Posts Tagged With: Wet

Day 23: Wednesday 7 Dec – Fox Glacier to Haast

119km – 1,000 meters climbing and 1,150 down

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The last three days of riding!

The weather forecast for today was not good and it turned out to be correct. I woke up a few times during the night and could hear the rain pouring down.

In the morning it was on with all the wet and warm weather gear and off out into the weather. Yoav and Asia came in to say goodbye and wish us the best for today’s ride, they were sensibly going to have another rest day.

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Wet and rainy morning (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

The first 90 km was mostly flat with some rolling hills. At 25 km I had to wait at a one way bridge whilst work was being down, thankfully the workers took pity on us and let us across quickly. The rest of the day the traffic came in bursts, as it was all stopped at the bridge. There were no trucks and only one bus, and mostly camper vans and camper wagons.

At 62 km I stopped for coffee at a salmon farm, but did not look at the salmon as I was worried about getting cold. When we left the salmon farm the rain was very heavy. All the way to lunch at 77 km my coffee kept repeating on me which was not pleasant. I did not eat much at lunch as I was feeling a bit nauseous. Emily had boiled water and was making tea and coffee and also vegemite soup (I did not try it, I just had tea) which was greatly appreciated.

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Rainy and wet lunch stop (Photo credit: Michele’s Facebook page)

There was a self supported rider – Ida – coming the other direction, so we waved her over to have something to eat and a warm drink. Ida said she had started cycling from Bluff 7 days earlier, she rode for 8 hours every day, and then camped at the side of the road if there was no campsite. Not sure that I would be brave enough to do that.

The one good thing about the rain is that it kept the bugs at bay, although there were a few sand flies hovering under the awning at lunch.

At Bruce Bay there are a stack of rocks and small boulders that passing tourists have written their name on, and now it has become an attraction. All different nationalities.

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The stones at Bruce Bay

Brett rode down here with a group at the beginning of 2015 and said it was a very nice ride, but with the rain and mist it was hard to see much of anything today.

At 92 km we had a hill climb for 6 km, the tail wind assisted us, then a big downhill then rolling hills, and flat the rest of the way to camp. At about 100 km I could hear my bike making a click click sound, but couldn’t see anything when I got off my bike to have a look. So I kept going, hoping it would get me to camp.

There were a number of signs along the way “Coffee in 8 km at Bruce Bay”, “Coffee in 2 km at Bruce Bay”, but once we got to Bruce Bay nothing was open – or even looked like coffee stop! Then as I got closer to camp the signs said “Whitebait fritters 3 km”, “Whitebait fritters 500 m”, “Whitebait fritters by the bridge” then “Whitebait fritters closed”. I would have stopped if they had been open.

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Outside the Haast Information Centre

Tonight we stayed at the Haast Top 10, I was really pleased I had a cabin and also it had a heater, shower and toilet, and jug. I was totally soaked so it was very good to get out of my wet clothes. The cabin was quickly turned into a Chinese laundry with wet weather gear drying on every available surface. I was still cold so crawled into bed to warm up and napped and read until dinner time.

I had a book emergency – I only had a few pages left and my next book was in my permanent bag which I wouldn’t get again until Friday. Luckily there was a book swap in reception. Not great pickings, three books about werewolves, two books written in German, a number of love stories,  and a Jeffrey Archer book called “Mightier than the Sword” which seemed to be the best choice. I had just finished a book by Minette Walters called The shape of snakes which was better expected.

Micah looked at my bike for me. He straightened the derailleur and fixed a cable, and said it should get to Queenstown (approx 220 km) but after that I will need to take into to get the freewheel looked at. Hopefully it doesn’t just go like it did in Peru, if it does the bike is not ride-able.

Luckily there was a covered area where dinner could be cooked and eaten. Dinner was macaroni cheese with bacon with a crunchy top, and a walnut and apple and cucumber salad. The weather forecast predicts a fine day tomorrow so fingers crossed.  Tomorrow we have have 1,700 meters climbing including a steep climb through what is known as the Gates of Haast.

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Ship Creek

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Day 13: Saturday 26 Nov – Martinborough to Wellington

97km, 900 approx up and down

It was gale force wind during the night so I was very pleased to be in a cabin. There was a group of guys down the back of the camp for some sort of bloke weekend away. They were quite rowdy at the beginning of the night but then thankfully headed off out.

At 12:30am the morons were back, driving through the camp blasting their car horn and laughing and talking. In the morning I was amused to see one of their tents had collapsed on them and they were still in it fast asleep (evidenced by the loud snoring coming from it). I’m not sure if one of the other campers had removed their pegs, or it was just bad putting-up-tent technique.

It was cold and blustery eating breakfast, so I was off on the bike as quickly as possible.

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Wellington is on the other side of that hill (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

The 16km ride to Featherston was pretty windy, but it was nothing compared to when we turned at Featherston to go down the Western Lake Road. The wind was so strong it was all I could do to hold my bike on the road. At least three times I got pushed over onto the gravel.

