Posts Tagged With: Unfit

Day 2: Mostar to Tucepi

95 km riding today: 1,244 meters of climbing and 1,268 meters descent

It’s already as hot as Wellington gets on a summers day when we leave. During the day the heat gets up to 37 degrees Celsius.

The first part of the ride is climbing up for the first few kilometres, then some descents followed by steady climbs.

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Vineyards! 

We got to the border at 46 km, and all had to meet up there to cross together. Thankfully when faced with 45 riders, 3 staff, and vans stacked with bags, the Bosnian  border just waved us through. Once we got to the Croatia side it was a simple passport stamp and off we went.

Coming into Bosnia the riders who did the first section were standing for over an hour in the heat getting through the border, so everyone was relieved not to have this repeated.

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Just crossed over into Croatia

The next 20 km were climbing, which was a bit of a struggle and I had to stop a couple of times. Lunch was at about 15 km. After lunch more climbing, followed by a nice descent, followed by a long hot climb.

At 67 km I was thinking I am not going to be able to finish the day. I got to 71 km where I thought the descent started, thank god I thought, but no! A descent for 2 km, then climbing again!

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Another hill to climb

Then thankfully at 82 km, just when my legs were giving up, there was a long descent. The last 4 km we turned off the main road, and came down a very steep and narrow track to the coast. I got off and walked a stretch as it was so steep.

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Have a go at this in Croatia

Down on the coast, Tucepi is a lovely holiday town, with a beautiful beach and lots of hotels. We stayed at a Hotel called the Blue Sun. It was a very big hotel with a big swimming pool, and a number of outside areas and bars. The room had a small balcony looking out to the sea.

When we got there, there was a note on the white board that Grego (tour leader) had weighed the bags, and orange stickered those weighing over 23 kg, with an instruction that they needed to be 23 kg the next day. Thankfully my bag was not one of these, as there really is nothing I have that I don’t need.

The beach looked so inviting so off I went for a swim. Instead of sand there were quite big pebbles, and it was quite rough to walk over. The water was lovely and warm.

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comparing the Adriatic Sea to Titahi Bay

I noticed later that I had a number of bites on my back and side, not sure if there was something in the water, like a jelly fish, as had I not felt anything bite me. I did not think too much of it at the time.

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At the Hotel Beach, where’s my boatshed?

Dinner was an experience: a dining room that would have sat 1,000 plus people, with three separate buffet counters (all serving the same food). The hotel has a number of tours where the table was reserved. The buffet catered to a number of tastes, including the English tourists with roast meat and chips available. Whilst it was not high up on the gourmet scale, there was food that was ok to eat, especially after a few hours on a bike.

The other riders are very welcoming, the majority have done TDA tours before. In the first section there was only one rider who had not ridden with TDA before. In this section there are 7 riders from Sydney.  They are a group of friends who have done a number of rides together. Over the next week or so, once I have got a handle on the names, I will introduce them.

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Sunset over the hotel in Tucepi

Categories: The Odyssey | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Day 3 – Wednesday 16 November

87km, 1,000 meters up, 750 meters down

It was to good to pack up my gear in a cabin, not having to be all stooped over in a tent. We had porridge this morning for breakfast which is always a favourite, but I have never had it with bananas and nuts mixed in before . . . not sure whether it’s something I will re-create.

The weather forecast is for rain again today but not till about 10am, so I set off with my wet weather gear in my Apidura (the bike pack on the back of my bike).

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Picture of an Apidura (bike back pack)

So turns out we did not have to ride back up the hill we came down to camp on, which I had hoped we wouldn’t – but I had somehow totally missed that the first 10km of the ride today was uphill straight from camp. Not great for already tired legs but it’s amazing what a nights rest can do, as I got up these hills without too much pain.

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Riding uphill straight out of camp – the road is steeper than it looks in the photo

Some nice views back to Tauranga and the hills and kiwi fruit orchards, but sadly as it was not new to me I did not think of getting any photos.

