Scott was super keen (as always) and he soon rounded up Andre (a fellow Brevet virgin) to join us. It also gave us the opportunity to check out one of the optional legs (as if 1100 kilometres wasn't enough!) in the Kiwi Brevet. Which was UP through the St James Cycleway ...
Leaving Christchurch early Saturday morning it was a quick drive through to Hanmer with only one coffee stop along the way, we saddled up and headed over to the bakery ... where else do you start a big ride!
With tummies full and pockets stuffed, we saddled up again and headed north over Jacks Pass, up the Clarence Valley until we got to the St James Homestead turnoff and turn off we did.
Quickly through Peters Lookout we started descending when a big pffffttttt came from my front tyre! Slowly coming to a stop, my tyre was spewing Stan's sealant at a great rate of knots ... just like Scott was descending in front of me! Andre was behind me and pulled over to help. It was obvious that a rock had sliced the side wall and we would need to put in a tube and boot on the inside of the tyre. Scott had reached the bottom of the hill and realised something was going on without him! Not one to miss out, he started back up the hill!
After five hours we stopped at the Lake Guyon turnoff in some shade and had a snack, feeling slightly refreshed we headed on up the valley and soon got to the bottom of Mailing Pass, from the bottom car park to the Pass is about 6 kilometres and climbs 810 metres. It soon ramped up and we spread out, finally all walking pushing our bikes up ... tired and hungry I was not in my happy place, in fact it was a pretty dark and deep hole! I had never been so happy to make it to a top of climb before as I was then!
The tyre wouldn't self seal! So it was a tube insertion, not too major surgery but time consuming when you are tired. Ten minutes later we were back on the road again! Again we were climbing for once I wasn't trailing, must of been the Ems Power Bar I had just consumed, holding the sausage roll fueled Andre off until 100 metres from the summit when he jumped out of my slip stream and made for the top!
Regrouping, a quick look at the map, we headed off down hill 10 kms of it ... pure bliss ... huge grins spread across our dusty and grimy faces! We were soon at Lake Sedgemere Shelter our turn off just on dusk and 2900 odd metres of climbing behind us ... What a day!
I set up my tent and tucked into dinner, it was not long before I rolled into my sleeping bag to stack plenty of ZZZZZZ's
This caught up with me a few kms later when the tank started to feel empty ... so stopping I dug out some food and feed the worms to stop them screaming! We cruised along beside the Clarence river until we got to Jollies Pass, by twelve we were back where we were 25 hours earlier ... the bakery!
The discussion was whether it was a one pie or two pie day? After 170 kilometres and 4200+ metres of climbing it seemed the most important decision to be made. These were scoffed in the shade of the trees on the lawn when the second most important question needed to be asked ... Where for coffee?
But that was side tracked when I noticed that my front tyre was flat again! So back to the van load the bikes in and a quick change into some reasonably clean clothes - coffee was back on the agenda!
A great weekend, with some interesting terrain, stunning scenery and bloody good company!
With having been away for the last two weekends and the next two on the Brevet, this one has been spent at home cleaning and sorting out gear, getting last minute items sorted, along with a few chores.
I am sure this week will go quickly and Friday evening will see me arriving in Blenhiem ready for the noon departure on Saturday. I have mixed feelings, nerves, excitement, can't wait for it to start ... which will no doubt change to can't wait for it to finish! Moments of doubt ... can I finish! Can I finish within my goals!
What ever happens it is going to be a great adventure!