The alarm goes off and promptly gets turned off again. No thank you. The bed at the Mossburn Hotel is the best we’ve slept in this hold trip.
I eventually get up and grab the washing from last night and it’s freeeeeeezing cold outside, grey and foggy. Great.
Breakfast is included so we head on down to the breakfast room to help ourselves. Yummmm! Makes a change not having a porridge sachet with hot water!!
After packing things up, we can still smell the cow shit from yesterday. Mmmm, yummy. The fog had burnt off and the sun was now shining, thank god!
I take a nice picture of the Hotel as it’s a gorgeous building, then James comes along to ridicule how far away I am as my camera doesn’t have a wide angle lens……
Like the old Jaffa cake advert, full moon, half moon, total eclipse. Don’t worry, I also told him off for not putting his bike symmetrically against the other side of the door. Tsk tsk, some people are just anarchists.
Finally gone 10 we get going, for the final 140km journey to Bluff. I’d already received some encouraging texts from my colleagues at work waiting for us to get going!
We’d been warned by the landlord at the Mossburn about the hilarious cycle path they’d installed. It sounded like something special that Wellington City Council would call a bike path… right down the row of electricity pylons. Because of that we stick to the road and start flying. Averaging 36kph, perfect. At this rate we’ll be there by lunchtime!
We turn off down a less busy side road (handy after a guy drove past effing and geoffing out the window that we should be on the cycle path) sadly with this we lost the tail wind that had helped us motor along, but still able to do 32kph.
The scenery is beautiful, hills all around and plenty of farms. James and I joke that when we bike past the fields of cows the Jersey cows can tell that we are cuzzies
Before we know it, we’ve cracked out 60km and flying into Winton. 3 people have recommended the Winton Bakery to us so we have to call in to sample the greatness. Whe inside I ask James if we should grab a sandwich for lunch, he says nah we’re going through another town in about 25km. Now then readers, this was a very bad mistake which we will later regret.
The pie was pretty tasty, however stopping was a bad idea, it was really hard to get going again. But we do, and before we know it, onto shitty gravel roads and make it to Wallacetown. We had high hopes for Wallacetown. We shouldn’t have. It had one dairy come takeaway and not even a public toilet! I asked where the nearest bathroom was, “the garage across the road might have one but I think they’re closed, or the pub down the road, but they’ll be closed too”. Great.
The route takes us along the highway for a section which was crap, back to everyone overtaking with 3cm to spare, not slowing down and being asses. Thankfully we soon turned off the main road onto a side road. Which, annoyingly took us on a big old 3km square and had we just carried on we would’ve got to the same place. Doh!
The route skirts around the outside of Invercargill, and boy were we glad it only skirted around. It looked like an absolute dump. We passed under a bridge where the path was just mud and only just enough room for us to fit under! We pass a tree gallery which is rather cute and someone’s even made a bike.
By this point we’re about 30km from the end and both SO over it and just want to get there. The path takes us back onto gravel. Yay. And of course there’s a headwind. Extra yay.
The path was miserable, and again, instead of just going straight twisted and turned back on itself more times than I care to remember. It was momentarily made better by us meeting a super cute 7 month old black lab pupper.
Before too long we were off the crappy track into the even crappier road. Haulage trucks blasting past with no hard shoulder for us to ride on. Added to that, a beautiful headwind. I looked at the ‘distance to finish’ and it still said 20km to go. HOW?! The distance just wasn’t going down and we were both suffering. At the point we’d cycled 120km and only had breakfast this morning and a pie. Really not enough food!! James: bloody mugs.
We see signs for bluff and things start to feel a bit more real. We stop off at a 4 square for some ‘sandwich supplies’ I then return with a box of donuts and a bottle of Fanta. No sammie supplies available! The computer says 4km left. We got this!
We were so close, there were signs for Stirling point, we come up to one, read 12km and both stop pedalling and free wheel. What. The. Fuck.
Oh no, turns out we were so delirious we’d missed the ‘point’ inbetween the 1 and 2! Go go go! Pedal dammit!
Up and over the last hill, we roll into Stirling Point. Compared to the beauty and seclusion of Cape Reinga, 3000km ago, Stirling Point was really underwhelming and full of tourists. I wanted bells and whistles! Instead I had to queue up to have my picture taken with the sign.
James goes to prop up the go pro on a bollard to take a picture, and old man offers to take a picture, so we oblige. It may as well have been taken by a blind man. They were terrible! James was obviously too polite to say anything but just thank you and smiled sweetly!
We head up to the cafe above for a celebratory pie and cuppa tea. Nah, it’s SUPER posh and I get some weird looks walking in with my cow shit covered shoes and bike helmet!
We have a cuppa tea and plate of chips and contemplate the last 3000km, whilst swearing at seagulls and peoples little shit bag kids running around. Apparently you are supposed to be able to buy a finishers medal from the cafe. I ask about them and are told… wait for it… oh no we’re out of them but you can buy a hat. No. Just no. I haven’t cycled 3000km for a crappy beige cap.
Off we toddle to our accommodation for the night, which helpfully is only 1km away! Again we get an upgraded room as we are the only people staying there that night.
After a shower to feel more human again, James demolishing 3 of the donuts, we wonder down the street to try and find some dinner. There’s really not a lot going on, we end up in a Chinese come fish and chip shop. After nearly falling asleep in our dinner we head back to go to bed.
We reflect on the incredible journey that this trip has been. With COVID stopping us in our tracks and just how lucky we have been to be able to finish the journey now. 3,000km is indeed a very long way to cycle, but what an adventure it has been. There have been tears, tantrums and oh so many laughs. I wouldn’t have done it with anyone else. James really is the best side kick.
We were sadly brought back down to reality this morning with the very sad news of a colleague of mine and friend to us both passing away suddenly overnight. Kev would have been so proud of our achievement, even if he did rip the shit out of us for riding ‘not mountain bikes’ and doing too much pussy road riding. Rest easy Kev.
Remember life is too short. The adventure continues…