686 km down: 12,955 km to go
It poured all night and it was especially heavily when we were pulling the tents down. The swampy paddock is now a quagmire reserve. My shoes are soaked, my tent was soaked and will drip through to everything in my bag – better planning in this department is required next time.
I go over to breakfast to find out the plan for the day. It is very misty and raining, my calves are swollen, and when faced with another 2,000 meter climb before lunch I decide reluctantly that despite being a very determined person, my body actually is not capable. So for the first time ever I ride in the lunch truck to the lunch stop.
It was pouring with rain still, and misty, so the driver needed to have the window open to stop the windscreen misting up. I was freezing, and thinking how ironic that just last Saturday I was bemoaning the dreadful heat. I thought of my water proof socks and my icebreaker t-shirt both in my daily bag that I could have put on! I ended up getting a shower cap out of my first aid kit (I keep it for putting on my bike seat in the wet) and putting it on my head to try and keep the warmth in. I also put leg warmers on, then gritted my teeth and endured.
When I got to the lunch stop I discovered we weren’t allowed to ride off until the other truck was on its way to camp so I milled around for a couple of hours slowly warming up. Finally about 10am I was able to go.
Off I went, happily having being told that the rest of the day was rolling hills. Rolling hills they were not!!! More like a succession of climbing the Makara ride over and over and over again. Well, actually it turned out it was mostly riding down the hills (which were about 3 kilometres down) and then making it about 200 meters of the 3 kilometres up before my legs turned to jelly, and I had to walk the rest of the way up.
Let’s just say the day seemed endless. I realized that I was dehydrated, and then also short of food as – not surprisingly – I had not wanted lunch before 10am, so I stopped for about 20 minutes to eat and drink. I would like to say it helped, but it didn’t.
There were some great views – one of a beautiful reservoir, which unfortunately I was too stuffed to take a photo of. Hopefully Sue did.
By the time I got to camp I had been passed by a number of riders who had done the whole day! A number commented that the afternoon was actually worse than the morning as the gradient was steeper. That, and the fact that there were 3 riders who did not even attempt the day, and another two who also rode in the lunch truck, made me feel a bit better.
When I finally got to the camp, would you believe it was up a steep muddy gravel road! It went on for ever but I finally got to the top. The temperature was about 36 degrees. When I got to camp I was quite light headed, so I drank 3 large cups of water and had some peanuts. It was about 3pm so I took the opportunity to dry the soaking wet tent, and the rest of the stuff in my bag that ranged from damp to soaking. Luckily everything that could have been wrecked by water was safely snap lock bagged.
I have been asked a couple of questions about the tour:
There are approximately 35 riders riding the whole way. We ride either individually or in pairs, or a small group. There is a tour member who rides “sweep” behind the last rider (unless of course you are lost)
Dinner consists of basic food such as
- Spaghetti Bolognese
- Pork curry with rice
- Spicy sausages with beans and mashed plantain (apparently it can taste nice but not this time)
- Chicken coleslaw and mashed potatoes
- Steak, vegetable soup, and rice
Tomorrow is the last ride before a rest day, I am planning to ride.
Editor’s note: I’m not sure if Kaye sent this email before she had properly finished writing it (which has happened more than once) because the last sentence ends mid-sentence (which isn’t uncommon) and she makes no mention of the fact they stayed at a COW THEMED FUN PARK. I have asked her, but she is out of internet range, so I will add photos/info of said cow themed fun park if she sends them through. Watch this space! For now, here is one I stole from Sue’s blog: