Posts Tagged With: Wind

Day 10: Wednesday 23 Nov, Napier to Porangahau

Riding 120km – climbing 1150 meters, down 1050 meters

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Next stage into Wellington!

It was very warm today and sunny, with no wind first thing. We started off with an amazing breakfast cooked at the motel. As they don’t have a restaurant it was in the conference room. The chef and owner must have taken seriously that we ate a lot, as there was stacks of cereal and cooked food.

We have three new riders joining us for this section. TDA had an offer that people could do a section for free if they were interested to see what a TDA ride would be like. Joining us are Tim and his dad Steve. Tim has ridden with TDA before but is keeping his dad company, plus Veronica from Auckland.

Veronica sat at breakfast with Sue and I, asking lots of questions about TDA and the ride, and then wanted to know about other rides we had done. Once she heard we had done the South American ride she wanted to know all about it. I was trying to be polite but I was also trying to eat breakfast and get away on the bike before it got too hot out there.  So in answer to her question “How was it?”, my informative response was “Good” whilst shoving more food into my mouth. “What was good?” she asked. “Um, everything” I said.

I find it’s really hard to sum up the South American ride in a few words, especially when I’m not interested in having the conversation in the first place. However Veronica did not pick up on my lack of interest in a conversation, and kept on asking questions. Thankfully it turns out I could ride faster than her so was able to evade any further questioning for the day. (By the end of the four days I had nicknamed her the wasp, as she kept coming at you with questions about everything).

We set out in the lovely sun, the first 8 km was bike trails. There are so many bike paths here leading off in all directions. Whilst we were on the winery tour yesterday a number of people arrived on bikes following bike trails to get there.

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Departing Napier on the coastal path

We rode on back roads from Napier all the way to Waipawa. It was really nice to be away from the traffic.

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A traffic jam on New Zealand back roads (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

I stopped in Waipawa for a drink . It was so hot I had already drunk both bottles of water. The cafe was happy for me to fill up my water bottles there.

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Home town in sight!

From Waipawa to Waipukurau we were on the main state highway which was not fun, so I was pleased to turn off to Porangahau. It was a nice country road with rolling hills, but then off course a gravel road thrown in, just because there is one. On the way I passed a sign for “Ugly Hills Road”, someone has a sense of humour and am only surprised TDA didn’t send us up it.

Christian (TDA) had said at the lunch stop that it’s pretty windy up on the gravel track so you can take the road instead, it’s an extra 11km. We decided to take the gravel road, well it was certainly steep, and the gravel was so thick in places you had to get off and walk. At the top it was so windy I was pushed off the bike twice, so I walked a bit. At the end of the gravel was a really steep tarmac road downhill. I was hoping that we would not have to ride up it in the morning.

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Old Hill Road, with gale force NW’er, cycling on gravel

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View from the gravel track (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

Once I got down the hill it was just 5km on the flat to camp. When we got there we were surprised to see a rider who is slower than us, and who was at the lunch truck when we were there, was at camp already. I said “It must have been a pretty good 11km stretch of road” and she told us Christian had it wrong, it wasn’t an extra 11km it was 11km instead of 8km so it was only 3km more. If I had known that I would have certainly have taken the road!

It was not a bad camp spot, it was sheltered, no shops or wifi but good showers.

It was about 4pm by the time I got to camp so I had a wee doze once I had put up my tent. That night for dinner we had pork chops, which the chef had managed to cook for nearly 30 people and were still tender, plus potato with rosemary in it and salad. We shared a bottle of Moana Malbeck Merlot with Michelle and Tony.

I was in my tent, tucked up in my sleeping bag, eyes closed, by 7:30pm.

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Looking down onto Porangahau (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

 

Categories: Trans-Oceania | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 5 – Friday 18 November

Easy riding day today, 850 meters climbing with 670 down, and only 85 km in total.

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Rotorua to Taupo ride

When we left it was sunny. The first 23 km was on bike trails. I made a wrong turn and ended up on a mountain bike track – steep, rocks, wet. Thankfully I managed to get off it and back to the main bike trail.

