Posts Tagged With: EFI

Day 26: Rest Day One in Queenstown

I was awake at about 7am and read for a couple of hours, then packed up to move along the road to the Hurley Lodge. This was about 0.3 of a km away. We went along and checked at 930 am if we could leave our bags and bike boxes there until we could check in. The room we were allocated was already vacant so we were able to leave our stuff in there straight away. It took two trips: one for the bike boxes and the next to carry the bags.

We had arranged to meet with Michele and Tony at the Pig and Whistle for breakfast at 1030am. When we got there we found it did not open till 11am so we went to a cafe next door. It was nice food. Michele and Tony have a trip to the Milford Sounds today – a plane ride and and a cruise today – depending on the weather. We had a look around Queenstown, the wharf, and the markets, and found some tape and cable ties to get our bikes well secured in their boxes.

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Checking out the brunch menu at the Pig and Whistle

The plan was then to go back to the hotel to box the bikes properly, but instead we both read until it was time to meet Sue for a drink to celebrate her EFI, at 2 pm.

At 2pm we met Sue and went back into the town. We looked along the water front and stopped at an Irish Pub called Pog Mahones. We sat outside drinking a nice bottle of Daniel Le Brun with a antipasto platter, followed by a cold beer and bread and dips. We were a bit startled when the bread and dip came out: 2 freshly cooked loaves of bread (the size of the Sunday fresh loaves we used to get) with large containers of pesto, oil and balsamic, and a green dip – possibly cream cheese.

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Celebrating Sue’s EFI

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Congrats Sue! A well deserved bubbles after cycling EFI (every f*cking inch)

We stayed for quite a while, chatting and watching people walking along the wharf, and listening to the young busker playing the saxophone.

Then it was back to the hotel to read a bit more until it was time to meet for dinner. We met Tony, Michele, Phil, Anne and Graham at the Pig and Whistle for dinner. I had a lamb shank pie which was really nice. Everyone liked their meals but the service was not friendly. Snappy young ladies who banged the plates down on the table, with no smiles or friendly banter. Nothing like the Pig and Whistle in Rotorua where the staff were extremely friendly. After dinner it was time to say goodbye to Phil, Anne, and Graham.

Michele, Tony, Brett and I went back to Pog Mahones and listened to the Irish Band for a while. Due to the weather conditions Michele and Tony were not able to go on the trip to the Milford Sounds and an alternative was organised for 6am tomorrow morning.

After that it was back up the hill again to the hotel. Tomorrow is the last day of the holiday!

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I made a friend in Queenstown

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Day 25: Friday 9 Dec – Lake Hawea to Queenstown

94km to ride – 1,244 to climb and 1,241 down

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Last day’s climb!

It was a beautiful morning. There was no wind, the sun was shining and the lake looked stunning.

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Early morning on Lake Hawea (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Before breakfast we all met down at the lake in our Trans Oceania riders shirts to have a group photo. Well all of us that is apart from Dan, who apparently never wears the ride shirt, not even for the five minute for a group photo . . . each to their own.

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Group photo, before setting off for the final day of riding (Photo credit: TDA Facebook page)

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The group photo with the banner

In the photo the front riders are holding the Trans Oceania Ride Banner – or so it seems! Actually this has been photoshopped in as the actual banner disappeared during the trip. The riders in the front row just had to have their hands out as if they were holding it.

There were a number of group photos, plus a photo of Tony the tallest rider (6 ft 4) with his bike and Lani (about 5ft) and her bike, as well as a photo where Tony had lifted Lani onto his bike and her feet couldn’t touch the peddles!

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Anne has got her mountain bike with her and kindly offered to bring it to me and take my bike if my bike breaks down today. I felt much better reassured that one way or another I will be able to complete the ride as I set off.

The first few kilometres were rolling hills and then through Wanaka for a brief look at the town, then onto the Cardona pub for a coffee.

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Cardrona Hotel

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Coffee stop at Cardrona Hotel

Just before the pub is the Cardona Brewery, and along the fence are hundreds of bras. I found out after it’s for breast cancer awareness.

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Passing the Cardrona Distillery and the bra fence.

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Cardrona – or Bradrona? – Valley (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

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Cardrona Valley (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

After the coffee stop the climbing for the day began – the Cardona Crown Range needed to be climbed 😐. The first few kms were not too bad, a steady upwards gradient but the last kilometre to the top my legs went on strike and I was off walking (I found out later so did at least half of the riders).

Lunch was at the top but I wasn’t hungry, and did not think about making anything to eat later as I had forgotten dinner wasn’t till 8 pm.

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At the top of the Crown Range, only 40km to the finish.

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Michele at the Crown Range summit (Photo credit: Michele’s Facebook page)

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Sue on the Crown Range Pass (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

After lunch lots of downhill, firstly quite steep and then a big switch back. I have rim brakes so had to stop to let the rims cool half way down the hill.