One of the female riders came past and commented she couldn’t go as slow as me up a hill as the gearing on her bike wouldn’t allow it. I responded “Maybe you need to get a new bike”. And I didn’t say but thought: maybe if her bike had gearing that allowed her to go slower up hills she wouldn’t have had to get the truck from lunch yesterday.

Then we went down into Te Puke and stopped at 18.4 km for a coffee stop at a place called ‘Very Tasty’. It was very tasty, I had a nice muffin and coffee.

We came across a field of cows who were very curious and rushed up to the fence to say hello. I could hear a low grumbling sound and I couldn’t work out what it was but then I could see a bull at the back who was clearly not happy that we were near his herd.

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Some locals on the way down to Te Puke

Then onto SH2 until the Whakatane exit, then along that road for 2km, then right into Wilson’s Road, away from the traffic again. At this stage, pretty much bang on 10am, it started to pour with rain. So I stopped to put my wet weather gear on.

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The Back road from Te Puke to Rotorua – a bit different than SH2! Note the orange flagging tape making sure we don’t make the wrong turn

At 31.2 k we turned onto the Old Coach Road, which was the original road to Rotorua. There was no traffic but it was quite hilly. Then it was hilly with gravel, and the regret about lack of training kicked in again.

I had adjusted my seat height before coming on the trip, but must not have tightened it enough as, without me noticing, it had come down a bit again. As a result my left knee was brushing against the bike frame while I was riding in the gravel which I didn’t notice until I got off when back on the Tarmac, then I saw I had scrapped the skin off. Luckily it was just a surface graze and covered so as not to get any dirt into it.

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Me riding up the gravel back road between Te Puke and Rotorua

Lunch was at 63 km, once again a really nice selection of sandwich food. Then thankfully only 24km left to ride to Rotorua. The 24km felt like 50km – first 5km was downhill then back onto SH2 with traffic and wind, and I found even the quite small hills were challenging.

With relief I arrived at the rest day motel. We stayed at the Wylie Court Motor Lodge. Very nice motel, every unit had its own private spa. Once again: can this be a TDA trip?

I had a shower and decided to leave the laundry until tomorrow, then went with Michelle, Tony and Brett to the town which was a 15 minute walk away, in search for food and beer. We went to a nice pub called the Pig and Whistle. We were just going to have a snack and go elsewhere but ended up staying there for snacks and beer then moved onto a Brookfield Syrah and dinner. The servings were really large but four hungry riders were up to the challenge. I had a Moroccan lamb sandwich with feta, olives and sun dried tomatoes, along with a bowl of curly fries (called pig tails).

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(Photo from the Pig and Whistle Facebook page)

Then we went to the supermarket on the way home to get breakfast supplies then home to bed. Lovely thought to not have to get up in the morning and ride anywhere. Also no need to head off to be a tourist in Rotorua either, so a lazy day coming up 😀😀😀

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Categories: Trans-Oceania, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Day 2 -Tuesday 15 November

115 kilometres- climbing 110k, down 130k

Thankfully when I woke up the rain had not yet started, but by the time I had nearly packed up the tent it was starting to spit. Luckily we had a covered space for breakfast with tables and chairs for breakfast. Yanez the cook had made stacks of French toast and one of the Canadian riders had bought a tub of real maple syrup, plus cereal and yoghurt.

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After breakfast I put on my over shoes on, put on my rain jacket, and off we headed. I was riding with Michelle, Tony, and Brett. The first 44.5 kilometres of the day was flat with lots of left and right turns. Left was into the wind, and right it was behind you. When heading into the wind I kept thinking to myself “At least it’s not the 130 kilometre per hour wind and torrential rain that was happening in Wellington”.

We stopped at Paeroa for coffee, and then of course obligatory tourist stop by the big L&P bottle on the outskirts of town. For non-NZ blog readers, a factory in Paeroa used to make a drink called “Lemon & Paeroa” which was lemon with Paeroa spring water. Now it’s made by Coca Cola but is still a NZ favourite).