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Track out of Rotorua

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Lunch stop

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Lunch stop: Michele and Tony and other riders

We stopped at Waimangu Volcanic Center, New Zealand’s newest geothermal area. We had coffee and a look around but did not have time to go on the tour, but I will certainly come back.

Just down the road we turned to look at a mud pool at Wai-o-Tapu. They get pretty cold – 60 to 100 C 😀

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Mud pools

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Mud pool

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Mud pool info

We managed to stay off the main road for most of the day and came into Taupo following Broadlands Rd which is the road that the riders go on doing the Taupo Ironman ride. We were riding into a head wind most of the way.

We stayed at a nice little camp called the All Season Kiwi Park. It said it had a hot pool but in reality it was a hot box, and both times I looked it was full with a family.

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Camp: my tent by the hedge

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Saw this sign at the camp, was a bit worried until I read it all

We went down in to Taupo to the Torpedo 7 store, I wanted some legs warmers and Michelle and Tony got tops and socks. Then off to the lakefront for a relaxing cold beer.

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Good use for old bikes as a fence at Lake Taupo

We got back to camp in time for riders meeting – just – then dinner. Dinner was Spanish lamb stew which was really nice, with minted peas and plus salad, with green leaves, feta and pear.

It was very cold tonight, hard to believe it is less than two weeks to summer. Tomorrow we have a big day, 145 km plus lots of climbing and the weather forecast is not great, so I have rung ahead to the Top Ten we are staying in at Ohakune and booked a cabin.

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TDA provide wine and beer for $4 a can or glass. So far I have not been tempted by the wine . . .

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I have had the odd beer though. A number of the riders are really enjoying L&P.

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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 49/164: Lambayeque to Pacasmayo – 118km

800 meters up, 950 down.

It was nice to wake up and not have to pack up a tent etc. I am looking forward to getting into two rest days. I have not ridden 7 days in a row before and my legs are certainly feeling it.

Every morning before leaving my tent (or room) I spray myself with bug spray. Today it helped for the bits I had sprayed, but I was bitten through my bike shorts and top! Just when I was almost free of bites. Due to this I had a very short breakfast and was on my bike by 6:15am.

I rode in a group of 5 for the first 35 kilometres. It was useful for getting through the crazy traffic. Where cars would not stop for one rider, they did for five. We still had to be constantly watching – a few times a tuk tuk got in the middle of the group. The police escort from yesterday may have had some uses today!

On the road today (Photo from Jo Platt's Facebook)

On the road today (Photo from Jo Platt’s Facebook)

On the road today (Photo from Jo Platt's Facebook)

On the road today (Photo from Jo Platt’s Facebook)

The city is the dirtiest I have ever seen, rubbish bags, deal animals etc. The trucks and buses would fail a WOF in New Zealand due to fumes. The drivers are aggressive with cyclists and each other. The horns are constantly blaring. Some of the rubbish at the side of the road has been lit, so there is also the fumes of burning plastic and other waste. Overall not pleasant riding.

Once we got out of the city we were in the desert, endless sand as far as the eye can see. Then more dirt towns. At about the halfway point add to this a significant head wind!

Lunch stop today

Lunch stop today

With about 15 kilometres to go, we went back into the desert, with a strong head wind, little road shoulder and trucks and buses going past blaring their horns and covering you in fumes. The landscape is bleak and dry with very little vegetation. I was developing very low expectations of the rest day accommodation.

We turned left with 5 kilometres to go still, there was sand and old – almost derelict – buildings. We got down a steep road, came round a corner, and there was the most quaint little seaside town, with a promenade along the sea shore, little shops and a nice hotel! And best of news – I have been allocated my own room for three days! The joy! Not only do I have a view of the sea, but the sounds of the waves crashing on the beach can be heard from my room.

We arrive at the Pacific Coast of Peru (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

We arrive at the Pacific Coast of Peru (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

I unpacked and took the washing to the laundry, and then Jackie and I met for a cold drink on the hotel balcony. Nice outlook looking at the sea, warm and sunny, and only 2pm. A feeling of contentment and relaxation pervades. Then I was introduced to an innocent looking drink called a Pisco Sour. This is made with cane sugar liquor, lemon and egg. It does not taste like it contains the punch it does.  During the evening I had another 3 of these, thankfully I only had to navigate my way upstairs to my room. I was sensible enough to drink a litre of water before bed.