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Switchbacks to zoom down (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

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Crown Range pass (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Once down the bottom it was 5 km to Arrowtown where we stopped and had a drink with Sue at the Pub. With 20 km to go Tick Tock was still clicking and rattling along.

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Drinks stop in Arrowtown

I rode with Sue from Arrowtown, Brett rode ahead so he could take a photo of Sue finishing the ride. We are not having a convoy or finish line photo due to the difference in riding abilities – a few riders would have to wait for at least 2 -3 hours and the slowest would feel the pressure all day. Sue has achieved EFI (every f*cking inch) on this ride. This is great achievement as there were some really long hot days in the Australian section of this ride, plus a few days of pouring rain and floods.

Into Queenstown, yay we are here! Just a few steepish streets and then we made it to the Earnslaw Lodge, the finish hotel. We needed to box the bike straight away as the owners won’t have them in the hotel unless they are boxed. Pretty reasonable really and saves doing it tomorrow.

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Arriving at the hotel in Queenstown

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Sue and Kaye celebrate! (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

We have a room with a lovely view over the lake and a balcony. We had 3 hours to relax, get cleaned up and over the road by 7 to the Copthorne, where we have a video presentation of the ride at 7pm and then dinner at 8pm.

The total kilometres for the trip was 2,278km, and climbed 23,628m. There were no serious injuries. Sue got EFI the whole trip, and of the riders who joined in Auckland Kevin, Charles, Bill, Michele, Tony, Chris, Linda, Brett and I rode EFI.

The Earnslaw is not right by the town center and I did not think about going down to town to get any food so by now I was starting to get hungry. The presentation was good, then there were a few speeches, and Sue was presented with her EFI medallion, plus we had all got together and signed a book of NZ photos for Sue in recognition of her EFI.

 

We had another group photo, and Dan who never wears the ride shirt was wearing it at dinner, so he managed to stick out again for the opposite reason!

We went up to dinner, which was nice food – pumpkin soup and a roll, salmon and mashed potatoes, a piece of broccoli, plus a panna cotta dessert, but not in right the quantity for hungry riders! We convinced the staff to give us another roll each which helped.

After dinner a few of us went to the hotel bar for another drink. People are starting to leave from tomorrow so we may not see them again unless we met up on another ride.

Then it was across the road to bed, no riding tomorrow but we do have to change hotels.

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Sunset over Earnslaw Lodge, from the arrival dinner.

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Day 31/164: Bonus rest day in Quito

I woke up at 5 am of course, even without the alarm, but I managed to drift off to sleep again.

Jackie and I went out for breakfast about 9am, but it is a national holiday and we could not find anything open. We decided to go to the nearby Hilton, as their treasured guest would hardly be doing without breakfast. The Hilton cafe was very nice. As my gastro had returned (no doubt influenced by unwise food and drink choices of the previous evening) I decided against the buffet and had coffee and waffles. Jackie had pancakes and the fruit platter. All up it was USD $21 for both of us (approximately $30 NZD).

We then went to an adventure camping shop we had seen the night before. They sold a lot of camping stuff including tents, but no tent pegs. I need to get some more before we hit windy conditions as I have only 4 pegs. My tent only came with 6 pegs, and when packing the tent up in the morning it is still dark so I have mislaid a couple.

After this we went back to the hotel as we had to check out of our rooms by midday. I had decided to pay and get my own room for the next two nights, as it was only $32 USA a night (NZ $46). I was thinking I would have to wait for Anna from TDA to get here to explain this to the hotel staff, as they do not speak English. Just then Anna and Christano arrived.

Christano said yesterday had been a tough day. New Zealand rider Phil had taken a wrong turn and they did not locate him until 9pm. By this time Christiano had started ringing the hospitals and had alerted the police etc. The lunch truck did not get in until 7pm as it had been out looking for him. A number of the riders were bitten badly by sand-flies while riding (see Sue’s blog for the photos of her leg!). Christano said he is not normally bitten by sand-flies but he was also attacked. Pleased I was not there as I have only nearly gotten over the last lot of bad bites! The ride today was also 143 kilometres, and over 2,800 meters of climbing, so a number of the riders will not get in until late this afternoon. The dinner truck then arrived so I helped bring in bags and bikes etc., then Anna sorted out my room for me.

Bring in the bags (Photo credit: from Sue's blog)

Bring in the bags (Photo credit: from Sue’s blog)

My room is small – a 3/4 bed, a bedside table, and a desk, plus the ensuite. It has a nice big window and it is nice to have my own space. Hopefully Sue will by default get her own room, and I will not have to worry about passing my bug to her. I spent the afternoon charging all the appliances, catching up on emails and the blog, and sewing. My expensive rain jacket needs sewing up again, this time took over an hour (probably a third of the time was re-threading the needle), plus a couple of other things.

