Posts Tagged With: Hot shower

Day 21: Sunday 4 Dec – Greymouth to Hari Hari

112km today – 800 meters climbing, 750 down.

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The weather remained fine and today should be a relatively easy day, not much climbing , not a long distance, and not much rain.

We had the choice of the highway, or following a bike trail which would keep us off the main road but would add about 35 km and the surface was gravel and possibly not hard packed. Given it was a Sunday I decided the traffic would be lighter so chose the road.
There was probably only three trucks the whole day and they were milk tankers which would work 24/7, but also quite a few buses.

At 12 km we came to the last remaining shared bridge in NZ, which is shared by cars and trains, and until recently by cyclists. Thankfully when they created the bike trail they clipped a bike lane to the bridge.

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Shared bridge (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

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The bike path on the side of the bridge (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

At 36 km we stopped in Hokitika for coffee, and we went down to the beach. There is a concrete armchair down there that looks just like a real arm chair. Outside the coffee shop was a big arm chair made of driftwood, pretty impressive, wouldn’t mind two of them on my deck at home.

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Concrete armchair at Hokitika

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Driftwood armchair

The ride was mainly rolling hills with some climbs but nothing significant. Stopped in a town called Ross for a drink and took a couple of pictures of a house and a general store with car number plates all over them.

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Interesting shop front in Ross

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Interesting house in Ross

The person in front of me at the shop was a local and had their shopping entered onto a card. To start off with I thought the guy behind the counter must be writing down all the purchases, but then realised the local was putting his stuff “on tick” (buy now, pay later – usually pay day). This took me back to my childhood where we would be sent to the corner store to get stuff “on tick”. Every now and again the shop keeper would say ‘Tell your mum she needs to come and see me”. Looking back that must have been when the tab was getting too high and he wanted to be paid, but he always gave us what we had come in for.

Lunch wasn’t until 82 km so I was getting pretty hungry by the time we got there. I had a sandwich and then an apple. I decided rather than throw my core in the rubbish bin, that as it was organic, I would throw it into the bush. Unfortunately I didn’t think about my terrible aim and actually threw it straight at Justina’s head! Oops ! It gave her a hell of a fright. I apologized profusely and she was ok, and thankfully it had not hit her eye or anything. Imagine the ACC report! Note to self: put all food scraps in the bin, always!

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Justina from Poland, works Switzerland. It’s her first TDA tour.

The afternoon saw some amazing rivers, and it got pretty hot. We were pretty happy to arrive in Hari Hari even more happy to find the Hari Hari Hotel open and we could sit inside and have a cold beer. I also bought Justina a drink as continued demonstration of remorse.

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A well deserved cold beer at Hari Hari pub, with (from left) Tony, Michele, Don, Walli and Brett

At the camp we also managed to get a room with a shower so we didn’t have to compete for the one female shower with the other riders.

Hari Hari’s claim to fame is that it was where the first pilot to fly solo Trans-Tasman landed. Upside down in a swamp! Guy Menzies told his parents he was flying to Perth and left them an envelope to open after he had gone, telling them he was flying to New Zealand. He had to land at Hari Hari as was out of fuel but did not realise it was a swamp, he thought it was flat ground. He walked away with only a few scratches.

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Hari Hari plane plaque

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Hari Hari’s claim to fame

Every riding day, before dinner, we have a riders meeting. At the start of tonight’s meeting, Emily (tour leader) said with a totally straight face “First of all, we have to deal with the serious matter of an assault on another rider. Kaye, you have been yellow carded” and handed me a yellow card. Emily said 3 more yellow cards and I would be off the trip.

The majority of the riders had already heard about the incident, and thought it was very funny. For the rest of the evening I had people sitting in front of me and then saying “Oh that’s right, not safe here” and moving etc – all in good fun. Justina has ridden past me a couple of times since then with her arm over her face.

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Getting my yellow card

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Trying to explain / defend my actions

Dinner that night was sausages with onion and gravy , smashed potato, broccolini and cheese sauce and sauerkraut. Plus fruit cake with custard and cream. Washed down with a shared bottle of Craggy Farm Merlot.

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Getting close to Hari Hari

Categories: Trans-Oceania | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Day 29: Pasto to Ipiales – 72km

2,296km down: 11,345km to go. 1,400 meters up, 1,600 meters down

I decided “I can do this, I am going to ride the whole day”. I got dressed really warmly as the start was a 25 kilometre downhill. I have never gone down 25 kilometres in one go. I stopped halfway down to give my rims a rest, as the last thing I needed was a tyre to blow out from overheated rims. At the bottom of the hill I removed a few layers before starting the climbing.

