Christmas is over for another year thank goodness; we managed to escape into the hills and then got lost – literally. The track we were following turned into a ridiculously steep firebreak, but we could hear vehicles on a road, so we reasoned that if we kept going in the direction of the road noise, then we must surely emerge somewhere. After 6 hours (when we were only supposed to be away for 3 hours) we finally emerged out of the bush. It was a late turkey meal at 10pm, but at least we know we burnt off enough calories to justify going to bed with full stomachs.
|Climbing up onto Barnicott ridge.|
|Looking down onto Nelson city and the Boulder bank from the top.|
After working all the statutory holidays I was looking forward to a 200km event on the first Saturday in the New Year. It had been raining virtually non-stop for the whole silly season, so I was psyched up to ride for 12 hours in the rain, but the day luckily dawned clear and with no wind, and stayed that way all day. It was perfect cycling weather as it wasn’t hot or cold.
|Lake Brunner and 'Dax' my bike.|
When do you know when it’s time to try a 250km ride? When the 200km ride you are doing feels too short.
For the 2 weeks before the event, the organizer kept emailing me to check what sort of riding I do, where I go, and what distances do I ride. I felt like I was being interrogated a bit with the insinuation that this is a 200km ride, not 100. I can’t help but feel like I’m being judged, as I’m sure Niel wouldn’t get this scrutiny if it was him doing the ride.
|Duncan (the organizer) and I at the 100km mark.|
Anyway, at the 100km mark, I was as fresh as a daisy and full of chatter, Karen (my support person) who met me there with a thermos of soup, said the organizers face was astounded. I didn’t notice his expression, but I think she was right. I met him for the last time 5kms leaving the town of Hokitika, as he was heading into Hokitika; and he did look amazed that I was so much ahead of him. 200kms ticked off – the next challenge is 250kms, on my way to building up to 300kms.
‘Dax’, my new long distance bike, was perfect in every way. Fast up hill, fast downhill, comfortable for all day in the saddle, and at the finish, no part of my body hurt – tired yes, but not sore.
The accomplishment feeling afterwards, is one of the reasons we do long distance riding. Is it the Endorphins? Is it Adrenalin? I don’t know, but it is addictive. It’s like being high on life. And you wonder why others don’t do it. I know I’d be a different person without this natural high and pride in myself, I think I’d be a more depressed person. I feel like I’m living rather than simply existing.