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Weather on the Featherston Side

It was looking like it was going to rain at any moment. I rode past the Wasp noting that she had no bike bag and was wearing just a biking top and short shorts. I asked her about wet weather gear and she said she didn’t have any. I rode along feeling really worried and annoyed. Worried because she could get exposure, and annoyed because all the riders were warned about changeable conditions and annoyed that if I or anyone else came across her and she was cold and wet we would have to share our clothing and put ourselves at risk also.

The TDA truck went past just before the turn off to the incline, checking on riders and it parked by the incline start. I went up and told them that the Wasp had no wet weather gear, that I was seriously worried if she went up the incline dressed as she was, and that I was passing the responsibility to them.

Off up the Rimutaka Incline. It’s an old railway track between Featherston and Wellington. In the past a fell engine pulled the train up the Featherston side and it was a normal train down the other.

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Single track into the start of the Incline

The gradient going up from Featherston is a bit steeper and rocky, plus the wind was blowing with gusto at us.

At near the top is a gully you have to go up and down where there used to a bridge. This part is known as Siberia as it is so bleak and cold with wind gusts. This was a site of a serious accident when the wind was so strong it pushed a fell engine carriage off the tracks and sadly four children died.

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Siberia – in the wind and rain (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

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No bridge left so we have to go down and back up (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

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Before one of the tunnels on the Rimutaka Incline

Through the final (third) tunnel on the way up the wind was roaring through the tunnel.
We got out to the other side to find it was bucketing down. Thankfully there was a shelter up the top where we were able to get changed into our wet weather gear.

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Long tunnel to The Summit Sat 26 Nov

With the rain and the wind and down gradient for about 10km (a lot of it quite exposed) I was feeling relieved that I told the TDA staff about the Wasp’s lack of wet weather clothing. (I found out later that she got the TDA truck over the hill to lunch, by which time it had stopped raining).

It poured all the way down the incline. At times the rain felt like needles going into your face (the only exposed skin). I was warm as I had a coat, hat, thermal gloves, and over pants – but I couldn’t find my overshoes, drat. I had one plastic bag so put it over one foot. There were about 8 riders all pulling on their wet weather gear.

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Riding on the Rimutaka incline

Once we got to the bottom of the incline it stopped raining. We followed a bike path along the Hutt river to lunch, and then all the way to Petone. It took much longer than going straight down SH2 but it meant not worrying about traffic and was something new to me.

It bought us out at the end of the Petone Esplanade which runs along the sea front. We followed this, then back to SH2, then the old Hutt road into Wellington.

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Peeling off muddy gear at Petone on bike path. Nearly into Wellington.

We stayed at the Apollo Court Motels in Marjorie Banks Street. It was very central, 2 minutes walk from Courtney Place, and an easy walk to the rest of the city.

I got cleaned up, as there was mud over the bike, my clothes, my bike bag and shoes, so it took a while to clean up. Then it was time to go and meet my son Dan for dinner. Dan lives in a mid city apartment.

We stopped and got cheese and wine on the way (Pepperjack Shiraz, plus Castello blue and white cheese, and a fresh French stick). When we got there Dan bought out a bottle of champagne to celebrate that he had finished his University year with First Class Honors and a grade point average that gives him an automatic PH.D. Scholarship. It was very exciting news and well earned as Dan has worked extremely hard this year. I am very proud of him.

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Celebrating with my son Dan

We decided to go to Great India in Manners Street for dinner. I have been there a few times and always like the food, plus acoustically it’s great as well. After dinner I said goodbye to Dan as he was working the next morning so he was not interested into continuing on to the Havana Bar with Brett and I.

We met Michele, Tony and Walli in Cuba Mall and went off to the Havana Bar. It was pretty busy but as we walked though the bar a group got up and left and we were able to jump into their just vacated spot. I enjoyed a couple of very nice ParrotDog Pilsners – a local Wellington brewery. Having had wine at Dan’s flat and with dinner I was feeling the effects, hence returning to beer.

We stayed there for a couple of hours then decided to make our way home. I decided that, as it was very close to our motel and totally different to Havana, I should also take my friends to the Welsh Bar that is in Courtney Place. Walli decided wisely to leave us at this stage.

It certainly was a very different atmosphere – quite crowded but the crowd was friendly and they had quite a good singer so we stayed for awhile. It was about 12:30 by the time we got home.

I went to sleep feeling very happy with Dan’s news, and excited and looking forward to be catching up with three of my other children and my three grandchildren the next day.

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Sun out before the storm

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Rimutaka Incline before the storm

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Day 8/164: Ventanas to San Pedrigo – 120k

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.

Riders meeting, sheltering from the rain (Photo credit: Sue's Facebook page)

Riders meeting, sheltering from the rain (Photo credit: Sue’s Facebook page)

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.

She did

Photo of the countryside – taken by Sue

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Photo of the countryside – taken by Sue

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:

Apparently you go up into the cow and then come out as MILK (Photo credit: Sue's Facebook page)

Editor’s Caption: Apparently you go up into the cow and then come out as MILK from the UDDERS. I love it!
(Photo credit: Sue’s Facebook page)

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