compared with some of the Wairarapa venues. We hadn't been to Daisybank before, but had good reports of the terrain and going, backed up by Google Earth and TUMONZ. Had it not been for the clash of dates, we think more WATRC riders would find Daisybank a worthwhile outing.
As it was, there was a small field of competitors. Many of the Wairarapa regulars chose to rest their horses following the North Island Endurance Championships, held the weekend before. The weather was perfect for CTR, remaining overcast throughout the day, with light to moderate wind, and a little light drizzle towards the end of the ride. The course mainly followed well formed farm trails and in places crossed paddocks or skirted crops to link into other parts of the farm.
From different points on the trail one could look to the north over the Murdoch James vineyard, west across the valley to Lake Wairarapa and the Rimutaka Ranges, east to the Hau Nui Wind Farm, and in every direction over the award winning Daisybank farm itself. The rolling country means that the course is not as demanding as some of our hillier Wellington venues, making the slightly longer distance feasible. As already mentioned, I managed to walk one loop of the course in slightly over the Intermediate 1 time allowed, and I can't usually manage that on steep terrain ;-)
Anyway, despite this not being a WATRC ride, I thought some photos might be of interest to members, and perhaps might encourage more to consider making the trip over the hill to this or other venues in future. Take a look - aside from familiar faces from both clubs, I've tried to make a selection that shows the venue to advantage as well.
See you at Pikarere.