PlacesLiam Friary

Dirty Detours: Whangamomona

PlacesLiam Friary
Dirty Detours: Whangamomona

Last year we created a new kind of gravel event - one that hadn’t been seen on our shores before. The focus was on creating an amazing rider experience; much more than the gradients and total ride kilometres. The grand vision was always to showcase some of the best scenery in NZ, and to get riders out of their comfort zones and into a bloody good country pub.

As we continue to explore, we often find rough roads and incredible villages. One of these places is the Republic of Whangamomona. We have ridden around these back roads numerous times and have now devised a new gravel event - Dirty Detours. In October this year, we want to share this event with all of you.

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The event is for anyone who wants adventure, a tough challenge and a bloody good time. Dirty Detours is a mixed-terrain event with tarseal and gravel sections through some of the most picturesque areas of Aotearoa. We aim to have a fun and relaxed atmosphere and really just want to celebrate cycling. There will be as much emphasis on the post-ride party as the ride, so expect good swag, great food and even better beers!

The course is demanding (1,600 metres of climbing in 90 kilometres) but whilst challenging, it’s definitely achievable. For this inaugural event we’re rediscovering some of the forgotten parts of the country, with a course featuring a mixture of surfaces (smooth tarseal, rough chipseal, gravel and hard-packed dirt), four main climbs, open valleys, tight scenic lanes and a few gnarly descents.

As most readers know, we partnered with the K2 Cycle Classic last year and helped kick off the Dirty K. This event was incredibly successful and there’s another edition this year however, we wanted to bring another dimension to our events – riding in some of the most picturesque areas of Aotearoa.

With a mass start from Whangamomona, you’ll be pedaling out of town. The first part is super scenic but keeps you honest with a few climbs to warm up the lungs and the legs. The quiet roads and jaw-dropping scenery will have you forgetting your speed and average power. This is right in the heart of rural New Zealand so listen - no traffic!

You’ll venture up a saddle with views worth stopping for, and then find the point where the sealed road ends and the gravel roads begin. The ridgeline, on a good day, offers views to Mt Taranaki. This part of the ride is not only stunning but, as the road descends, it also becomes technical. Loose gravel with tight switchbacks swing in and out of the sharp ridgelines.

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After your descent you’ll head into some tight lanes that run through farms and forestry. The road meanders amongst the punga trees before serving up the next section of gravel. A small lane makes its way through moss and an old forestry block.

At the midway point we’ll have a fuelling, feeding and general good vibes station. We’ll have places to fill your bottles, home baked goods provided by the locals - plus a few things we’re keeping up our sleeve. But, this will be a must-stop on the course! We will let you gather yourself before you venture off back up the valleys with your crew.

You’ll then descend off the saddle and across the flatter roads (which you came out on) in the valleys, before the last climb of the day. By this point you’ll be tasting the beers and food at the after-party. The descent is the best, probably because it’s the last of the day. Then the road opens up to the republic.

Straight off the bike expect a party atmosphere with a rural feel. The locals and the Whangamomona Hotel will play host to the after-party. The gathering will have you sharing stories with your new-found mates, comparing splits and just having a good bloody time. There’ll be a band playing, gumboot throwing, sheep herding and some great country cuisine – plus more after-party activities which will be revealed closer to the time! Have no doubt, this will be an experience not to be missed! Lastly, ensure you book and stay in the surrounding areas for a few days of adventure.

We hope to see you there on 26th October.

Tickets aren’t on sale yet but will be available soon! Sign up here to register your interest.

Massive thanks to Republic of Whangamomona, Whangamomona Hotel, Stratford Council, Venture Taranaki, Shimano NZ, Brothers Brewery and the local people of the region – without you all the event wouldn’t be possible.