I had a warning about the road ahead. ‘The pass of Brynderwyn’.
Like some mythical place full of nasty things with warty bits and bad breath determined to stop a humble pilgrim on a bicycle. After the day before I was feeling a tad anxious, and wasn’t sure if I should trade my porridge for a few cloves of garlic to ward of the evilness awaiting me in the distance.
After many hugs and well wishes from whanau I made my way out the gate, up the drive then turned left to face the south.
I didn’t get far before pulling up for coffee at a small cafe in full festive celebration and dressed in appropriate regalia to entertain the patrons. On receiving my order and a side of opinion on beast Brynderwyn, I knew my day could only get better. I’d just been warned of the road ahead by a serious middle aged bearded man dressed as a Christmas pixie.
The first few hours were a relatively flat ride, but my right shoulder was being incessantly clipped by a nasty sou’ wester. It was the foul breath of the beasts of the Brynderwyn.
I stopped when I knew I was close. I could see a long formidable range of hills stretching left and right. I was already tired from the day before and that sou’ wester. So I slurped long and hard on my (whey powder, with MSM and powdered green and red stuff) sucky bottle and after another liberal coating of all my bits with the chafing cream my bottom was ready and so was I.
As I reached the foot of the pass I could see the road snaking, like a river flowing uphill and then I had a massive dose of luck. It was a ‘stop go lady’. The crew were resealing most of the three lane incline and rather than letting me play dodgems with the traffic cones she gave me a whole (closed) lane to myself.
So I got into a slow crawl, using the tar truck, gravel crew and Wilkie talkie man to set the pace. It was an constant 3.5km climb, but after yesterday it seemed relatively easy. I reached the summit. I had beaten the Brynderwyn, warts and all.
I whipped down the backside of the beast and pulled in at the first pie-stop for a top up, then onward to Wellsford. I made it by early afternoon.
Wellsford, Warkworth and beyond.
Wellsford was my target for the day, I’d didn’t want to overpromise myself with astounding feats of Dutch courage, but with 80 odd kilometres behind me I knew I could push for more. So after another liberal coating my bottom and I were ready and we decided to push on to Warkworth, eventually arriving about 4 pm to stock up and then onward for camp at Sandy Spit.
I’d ridden 116km in total, all of it in gnarly traffic, over rough ground into a sapping sou wester. Dinner tonight was going to be special and I was famished. It consisted of a few warm rolls, fresh ripe tomatoes, an avocado, a fine cheese and a big can of Watties anytime breakfast (beans, potatoes, bacon and sausage).
Ok I’m not proud, I’m hungry.