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Brett and me at the L&P bottle in Paeroa

Then we headed off up the Karangahake Gorge. There was not much of a shoulder to ride in, and at times there was no shoulder and lots  of traffic. A friendly driver gave us an earful as they went past. Sue got a flat on a nasty bend but managed to find a safe bit off road to change it. Brett and Tony stopped to help whilst Michelle and I continued on.  Thankfully at 58.4 k we turned right to Waitawheta and had a nice quiet country road until 70.1 k where we turned onto SH2.

We were on SH2 for most of the rest of the day. It started pouring down , there was not much of a shoulder, and what shoulder there was a lot of it was taken up with raised white lines, which are not pleasant to ride on.  The trucks were whizzing past and spraying water all over us. One tanker came way too close to me.

Lunch was at 73.7 k, where there was a tarpaulin to sit under plus a nice selection of sandwich fillings. Is this really a TDA ride?

As soon as we stopped riding, even though I had layers of clothes,  over boots, water proof gloves and rainproof jacket, I started to feel cold. I had lost my water proof skull cap a few weeks ago, so I solved the problem by putting a shower cap over my merino wool skull cap. Almost Enid Sharpels looking but of course it wasn’t quite a hair net. Once my head was warm I started feeling warmer.

Off we went again into the pouring rain, with busy traffic and big trucks. There were often reasonable shoulders but they would disappear and all of a sudden you would be on a narrow piece of road with a large vehicle in each direction.

About this time I started regretting my lack of training. I kept meaning to increase my training but sadly I didn’t. The most I have been getting done over the past couple of months is two rides a week, of about two hours and about 50 k each. These rides had hills but not enough.

At 107 kilometres I was coming up a hill and I thought “I am not going to be able to get up this hill” – my legs have just about stopped working. I gritted my teeth and locked my eyes onto the Challenge Petrol Station sign up the top of the hill where I had decided to stop, and I managed to get up there.  It’s amazing what a nice hot chocolate and a 10 minute rest will do. While I found the going tough for the rest of the day I didn’t have another “I can’t do this” moment.

At 118 kilometres SH2 becomes like a motorway going into Tauranga, then add rush hour traffic, and having to cross lanes  – crazy!

At 125 kilometres we had to go right at the third exit of the roundabout, but to get to it we could either go off the track onto a bike path across the road, or ride about 1 kilometre on a bridge with two lanes, no shoulder and heaps of traffic . Michelle kept on going onto the bridge, but after waiting about 5 min the rest of us managed to get across the two lanes of rush hour traffic to the bike lane.

The bike lane took us off to the side of where we needed to go but we managed to work our way back to where we needed to be but no Michelle. We waited for awhile and when we didn’t see her we figured she had gone ahead so we set off for camp. It was mostly down hill from there to camp. Whilst I was riding I was thinking “I hope we don’t have to come back this way tomorrow”.

At 130.5 kilometres we arrived thankfully at camp. I was very pleased I had rung before and booked a cabin. Shared with Tony, Michelle and Brett. It was a nice camp with a laundry with washing machine and dryers, so was able to get our soaking wet bike gear dry.

There was also a covered space with tables and chairs, plus of course the lovely hot pools. But no Michelle at camp. We were reassured however that she had a cellphone plus also any local would give her directions so we headed off to the hot pools.  It turned out there were workmen at the roundabout and they had removed the orange flagging, so a few riders got lost. Michelle arrived in camp having done an extra 6 kilometres but one rider did an extra 20 kilometres – so a total of 150 kilometres!

Welcome Bay Hot Springs are very close to Te Puke where my dad lived with my step mother Lynne. Dad sadly died 6 years ago but Lynne still lives in Te Puke, so she came to visit at the camp to visit.

I had got two small holes in my gloves and had forgotten to bring needle and thread, so I text Lynne and asked her to bring this with her. Lynne not only bought the needle and thread but sewed the gloves up as well. Unlike me, who spends about 10 minutes trying to thread a needle with glasses, Lynne just does it straight away and doesn’t even wear glasses! Pretty good vision for a pensioner.

