My watch alarm went off much too early this morning. A 15-minute snooze was definitely on the menu, and then put away camp while eating muesli. Off by 7:30. It is going to be a long day with some pretty serious climbs - 70 miles to Nelson and about 2400 feet of climb overall. The positive? It's supposed to rain on me as well. No, wait - That's the negative and the reason I am off so early, as the rain is forecast for the afternoon. The positive is that it is a beautiful ride.
I have just climbed out of Picton - Looking out at the fjords. Norway is for sucks.
Managed to get a picture from the same location that my dad took a picture back in 1985:
The 1985 version of Picton. It doesn't look a whole lot different than today's ride:
. . . Just more concrete.
The ride to Havelock is spectacular. This is the route I took with Sara and Nick waaay back in 2004.
This picture is for Sara Hampson, who became greener than the green-shelled mussels Nick and I ate in Havelock on that trip. As a group, we may have put down a bit of wine the night before. If you look at the curviness of the road, you can understand.
Looking over the bay. No rainclouds yet.
For some reason, I keep wanting to put an exclamation point at the end of this word, turning this into some prophetic sign.
Havelock, circa 1985. I went right through Havelock without stopping this time, but this was the hostel we stayed at there..
Havelock today. With some nicely-placed flowers, if I do say so myself.
I have found it interesting that you tend to run into the same people over and over. I stopped for some water in Havelock and a guy in a car that I had seen way back in Auckland stopped to talk. But not for long - the rain is coming!
Beautiful river just before the first of the big climbs today. People were swimming and floating the river on innertubes. Very placid.
And exactly the same as it was in 1985. I didn't know I had a picture like this, and yet the exact same one came up. Genetics, people - there must be a gene that governs photos.
Very interesting vines eating up this pine - reminds me of African ants taking down a predator, only in super slow-mo.
The two major climbs in this trip seem much easier than previous climbs. I guess all that epo must be doing the trick.
On the downside, though, I hear a clicking and weird screeeetch as I start to descend the first 800 ft hill. Stopping, I find that I have broken yet another spoke and bent the rear wheel yet again. The bent part of the wheel now rubs the brake every time it comes around, basically making it harder to pedal. Plus, now there is greater strain on the other spokes. Just 30 miles to go. . . broken spoke. . . rain on the way. . . Sky looks ominous. . . Oh, baby, it's a tension filled ride. All I need is Jack Bauer and a nuclear weapon to make this a truly tension-filled episode. I keep getting images of my head of the entire wheel disintegrating while I am at full speed next to one of the many steep cliffs. A slow-mo cutaway, and then I envision grabbing a vine or something and swinging to safety. Or is that my Tarzan fantasy? I get confused.
The longer climb goes well, and I rely mostly on the front brake on the excellent 7km coast down. It's almost flat as I roll into Nelson, dry, at about 3PM. No need for Jack Bauer at all.
Stop by the I-site and find a local bike shop and campground. Set up camp and swing by the Avanti dealer - After talking it over with them, I feel like it is time for a new rear wheel. I am going to keep breaking spokes at this rate, and by the time I keep repairing them, I will have spent a new wheel's worth of money. My wheel has radial spokes, great for weight but not so strong. I am going to put on a touring wheel instead.
Seriously, I am going to have a fully new bike by the end of this trip. Sigh. It won't be ready until noon tomorrow, so I am going to stay in Nelson an extra day. Anyway, it is a really neat town. It's busy, well-kept, and kind of upscale. Looks over into mountains and it's the gateway into the Abel-Tasman natl park. I would like to see it in the sun.
Do some internetting, and the rain hits as I start walking the mile and a half back to the campground. Duck into New World Grocery for food, and the downpour begins. Luckily, by the time I have everything, it has been downgraded from "hurricane" to "sprinkle". Simple dinner, and now watching some TV as it keeps raining outside. Will sleep in if possible tomorrow, that will be nice.