Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Day 19: Renwick to St Arnaud

Distance: 92.2k
Distance so far: 1,160.6
Speed: 16.4k/h
Runkeeper log: 1

As you might guess from the nature of today's log, I opted not to spend the extra day in Renwick and tour the vineyards; there'll be time for that when I come back through this area after visiting Nelson.

A new record for distance for me today as I cycled just over 90 kilometers. In doing so, I gained about 700 meters of elevation, but the gain was extremely gradual - all but 200 meters of that was spread more or less evenly over the entire journey, making for a very gentle gradient indeed, though it was noticeable in the lower gear and lower speed I had to keep to for the day.

The forecast for today was rain in the afternoon, so I set out nice and early, getting on the road at about 7. There's practically nothing on the road, either, so I made myself breakfast before leaving, and took some lunch with me.

Defying the forecast, it started drizzling lightly almost immediately, and it kept drizzling on and off for the first half of the journey, adding a touch of misery to an already fairly dull journey. A little after the halfway mark, the drizzle devolved into outright rain, and I spent the second half of the trip dripping wet.

The road started to climb substantially about 10k from the end - though since my phone had died some time earlier, I didn't know exactly how far from the end I was - and levelled off after about 3k. The last couple of km were blessedly downhill, bringing me into St Arnaud at about 1:30.

I'm staying at the Alpine Lodge, who have a backpackers' in addition to their standard accommodation. The "Backpackers' Chalet" is reasonable, but a bit steep for what you get. At $69 for a private room it's more than the other places I've stayed at, and they nickel and dime you on top of that. Sheets are supplied, but you have to make your own bed, it's $2 for a towel, and they give you a token for the shower, with extra showers costing $2. I did manage to convince the friendly receptionist that since I was paying for a room that sleeps 2, I should get 2 shower tokens, however.

Tomorrow I'm headed for Nelson, an 89 kilometer ride, almost as long as today's. In its favor, though, are two things: It's mostly downhill, in a similar manner to today's gradual climb; and I have the much more bustling and interesting Nelson, and a rest day, to look forward to at the end of it.

On the down side, the forecast is now for rain tomorrow morning as well. I was already planning a later-than-usual start tomorrow so I can get breakfast here; it looks like I may have to procrastinate a little further to avoid the worst of the rain before I set out.

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