Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, and what better way to welcome 2012 than with some sunny bike miles.

Last week was the north island now it's the turn of the south. Last weeks adventure didn't quite go to plan, but what a ride. Time was always going to be against me as I raced to get to Wellington for NY eve and this mornings ferry to the South island. After a 200k first day my planned 4 day 1200k ride was a bit optimistic.

Day two I got from Papamoa Beach (just east of Tauranga) all the way around the Cape to Hicks Bay. 275k of ever increasingly beautiful and remote road. The sun was out and with some decent distances between shops and cell reception having no accommodation and a single water bottle kept me pushing all day.

A room, roast lamb, pavlova and a hot shower at Hick's Bay Motel was very welcome I can tell you.

Day three was just a blast all the way down the east coast, it was going to be over 400k to get to the target Napier and with my legs tired from the proceeding 500k I took a decision to go a bit more sensible. Still an early start and a miserable 80k in the rain through to Tokomaru Bay before the sun came out, the tailwinds were on my back and I met a friend from Gisborne for the spin through Gisborne (cheers for the advice, company and ice cream Nathan). Leaving Nathan on the southern outskirts of Gisborne, early afternoon, it was a 60k tired slog (there is a big hill through Whararata) over to some wonderful hot pools at Morere.

40mins of hot pool soaking, cold pool plunging and I happily rolled the last 3k down to old school friend Jo's farm, finishing the day a touch under 250k. Another friendly face, great accommodation and being spoilt with a huge home cooked meal I was a happy camper. Thank you Jo, Hilton and Harrison.

So that just left me 480k to get home to Welly on Day 4. Yea right... With motivation, better lights and car I could have done it, but frankly the promised rain had arrived I having the option of a lift from Napier meant I just wasn't feeling it. So Day 4 was a slightly grim 6hr push through the rain and the devils elbow (a big gorge that thankfully wasn't as bad as the numerous warnings had led me to expect) to Napier. Even in the rain Napier was warm and inviting and the trip was over.

Four days and nearly 900k, the legs were battered but not perhaps as bad as on last years John O'groats to Lands End. I should learn to take these rides slower, the East Cape was spectacular, with bay after bay of deserted beaches, I'll be back to enjoy at leisure.

Back in Welly for a quiet NY Eve I've swapped bikes and am now cruising out of the harbour on the ferry to Picton for a much more sedate 7 days ride down the East Coast to Queenstown.

It's going to be an interesting contrast comparing last weeks lightweight touring (BMC time machine, small backpack, credit card and toothbrush) with this weeks Cannondale tourer, rear panniers and a handlebar bag. Riding the 'dale to the ferry this morning, it's so different, no acceleration, high bars, tonnes of momentum, triple chainring. It's a treat not to have anything on my back though and panniers have loads of room so I've even bought runners.

This week I'm going to trial a new concept, a touring training camp. Unfortunately I drew the line at a wetty but shorts, goggles and runners are in the bag. Hopefully we can cruise through 700-800k of riding whilst still getting in a handful of runs, a few swims and it feeling like a bit of a break.

I need the running and swimming as Challenge Wanaka Half is just 2 weeks once I return for Queenstown.

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