Tour Aotearoa : Day 1

We were rudely awoken at 3am by pouring rain. We’d decided to sleep with the tent door open because it was just so hot.

Due to the set up of the campsite and old people being incapable of using torches to shine where they were going and rather nose into other peoples tents, I’m not sure it was the best idea. Every time anyone walked past we had a full of torch attack!

Eventually we got back to sleep and the alarm went off at 4.30. Yuck. Everything was wet. Even the stuff inside the tent.

We packed everything up, and cycled on up the gravel hill, which yesterday when cycling down thought was going to be hellish. Thankfully it was crazy foggy so you couldn’t see more than 5m in front of you so didn’t know where the next corner was or how steep it was going to get.

We arrived at the Cape at 6am, ready to pick up our SPOT tracker. (If you click on the ‘where are we now’ bit on the home menu it’ll take you to the link)

We hadn’t had breakfast, and had planned to have it at the top. Only problem was when we were cycling up the hill I remembered that Cape Reinga is a sacred place for Maori and it’s disrespectful to eat there. So we had to cycle down the road and find a spot for some food.

After sneakily “going to find a bin” I blew up a birthday balloon for James, as that was going to be all the birthday treats he got today. As Nigel our new friend from Barrier-Air-gate reminded me later on, I should have at least got a candle!!

Eventually 8am rolled around and it was a bit of a non-start. A few people who were super keen to race zoomed off otherwise people just set off on their own leisurely pace.

We had cycled the road in the day before so knew what hills were coming, thankfully they didn’t seem so bad on fresh legs as they did after 70km of hills and heat.

We turned off and head down a farm trail eventually ending up in some sand dunes. Apparently the years of practice cycling through Ouaisne common wasn’t enough and I promptly wobbled and fell off, covering EVERYTHING in sand. Great.

We got to the beach, it was foggy and no tail wind as we were promised. Eventually it got to 11am and we were bored, tired and hungry. We stopped for some freeze dried pasta and shared a cup of tea. Already it was grim. Stupidly I looked at google maps which told me we were only about 1/3 of the way, that was tough mentally because I was already over it.

We carried on and on and on. It just got tougher and tougher. The wind turned into a strong head wind, and just got sand blasted. I ended up crying 3 times, like proper ugly crying because I was just so done. Never have I had to dig so deep to get through.

You put your head down and cycle wait until the garmin says 10k done and look up, the end was no clearer. We even demolished the emergency stash of Percy pigs. Shit got real.

Finally, we made it off the beach, and the campsite was only 1k away. We got there at 4pm and had said if we get there early enough we’d continue further. There was nothing left in the tank to go anywhere.

We got to the campsite reception and bumped into Ann again, the older lady cycling to Wellington. She told us tails that sounded even worse than our day had been.

In the evening after drying out all our kit, we sat and had dinner, this time with Frank, the American guy riding on his $500 bike just living the dream and Nigel, our barrier air buddy. Fish and chips was in order and $50 on just shit food from the dairy.

With a comfy bed, clean dry kit, tomorrow will be a better day.

The adventure continues….

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