Sunday 26 February 2017

Another Overnight Adventure

I have a list, a list of all those little things that will make a huge difference on my bike tour. Things that will make living out of two pannier bags and and a one woman tent for 7 weeks a bit easier. The major items like a tent have already been crossed off the list, but all the smaller things were still there. So on Friday off I went to Dunedin and shopped for some of those small, but oh so important items like a good inflatable pillow, cooking pot and a Spork!

Mark has now fulfilled his quest of finding me the superior Spork. This bad boy is pure aircraft grade titanium and features 3 razor sharp prongs combined with a generously proportioned spoon feature, and the technical among you will note the space saving foldaway handle!!!!
So now I have all I need, it was time for another overnight trip. This time I decided to head up the Central Otago Rail Trail and ride to Oturehua, a 139 km (86 miles) round trip. It was a perfect day for riding.

Poolburn Tunnels. Beautiful tunnels and all dug out with pick axes!

Made it to my destination with no rain despite the dark sky...the Crows Nest Backpackers at Oturehua. This is a really funky place to stay...I loved it. Its quirky in a really good way.

So I pitched my tent in slight drizzly rain, had a shower (the showers here are REALLY good) and parked up on the verandah with a glass of  wine, yes I carried a small bottle of merlot with me, and watched the sun set over the Hawkdun Range as the rain started to come down and beat a rhythm on the tin roof.. I think bike touring is about the simple pleasures of life.

It was a very rainy night but my tent performed well and I was so cosy inside. Trying to stay dry in a downpour, with only a small one woman tent to manoeuvre around in is an art, but I didn't do too badly and nothing got wet. I also discovered the joys of packing up in the morning with a very wet tent in the drizzling rain.

 But thankfully the rain didn't hang around and it was another perfect riding day.

A slight detour to the historic Hayes Engineering Works, then back onto the trail.

Mark drove up to meet me for lunch, so we went to the only cafe in the very small town of Lauder...Stationside Cafe. This is a really good cafe, I mean REALLY good...the food was so delicious and it was such a surprise to find out it was run by Shirley Vette, who was a regular to my studio many years ago.

As tempting as it was to put Birdy in the back of Marks truck and not ride the remaining 44 kms (27 miles), I waved him goodbye and set off again in gorgeous sunshine.

After riding through Central Otago landscape of schist rock and tussock, it was nice to see some greenery again as I got closer to Clyde.

It was a great weekend away, I loved seeing the world from Birdy and she performed admirably. As for me...I'm feeling good about my overall bike fitness and stamina, and with that comes a lot more confidence about my bike tour.

Also the realization how much absolute enjoyment I get being self reliant with Birdy, and just riding!

"And as far as I can see the world is too old for us to talk about it with our new words - We will pass just as quietly through life (passing through, passing through) as the 10th century people of this valley only with a little more noise and a few bridges and dams and bombs that wont even last a million years."
                                                   Jack Kerouac
                                         Big Sur

Monday 13 February 2017

I'm not nervous....really I'm not!

I have started counting down until I go on my tour....just over 3 months until I leave. The training is going well and I am happy where my fitness is at the moment. The nerves are starting to creep in though. I'm not frightened at all, more like a scared excited feeling about what I am undertaking....7 weeks on the road, biking 2000 kms, camping and all on my own. I know I will meet other cyclists, see amazing scenery and have a wonderful adventure, but I also know there will be some hard riding days and some days when I feel lonely and all I want to see is a familiar face.

I'm not sure if reading posts from my various bike touring facebook groups is a good thing or a bad thing. Sometimes after reading posts, I feel so under prepared for this but I think my mindset is more with the people who say "just get out there and do it!"
Part of the attraction of this sort of trip is not too much planning...yes I know where I am going and what I need to take and that's about it. I worked out a very rough idea of how many km's day, so I knew how long I would need to be away for, but the idea of no timetable and taking each day as it comes is part of the appeal. I'm not very good at being organized by others, I like to do my own haphazard organizing.

The other thing that is slightly freaking me out is looking at google maps streetview and thinking I am going to be cycling along this very road and camping right in this camp ground!! Not sure if looking at that is helping or making me more nervous. But plenty of people have done the ride I'm doing, camped where I am's only new and adventurous in my mind.

So the training's some photos of the last long ride I did. Four long steep climbs but nice downhills too, nearly all the way to Lake Mahinerangi then back via Waitahuna. A very challenging ride but fun.

Bungtown Woolshed

Can just see the road I came down way off in the distance.

Last big climb..hopefully!

Perfect lunchtime view

Birdy looking splendid!

Some old gold mining machinery

" There will be a few times in your life when all your instincts tell you to do something, something that defies logic, upsets your plans and may seem crazy to others. When that happens, you do it. Listen to your instincts and ignore everything else. Ignore logic, ignore the odds, ignore the complications, and just go for it."
                                                             Judith McNaught