It was a repeat ride from Diamond Harbour to Lyttelton and return … this time on solo bikes.
Ya just gotta love our country …
We had been for a couple of smallish togetherness rides on the flatlands of the city … it was time to return to some undulation to increase the training to get thigh burn. Preparation for the much longer upcoming mountainbike ride adventure next month. Where most sane folk ride the distance over four days … we are going to be doing it in one!
From one side of the harbour Lyttelton to the other, Diamond Harbour we rode.
It took us back to Canada and stirred reflective memories that we still hold dear … stay upright; try not to get collected by metal vehicles sharing the narrow bits; communicate the call when changing gears to be easier or slower; watch for shit on the road; don’t run over dead things R.I.P. on the road; and when you see an upcoming squashed remains – take a breath before you get to it versus when upon it; take the piss out of each other; remember the host and friendship connections made and wonder what they would be doing; return a smile and salutation when passers by look at you like you are two idiots doing what we were on our Fatty; eat a scone and have a cuppa at the destination Diamond Harbour.
Return back to Lyttelton was the same … 58kms around our own terra firma right on our back door step was just magic.
No chocolate bacon today. By the time we arrived back to our car, we had missed the bulk of the Saturday market.
This is our new training ride … everyone welcome for a repeat blat next weekend :0)
Now, where the f..k did we put the butt butter cream?!!!!!!
You will find it at the Lyttelton market on a Saturday morning.
It’s worth the walk up and over the Bridle Path … to find the stall, hand over the small change, open the twist top, hold a piece, and then bite into it.
All those in favour, say “Ru can be the first rider” It’s what happened when I was taking a leak … to arrive back at the Atlas Gentech corporate tent and be told, “Ru, you are the first rider!”
BClaire and I were making up a team of four from Alarm Solutions to participate in a 6 hour relay mountain bike challenge. The other two riders were Richard Jones & Mike Fairbrother. We each took turns to pedal at speed the 11 km route racing against the clock to complete as many laps as we could in the 6 hours.
With 1,650 others sharing the same track, it was absolute chaos as the the bunch started however, as all shapes of size, weight, fitness or not snailed the first lap, riders spread out in a figure of eight to allow for a much easier pump of the metal between the legs.
The last time we were involved in a corporate team wearing sponsorship was way way back in the dragon boat days of yesteryear. This day flooded back thoughts of those we played, drank and partied with … where ever they are on the planet nowadays!
Cripes, have the bodies aged since then too!
Not so the comaradery of fellow bikers today though … it was alive with bragging & banter bullshit like all those in uniform should abide by.
Cheers Gwyneth, Richard, CJ and Mike for allowing the Ru’s to partake.
A great day that tis the start to the adventure season ahead.
BClaire and Lisa lined up amongst the punters to step out another 10km run to add to their lengthy list of kilometre-age trodden resume.
Mark (Lisa’s hubby) and I are always there in support to watch. Cheer then on. Clap them in. To capture that moment of crossing the finish line. It’s an important role we are tasked with and take it very seriously. Sure, we have missed them come in a couple of times. They’re quick in their old age. Besides, our sport at each event is to sample ‘eggs benedict’ through frequenting different location eateries. All sports magazines promote eating and hydration during events, ahem!
The event this time, the Kaikoura Whale run held by a little Kaikoura School just north of the township, a two-hour drive north of Christchurch. It’s a fun event fund raiser designed to encourage folk to have a ‘get fit’ project over winter to feel great for the summer. For BClaire and Lisa, it breaks the monotony of getting up under the cover of darkness weekdays to puff it out around Hagley every other morning.
Mark and I don’t attend those!
It was a spectacular view with the nose pointed north towards the steep rise of the Kaikoura Ranges. Furthermore, it was a landscape that was forever changed back on the 14th November 2016 when at two minutes after midnight, Kaikoura was rocked by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake.
The sea bed rose over two metres exposing wildlife that lived just below the tide line. Mountain sides are scared from earth slips. We had to take an inland route because the old coastal route in parts has only recently become passable.
For BClaire and I personally, Kaikoura holds dear to our hearts. We got engaged and then returned to place rings on fingers and tie the knot, getting married at the Winery overlooking the South Bay. Our stage included the mighty Kaikoura Ranges. Fifteen years ago. Strewth time flies when you are having fun.
A whale fun run at that, where there were no whales running! I did snap the girls though. And the eggs bene was okay ya’know!
BClaire and Lisa befriended another runner (similar age) who with her husband, downsized their life to be nomads travelling around our country in a caravan, parking up whenever they feel enough tarseal has been driven, so as to explore. Another bonus meeting like-minded minimalists.
It’s a small world. Perhaps a signal that it’s time to renew our vows. Know any good celebrants?
All un-sung heroes.
There is something to be cherished when one soaks in a hot tub of mineral water, sharing the warmth with mates. Bubble farts rippling the surface top from the crack below don’t stink as the odd whiff of sulphur reminds you that you are in a geothermal longitude and latitude – Hanmer Springs.
The water tide mark was up with all the hordes of other patrons. Tall people, short people, thin people, fat. Kids and olds and different nationalities at that. Bathing costumes to perv at, some not so good, faces with make-up and some that should wear a hood. Tattoos were many and piercings through bits, whether male or female from ears to one’s nipples.
It had been a while since we were last there. New shops have been erected and you couldn’t help wondering if the community were trying too hard to be a micro-tourist mecca the likes of Queenstown or Wanaka.
