Road Cycling in and round Ohakune
The Ohakune Mountain Road offers one of New Zealand's hardest Hors catégorie road climbs - 1000m ascent.
The roads around Ohakune provide some great riding. You can choose from many varying distances with whatever type of terrain you wish to cover from relatively flat and undulating to some great climbing stages. The roads are generally in good condition and take in some stunning scenery.
For starters try the 28km Ohakune/Tohunga Junction/Raetihi loop, this is a great time trial course with an undulating stage to the junction and a fast stretch to Raetihi with a flat/undulating 11K back to Ohakune. The road has a reasonable shoulder and traffic is medium to light.
You can add to that with various extensions:
Such as out and back along Ruatiti Rd which offers a great 34k return ride on a little-used road taking you almost to the Ruatiti domain with a gradual hill climb on the return, alongside the river and picturesque valley.
Then take a detour off the main Ohakune/Raetihi road via Pakihi Rd/Lakes Rd taking you away from traffic on good seal through farming land, with a nice 1½ km climb before joining back to the main road about 2kms from Ohakune.
Think about heading out from Ohakune to Rangataua (or further) with a fast undulating stage back along Dreadnought Rd beside the rail track, adds another 16 kms.
Many of these courses are used for interval training or hill climbing repeats by local riders. Traffic is light and many have the stunning backdrop of Mt Ruapehu and the surrounding alpine countryside.
The Mountain Road from Ohakune offers New Zealand's only "Hors category" climb. The 17km sealed road rises just on 1000m finishing in the carpark at Turoa skifield at an altitude of 1680m. The spring-summer and autumn provides the best times with light traffic and moderate temperatures. The record is 44 mins 7sec set during the Kune Climb 2011, which is part of the Ruapehu Cycle Classic held in February each year. Enjoy the exhilarating descent back to Ohakune, but make sure you have adequate clothing/base layers as even in the height of summer there is a significant wind chill factor on the descent.
"After having gone the distance you can register as an official member of the "mile high club"!!!
For longer distances:
Follow the initial section of the Ruapehu Classic Cycle Race route (held in February) and ride through to Waiouru, then, follow the Race route turning left onto the Desert Road for as long as you want. Alternately turn right towards Taihape to the Napier turn off. (90 kms return)
From Ohakune up State Highway 4 to National Park Village, then turning right to Whakapapa, you can go as far as Whakapapa village or take the climb to the top of Bruce rd, before descending and enjoying a good faster return to Ohakune. (100+kms return)
From Ohakune up State Highway 4 on an undulating course down past Raurimu turning around at Owhanga, for the return trip. The profile is generally undulating except for the downhill at Raurimu and return climb. This ride provides 120k of good seal through the central plateau. Best to ride early morning when traffic is lighter.
The road from Ohakune through Raetihi and out to Pipiriki along the picturesque valley offers first class riding on good paved surfaces with some decent climbs. The ride is reasonably sheltered from most winds and traffic is light. Approximately 80k return.
The Ohakune/Fields track loop heads out from Ohakune to State Highway 4 at Raetihi turning left on state highway 4 towards Wanganui, turning on to Fields Track at Kakatahi and the climb up, before leveling out for the stretch back to Ohakune. Fields Track to Ohakune is stage 8 of the Wellington to Auckland Cycle race and features a gradual climb up a little used sealed road with some stunning views from the higher points. Overall a great ride ride of about 120k.
Follow the 160km ‘Round the Mountain’ route of the Ruapehu Cycle Classic. This holds a gradual rise to Waiouru and up to the top of the Desert rd, a gradual drop to the Rangipo turn off is followed by an undulating section to the National Park junction, and the last stretch to Ohakune.