103km to ride today – 1,450 meters climbing up and down.
This morning breakfast was in the motel car park. The TDA staff had set up the tables as usual, boiled water for tea and coffee, and put out cereal and yoghurt. Yarnez the chef also had bought filled pastries – bacon and egg or chicken and mushroom.
I set off today feeling pretty positive about the ride – good distance, not much climbing, and feeling the benefit of the rest day. I need to focus on doing more stretching as I have a bit of tightness behind my knee.
There was no wind but despite the weather forecast saying no rain, rain looked imminent.
As I was riding along I saw a number of Weka crossing the road, and suddenly the stories from the other riders of seeing kiwis crossing the road made sense. If you did not really know what a Kiwi looked like and its habitat, you could get confused. Weka are brown, about the right size, but of course they have different feathers and a much shorter bill (not to mention living in the grassland and being out in the daylight).
What an amazing ride today, the West Coast is so pretty. The coastline is a bit wild and rocky which I much prefer compared to pristine white sandy beaches.
The hills were generally kind (no more than 5% gradient) or they had a good downhill and you could get up most of the next hill for free.
It rained not long after leaving camp, but only for about 5 minutes, so I didn’t stop and put on wet weather gear. However at 26 km it started again and got quite heavy so I stopped and put on my coat. Thankfully the rain stopped after about 30 minutes and held off for the rest of the day.
At 55km we came to the Punakaiki Rocks, also known as pancake rocks because the rocks are layered, they get limestone in between the rocky layer which gets compressed and gives it the pancake look.
Lunch was at 74 km, it was nice to stop knowing 75% of the ride for the day was complete.
When we arrived at camp two of the TDA staff were whacking themselves with fly swats, they were being bitten quite badly by small bugs. Dan, one of the other riders, was also bring bitten, but although they swarmed around my face they left me alone (due to my daily application of Bushman’s Friend insect repellant).
At about 90 km I realised I was not enjoying the ride as much and then I realised the wind was back. Luckily I only had a few more km to camp.
Tonight we stayed at the Greymouth Top 10 Holiday Park. It was a pretty nice camp, the biggest I have stayed in. It has a number of toilet blocks, heaps of camper wagon parks, tent sites and cabins and motels.
As it was looking like rain was quite likely, we asked how much it would cost to upgrade from a tent site to a basic cabin. $17 we were told. We thought that was pretty cheap, $17 each, but no it was $17 for the cabin. No need to even think about it, why would you not.
Unfortunately about an hour after we arrived a bunch of young guys arrived, full of Saturday night or holiday joy, and they are in the same block of cabins. Hopefully they are going out but if not that’s why I bring the iPod on these trips.
Tonight for dinner we had chicken casserole with rice, with nuts and cranberries, plus salad, with a shared bottle of Obsidian Montepulciano from Waiheke Island.
After dinner I was talking to Kevin from Canada. Kevin and his wife started a raw food dog company a number of years ago. They sell to the top end of the market and import venison and lamb from NZ for their dog food. I asked Kevin how he got into this and it was because he had bought some food for his dog that was contaminated, and the dog nearly died. So they started making their own, then friends started buying it, and it just grew from there.
After dinner I went for a walk along the beach. The beach was really stony and had lots of interesting coloured stones. Now time for an early night, and off again in the am.