Tapawera to Havelock (via Mangatapu Track) – 134.90km 1937 Ascent. Time 10h09m. Moving Time 8h58min
At 5:41am I rolled out of the campground and started riding in the dark. I was feeling real good, probably the best I had all week. My bottom was not that sore (obviously the tricks worked). Soon I was riding up a beautiful country back road as the sun lit the sky. Down the other side then a steady false flat, with some hills to Wakefield. I noticed a slightly deflating feeling in my rear tyre. Sure enough it was leaking air. I stopped in Wakefield with Andy Beale, who ate a meat pie as I started to put more sealant into my tyre and inflate it. Andy was on a mission to make Blenheim that night (he was one of those awesome Brevet riders) so he headed off.
I continued on the Great Taste Trail and was delighted to see it being well used by the retirees. I stopped and chatted to two ladies and on explaining what I was doing they immediatiately said “Oh we know people doing that.” In New Zealand there is only one degree of separation.
With my tyre still losing air, I decided to call into a bike shop in Nelson. I had a spare tube but did not want to ride the remainder with no spare. I rode my bike into the shop (literally), explained I was riding the Kiwi Brevet their response “We had the leader in here yesterday.” This confused me because I thought he had already finished. While I headed to the nearby café they quickly put a tube in and made a few other tweaks. I was then off to the Maungatapu Track.
I have ridden this before, so I knew what to expect. The nasty climb (walk) before the track proper. Then the track itself. It was steeper than I remembered. “Time to call on the Boss,” I declared to myself. The IPod came out for yet another Springsteen Concert, hoping that “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back,” wasn’t going to be in the repertoire. It took me over two and a half hours to walk to the top, yet there was no thought, no internal dialogue, just me, my bike and Bruce slowly making our way up.
On reaching the top, I took photos from the same position as before (different bike). Again glorious views out to Tasman Bay.
Last time I had ridden all the way down. The track was rougher than I remember with some nasty stone sections. So I walked a couple of those, mostly I rode. I observed that when riding by myself I was riding more conservatively taking less risks, simply an observation.
When I came out of the track I saw the Outward Bound bus, causing me to reminiss about my time at Anakiwa 24 years ago. Soon the Outward Bounders appeared running down the road. I threw words of encouragement their way. The ones I was most impressed with were those of less athletic build, they had moved themselves well outside their comfort zone and were taking on the challenge, those at the back had huge grins on their faces and so they should.
In my day the Outward Bound slogan was “A Lifetime Experience” meaning that we would take the lessons learnt and apply them throughout our lives. The ability to overcome advertsity and the confidence that bestows is a key lesson learnt at Outward Bound. I was delighted to see this lesson still being taught.
The road to Pelorus was as long as I remembered and I rolled into the café just on 5pm. “Ice-cream ?” the shopkeeper asked. I nodded in reply. “Coke?” I nodded to that too. Obviously a number of Brevet riders and Brevetters had passed this way.
I was soon joined by James and Oli, who had followed my tracks all day. Having left Tapawera at a more leisurely hour of 7am. We chatted and ate. I asked if they were the ones who arrived at the campground late the night before and they confirmed it was them. We then then headed on our ways. Picton for them and, Havelock for me.
I was feeling pretty tired by the time I rolled into Havelock, got food, washed my clothes then wandered around the backpackers in my night dress (I have no shame and this far into the Brevette comfort overruled vanity).
I was feeling pretty good about my day and decided to ring Silas anyway.
“Hey Nicki, How’s it going?” Silas answered my call
“Yeah good. Hey how did your boy get on (referring to Greg Galway)?” I responded
“Awesome”, Silas enthused. “He’s finished and I’ve just been talking to him. He came in fourth and is stoked, it’s amazing and it’s his first attempt,” Silas said sounding just as stoked himself.
“Yeah, that’s bloody impressive,” I commented
“Anyway, how was your day?” Silas changed the topic
A relatively short conversation ensued, with advice given as to when to start on the rocket fuel the next day
Read the next post for the final day