Plans or friends, not really a choice… friends!
So I was not blown away in the camp but the long term effect of the long and difficult ride was to manifest itself in generalised weakness and extreme need of food. After getting up and scoffing a protein rich nut bar I knew the only answer to the problem was a long pit stop at a caffe and a suitably offensive amount of food.
That’s me on the road with little or no wind, for a change, and not much other than these two beauties below to take pictures of.
The route all in all was not going to be long, 26 miles from the lake to Masterton where I would meet Liz, Stu and Nicole that I had not seen for more than 16 years.
The plan was to stop, chat, have lunch with them and then in the afternoon cycle onto Eketahuna for the night.
First things first though, breakfast. I initially was going to go and have breakfast in Featherston but as I realised that would require a small detour I opted for stopping in Greytown, some 8 miles down the road. They were very long 8 miles but I made it and the reward was not only a nice brekky but also meeting some very nice people.
While I was waining for my flat white and food, chewing on the cookie I had bought as an emergency stopgap, a young girl, mid twenties I’d say, sat down and started to ask me questions about the trip. It turns out she was an enthusiast cyclist and had abbandoned her boyfriend in the coffee place to come and talk to me. We talked a bit about all sorts ad the boyfriend, a really nice guy, kept her stocked with food and drinks. While we were talking we I also got complemented by a kiwi whose father, he was English, had done the round trip in New Zealand with a Union Jack.
Girls left and breakfast finished I was back on the road and, rejuvenated by the food I quickly got to Masterton and the Masterson.
I was planning to leave in the afternoon but I was easy prey for the enticing smiles of Liz, Nicole and Stu to get me to ditch my plans and spend the night with them.
Last time I met Stu and Nicole we had a great and heavy night out in which limoncello beer and Guns’n Roses music melt into a hangover generating mix. Last night was a lot more sober and Stu cooked an amazing steak which coupled with Liz quinoa salad and Nicole’s potatoes made the meal as good as the company.
We did not stay up late, both cyclists and parents of three need their beauty sleep.
This morning I was not planning to do that much other than potter around and enjoy their company till the afternoon departure, but Stu had different ideas. He is a member of the local aviation club and he took me for a flight with their new ultralight.
I had never been on a plane this small and it was rather exciting, we did not go as far has Stu had intended as the wind was picking up when we were just about to depart and safety is always the first concern when up in the sky.
Nonetheless it was great to go around a bit and experience both take off and an impeccable landing.
The idea was to get to the cost and to fly a bit up and down it but it did not quite work so the next best thing was to drive there. We went home we got Liz, Imogen and Otto and went to Castlepoint to for lunch.
We had fush and chops on the seafront and then we returned to Masterton where I had to get ready to set sail. they offered both to have me over for more and to take me with the bike to Eketahuna by car but I was strong and I decided to ride.
It would have been easy to stay longer, hell, it would be easy to move in with them, they are extraordinary people and I do not think I have met them once in my life without being completely astonished by their hospitality and friendliness, but the easy path is not always the right one.
For that reason I started what was going to be a bit of a trial that included wind rin and mountains but that eventually lead me to a nice camp site where I’m going to spend the night.
The road between Masterton and Eketahuna was less than exciting and once I passed the river in the picture below it started to rain too. I had been looking at the rain close to the mountains for a while but I guess when I got to the mountin it was inevitble.
Nonetheless, in just over 2 hours I got to the camp, tomorrow the weather should clear and I have two 50 something stages to get to Napier where I have an hostel and two days of rest waiting for me.