At the bottom of the pannier I found an unused set of legs.
Eary wake up this morning. Last night change of plan costed me a deficit of 6 miles not done and 2 added as the DOC site was off route. this meant that the punishing schedule for today had just become uber-punishing.
Let me tell you why I’m doing this to myself, given that I have many months in front of me. A friend of mine, my ex boss actually, is coming to New Zealand with his wife on holiday for three weeks. He willbe in Wellington until Saturday, the day I was going to get there. By stepping up a gear I have now eaten away one day and I should get to Wellington on Friday, and this gives us more option for spending some time together over a bottle of wine or three.
Back to today then, funnily enough shortly after I took these shots coming out of the tucked away DOC Campsite I lost myself thinking about how Roger and his wife who are now in the air, presumably somewhere over the India Ocean, are traveling in a minute roughly what I travel by bike in an hour, well, 50 minutes maybe.
Incidentally for those who did not know and have not figured out yet, DOC stands for Department of Conservation, a branch of the kiwi administration.
It was a jolly thing that I went to the site too, as I stopped to have breakfast where I had plan to stop and sleep. It turns out it was a bit of a desolate place with addition of a road working crew. To be fair it was only advertised as a stopping point for campervans.
It was mile 16 before the road stopped climbing and In those miles I consumed all the water I had and I was even forced to break the DOC guideline by refilling one of my bottles in a stream coming down from the Tongariro. they say you should boil all water but I managed to fill the bottle from the centre of the stream where the water flew very fast so I think I’lll be fine.
I was unfortunate with the weather from the picture taking point of view as both the mountain gods were covered. I suspect you’ll survive the deprivation of these two clear pictures as the web is full of pictures of this mountain chain so if you feel strongly about it….
The later part of the Desert Road is actually quite desertic, not so much due to the lack of water as there is plenty of it at times and it also gets closed due to snow, but due to the feeling of loneliness you feel when you’re in a baron landscape with not many people about around you.
I did make it to the top however and it took me no time from there to get into Waiouru where I had a full size Subway sandwich, drunk a Fanta, refilled the two bottles and, for good measure, bought an additional litre of water. This was now mile 32 and therefore not even half way of what I had to do.
Fortunately the pace improved after lunch and I passed from a 6.8 MpH at the top of the Desert Road to finishing the day on 11.2 MpH.
I know this is a bit of a digression and might be also a lot to ask, but, if there are people out there with road building experience, could you tell me what these are? They are at the side of the road at no discernable pattern of interval, they just stick out.
Back to the trip now and , I have discovered, in New Zealand the moment you leave a main road the terrain becomes extreme. What I mean by extreme is that what looks on the map as flat is infact a succession of steep short descents and steep short ascents. This is rather tiring and is what was kept for me in the last 18 miles of the day.
Just a stone thrown from the YMCA Camp I’m staying at tonight there are Ruakawa Falls which I stopped to photograph more as an excuse for a pause than out of awe for their magnificence.
What was awesome however is the panorama I put at the top of the post that was also taken in a pause induced by the incessant up and down of the last 18 miles. It looked beautiful and felt like the Riders of Rohan were going to come galloping down the fields at any time.