The windfalls have been cleared. There were a few small branches down from the recent wind but weren't a problem.
Note: As at June 15 2014 there are extensive windfalls on the road between 14 & 14.5km and 15 & 16km. You can get through, but allow an extra half an hour. This is a good winter ride when the tracks are too wet to ride and you want a 4-6 hour ride.
Rating: Grade 2+
Know before you go: Gravel and forestry roads. There is some strenuous climbing on this ride, but none of the hills are too steep to ride. It is reasonably remote and you can't rely on cellphone coverage, so be self sufficient and take a bit of warm clothing as it is colder than down on the mudflats. There is water available between 10 & 14km on Gordons Rd. 4 to 5 hours from Brightwater back to Brightwater.
Getting there: From Brightwater ride up River Terrace and turn up the Wairoa Gorge, or from Wakefield ride up Church Valley and Pig Valley to the Wairoa Gorge. Follow up the gorge past the Pig Valley intersection and at the Forks keep right and head up the Right Branch of the Wairoa for about 3km where the road heads up the hill.
There is a locked forestry gate here and this is the start of Gordons Rd. From the gate climb for 45-60 mins to reach the ridge. There is one intersection on the climb with Boulder Road where you keep left. From here the road drops then rises a couple of times through patches of native bush. There is a creek where you can usually get drinking water. At 16km the road crosses a spur and undulates around the hill for 2km before starting an exhilarating 6km descent to another locked gate on the edge of farmland. Part way down the descent there is a major intersection with Spur Road. Keep to the right here and stay on Gordons Rd. Cruise down through the farm taking care not to spook stock (the farmer is MTB friendly, so don't upset him) and out on to 88 Valley Rd about 1km north of Quail Valley intersection.
Burn up the tarseal down to Wakefield and soak up the village culture, coffee and quiche at Wakefield's Chateau Rhubarbe. Allow at least 4 hours round trip if starting from Brightwater. For variety riding this loop counter-clockwise is an equally rewarding ride.