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Published: February 26th 2018
Day 1: Cape Reinga to Ahipara, 103km. Showpony and the Donkey spent the day on the beach.
Showpony and the Donkey got up at the crack of dawn and boarded the dreaded bus one more time to cover the final 20km to the Cape. Cape Reinga is a sacred place where the spirits of the dead leave Aotearoa for the afterlife. The Donkey tried to get his head around the idea and looked up at the sky but saw no flying spirits. Showpony explained to the Donkey that they are invisible. That explanation pleased the Donkey and he was certain that he could feel the presence of the spirits but was happy that he could not see them but just imagine them. The Donkey often contemplated death and he liked the idea of his spirit going to some place with juicy grass and where you do not have to work and where you meet up with old friends who were already there.
Besides all that the Donkey was overawed by the beauty of the place with steep cliffs and dramatic landscapes including sand dunes higher than the Sky Tower in Auckland, or at least nearly as high. It is
the place were two seas meet, the Tasman sea and the Pacific Ocean and the Donkey could see the ripples and waves indicating the place were the two seas touched. The two friends had their photo taken at the lighthouse before the official Maori send-off and prayer by Ihirangi Heke,. The Donkey liked the name of the Maori but it was rather a mouthful so he called him Heke. Heke was doing the the tour as well. The Donkey told Heke that the first rider, who started three weeks earlier, had done the whole trip in just over 10 days to which Heke answered 'why the hurry'. The Donkey thought about Heke's comment and it made sense. The Donkey liked the Maori’s and their culture. Their philosophy of sharing and guarding the land, rather than owning it, was a nice contrast against the greed and competition of the western culture the Maoris have been forced to adopt. Showpony and the Donkey were planning to do the tour in 27 days.
Both Showpony and the Donkey were happy as they were finally on their way and as a bonus they were served up fantastic weather with blue skies and a
gentle tailwind called Tailwind. They had named their bikes Scott and Spot, the reason for that was that the names were already written on the bikes so it made sense. Scott and Spot got to know each other well on the trips to Akaroa and had become good friends, like their masters.
The Cape Lighthouse is situated high above the sea and to get down to the beach there is a long stretch of mainly downhill road. The Donkey carried a heavy load but the advantage of that was that he was by far the fastest on the downhills as the heavier you are, the faster you go down a hill, without having to do any work for it. The Donkey passed a lot of animals that way and with the wind blowing in his manes he felt exhilarated with the speed, as much as donkeys can feel exhilarated. He did not celebrate too much as he knew that there was a price to pay and, indeed when it came to the uphill sections he was left well behind. Soon the field of about 60 riders became spread out into small groups and single riders.
After an hour
or so Showpony and the Donkey reached Ninety Mile Beach but not before having to ride down Te Paki stream, which runs towards the sea. They got their hoofs wet which they did not like but Scott and Spot were worse off, they got soaked and had sand all through their chains, bottom brackets and derailleurs. They took a quick shower with clean river water when they reached the beach.
The beach is called Ninety Mile Beach because it is a very long beach, the longest in New Zealand and Showpony and the Donkey had to ride all the way to the end. Truth be told ninety mile beach is actually 'only' 88km long and not ninety miles as the name suggests. Tailwind helped them for the first few hours and they made good progress. They enjoyed themselves and exchanged stories about the time they were growing up. But after a few hours the wind changed and became a headwind, called Headwind, and they had enough of the sand, the sea and the sun burning on their backs, necks and legs. But they slogged it out and arrived at their destination at exactly 5 p.m. with an average speed
off 15 km/hr according to Showpony's GPS, not bad going for a show pony and a donkey.
Tot: 0.041s; Tpl: 0.017s; cc: 12; qc: 24; dbt: 0.0072s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.2mb