Categories: Peru, South American Epic | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Day 43/164: Loja to Catacocha – 99 km

Up 2,135 meters; down 2,430 meters.

It was very nice to have a sit down breakfast in the restaurant. I went in the lunch truck to lunch as planned, helped to set up lunch and then set off. I did not have lunch as it was only 9am.

The lunch truck had parked part of the way up a long climb. The first 8 kilometres was an uphill climb, and I was pretty pleased with the way I got up it. Then it was rolling hills, a couple of big downhills, then back to rolling hills all the way to camp.

Top of the first 500m hill (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Top of the first 500m hill (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Up along the top of the ridge it was pretty windy, and I nearly got blown out onto the road a couple of times. I got off my bike at one stage as it was so windy.  The view was fantastic, just mountains stretching away from both sides of the road as far as I could see. As we have seven days riding and I don’t know if I will be able to charge my phone at all, I did not take any photos of the view but hopefully Sue took her usual number of photos. It was great riding with the glorious views and the gradient not too steep.

Looking back from where we've come (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Looking back from where we’ve come (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Up up up and up (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Up up up and up (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

I got to camp about midday. Just before the camp I had a standoff with a dog. I had my bike between us and every time I took a step backwards he would rush at me snarling! Luckily a local lady saw what was happening and threw stones at him and he ran away.

We are staying at San Jorge x Aquatic Centre. It was built as an aquatic centre and had three empty pools. Sadly it was not well used by the local population and now is shut. The caretakers did fill up the small pool for us.

Tonight's camp swimming pool (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Tonight’s camp swimming pool (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

I got a nice spot to camp up on a mezzanine floor with a good breeze. Given it was only mid day I went to get a coke instead of a beer. The coke was warm, the beer was icy cold! So no need to guess what my choice was.

On the way to the camp there was not really anywhere to get food apart from just before the camp, and I decided to wait until camp to get something.  Usually at camp there is a restaurant, or a local who has set up shop and cooks. Today there was nothing, and I could not be bothered riding uphill into town, but was now hungry as I had missed lunch.  I made do with peanuts and a couple of Oreo biscuits.

I did some washing as there was plenty of time to dry clothes, chatted to some other riders, and caught up on a couple of days with the blog.

At the rider’s meeting just before dinner we got an update on Phil. Most likely Phil will get airlifted to Quito tomorrow and his son from New Zealand will also come there. The hospital in Quito is bigger and better equipped. Phil is talking, but still very confused, but certainly he will recover. It’s early days yet to know how much, if anything, the head injury will affect him. We are all going to either wear orange clothing or put orange flagging tape on our helmets to keep Phil with us as we continue on our journey sadly without him.

Dinner was spag bol, fettucine and salad.

On the road today (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

On the road today (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

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

Day 67: Canizar de Olivar to Molina de Aragon – 120k

5,339km down: 886km to go  (Up 1,424 metres, and down 1,130)

I had a good start to the day as I got a reasonable sleep last night. The local rooster must have slept in because he did not start until after we got up. I have rationalized my panniers down to one which Brett has very kindly offered to carry for me. Every bit will help get through the next three days.

I rang home to get the update regarding how Lizzy and Xavier are getting on. They are both going well, and Lizzy was taking Xavier for his first walk, along the beach near our home. Not that Xavier knew – he was fast asleep! After having a chat to Lizzy, I spoke to Kelly and got some fantastic news.  Kelly is 12 weeks pregnant, she had the scan today and all looks good. So I will be a Gran again at the end of March. It put a big smile on my face. I also shed a few tears, and had to explain to my fellow riders that they were happy tears, as they weren’t sure what was happening on the other end of the phone, they just heard me shriek and then start crying!

So off we went, and of course we first of all had to climb up the 2k we had gone down to camp the night before. Then it was 2k up a 5% gradient – ouch on tired, unwarmed up legs. However this was followed by an 11k downhill 🙂

Heading up a hill early in the day

We had rollers for awhile then a 4k up but then a 6k down. Brett said they are honest hills – they give back more than they take. The bugs going up the 4k hill were a pain, trying to get in my eyes, it was very odd seeing them walking across my sunglasses. Plus there were a few I had to spit out, and one I nearly swallowed, yum.