I had arranged for Lynne to stay  with us for dinner. We had a very nice beef stew with potatoes and a salad with kale, tomato, feta and olives, yum. Plus Lynne had bought two bottles of red wine which went down well with the group. It was good to catch up with Lynne, and she enjoyed meeting people she had read about in my blog, especially Sue and Walli.

A few of the riders had approached Emily, the tour leader, about how uncomfortable they were with the SH traffic and lack of shoulders. We discussed alternative routes and luckily Lynne was there to give local knowledge of the alternative roads.

At 8pm I was suddenly very tired, so Lynne set off home and I crashed into bed.

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

Day 1 -Monday 14 November

Auckland to Miranda Hot Pools – Climbing 1,000 meters and down 1,000 metres.

The weather was fine but windy – luckily a tail wind mostly. I was up at 6am and packing bags. It was a bit of a worry finding out about the earthquake, thankfully my family and friends are all ok. I didn’t really have anything to put in my rest day bag as have managed to fit everything into my every day bag, including the pillow.

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Bags all packed: Almost everything for the next month is in my daily bag on the bottom, the permanent bag (which we only get on rest days) is on the top and is just about empty

We all had breakfast at the hotel restaurant and then set off to navigate the Auckland traffic! It was rush hour but luckily it was coming the other way.

It was a nice surprise to find Peter from NZ who did part of the South American trip is joining us for the first four days.

We made it out of Auckland ok after stopping at numerous traffic lights. First stop was at 41k for coffee, then 51k for for fresh Cleveland oysters. Brett and I shared some nice fresh oysters with a squeeze of lemon, yum!

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Oysters!

Lunch was at 66k, by 61k I was feeling pretty hungry and had a 4k climb. I got cramp in my calves and had to get off my bike, I walked a bit and got back on and got cramp again! Then when I got off my bike I could hardly walk either, so I hobbled to the top of the hill doing a mixture of walking and riding. Thankfully the cramp did not return after that. When I got to lunch I did not stay too long as I did not want to cool down and start to stiffen up.

From lunch it was up hill and I struggled a bit, feeling annoyed that I had not trained more but then luckily we got down to the Firth of Thames and it was pretty flat all the way to camp.

We are staying at Miranda Hot Pools camp. It has nice amenities including a hairdryer in the toilet and shower block. Plus of course the hot pools.

My first job was to put up the tent. You would think after putting it up for five and half months in South America this would have been a breeze. Sadly not so. It took me awhile to work out which bit went where, I was pleased it was not pouring with rain. Then after a shower I had a nice soak in the hot pool, followed by a rest before dinner.

There are four TDA staff compared to the 12 on the South American ride, all are new to me, including I am pleased to say the cook. We had a lovely meal of fresh salmon, asparagus, and a fresh salad of kale, capsicum, pineapple and tomatoes (could have done without the pineapple but at least it was fresh) plus couscous which normally I leave but it went straight down tonight. All the plates and cups and cooking gear is really clean, much more hygienic than the previous trip, fingers crossed it continues.

This ride started in Darwin and the group rode down to Sydney then flew across to Auckland. Sue, who I rode the South American ride with, has done from Darwin and joined us in Auckland.

Other riders I have ridden with before are:
Walli from the Trans Europa Epic
Michelle, Tony, Chris, Linda, and Peter – from the South American Epic
Plus Brett who has done both rides with me.

I headed off to the tent for an early night. It’s meant to start raining tonight and rain for the next two days, so I have rung ahead to the next place we stay, the Welcome Bay Camp and Hot Pools, and booked their last remaining cabin for tomorrow. It’s not so bad to pack up a tent when it’s raining, or put one up in the rain, but it’s pretty miserable if it’s raining at both ends.

One of the riders is tracking her rides with “Strava” which is quite interesting to see – here is the clip of today’s ride.

Categories: Trans-Oceania, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment