Given that it was reportedly a southerly I was a bit peeved to be experiencing a bit of head wind as I headed north up the Hutt Valley, not a lot, but enough to make it less enjoyable. The first podcast I started listening to was about Bikepacking but after they mentioned people cranking out 400 mile days it kind of lost a bit of credibility with me. I hung a right early on and elected to take the hilly approach to the incline rather than the usual drawn out flat one. It had been ages since I'd gone that route. It was a welcome change. It was my first ride with my new Stealth frame bag, and I was also testing a couple of Klite
|A piece of art I created called Nexus Marshmallow|
|Approaching Cross Creek|
I came across a woman on a touring bike part way through the Incline. Her bike was fully loaded and it had taken her all day to get from Wellington to part way up the Incline.
By now I had switched to AM radio for entertainment. 567. Yes RNZ. I banzaied my way through the Incline's tunnels with my dynamo lights blazing away. When I made it to Cross Creek I was surprised that it was 6:30 and I had been riding for 2 hours 40. I guess I had been stopping a lot to take photos.
|Ruamahanga 50. 80km Time trial lives here.|
It was actually pretty cold, but more as a result of speed induced windchill into the southerly I think. I had already stopped to put on a high necked poly-prop at Cross Creek, and I still had rain pants. leggings and a rain jacket at the ready should it get nasty. In hindsight I should have thrown in my bivvy sack and sleeping bag as well, its not like they take up a lot of room, and I had plenty spare.
I stopped at the top of the hill before the descent down to the coast and texted my daughters to say I would be a bit longer than I had said.
I got to the coast and started noticing the rabbits everywhere. There is a real problem over there. Lots of young ones. A few people had already turned up to their holiday baches on the Coast and were settling in for the weekend. I'd been pedalling for around 4 hours 15 at this point.
|I see the sea.|
Even though the thick sand and lumpy scree is slow going, within a couple of hours I was at the Orongorongo end of the trail. Part way along the coast I had got a few texts from the kids when I surprisingly ran into some cell coverage. I had set up my phone with the "Wheres my droid" app.
So now I was at the Orongorongo farm, and out of cell coverage again. I decided against doing the proper Big Coast course, over the hill and around to Pencarrow, as it was already late, and so with a slight tailwind I got down on the aero-bars again and motored along, destination Wainuiomata. That stretch bores me to tears, but I had to keep alert, as on 4 separate occasions I was attacked by marsupial suicide attack team of possums who shot out from the side of the road and nearly took me down. Maybe my dynamo light was attracting them. They seem to be inherently more stupid than a rabbit as far as road sense goes and their bow-legged gait has got to be more useful for scaling and decimating native trees trees than negotiating 3/4 chip at speed.
I called in at the first gas station at Wainuiomata and squaffed a coke and a hot coffee. I felt like a strange alien impostor as I witnessed the banter between the locals and the staff. I most likely looked like an alien with my thousand yard stare and flashing gizmos on my lid. "Take me to your barista!" I had probably already eaten about 5 muesli bars from the expired stash recently inherited from my work and less than 2 bottles of water and electrolyte drink at that point.
I got a text from Ash to say she had cooked me a nice tea for when I got home. With my caffeine levels topped up I scaled the Wainui Hill and opted for the trail down the other side rather than push my luck with local Friday night bogans on the road proper. I have to say everyone was on their best behaviour that night. The Coast road can be a scary place on the wrong day.
|Petone foreshore with the lights of Wellington in the distance|
An hour later at 12.00 on the dot I staggered down the stairs and knocked back the delightful meal I found waiting for me. Thanks Ash! 8 1/2 hours after I had left work I was home. 148kms under the belt and some lovely terrain covered and gear tested. My legs felt great on my final climb up the Brooklyn Hill and I had no significant gear issues. My shorts were mint. No chafing anywhere.
The plastic fantastic did the job. But do I want to ride it for up to twice that amount of kms a day in the upcoming TA ? Maybe my next big coast will be on the Karate Monkey again....
|Plastic fantastic vs steel is real....|
|How google earth sees it.|
All images from Nexus 5, running Android Marshmallow