I am taking much better care of nutrition and hydration. I got up the first climb alright with only one stop just before lunch. I got to the lunch spot and felt ok, so decided to carry on. The first 10 kilometres was ok but then not sure if it was the altitude or what, but my legs turned to jelly and I was breathless. I ended up walking up a 7 kilometre hill! It just kept going, up and up and up! Every time I got on my bike I lasted about 100 meters before having to get off each time!

At 60 kilometres I had worked out that at this speed I was nearly 3 hours from camp! Thankfully we then got some downhill, and after that I managed to ride most of the rest of the way.

Patchwork fields (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Patchwork fields (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

About 4 kilometres before camp I came across the distressing sight of a young motorcyclist who had been knocked off his bike. Unfortunately he won’t be going home again. About 1 kilometre before the camp I then saw a dog nearly get run over. I was quite upset when I got to camp.

The camping site is a restaurant with grass where we can put up tents. They have hot showers! With pressure, and not too hot, bliss! TDA generally gets a couple of rooms when they are available so we can use them as well for the shower queue. I was standing waiting in line, and the housemaid took me into another room they had not yet cleaned and let me use that shower. Heaven! I could take as long as I liked without waiting in line.

As I had got to camp by 1:30, I have washed a couple of things, hopefully they will dry before it gets cold. I have caught up with the blog, had some vegetables and noodles, and a cold beer. Tomorrow we cross the border into Ecuador. It’s four weeks today since the bike ride started. We certainly have gone up and down in altitude and temperature.

Chicken for dinner tonight.

View from today's ride (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

View from today’s ride (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

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

Day 16/164: La Vega to Bogota – 60 kilometres

1,271 km down: 12,370 km to go (End of Stage 1)

We had to get up at 4:30 as getting into a large city is always difficult. Having been awake most of the night with the music and with the puncture issues, I decided to forgo riding 60 kilometres, including a 2,000 metre speed trial up hill, and the convoy into Bogota.  A convoy is difficult enough anyway when you are one of the slowest riders, without an almost 100% certainty of a flat tyre or two. So, I decided to ride in the truck.

We got to the lunch spot and set up lunch, by the time we had finished it was about an hour before the first riders were expected. The road we were on is a main road into Bogota, and one that the local cyclists use for training, and it is Sunday. Cycling is big in Bogota and there were hundreds of cyclists out that morning.  There was a constant stream of pelotons (groups of cyclists) individuals, dads and sons etc. Most were brightly dressed in cycle gear, but some were in jeans. The bikes ranged from top of the line to old.

The 30 kilometres ended up being 27 kilometres due to parking availability. I wandered about 500 metres down the hill. I was watching one cyclist with a very old bike that had a rusty chain, and it broke twice within a couple of hundred metres. I tried to convey to him that there was a bike mechanic just round the corner who could help, but it was lost in translation.  As the riders were expecting to do another couple of kilometres I stayed where I was, letting them know the finish was just around the corner.

After they had all come in and rode off again to the convoy spot I was helping clear up lunch, watched by a couple of hopeful local dogs. As we were going into two rest days and left overs needed to be chucked, they became very happy local dogs, with a big bowl of shredded chicken tipped out for them.

Once we got the truck packed we headed off to the convoy spot. The constant stream of local cyclists continued. Outside every cafe and coke stop there were dozens of bike. The convoy start was by a big café, inside were about 40 cyclists as well as the TDA riders.

Amazing atmosphere at the cafe (Photo credit: Sue's blog)

Riders congregate at the cafe (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

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Amazing atmosphere at the cafe (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

We had three cyclists from Bogota to help led the convoy. We had a TDA truck at the front of the cyclists, and another TDA truck behind. The traffic, as you would expect in a city of over 7 million, was crazy but much more tolerant than Wellington drivers.

One of the riders got a flat and him and his bike had to be hauled up into the truck. Then another rider’s bike broke – he is still on track for EFI, so the sweep gave him her bike and then the sweep and the broken bike had to be hauled into the truck.

The riders got to a bike only lane (Bogota shuts off inner lanes on Sundays, the same as Medellin, for public use, only Bogota started this). There is a complicated one way system in the city and we ended up going around one part twice, taking about an hour due to traffic.

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Convoy into Bogotá (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

Finally we got to the hotel which is Hotel IBIS. The riders got there well before us. We collected our daily and permanent bags and set off to get into a warm shower. Warm shower – the joy! Then into my only remaining clean clothes. Just as well Sue and I get on, as we have a really small room. The beds are two twins pushed very close together, and not a lot of other space.

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The hotel room Sue and I are sharing at the Hotel IBIS in Bogota (Photo credit is obviously Kaye, as it is blurry again)

A group of us went to an Italian restaurant just around the corner called Archie’s – found out later it was a chain. The food was good, I had a medium pizza with jalapeños and anchovies, it was delicious. I also had some red wine.

My plan for the next two days:
Monday – laundry and sorting bike and bike gear
Tuesday – a tourist.

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

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