Monday, January 30, 2012

Day 1: Cape Reinga to Pukenui-ish

Distance: 62.2k
Distance so far: 62.2k
Avg speed: 14.4k/h
Runkeeper log: here

My original plan on getting up this morning was to aim to ride from Cape Reinga to Pukenui, a distance of a shade under 70 kilometers. Seeing the hills between Te Kao and Cape Reinga on the way up put paid to that idea - or at least, I thought so - since the terrain changes from fairly gentle rolling hills to lots of steep slopes, a pretty intimidating looking first day. I decided to aim for Te Kao, where I could get a lift to Pukenui for the night from the person acting as my road support for the first few days (my Mum), and resume where I left off the next day.

With that in mind, I set off from Cape Reinga, later than I'd hoped, around 2:40PM.

The road was very rough initially, a fairly worn chip-and-tar that had me rattled to my bones going down the slopes at 60k or so. The rear suspension helped greatly, but the shocks still transmitted through the wheels to my feet and my hands. Things smoothed out after a bit, and I was able to enjoy racing downhill without having to worry my eyeballs would pop out.

The downhills were fun but short, interspersed with interminable climbs in my very lowest gear, doing little more than a walking pace. The very low gearing on the trike made that fairly comfortable, at least initially, just glacially slow. The excellent weather and the gorgeous scenery made it less of a chore than it would otherwise be, though.

Eventually arriving at Te Kao at 5:55PM, I took 5 minutes to stretch before confidently strolling the door of the convenience store for some of their "world famous" ice cream (or so the sign says), only to discover they close at 6. Which they had, bang on the dot. Damn.

Since there was no sign of my road support to pick me up, I sent a message and decided to continue on until we met on the road. Thus began the saga...

The hills were much gentler after Te Kao, but I was pretty knackered. I bore on towards Pukenui. And on. And on. No sign of the road support. I was wearing pretty thin at this point, but the only course of action seemed to be to press on for Pukenui.

Finally, with the last of my endurance flagging, we met up about 5k out of Pukenui, both going in the same direction. It seems through some cruel chance of fate we passed on the road - an unbelievable fluke, since there's only one road and I was on it the whole way - and my mum had gone all the way to Reinga and back looking for me.

Despite being only about 5k from Pukenui, I opted to take the lift the rest of the way. Those hills up to Te Kao had done me in.

Tomorrow, then, I need to decide how much I value my integrity. Do I get a lift back 5k and resume from where I left off, or finish the trip being able to proudly announce "I biked the length of NZ, except for 5k just outside Pukenui"? Cast your votes now.

No photos or videoblog today, since 3g coverage is nearly nonexistent, and the motel wants $10 an hour for wireless internet that mostly doesn't work. I'll endeavour to upload both tomorrow.


  1. Go back. You already have a nagging question that might be hard to shake off.

  2. Go back. I had the same question on a Big NSW Bike Ride where I stopped for the night short of the camp in a pub and didn't go back and regretted it almost immediately.

  3. Gotta go back. Glad you did. Good luck, and have fun :)