I caught up with Sue for dinner, we went to a pizza place and I got a small pizza. First thing since waffles this morning so fingers crossed! Sue was very pleased as she also has her own room and is also enjoying having the space to herself. Sue said she got the bites when she stopped for a couple of minutes. She went to get back on her bike and the bites had blood! Today they have been driving her mad, even with antihistamine. I will cover myself in spray for the next few days before riding, instead of just when I get into camp. Sue also updated me that a couple of other riders also struck by the gastro. Two more riders lost their EFI today, now I think only 6 still have it – and we are only a month in.

Tomorrow I need to get glue for my bike shoe, and go to a couple of tourist spots.

Our hotel in Quito (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Our hotel in Quito (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Categories: Ecuador, South American Epic | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Day 24/164: Timana to San Agustín – 86km

1,900km down: 11,741km to go

A few locals came past in cars and on cycles during the night to see the novel sight of a bunch of foreigners camped by their local pool. One of the riders was up at 4am showering! There are a small number of riders who get up about an hour before the others, and you get woken up by their tent pole noise as they get clipped together and their tent fly opening. I have no idea why they get up so early as 5am is plenty of time if breakfast is at 6am.

I woke up with neck pain and a pounding headache and decided that a 45 kilometre ride with 1,200 meters climb I could live without, so decided to go on the bus. After the last trip (the trans Europa) where I rode the whole ride and did not get in the lunch truck at all, it has been hard mentally to adjust to not riding whole days. However, the mind may be willing but currently the body is not capable. Since I have made the decision to relax and to ride half days I have been enjoying myself again. This is what I came to do right! Enjoy myself. My day of half riding can still be 6 hours, which is not a bad effort for the day. Since I decided this I have been riding about the same but waking up without feeling the pressure.

In the lunch truck were a couple of riders taking the day off riding due to gastro, general weariness, or tenderness in the seat area. One of the riders who is continuing to ride has a boil on his butt that has had to be lanced ouch. This is where the focus on achieving EFI (doing every bit of the whole ride) can be dangerous I think. On a previous ride one of the riders ended up in hospital due to complications from boils, because they persisted in riding.

Interesting countryside today, quite steep again with every patch of hillside cultivated. Took a couple of photos of waterfalls coming down the hills.

Through town for a kilometre before the uphill starts (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Through town for a kilometre before the uphill starts (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Views from the road (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Views from the road (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

The hotel is an interesting place, it is called the Hotel International San Agustin. It is either very old or has been built to look very old. They have a number of different blocks where they have rooms, each one has a different international theme. Sue and I are in the Asian themed block, which is like a rotounda (round) and each room is a wedge with high ceilings and bamboo pools and green walls. The grounds are lovely.

The building we stayed in known as the Asian house in San Augustin ( it's not as nice as it looks rooms and beds were musty and walls paper thin)

The building we stayed in, known as the Asian house, in San Agustin
(It’s not as nice as it looks, the rooms and beds were musty, and the walls were paper thin)

Luckily being up in altitude again (1,900 meters) it is cool, as there is no air con.  Not sure what happens if it gets much colder, as there is no heating. Due to being up at high altitudes one day and then back at sea level the next, it is hot one day and cold the next, so you have to have gear for both temperatures in your daily bag.

As soon as we arrived, I headed into the hotel to log onto the Internet to send away the five blog updates I had ready.  Many of the riders send huge numbers of photos once they get onto the Internet, you can’t even send a two line email. I am pleased I did as it took 20 minutes to log on. A number of the riders have not been able to get onto the wifi at all. Tomorrow I will go to one of the Internet cafes in the town, which starts about 500 meters away, and see if I can send photos. Although it may be you can only use their machines, which won’t help with sending photos.

I really enjoyed having a warm shower. Next on the list was to sort out the laundry. The white board said the hotel would do the laundry, so without thinking about it I handed mine in. One of the other riders said afterwards that they were taking theirs to look for a place in town, as the hotel was really expensive. Oh well, too late now.

I went off into town to explore with a couple of the other riders. We stopped at a cafe on the corner where a number of the riders had gathered. I had a strawberry soda, and what I thought was going to corn bread, meat, and mushrooms. It turned out to be my good old friend plantain! It was fried and hard, and was ok for dipping into the shredded meat, guacamole and salsa. I managed to eat about half of it.

I went off to have a look around. Because San Agustín is a place for tourists, there were heaps of shops selling souvenirs, which due to having no space in my bags, stayed on the shelves. So far I have yet to see a post office anywhere since I arrived in Cartagena.

