Tuesday, January 29, 2008

So'west Winds. A BIG Hill. Chipseal agin.

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I got off from Peter's around 8 am and stopped at the local Woolworths supermarket as I hadn't stocked up on ay provisions. I probably should have done it on Waiheke. You can't buy small amounts. I tried to get the minimum but when I checked out it was all too much and I ended up returning half. I can't remember how I managed to always have a enough bits on the last tour without is weighing a ton and taking up a lot of space.

As I was riding along I shifted into the high gear going down a hill (yes more hills) and there was this horrible clattering noise. Needless to say, I stopped, assuming that the new rear derailleur cable I installed had stretched a bit and needed adjustment.

Not so,I had lost the bolt holding the bottom shaft of my rear rack and the shaft had wedged between the frame and rear cassette. I shifted it back outside the frame and altered course for the Botany shopping center, which was practically on the way (fortunately). A quick stop at Hedgehog cycles for a new bolt, a stop for a cafe latte at Starbucks (and use of the hotspot there), and I was back on my way.

I decided to bite the big hill bullet and go via Clevedon and Kawakawa Bay. Normally, this means climbing up a couple of significant hills on Redoubt Road before getting to the flats in Alfriston, Then it is fairly flat to Clevedon. I noticed on the map that if I went straight rather than left at Redoubt Road, it would take me through a neighborhood that went to the Botanical Gardens. I figured I could cycle through the gardens and it would be less hilly and I'd end up in Alfriston, which is on the way to Clevedon.

Not quite, when I got to the end of the road, I found that bicycles were prohibited in the gardens (dogs were allowed though). There were, however, side roads that went over the highway and around the gardens, which were not hilly and I ended up where I wanted to be.

The ride to Clevedon was pretty flat, but the wind had picked up and was from the Southwest and I was going South into it. Now that I'd finally gotten out of the city the road surface had reverted to the ubiquitous chipseal, large gravels spread over tar. It is not smooth and one cannot coast on it. Needless to say, I had to pedal all the way to Clevedon, no coasting allowed.

I made a short stop in Clevedon for lunch and then continued on to Kawakawa Bay. The road out to the bay is pretty rolling and by that time it had gotten quite warm. About midway, I was passed by a young woman cyclist out for a training ride out to Kawakawa Bay. She slowed down for a chat and some encouragement, then zoomed off (not that encouraging). She passed me going the other way before I got there as well (of course, she wasn't pulling a 50lb trailer--not that being about 35 years younger mattered).

I stopped in Kawakawa Bay to refill my water bottles and take a short break before tackling the hill to Orere Point. As I was sitting in front of the store a fellow pulls in on a BMW K75. He was a German heading to Christchurch to visit his brother. He had gotten into Auckland a few days ago, bought the bike on Trademe (it was complete with side cases) and was on his way. He was going to sell it on Trademe when he got to Christchurch and his purchase price was less renting a bike for his trip. He figured he could get near what he paid for it. Sound like a win--Hmm, maybe I have the wrong set of wheels.

This became a question to ponder as I started up the hills to Orere Point. The route is uphill most of the way and has a 4km section that is so steep that we used to use second gear in the campervan to get up it.

I'd already ridden 55 km to the bay and I wasn't able to ride up the hill the whole way. It was several stops and I finally had to push it the last 500 meters to the top. It was mid-afternoon by this point and it was hot enough to melt the tar in the pavement. I could hear and feel it sticking to the tires.

After the BIG hill, it was just rolling for the last 6km to the Top 10 Holiday Park at Orere Point, where I just about faded completely. I set up the tent and just lay there for a while before taking a well-needed shower and made dinner. It was a 67km day, a bit too much, I think, for a first day out.

If there are going to be many more hills like this, I'm not sure that the North Island will be my friend (I was never a subscriber to the "hills are your friends" point of view), or that I'll make it to Wellington.

Tomorrow will be a short day, from here to Miranda, about 35km away, to a campground we've stayed in several times in the past. They have their own hot springs and I may need it by then, the legs are already toast.

I've been looking at the maps to figure which way to go from there. That used BMW is looking better all the time.

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