Saturday, 6 February 2016

What I was meant to be doing

Training in New Zealand, take 3 (22nd, 23rd and 24th of January)

My next adventure was meant to be the Red bull Defiance Multisport race as part of one of the Thule Adventure teams. But my Swedish team mate became sick in the last two weeks and was on antibiotics. When I couldn't find someone to fill the spot I took the chance to get out on the bike again.

I planned a three day trip from Christchurch down into the McKenzie country and return.

Day 1 was a bit of a late start(7.30am) as my daughter wanted to have breakfast together. It was nice to enjoy sleeping in a little bit, having a nice breakfast together and let the day warm up ever so slightly as well. I headed to Ashburton via as many back roads that I could find and it was quite interesting travelling on roads I never knew existed.
From Ashburton again I hit bask roads and shingle roads to about 25km's short of Geraldine. It was a hot day and from here it was the main highway via Fairlie and then onto Tekapo. Biking into Tekapo I saw some bikes on cars and realised that the Great Southern Brevet was on so I called in for a chat. They offered me a piece of grass to pitch my tent if needed. Off I went to find somewhere to stay and some hot food. Tekapo was busy and the few paces I tried were fully booked. Next stop was food and since I didn't want to sit down in a restaurants and scare everyone away with the smell and then Lycra look, I chose a Burger and Chips. You rally can't beat a true Kiwi burger and I was not let down. I went back to the Brevet head quarters and I was welcomed in does and even got a shower after dinner. After being up to long for an early start the next day I was pitching my tent at 11pm. It was good practice for what is to come in the TA. Up at 5.30am, banana and a muesli bar for breakfast, packed up and gone by 6.15am, today was going to be the longest ride I had ever done day well at least that is what I had planned. I took the A2O (Alps to Ocean) cycle trail to Twizel and then stayed on the Highway to Omarama, it was now time for COFFEE and a real breakfast at

I was disappointed to learn that they did not do either Pancakes or French Toast but the toasted muesli and berry compote that I ordered was delicious. From Here I headed out on the A2O again, they have not finished this section of trail so it soon heads back to the main road.Once I hit Kurow it was time for another Almond Magnum and a Hamburger was ordered and put in the bag for a bit later. I headed up the Hakataramea Valley which is somewhere I had never travelled before and it was a beautiful ride up and over the Pass apart from the strong head wind.

From there it was out to the main ride and a few km's to Burkes Pass. Finally the wind was now behind me and it seemed to take no time at all to get to Fairlie but I was moments too late for the Four Square Supermarket. I scouted around for somewhere to eat and again since it was a Saturday night in a Canterbury high country town I decided not to go to the pub all though a good roast would have gone down a treat. The only other option was takeaways, so Hamburger number three here we go. I was now 8pm and I decided to continue to Geraldine, it started to rain get dark and I some how had a slow puncture but I managed to get to Geraldine on it. It was now dark , time to consume another Magnum and fix the puncture. I liked for somewhere to pitch the tent but in the end decided to head out of town. Finally found somewhere about an hour down the road and 319km from the start of the day.

Day three, I was up super early and on the bike by 5.10am, I was looking forward to getting to Methven for a coffee and the French toast I had missed out on the day before, the only problem was that there was a very stiff wind in my way. Eventually I got to Methven and sat down at 131 Café next door to Big Al's sport shop. They had French Toast and that is exactly what I ordered and a coffee off course. The food was great and the service was friendly. Once I could get myself out of the comfy chair it was time to hit the headwind again and head to Lake Lyndon via the Lake Coleridge Road.

It was nice to get off road again and it was a nice ride through to Lake Lyndon and nice to tick that box as I had meant to do that part on another trip but never did. From there it was up and over Porters pass and now the no Webster was finally behind me and with it pretty much being all down hill to Springfield it was a blast.

I stopped at a café I had been to on a similar and I was really looking forward to a carrot muffin and a coffee just like last time. That was not to be, so I reluctantly ordered a pie for $5.50 it went down a threat but expensive for a pie. Down the road 13km and there was the famous Sheffield pie shop and I was keen but the queue of 10 people denied me of eating my second pie in 5 years.

From there it was onto the Old West Coast Road and I was down on my Aero bars doing 37km's an hour with the Norwest behind me, it made me think of my days competing in the Longest day Coast to Coast. Normally during the C2C the wind Nor Western never last's but fortunately for me it did and carried me all the way home. 200km exactly for the day and many lessons learnt in preparation for the Tour Aotearoa. The biggest thing for me is to accept the speed of travel due to all factors, weight of bike going up hills, wind, day after day of long km's and lack of sleep. When you come from a racing background you tend to think I should be going faster or pushing a bit harder but that is not the way to treat something like the Tour Aotearoa.

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