New Zealand post 20: ATTACKING “THE WALL”
In our attempt to avoid RV Hell today, we innocently decide instead to go over the Cairnmuir Mnts, via the Clyde Lookout. Our host warns us that it’s quite a climb, but we are blase – nothing we haven’t done before…
Which is quite true, but that doesn’t make it any less brutal, especially since we are fully laden. Luckily the surface is relatively smooth, but the gradient is a killer. Steve’s humungous 24/50 gearing is what the Dr ordered for this one and he is spinning away merrily, but I am practically bursting a gasket on my 32/50!! A number of bakkies come past, ferrying riders to the top. A while later they come flying down some single tracks to the right of the road – we are mighty envious.
The climb is interminable and when we finally reach the top, we suit up for the expected chilly downhill, but it is very short-lived. As we round the corner, another long climb reveals itself. We lie low and pedal like mad to maximize momentum, but as we hit the climb, we practically come to a standstill. No advantage to be gained here, it’s simply too steep. It’s even harder to push though, so instead we give it our all for as long as we can, then stop, panting, to catch our breath and allow our pounding hearts to settle, before attempting the tricky task of getting going again on a steep slope.
When we pull into Bannockburn at 36km, we feel fully justified in hitting the local pub for beer ( Steve Coke) and a giant portion of fries.
We elect to call it a day at Cromwell – only 45km for the day, but Wanaka is still 50km away and there’s nothing in between, so it’s a bridge too far after that big climb.
As we’re doing our shopping for dinner, we bump into an Italian family on bikes – Mom & Dad plus 2 kids. They have been on numerous family biking adventures all over the world. They give us their blog: labicisifainquattro.it
How lovely! This puts me in mind of when we cycled across Europe for 8 months in 1991, with 6-month-old Ricky in tow. It clearly made a lasting impression on him, as he is now a true free spirit and world traveler with a fearless sense of adventure…
We reminisce about that trip, as I whip up a simple dinner in our cosy cabin. Although we have huge appetites, we are missing Kati, the vacuum cleaner, as I keep making far too much and we keep eating it ‘cos we can’t bear to waste!
We are due to meet up with her in Queenstown on 30 Dec. Yay, a drinking buddy, if only for 1 night! I have been decanting my wine into a plastic water bottle every 2nd day and carrying it with me on the bike – sign of a true alcoholic…Cheers 🍷