Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Day 24: Ward(ish) to Kaikoura

Distance: 77.3k
Distance so far: 1,510.0
Speed: 18.3k/h
Runkeeper log: 1

So much for summer. Last night was incredibly cold, and I woke up this morning to find it even colder. I set out at about quarter past seven wearing long thermal underwear, gloves, and a balaclava. It felt like the middle of winter.

Fortunately, it warmed up fairly quickly, and by the time I stopped at the famous Kekerengu Store for a second breakfast, I was able to ditch the balaclava, and shortly thereafter, the gloves, as the day warmed up. There was practically no wind, and only scattered high cloud, so it quickly became a fairly pleasant day for riding.

Not long after leaving Kekerengu, I hit the first of two significant milestones for today: 1452km. That may not sound particularly significant, but it's the great-circle distance between Cape Reinga and bluff - so as of today, I've biked the length of NZ, at least in one sense of the term.

This far.
The day was mostly flat, which made the riding easy, but I found myself more worn out than I expected given the last few days' rides, and it didn't take long for some serious muscle ache to set in. I'm at a bit of a loss as to why.

The Kaikoura coast is beautiful, easily one of the nicest landscapes I've ridden through so far. It's probably best described as 'rumpled', as if someone threw down a huge blanket and didn't bother to smooth it out.

The whole day's ride was on State Highway 1, which was often lacking a shoulder, but the road was mostly straight and sight-lines were long, so the occasions I had to worry about traffic were rare. On the other hand, a rumble strip along the shoulder made riding a lot less pleasant than it could have been, as the varying width of the shoulder meant I had to constantly weave in and out of it to stay as far left as I could.

Unfortunately, the weather forecast for the next few days is still just as grim as it was yesterday, with strong southerly (head)winds forecast for the next few days, with rain to top it off. Rain I can handle, but much of the ride to Christchurch will be straight and flat, and the second day is a particularly long one, and riding into a stiff headwind would make the ride singularly unpleasant - not the idea of my trip at all.

With that in mind, I've decided to take a while off for the weather to pass. I booked a train ticket to Christchurch, and hopped on it with my bike, and I'll be staying here with family for a few days until the worst of the southerlies pass. Once they do, I'll get a lift back up to Kaikoura and pick up where I left off.

See you then!

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