Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Day 7 - Pelorous Bridge to Blenheim

Kenepuru Sound
View from Queen Charlotte Drive
Lunch on Port Underwood road
View to Southern Ocean
Tor, Julie, Thomas and me
back in Truckers corner
I slept pretty well until I needed a pee about 4am and noted Tor tossing about a bit as I returned to my tent. At 4.30 Tor asked if I minded getting under way as he wasn't sleeping well at all and was keen to get to the end and get a ferry home that day and back to his family. I felt much the same so after a makeshift breakfast and packing up in the drizzle we were underway just before 5.30am. It seemed no time before we were in Havelock - about 6.30 - and there was a cafe open for a breakfast of pastries and coffee. No sign of Julie and Thomas or Owen and Mick - guessed they hadn't made the Pelorous bridge overnight. I have biked the Grape Ride, an annual bike race from Renwick to Blenheim to Havelock and back to Renwick (about 100km) 5 times and always done the Queen Charlotte drive from Picton to Havelock and under race conditions, so it was a pleasant change to do the ride early in the morning in the opposite direction with time to admire the views of the surrounding hills over the serene and misty waters of Kenepuru sound. The climbs seemed no problem and the road which seems very windy in a car is brilliant on a bike. We were in Picton soon after 8.30 am and dropped our sleeping gear at the Ferry terminal (confident we would not need it again that day!). Lunch was purchased at a nearby cafe and we set off on the final leg to Blenheim via Waikawa and the Port Underwood road. We soon found out why it had taken Oliver Whalley 4hrs - the road has no flat stretches. It consists of about 7 climbs in and out of each bay, the first being 500 m vertical and the other 6 ranging between 200 and 400 m, each time retuning all the way to sea level. I estimated we climbed between 2000 and 2500 m over the 40 km. A brief stop for lunch with a misty view out over the Southern Ocean and we were soon back on the Rarangi flats pushing for home. We arrived at the square in Blenheim about 2.30, roughly 6 days and 6 hours after starting, pleased to be finished, to be met by Jeff Lyall. He congratulated us and filled us in on how others had gone. My son Alex had got in about the same time the day before and was already on a ferry back to Wellington. I had hoped he would be waiting with a beer for me! We managed to get a shuttle back to Picton in time to catch the 7 pm Bluebridge and shared Truckers corner again with Julie and Thomas who came in an hour or so after us.

So thanks to Simon for organising the adventure and thanks to all my cycling companions Peter McKenzie on the Molesworth, Owen and Mick, Julie and Thomas and finally Tor - enjoyed your company and it was great to catch up with you after many years.

1 comment:

  1. Great stuff Mike! It was fantastic to observe you were in such good company during the event. Thanks for bringing it all to life through this entertaining blog!