Kiwis hate hedgehogs (not native, eat the native birds eggs), but in Jersey, we have sanctuaries for them and their cute little snuffly noses but over here they are seen as a pest and after last night where the flamin’ things were crashing into our cooking pot that we left out in the “porch” of the tent then another one trying to get in the tent, they are a bloody pest!!! James: but they’re still cute.
We slept terribly, someone – James – thought it’d be a good idea to zip the sleeping bags together so ‘it’d be warmer’ read; he’d steal all my heat then moan when he was too hot. It was fine until because we were on separate sleeping mats they parted and he was left sleeping on the ground!! Hah, karma.
Once again it was freezing when we woke up, the tent was soaking with condensation and dew, inside and out. The sun wasn’t up when we got up but we left the tent up whilst we got ready to try and let it dry out a little. Eventually the sun started drying it so we turned it and left it in the sun a little longer until we realised it was half past 9 and once again we hadn’t had the early start we planned.
We packed up and set off. It felt like we were riding with the breaks on. Our legs were tired and bums were sore. Although it was 10am it was still bitterly cold in the shade.
The first part of the day was 25k to Apiti, where we were heading to last night but gave up. There were about 4/5 valley to hill top climbs and descents to get us there. Again it was a game of, how low is your heart rate as you’re climbing 200m up, James won topping out at 114 bpm on one of the climbs.
We made it to Apiti Tavern and bumped into some locals who were already on the beers at 11am, on a Sunday. Wow.We ordered some toasties (see a continuing theme here) and some non-alcoholic drinks!
Another TA rider joined us, a GP from Christchurch who was quite enjoying his first bikepacking trip.
We jumped back on the bikes and left for Ashurst, annoyingly 35k was gravel, my favourite! We passed some escape artist bulls who were the wrong side of the fence but quite happy just chilling out eating grass.
Once again, the views were incredible, we were right in the hills with mountains in the distance and it was beautiful. Hot, but beautiful.
James was starting to struggle in the heat and ended up having some brain pains. The first real concussion symptom he has had this trip so far. Aside from not being able to think of words and being overly tired, but that stuff we just accept as part of life now.
We saw a little homemade sign for cold drinks, which is always a blessing when it’s a million degrees and we’re melting. It was being run by a retired lady called Mary from the local village who was fund raising. She also sent us down the road to the local gallery who were also fundraising for the village.
We get there and one of the volunteers in the cafe’s husband is also doing the tour and was sat down in the pub at Cadrona, he had started earlier in February. We get some lemon muffins and James has an ice cream.
Another couple come in who are from Wellington. They have come up to visit their friend who is cycling the tour as a surprise, Paula, who just so happens to be one of the two Wellington Ladies we were cycling with for the first week! She offloaded some incredible chocolate brownies to us and we set off on our merry way.
I was really starting to flag after the multiple rest stops so we head to a dairy to pick up a twix. Years ago when Jonesy and I used to go snowboarding we’d always have an emergency twix in our pocket incase we were flagging. Once again it worked it’s magic and we were good to go.
We passed more cows who were also chilling out the road side of the fence. This time there were two farmers keeping an eye on them.
We make it to Palmy and decide to quit there for the day. Although it was only 100k in, we were done. The next part was a huge hill and we just couldn’t be bothered to get that far. Home was still more than a day away so quitting here wouldn’t be too bad.
We stop at the supermarket to pick up supplies and find a motel for the night as we need to dry out the tent and wash our kit again.
James was in for a treat, the motel room was huge and bigger than our house!!
We find a proper pizza place for dinner, pack up all the kit and get everything packed up so we are ready to head off early in the morning!
The adventure continues…