I woke up at 9am after only having about 4 1/2 hours sleep, Andy was up and packing up. I started to do the same and we talked about our families and getting home from here. The first step was get back to Invercargill and the only way was to bike. Andy left whilst I was still packing up but I soon followed suit, Andy didn't get far maybe 600m as I saw his bike outside a café. I carried on in a rather meaningless manner and rather slow I was keen to get to Invercargill but the body and mind where not able to do much anymore. The wind was in y face and now it started to rain, it maybe took me 1 and 1/4 hours to bike just 22km, I was wet, hungry and didn't want to ride my bike anymore. I stumbled across Tuatara backpackers, which also had what looked to be a pretty good café attached. I went in and ordered a full breakfast and a coffee and whilst I was waiting I enquired about a room and if they had it available now. I was 11am and I was incredibly grateful when she said yes and that I could have it now for the normal rate. The breakfast was as good as it gets and I would highly recommend this café. I headed off to my room, had a shower, washed and dried my clothes and went to the super market to keep me going for the day, then I actually had what I like to call a Nana nap mid afternoon which was just what I needed. I had sent out a Facebook post if there were any TA riders that wanted to catch up for dinner and I had a reply from Seb Dune whom along with Ollie Whalley were the next fastest riders, I had suggested the Lone Star so I was really looking forward to that. In the mean time I had decided to continue with something That I had vaguely planned for after the Tour Aotearoa and that was to bike all of or at least some of the way back to Christchurch. So it was back to the super market for more supplies and a bit of gear packing for departure tomorrow if I felt like it in the morning. Dinner with Seb was great and it was great to hear about is trip and also a bit of insight into some of the other riders as at times there were quite a few of them together or leap frogging each other. we also talked about Seb's Tour Divide experience's which was also great as this is something I had and still are contemplating. I woke up the next morning Sunday the 6th and I decided hat I would start biking back to Christchurch, I definitely didn't rush and left Invercargill around 8am. One of the reason I was getting back on the bike was because I had never been to the Catlins before and I didn't have to be anywhere until the coming Saturday. The wind was very friendly to me this day and it made the riding pretty easy, I guess I was just skimming the surface of the Catlins really and would need days and days to explore it properly but I still thoroughly enjoyed riding through there.
Best looking but the most expensive
Mochachinno of my trip
He is the culprit for the expensive coffee
I cycled about 225k through to lake Waihola about 30kms south of Dunedin this day and I really enjoyed staying in the camp ground, having a shower and using the kitchen it really made life easy compared to my nights in the TA. It was quite hard to actually accept taking the days a bit easier, starting later, finishing earlier and not cycling with quite the same meaning, it really felt quite strange. The next day I had planned to get to Naesby via the Rail trail from Middlemarch, it started off well but the climb up to Middle march was hard, super hard. I felt I needed so cooked food to get me going and I was hoping at Clarks Junction there was something open. Well Clarks Junction is really just a road junction but lucky for me there was a classical Kiwi pub there and they were open. It was about 10am and in I went, it stank of alcohol, there were dead flies on the window soils and then a guy came from behind the bar in his dressing gown. Then his wife came out (that is what I presumed anyway) this seems liked a completely different world to what I knew. They were friendly and I asked if they were serving hot food. The lady gave me the menu and I chose to go for the cooked breakfast, two hash browns, two pieces of toast, two pieces of bacon two fried eggs and a choice of spaghetti or baked beans. The meal came out and it was huge, I had chosen the spaghetti and it must have been a whole 400gram can of good kiwi tinned spaghetti and all of this for only $10.50 who needs the upmarket café at $20 for much less. Naseby was my destination and I knew it well, over 20 years ago I had competed in the south Island Cup MTB round that was held here both in cross country and downhill, oh how down hill has change. I wouldn't be doing any riding in the forrest though, that was for sure. Another 200km day and another night in the tent. I started early the next day just because I couldn't sleep anymore, I was headed for Danseys Pass and Duntroon,
I had also cycled this 20 years Ag and I remembered well the pat to the top but it was much further out to Duntroon than I remembered all in a great gravel roped ride. I arrived in Timaru mid afternoon and spotted a $5 pizza sign and that sounded pretty good.
I have always been very sceptical of the deals from Dominos and Pizza hut but I have the say the Pizza form Pizza hut was great and it fuelled me onto Geraldine which was going to be my last night in the tent. I met about 4 other cycle tours here and one of them knew about the TA and we talked quite a bit about that but also about there trip and general cycling. I really enjoyed Geraldine and the Top10 holiday park is the best camp I stayed in, they had pots, pans plates etc for use in the kitchen where as most campgrounds in NZ these days have done away with all of that. I had to go to Barkers for my daughter and buy her favourite Raspberry jam and I got tempted and bought a Morrello Cherry Jam for Susanne and I. I no longer cared about the weight that I was carrying and enjoyed being able to get this from the source.
Again I couldn't sleep so I was on the road early headed for Ashburton and then Christchurch via as many back roads as possible. There are plenty of these around this area, some are gravel and some are sealed. After Ashburton I headed down the Selwyn Rakaia road which is unsealed, it was a head wind and at some point I had had enough and just wanted to get back to Christchurch so I went back to the main Highway until Rolleston. I met a friend Rupert in Rolleston a fellow Brevet rider and adventure racer that was keen to hear about the TA I really enjoyed the coffee and chat so thanks Rupert. It was a only a short trip back to Christchurch form here, but the good old Eagerly had come out to welcome me, it really didn't have too. I thoroughly enjoyed this trip back to Christchurch, it was actually a good way to wind down after the TA rather than to just stop. I cycled to Spot NZ and hand delivered my tracker and they loved the fact that I had biked it back to them from Bluff and so did I actually. I haven't been on the bike since but I have been for a couple of runs in this time, the first in about 8-9 weeks and they hurt but I need to keep this up as I can't stop eating like I was on the TA. I am looking forward to getting back on the mountain bike though and blasting around some trails with no extra weigh attached to the bike. I also can't wait to my next touring/bike packing adventure but I have no idea when this will be. Maybe the Tour Divide, I am seriously intrigued by the Tour Divide and have read a book and watched the DVD, it is a bit daunting the distant, altitude, bears and possible temperatures but who know maybe one day.........
So that is my story and I promise that will be it from me, no more posts for quite some time. Until then I look forward to reading some other stories and hopefully will meet some of you out the there in New Zealand's wonderful and beautiful play ground.