After 20k I had a quick stop and my legs were wobbly and tired, I did not see how they would make the day. Thankfully they loosened up. Overall it was a great ride until lunch. There are lots of small towns perched on the hillside, often they don’t have a shop but they all have a church. We passed a town called Caminreal, it had heaps of Piggeries, there was building after building of them however it looks like the  pigs never get to go outside 😦

As I said, it was a great ride until lunch, and we set off with 55k to go feeling really positive and looking forward to an early day. You know that saying don’t count your chickens until they’re hatched?! Well the afternoon was mostly up; at one point there was a hill that was 15k, with a hideous head wind. The afternoon went on and on.

The ride goes on and on

Thankfully we are staying in a hotel tonight so no putting up tents and listening to noisy campers. It’s a really nice hotel we are staying at, the Parador de Santa Rita, established in 1826. I have a hotel room to myself with three beds and a bath 🙂 But it does have a low ceiling  that I have to look out for, so far I have only banged my head three times.

We had dinner at the restaurant, it was really nice: salad, meat and pasta. I think they were surprised by how much we ate given that we are not enormous people.

Tomorrow we are riding 109k, the same uphill distance as today, and the weather forecast is for the wind to be at least as bad as today.

The Shepard and his dog were walking along with the sheep, they probably cover quite a distance each day. Not much food for the sheep though.

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Day 58: Day Valras Plage to Le Balcares – 88k

4,625km down: 1,600km to go

After my phone being silly last night, I woke up at 12:03am and my phone was not going – damn!! I should have found out where to charge it, as now all the other rides were asleep so I couldn’t ask anyone. I reassured myself that Lizzy was not due for another two weeks. I spent the night waking up every hour or so (checking the time on the iPad but the Wifi was not on).

I woke up at 6:10am and asked straight away where I could charge my phone and I put it on to charge. I was thinking to myself that it’s unbelievable that the phone chooses now to play up, so late in the trip. At lunch time I planned to send through a list of alternative numbers just in case it played up again. I put my charged phone into my bag at 7:30am, with no messages showing, and we set off.

It was a really windy ride; at times we were only going 8kph, into a headwind blowing so strongly at times it was threatening to push us into the middle of the road. We got to one village and could not find the way out, a group of eight of us spent about 40 minutes unravelling the directions (it turned out later that the local cop had removed all the flags). We finally set off again, 5k back into the head wind, followed by a totally glorious 15k dirt track along a canal with the wind behind us. We could get up to 15kph without pedalling, and the highest we got up to was about 28kph.

After we got out of the canal we were back into the head winds and slow going until the lunch stop. I had been going to text Lizzy the alternative numbers at lunch but it was so windy I decided to wait for another 5k. We had a planned stop at 65k to eat oysters, the boats go out and catch them and sell at small restaurants along the shore. I thought “at least I will be inside and be able to hear myself think!”.

So we got to the oyster restaurant and I checked my phone and I had 3 missed calls and about 20 messages! Starting with:
Mum it’s happening, Lizzy is in labour
Mum, you awake?
Mum, please ring when you get this
Mum, Jiggly* is here!! He is healthy, Lizzy was amazing, all is well.
Mum, please ring when you get this message!!!!!!

So I am a Gran!! Lizzy and the baby are both doing well which is the main thing.

Where I was when I found out I was a Gran!

It was 20k from there to the camp, I could not wait to get there to see if there is Wifi available (I had my fingers and toes crossed!) – I was thinking hopefully there will be a photo!! And there was: Oh my gosh Jiggly looks just like his mum did, ginger hair and long and lanky. Next stop was the supermarket to get three good bottles of French champagne to celebrate the safe arrival with the rest of the tour riders.

Proper French Champagne to celebrate the arrival of my first Grandson

I was so relieved, 95% of women have perfectly normal deliveries but I know way too much about those that don’t. I had a few moments of thinking “What am I doing here! I should be there” but I am not. At least he is here, and safe, and Lizzy has lots of support at home.

The other riders celebrating with me

(* Jiggly is the nickname we have had for the baby the whole time Lizzy has been pregnant).

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