Beyond the commercial and residential suburbia, the adventure playground traditions still wait patiently for those whom put on either lycra, sweat pants or boots to mountain bike, walk or run or hike.
It was a two-hour round hump up Jacks Pass around then blat of the back country to then free wheel down Jollies Pass and back. The old Connical Hill ascent favourite was not to be missed. It gives one a brilliant 360° panoramic view of valley, mountain range and Waiau River. The white of snow breaks the mountain brown from the sky blue.
It’s worth the 90-minute drive north of Christchurch if traveling to our neck of the woods. So too the hot pools.
Only because there were kids around!
As we departed west toward the Southern Alps, the weather was a balmy sunny morning. Not a candyfloss cloud in the sky.
The Rakaia Gorge Track was in no man’s land. As we started the 10 odd kilometre walk, sunshine. Just 3 kilometres inland, driving rain has us cowering under vegetation canopy. The wind picked up too giving caution to it being hypothermic possibilities.
It made for the track to become rivers of mud. Bets were made as to who would ‘arse up’ first. Staying on the track was paramount as a slide down into the Rakaia River would have been a drenching for sure. Fortunately, no one did.
Once down on the grey whacky shingle bed looking back toward the bridges that connected the Inland Scenic Route, we were back in the rays and it didn’t take long to dry out.
Bell birds sang. Rabbits hopped. Jet boats jetted. The girls gaggled.
In-between the munching of course!
The buckets from above subsided … the grey matter broke open to reveal blue … it was an opportunity to head to some higher ground.
Calmbering over a slip on the pathway quite entertaining as fellow trailers negotiated the solid bits to be tricked and sink knee high in the sludgey mud.
We smiled at a number of people leaving their indent. Everyone else was too!
Full credit to the little Japanese girl who stood for ages pondering whether to go for it on the slip. It was halarious when I counted 3-2-1 and shouted ‘go’ to have her step off and go both knees deep. We turned around and quickly sped down the hillside not looking back.
It certainly wasn’t English swear words we know!
Disaster when your gumboots only came up your lower leg half way meaning the white powdery stuff broke off like an Antartic ice berg to drop into your galoshes. It didn’t take much longer for it to become liquified. Even the thickest of socks weren’t enough to protect the cold moisture nipping at your toes and the soles of your feet.
Laughter was frequent for the short arse in the party. Alannah’s step had the snow just about touch her butt cheeks. We took shorter steps to help. Every now and then, the undulation beneath meant a face plant. Laughter was then shared.From a distance, the slope to be conquered looked shallow. At the bottom, the paradigm as was sharper with steepness. However, this didn’t deter. Up we stepped using the footprints left behind by other adventurers seeking the same adrenalin of sliding back down.
As altitude was reached, a cool wind whipped from left to right. The sun beaming down in the cloudless sky did nothing to warm. It did however, make the landscape crisp as far as the eye could see. It was absolutely stunning to see the back bone of the South Island carpeted with snow.
Hordes of like-minded beings had made the most of what mother nature had dumped to create a play-ground so natural and free – there were little specs of bodies in all directions. It was fun to watch from above the number of people who ventured out onto the frozen ice of the lake below. As confidence grew, further out toward the middle they wearily trod. No one plunged through during our observation.There was no paper, scissors nor rock as to who would go first. Pick on the big guy!
As one looked down sitting on their toboggan moments before the grasp of the handle tightened and the feet lifted so gravity did its thing (nothing to do with a share slope at all, yeah right), you were zoned into the reality of what was.
This could either go tits up or plain sliding to the bottom.
A deep breath, a pause, and then feet lifted.
There was no yodelling ‘the hills are alive with the sound of music’, that’s for certain.
Some might describe it as a scream. Whatever it was. It just was.
We had seen the giants before in British Columbia, Canada. The goliath Douglas Fir tree. They were competing for supremacy over the Radiata Pine tree and, the Southern Rata tree which is one of New Zealand’s showiest and most beautiful of native plants when in blossom.
Even the largest lily in the world contested the landscape, the Tikouka. Commonly known as the Cabbage Tree, early European settlers used the hollowed-out trunks for chimneys for their huts. On the other hand, the dead leaves of cabbage trees burn readily, giving off intense heat. People either hate them or they love them. There is no in-between.
In the thick of either forest as the trail meandered from sea level elevation and back, one expected a bear to appear. But this wasn’t Canada. This was the headwaters of the Washpen Creek which is the longest tributary of the Hororata River.
The canopy was alive in song from the Bellbird. Their notes echoed throughout the gorge which reminded us of a call to prayer in surround sound. Fantails and sometimes the infrequent flit of a Tomtit guided us on the path trodden. The same earth once used by Maori to trap and kill the giant flightless New Zealand bird, the Moa. Some species grew to three metres and once an important source of food, they were all eaten as they have been extinct for three or four hundred years.
Erosion too carved out the rock into wave breaking shape formations. Tree seeds can prosper in the slightest of soil. This was evident with shades of green disrupting brown rock cliff faces.
The Bluff lookout allows for one to view the Canterbury Plains, 250 kms in length and an average of 60 kms in width. The Rakaia River streaks across the flatlands. The Washpen Falls would contribute to the water level somehow.
That past time has long gone as well. Go see for yourself. The breath of fresh air above the giants is exhilarating.