Monday, December 27, 2004

Kaukapakapa to Wellsford

Getting going

In the morning I wanted to get going, but neither the custodian nor the owners were anywhere to be seen, so I loaded up the bike and sat down to have a cigarette and a coffee. While I was doing that the owner turned up and I was able to settle my bill.

The muscles are a bit sore, but soon loosened up.

Nightmare on wheels

Ourshop describes the road to Wellsford as "Wellsford, Provincial Highway 16 meanders its way to Helensville." and helpfully adds "Watch out for the logging trucks using this stretch of road." Add monster hills and killer heat to that description and it's pretty good. Yesterday was overcast and while cycling could never be described as a pleasure at my level of fitness, at least it wasn't too bad. Today I was bleeding sweat and needed lots of breaks, but I decided that even when I needed an extra break I'd keep going. 5 km per hour isn't getting me anywhere fast, but at least it's getting me somewhere. Rabbit, tortoise, that kind of thing. About the 5th time I saw her, a policewoman that had been patrolling the road stopped her car and asked me if I was OK. I assured her I was & had plenty of water. I think she was afraid I was near to collapse.

On the other hand, I did allow myself my scheduled breaks. Originally the idea was ride for 90 minutes and then rest for 10. I decided that this was too much, so revised it to ride / walk for 60 minutes then rest for 20, but every time I was due for a rest I kept going until I found a place with shade and somewhere to sit or lie, so probably closer to 70 minutes.

About half an hour out of Wellsford a very nice young lady in the front paddock of her farm said she'd seen me coming in the distance and that I looked completely knackered. She asked if I'd like a dip in their pool. I would have loved to, but as I said to her, if I stopped I didn't think I'd have the strength to get going again. And so I got to Wellsford, turned left to get onto State Highway 1 and headed north. Wellsford is built on a hill and at the top of the hill I looked out over the countryside and decided that although it was only 3 PM I really didn't want to go any further today. There was accommodation up that end of town, but I thought about a tidy little motel I'd see at the end of highway 16, so I turned around and went back.


This was the right move. I was in a reasonably modern motel, with friendly host and after a swim in their pool and a hot shower I walked down to the shops for some fruit for tomorrow, then to the local bistro bar for a take-away pizza.

Again I slept well

Sunday, December 26, 2004

It seemed like a good idea

Editorial note: This posting and the next few days are a reconstruction after the event, I had no net access during this time.

I Really don't want to do this

It all seemed so simple when I went to bed last night. The bike was all loaded, all I had to do was take the drink bottles out of the freezer, put them in the panniers; take the unfrozen bottle out of the fridge and put it on the drink clip then leave.

The reality was different. I kept finding all types of things that I "must do before leaving". I'm planning to ride 120 km, when the longest strip I've ever done before is 30 km, and that only a few times while I was seeing Maria.

Eventually at around 11 AM I decided it was now or never; so it was on the bike, out the driveway and up to the end of the street. Up to now I hadn't made up my mind whoever to take the shorter, but busier State Highway 1 route, or highway 16. I now needed to turn either left or right. I stopped and thought. Eventually I turned left. Still not completely committed, but I was now heading towards highway 16.

Moving Backwards

Before setting out I'd found a list of NZ waypoints including Uretiti at Uniquely NZ. I had set my GPS to Uretiti and as I cycled along it was telling me something I already knew intellectually; I was actually getting further away from my target. The psychological impact of seeing this while on a ride that was to be 4 times as long as my previous longest was pretty devastating.

So it was down Balmoral Rd to Great North Rd, then to Point Chevalier and up the cycle way alongside the motorway. I had my first ride at Henderson and pumped my tyres up as hard as I could. Then after 10 minutes I was moving again. Lunch was chicken and chips from the fish and chip shop in Kumeu and back on the road again. By now the kilometres on the GPS were ticking down and I just kept riding along. Another brief break at Helensville and back on the road again.

Night 1 Kaukapakapa

Around 5 PM I rode into Kaukapakapa, pretty exhausted, so I decided I needed to find a place to sleep soon. The only place to sleep there seems to be the local pub. Problem, there was a sign on the door saying they were closed for the public holidays! I wandered around the back and found the live-in custodian. She confirmed that they were closed, but seeing how tired I was took pity on me and opened a room for me. "I'll let the owner know and you can pay in the morning" she said. How trusting. The room was basic and dinner was a couple of pies & sandwiches from the Caltex station, but it was all I needed. Sleep came easily.