We woke up really early again with a bit of a spring in our steps. All being well we could be home by lunchtime! The thought of my own bed, with clothes other than cycling shorts and a cup of tea out of my mug, oh it’s the simple things in life.
Last time we had biked over the Rimutaka incline there were 4 severe weather warnings in place, this time there was only 1. Wind. A southerly. Great! I’m sure we are jinxed.
After demolishing some porridge we set off. It was freezing cold, even with a shirt and jacket on. There were 3 other TA cyclists up and about at stupid o’clock too.
We knew the way as we had done it twice before and it really feel like we were heading home. The wind was relentless, still not as bad as 90 mile beach on day 1, but it certainly wasn’t pleasant.
I had a chuckle when the route took us down a gravel road, the first time we went on this road I was quite excited that we were on gravel, now I couldn’t care much less for gravel, energy sapping roads. An old farmer popped out his driveway on a quad and waved us down for a chat, he was keen to hear about where we had come from and how our journey was going. It is so noticeable as soon as you get into the country everyone is so much more friendly and takes time to hear your story and just chat, I miss that way of life.
We got to the bottom of the incline and started to climb, it wasn’t as bad as I had remembered it to be. At one point we were climbing up a steep little shoot and unbalanced my bike and nearly fell down a steep bank (don’t worry mother, there were some trees that would have stopped me, it just may have hurt a bit)
We got to the new swing bridge which was a much nicer alternative to the down the cliff and up hike-a-bike. I had remembered that it was the swing bridge, a tunnel then we were at the top. I was wrong, the climb continued for a bit more and then another tunnel and we were there.
At the top we stopped for a sandwich and shared a can of coke I had been carrying on my bike since well before Palmerston North (about 2/300km) then the rain came and the wind whipped up.
We quickly jumped on our bikes and pedalled down the other side. It was so cold, even with a cycling jersey, shirt and rain coat I was still cold so stopped to put on my down jacket too. We joked that my rain coat used to be a bit tight, but even with all those layers on under and my coat the rain jacket still had wiggle room.
We got down pretty quickly, at one point we were doing nearly 45kph, we just wanted to get home. We got to the bottom and it was still 20km until home but the rest was flat not downhill so it wouldn’t be as quick.
We passed Peppy the Alpaca, our old mate who we stop past and see each time we bike up to Upper Hutt – even they weren’t impressed with the weather (or it was the fact they had a particularly bad hair cut!)
Things got tough once more. Our bums were sore, my knee was sore, James Achilles was sore and we just wanted to get home, but the headwind had other ideas.
Finally we got to the bottom of the hill at home, a hill I used to cycle every weekend on the way back from parkrun, but today it wasn’t happening. I got half way, got off my bike and pushed the rest of the way up, I just had nothing left.
Getting home and opening the door was an amazing feeling! James has cleverly left out our mugs with teabags already in, all we had to do was fill up the kettle and wait for it to boil.
After a quick cup of tea, shower (mine with no hot water as James had such a long shower!!) we went out to pick up some shopping and James’ new toy. He had pre-ordered a new Samsung phone before we left as his phone was a nearly 6 year old brick by modern day standards.
He wasn’t allowed to play with his new toy until he’d cleaned the bikes. Although, after a weta jumped on my bike I was ready for a new bike (I HATE weta’s, why NZers love ‘em I’m really not sure!)
I managed to sterilise the water bottles and lids. Because we had been riding on so many gravel roads every time you had a sip of water, it was a sip and a side of gravel dust. I assume good for the immune system, but not that tasty!
All of our kit had been washed and was ready to be repacked or left and home and swapped out for something warmer. We knew the South Island was going to be cold.
We jumped on the scales, James had lost 1.5kg and I had lost 2kg. I wasn’t sure if I should be happy because I’ve been eating more than I’ve ever eaten before or pissed off that we’d cycled so far and lost so little!
Before we knew it, it was 6pm and we sat down for some dinner. The afternoon and ‘relaxation’ time at home had just gone. We blinked and it was 11pm, so much for an early chilled out evening!!
Snuggled up in bed, in our own bed, with my dinosaur pyjamas on and our dinosaur bed linen it felt good to be home. We were still undecided about if we should even get on the boat tomorrow due to Covid-19 and if we were to get stuck down south, but that decision we could make tomorrow.
The adventure continues…