We ended up spending a couple of very pleasant hours having a couple of cold beers, sitting in the corner bar on the square, watching the town life. It is a most delicious feeling to have nowhere you have to be and no jobs to be done, just the rest of the day to spend how you please.

The town square

The town square

We then went to a pizza place for dinner. I got a margarita pizza, which was clearly adapted to local taste as it bore no resemblance to any margarita pizza I have ever had before (apart from that it was pizza).  It was loaded with cheese, so when you picked it up you had to hold the whole slice otherwise the weight of the cheese caused it to collapse. I had some Chilean red wino (vino tinto) – Cab Sav seems to be all the red that a lot of Colombian places sell. The owner was a German lady that had lived in the town for 35 years. The pizza place suddenly got busy so I did not get a chance to have much of a conversation with her.

I stopped at the supermarket on the way back and got some yoghurt and cereal for breakfast (they have a combo of cereal and yoghurt you can combine into one). The yogurt here is all liquid, not quite the consistency of milk but not as thick as custard. Apparently, it is like this in most countries?

I got back to the hotel and the washing was back already – 72,000 pesos (about $45 NZ) so not as bad as it could have been. Some of the clothes look brand new and have been ironed! Even my Hospi riding shirt, which was starting to look pretty manky, is looking respectable again.

Tomorrow a number of us are going off to do some site seeing. There is an archaeological site about 3 kilometres out of town.

Categories: Columbia, South American Epic | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Day 12/164: La Pintada to Manizoles – 132k

948 km down: 12,693 km to go (climbing 2,800 meters)

When I took down my tent in the morning, I found my wallet, which had somehow managed to get underneath it. Even though I had had it after I put my tent up, it must have slipped out of my pocket when I bent down.

I set off at the usual time of about 6:30am. It was nice and cool to start with. The road was pretty good for the first 80 kilometres, there were some ups but quite a lot of steady downhill.

There were lots of local stalls selling fruit and drinks plus small shops. Every kilometre or so on the route there are a few plastic chairs, a cooler with drinks and a collection of sweet bars.

The vegetation is amazing, so green and flourishing. There are banana trees growing and enormous bamboo trees.

Columbian Scenery (Photo and caption credit: Sue's Blog)

Columbian Scenery (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Interesting trees (Photo and caption credit from Sue's Blog)

Interesting trees (Photo and caption credit from Sue’s blog)

After about 50 kilometres I was feeling a bit uncomfortable on the saddle, and no matter how I moved I could not get comfortable. I decided to stop at lunch as I did not want to cause any problems that would see me off riding. Jody, one of the medics, said a number of the riders were also having problems due to the wet and hot riding conditions. I have been ‘double shorting’ since about day two, may have to go to three pairs.insec

As I was not going to ride any more that day, I started to wash some dishes to help out, but there was a very sharp knife up the wrong way and I sliced my finger. As I was standing there applying pressure to stop the bleeding, a bee randomly came up and stung me! Then when I went to take the panniers off my bike I noticed I had a flat tyre! The back tyre of course!

So I went to camp in the lunch truck. I was really pleased that I had.  I had climbed 900 meters prior to lunch and I would not have been able to climb the remaining 1,900 metres. When I got to camp yay! A hot shower! What a novelty. Some cold showers are colder than others I am discovering.

One of the riders Phil (from Christchurch in New Zealand) has been having problems with his bike and can’t use the bottom two gears! Crickey I would not do any riding at all if I could not use the bottom two gears! Phil is still really fast and despite his gearing problem was the first rider to camp today. There are about five of the men who compete against each other to be first.

Phil was sitting by the gate and while we were chatting he told me he was waiting for a taxi to take him down to the town, where hopefully he could get parts for his bike. I asked him if he could get a cat eye for me if there was one there and I would pay half of his taxi.  When he arrived back he had a cat eye for me but sadly no parts for him.

It started to get late and a number of riders had not arrived yet, one of the trucks had gone back looking for them. Dinner is usually at 6pm but it was after 7 by the time we got to eat. The truck came back with a few of the riders but there were still four missing! By this time it was dark, then one arrived with no lights, another one with lights, and then at nearly 8pm the final two arrived. A number of riders are wanting to achieve every part of the ride, which is known as “Every f*cking inch” (EFI). The riders become obsessed with maintaining this, so they don’t want to be picked up.

I fixed my tyre with help from another rider. It turned out the two inner tubes I had in my panniers are the wrong size! As my rims are the same size I did not realize that because my tyres are bigger I also needed to have bigger inner tubes! Luckily I managed to borrow one.

At the camp was a St Bernard, a small black dog that had the body of a Labrador and the legs of a corgie, plus there was a small grey wiry haired dog – about the size of Australian sheep dog (Blue heeler) – this dog was very affectionate and seemed to be really craving attention.

Once again it started to rain during the night.

Categories: Columbia, South American Epic | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment