Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Day 3 - Kiwi Brevet - Sheffield to Blackball

8am to 9pm, 210 kms
Alex adds some air
Day 3 (around 210 kms)  from Sheffield to Blackball was hopefully going to be a bit easier, given that most of it was on sealed roads. We decamped from our pine needled paradise and headed out for Springfield in search of pies.The food at the Springfield Cafe is always good, and there weren't so many of us that the staff were completely overwhelmed as we experienced on the last KB. Luckily we all remembered what we ordered and then shot next door for more provisions for the road. As we were about to leave Jonty asked if I would share my "Sour Snakes" with him. I meanly replied that he could only have one, so he decided to go and buy his own. We said we would carry on slowly and he could catch up. 5 mins later there was no sign of Jonty so we decided to carry on. The road was fast and at some point we started on the Porters Pass. This was a pretty steep climb for the tarseal and I think we took the time to stop a few times to air up my leaking rear tire and oil Andy's chain. It was spitting lightly so the steep descent was a bit scary for us guys with glasses on who were experiencing about 10 metres visibility. After the rain cleared and we picked up our usual tail wind some time later we stopped for a snack at the top of a big climb.

Cleetus arrives
Matt appeared over the horizon and hot on his tail was Jonty ! Up until  that point we didn't know if Jonty was in front or behind us. It turned out that I had bought the last packed of Sour Snakes in the shop, and Jonty had turned the wrong way for a while and was headed to Christchurch!  Luckily he ran into an old buddy of his who confirmed his error. Its a small world. It was nice travelling across the divide, but the descent down the Otira Gorge reminded me why I bonked when doing the KB from the other direction. It was bloody steep, especially on a rear tire that has been leaking a bit of air.

Retro jacket moment
Eventually we hit Arthurs Pass and indulged in some over priced pies, chips, chocolate milks and the usual confectionery. We were half expecting to catch up to Nathan Mawkes who we had been leap frogging pretty much from day 1. Nathan tended to ride a bit slower and take a few more rests. No sign of Nathan although we met Mark Watson whose partner Hanna was doing the event, and we also met Ollies girlfriend. We were approached by a lot of people who were interested in what we were doing which was cool.
Before long we were on the road again and heading for Jacksons.

Sons of Anarchy- Season 2
We managed to snag some junk food there and were pleased to hang a right and hit some less frequented roads. Apparently this move eluded Thomas Lindup some many hours earlier and he had ended up riding to Kumara and back ! The roads in this area were smooth and fast. Even the gravel was nice when we got to it. The best time of the day to be riding is the evening, but we enjoyed our relatively early finish at Blackball at around 9pm. It seemed like everyone was there. Dave Sharpe and the single speeders, Nathan, even Thomas in his bright yellow puffer jacket, looking like a demented Big Bird - apparently bivvying in a hedge somewhere since the room rates had gone up since our previous stay.

Somewhere out the back of Moana
Although the kitchen was closed at the Blackball Hilton the chef whipped us up some very nice sandwiches, and even managed to build one acceptable to our resident vegan who was doing way better with his eating than on the previous Brevet. A beer and raspberry and coke later and it was time to wash our spare shorts and prepare for the next day. Unbeknown to me poor Andy was up all night with a bad belly. Was it the chicken pie or a hard day ? We never knew, but Andy stayed on the next day until he started to feel a bit better.