The alarms went off at 5am, however after waking up at 2:08 thinking it was the morning I didn’t know what was going on. We had planned last night to be up and out the door by 6am, and not have another 10am start!
After force-feeding ourselves porridge and a cup of tea we were ready to go.
The route took us straight out of the City, and the sun was just rising as we left. It looked beautiful.
We passed through the white fences of suburbia and back onto the highway we had just left. One noticeable thing from this tour is there are a lot of more direct routes, but we are kept off the main roads as much as possible. The route took us up a crazy climb which the book warned had no hard shoulder for us to ride on and was full of heavy trucks making it quite unsafe. We start the climb to see roadworks, the stop/go sign man waved us through and said we could continue if we stuck to the left side, the closed side of the road. So where we were expecting to have no hard shoulder, we ended up having half the road to ourselves! Perfect!
Eventually we made it to Pahiatua, and stopped to look for a cafe as after 40k we were hungry, again. We quickly ate and set off again.
James cycled a little ahead of me, when I got to him I asked if two young guys/kids had yelled at him as they had done me when I cycled past. He said yeah, I think they said “wake up”. Pause. “Oh, maybe it was wanker”. What lovely kids!!! James: you know they weren’t kids they were grown ass men
Soon enough we were back on to gravel roads and heading through the countryside, and made it to Eketahuna. What I didn’t realise until we got there was we had been there a month ago when mum and dad were over and had stopped in a cafe for lunch!
With the plan for the day of not wasting 2 hours stopping, we gobbled down some sandwiches and jumped back on the bikes.
We were back in farming territory, we cycled past a huge field of cows, mostly Jerseys who were very inquisitive so we stopped to have a picture. Then the farmer pulled up on a quad to check we were ok as we must’ve looked lost. Her face when I said “no we are ok thanks, just having a picture with your cows” was a picture. Bloody grockles!!
We cycled past a place selling strawberries. After 2 weeks of eating carbs and not enough fruit and veg it’s all I wanted. A big punnet of strawberries, but no, they only did a huge one which was far too much for me to eat alone so I had to settle for raspberries instead. I had a little giggle about how much I am like my Mother. She would have asked to stop too, and my poor dad would have obliged, just like James did!
We made it to Masterton which was about 100k in for that day, it’s incredible what you can achieve when you wake up and get up at a reasonable hour. We stopped in a cafe for some food and a drink. This was the first time we had seen any real covid-19 warnings. We had been living in an internet free bubble and it was blissful.
Masterton was a bizarre town, apparently voted most beautiful town 2017, but looked like nothing had happened there since 1917 let alone 2017! Us arriving had brought down the average age significantly!!
We had 54km left to do to get us to Martinborough, but the headwinds we had been warned about were setting in. We just had to get it done.
The road was long and boring. We were chatting and decided that things only get boring when our bums were hurting. On any other day I think it would have been a pleasant ride, but not today, and not with a headwind.
At one point I was in front climbing a hill, the road was only 1.5 cars wide and James was behind. He shouted ‘truck’ so I pulled off and stood to the side of the road as a huge double animal transit lorry came whooshing past up to the corner at the same time a school bus was coming around the corner. It was a close pass, a bit too close for comfort.
It was hard going, we were sore, tired and so close to home and yet still so far away. The KM’s just weren’t going down fast enough and we just had to dig in.
We knew where we were staying that evening and had planned to have pizza from a little pizza place in the square that we had visited on a training ride a few months ago.
Finally we made it to Martinborough to the main square, but disaster. The pizza place was no more. I could have cried. I’d been looking forward to pizza for about 100km. We turn around to head to our accommodation and I spot it, it’d just moved next door!
We check into the accommodation and the receptionist was impressed we’d cycled 160km to get there! After a quick shower we were back on the bikes to get food.
Jumping on the bikes without padded shorts on was the worst ideas I think we’ve ever had. Almost like seeing a hot oven hob knowing it’ll hurt to touch it but still doing it anyway. Certainly gave me a new appreciation for my padded shorts!!
That evening after demolishing pizza and dough balls, we had time to have a flick around the internet and we really realised just how grim the Covid-19 situation was around the world.
Scott one of the Aussies we had been riding with called into our cabin to let us know he would be travelling back home to Australia when he got to Wellington due to the self isolation period.
We had to seriously consider what our next move was. Do we continue and wait for the country to go into lockdown, or do we stay in Wellington, at home where we would be comfortable in lockdown and I would be able to work remotely. We had some tough questions to answer.
The adventure continues…