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Published: April 2nd 2023
Day 5 and 6 of the Alps to Ocean and the art of river crossings….
It is now the end of Day 5, and with only 61km to push tomorrow to the South Pacific Ocean, I am beginning to think we might make it! It's been another long day and the first time we have had to cycle through rivers. I had never really acknowledged that this might be a “thing”....i.e. a real thing that we might be expected to do. But there was the river and we were on the wrong side. Pete reckoned (for the very first time in his life) that slow and steady was the answer...low gear, moderate pedalling with a burst at the end to get you up the bank. We debated the option of hurling ourselves down the bank at top speed and trying to get airborn before hitting the water but there were so many rocks in the way that our top speed would have been very slow.
So, slow and steady it was. Not too slow of course or the river would have just pushed us over in a wobbling heap. The water was murky so you couldn’t see the bottom
so you just had to hope that there wasn't a chasm waiting to eat you. And we were over! Soaking feet as the pedals were below the water but otherwise unscathed. The more often we did it the cockier we got and our socks and shoes are currently drying in the evening sun. Another new hobby discovered in New Zealand!
The weather forecast for tomorrow is surprising. ….snow between 0700hrs and 1000hrs and a temperature of 4 degrees! Yikes!! We are meant to be in Oamaru, 61km away by 2.30pm and we are averaging 9km an hour with stops so it should take just shy of 7 hours. So we need to leave by 0730 in the morning. Yikes again!! We have decided that if it is snowing at 0700hrs when we have breakfast we will bin it and try and arrange for the bikes to be collected from our B & B. Our lovely hosts agree that this is a sensible plan. Day 6
So….it was not snowing at 0700hrs although it was snowing further up the mountains and it was freezing all day. We had no real option but to get going and hope for
the best. 2 massive (my term not Pete’s) hills along the way slowed us down (but warmed us up) and we ended up screaming into Oamaru with 30 minutes to spare but having had NO LUNCH. As we came down into town it started to rain and then hail and the South Pacific Ocean was definitely not looking how we had always imagined it to look.
Having been brought up by parents who were fans of the show “South Pacific”, I had always had a clear idea of how the South Pacific coast would look if I ever got there. Palm trees, girls in floaty dresses singing and offering visitors a flower garland, cocktails and very handsome men dressed in white trousers and cream linen jackets. Let me tell you that this is deffo NOT the truth. Bobble hats, waterproof trousers and a rather depressed air pervaded the end of the Alps to Ocean bike ride. We were itching to bin our bikes and jump in a hot bath…..and that is exactly what we did, once we had celebrated with hot coffee and wonderful dough balls with chocolate sauce and cream, watching the hailstones bounce off the South Pacific ocean. So fancy!
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