Hamner Springs to Murchison 168.87km 2201 Ascent. Time 12h30. Moving Time 10:43
Today’s plan was a bodacious one. 170km. I have never ridden that far before not even on a light road bike yet alone a loaded MTB! What was I thinking when I devised this plan?
I left Hamner Springs just before 7am and all was well. A downhill to the Lewis Pass Turnoff and even that was OK, until the wind started blowing IN MY FACE. “Arrggggghhhhh,” I sobbed as I progressively moved to easier gear to easier gear. Shit I hope Andy or was it Japser didn’t hear me as they went by. From the look I received followed by kindly words of encouragement perhaps they did!
That damn Lewis Pass filled with never ending ups and downs. At around 10am I found myself taking respite in a roadside culvert and reached for my phone. No damn reception. I had a wee chat to myself and decided that singing would help me through. Fortunately or unfortunaetly I was alone so no one could hear my renditions of “I like to ride my bicycle” and “I love to ride my bicycle up Lewis Pass hills and as I go I love to sing as my cranks go round and round, va la ree va la ra…. etc etc”. That lasted for about an hour and certainly took me to a more resourceful mood.
Then I took the approach of breaking the distance down to 5km lots, then 2.5km, as each one ticked by a little celebration was had. When I reached the top of the pass , I made a very unladylike comment (not gesture). Some thing like “Duck you Lewis Pass.” For my travails I was rewarded with a fabulous flowing descent, with a quick stop at Maruia Springs for the second to last sausage roll to take away.
On past Springs Junction into the headwind looking for West Bank road. Fortunately I am a reasonably smart bear and at 2.5km noticed Blackadders Road going to the left. My Garmin said go left, my map said go left so I went left! Yes yipee more beautiful serenity.
Not long after returning to the main road, that wonderful oasis Reid’s Café appeared. It has an excellent reputation amongst Brevet riders and Brevetters. I walked in and was welcomed, they had been expecting me. Yes the fine people here followmyspot and know when we are about to arrive. No sensible Brevetter would pass this oasis by.
Refreshed and I thought reinvigorated I continued along the main road into the headwind. I was extremely slugglish, my knee and bottom was hurting and I was seriously considering whether or not I had made a sound decision to continue. After more than an hour I made the turnoff to Maruia Saddle.
I stopped for a nature break, pulled out the Ipod and commenced what was to be the most divine three hours riding with a personal concert from Bruce Springsteen. It is amazing how quickly I can change my mood, whether it was the beautiful nature, Bruce singing in my ears or something else or all three who knows. I rode up the saddle as if it was the beginning of the day.
Dean caught me up and we chatted briefly as the rain started and I put on my jacket. He continued on. Rather than dampen the spirits the rain enhanced them. Of course after the rain stopped I recevied an amazing present, a rainbow and its promise. Fortunately I was able to capture it with my camera.
Invigorated, knowing that limits exist solely for the purpose of extending them, and that a day that started so bad could end so good, I powered into Murchison at 7:15pm well before the 4Square closed with Bruce Springsteens words in my ears
“There’s a wonderful world where all you desire
And everything you’ve longed for is at your fingertips
Where the bittersweet taste of life is at your lips
Where aisles and aisles of dreams await you
And the cool promise of ecstasy fills the air
At the end of each working day she’s waiting there”
Read the next post for Day 4