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Published: October 27th 2007
It started off quite well really, cycling merrily along the Canterbury plains in the blazing sunshine. In the space of about 3 and a half hours i had cycled to Springfield (80km NE of Christchurch) All this talk from people about not cycling Arthur's pass had been dismissed out of my mind. To be honest by the time i got to Springfield all these noncey thoughts had left my mind completely. Then it kicked in! I have never felt winds this strong coming straight at me before. It got to the point where i was literally pushing the bike along the flat pieces of road because it was so soul destroying peddling. Even when i was going down hill my speed rarely got above 15km/h. However the weather was still sunny so not to worry.
I made it top the top of lewis pass (937m) by literally pushing my bike for 10km up hill. Whilst doing this i had to face a barrage of horn beepers, well wishers or swines i shall never know. In the face of this wind i managed to cycle a further 40 km in the space of 6 hours. Words cannot describe this really except
it made my cheeks feel a little rosy. I managed to find a DOC ( department of conservation) campsite just short of what had been my target for the day Lake Pearson. Not a bad little place really all the facilities you would expect of a wilderness campsite. One Long drop. The only problem was i had no food with me. My only thought about why this neigh on tragedy had occurred was because i just assumed there would be a shop somewhere along the way. Having looked at the map this would now seem to be wishful thinking at best but generally a little stupid.
Its amazing how much you can sleep when you have absolutely no energy. I think i managed a good 13 hours that night on and off. On and off because the winds were so powerful that night. To be fair though the warehouse European Camouflage limited edition tent stood up to be counted. If rain had been put into this equation then it could have been an entirely different story altogether. I woke up in the morning to find a Kea (exotic-ish looking bird that looks strangely out of place in NZ)
had stripped the rubber off both of my handlebars, picked apart my seat and taken off with my bungee cords. I knew it was a Kea as i had seen the it messing around with my bike just before i went to sleep and though nothing of it. At the time rather naively in retrospect i thought it was just having a little play. God knows why these things are protected by law, shoot them all. Eco systems, smeco system.
Even though i had had no food for 24 hours and and some bird had vandalized my bike and general belongings i felt quite good the next morning. I even decided to cycle past a cafe at flax mills because i was feeling so bloody good. This was partially because i wasn't feeling particularly hungry and also because i thought that stopping 2km into the day to sit down and eat was a bad idea even in my current predicament. Again the winds were hitting me on the nose at a serious rate of knots. About 10km after declining the offers of the flax mills cafe i felt like death. I literally had no energy. I had a brief
upsurge in energy levels when two magpies dive bombed me. Nothing like a mag pie attack to get the adrenalin pumping. This brief upsurge soon wore off though. Even though it was snowing/raining and the wind was in my face i just really felt like having a little doze by the side of the road. Bearing in mind the conditions this is inexplicable really. This was another day where a short distance took forever, 40km covered in 6 hours. Just in the nick of time a little cafe popped up about 10km outside Arthurs pass village, I pretty much ran up that hill. It was the best toasted sandwich,poweraide and banana cake i have ever had. I could feel it dropping into my internal inferno.
I arrived in Arthur's pass village looking like a drowned rat. I walked into the reception at the YHA and people were laughing/sympathizing with me, cant quite decide. I really didn't care as by this point it had started snowing so i was just glad to be inside. The YHA at Arthur's Pass was the perfect place to watch the horrible weather unfold. It was nice to be on the inside rather than the
outside. I spent the next day at the hostel. The weather was great but i really couldn't be bothered moving. I managed to find the book ring of bright water on the hostel book shelf which just added to my general lethargy. Sadly it was only the readers digest condensed version. Still its better than a kick in the face.
The day after started positively. It was really pissing it down but bar the 1st 10km it was mainly downhill and flat bits for a good 100km. It really didn't matter that it was raining as i have come to prefer it more than wind. However it did get to the point where it was raining so much that i had to stop off at a conveniently placed tavern in Jackson. A cup of tea took me roughly 1 hour to drink which was quite convenient really as i was able to semi dry my gear next to the big log fire. I set off from the tavern in high spirits which were to be curtailed only minutes later when my tyre split and exploded. This led to my longest spell of hitchhiking ever. I had to walk fro
35 km with my bike until someone actually picked me up! The person who did pick me up took me to Greymouth. This continued my nigh on week long trend of heading north rather than south (i am trying to get to the bottom of the south island and i have about 13 days left to do it) To be fair though by the time i got picked up it didn't really matter where i was going, Timbuktu for all i cared.
On my 5th day of cycling since leaving Christchurch i did actually manage to head south, from Greymouth to Hokitiki. The whether was perfect for this little 40 km trot down the coast. It is hard to believe that with another two days of cycling i shall once again be away from the sunny beaches and be in the land of the glaciers. Strange place New Zealand really.
Tot: 0.252s; Tpl: 0.055s; cc: 14; qc: 28; dbt: 0.0221s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb