My first ride out of the eleven I have planned for New Zealand. I’m currently doing the Mount Everest challenge, where I aim to climb 8848m in June and it looks like I’m on track.
I followed the Rimutaka Trail from Kaitoke to the intersection of Cross Creek and Featherston Creek, and it was a lot more challenging than I had expected (although I should have probably guessed from the squiggliness of the lines). After Summit Tunnel, my hybrid bike didn’t really cut it any more, so I had to walk on parts of it. I probably looked really casual walking my bike as mountain bikers zoomed past. I may as well have been walking a poodle… But my guns did get a work out, hauling my bike and panniers up and down steep tracks, including a gully.
After two hours or so of beautiful surrounds, I was beginning to miss the luxury of sealed road. I eventually made it back to the road, but I was extremely behind schedule, with 50km to go and around two hours until sunset. But at least I had made it out of the “wilderness” in time. The next stop was Featherston, for some well needed refueling.
As requested, I’ve included a picture of exhausted and carb-deprived Jenny. This was taken by some cheeky kids in Featherston, about 40km from my Masterton. I may have ruined the photo by smiling and looking too happy, but keep in mind that I had just purchased a pile of treats. The One Square Meal was recommended to me by Conrad (my friend who I met in Tonga, who is also in my first post) and it’s big in NZ but never really took off in Australia. It tasted alright, but a word of warning though, they’re really dense, so I only ate one and had to save my chocolate bar for another day.
In Carterton (16km away from Masterton) I lost my race against the sun, as it set behind the mountains. I put my lights on and kept going anyway, trying to ignore all the urban legends I’ve heard about backpackers, hitchhikers or anything else remotely scary. I was thankful when I made it to Masterton, I had a mild tailwind and the super smooth cycle lane took me all the way to my hostel in a the cruisiest way possible.