Mud

And the league of Clevedon Wheelmen

Was it mud or was that a cow pat? It was neither, it was ‘the Dean’.

We were out west, Puhinui reserve to be exact, tracking down trails and backroads. Not training so much as escaping the consistent rain that was sheeting in from the east. The trek was a mix of gravel and grim. At my 5 o’clock he crashed through the knee high reed and pug like an 18 year old, taking the point at pace and showering me in a brown-green streak of something indescribable.

Onward, he whipped up the bridge between paddocks, lost his footing and ended up on his back in a shambles of man bits and machinery.

The Dean was done for the day. I smirked and sympathised. We moved on, feeling our age.

Introducing the wheelmen

Dean Ogilvie is the chief perpetrator of the League of Clevedon Wheelmen, a small collection of eccentric old fellas with big cycle touring dreams. This is the precursor blog of the pain to come. Yes there is another tour in the planning and ‘the Dean’ being the dean of the League of Wheelmen will be in attendance (acting his age).

Mama will be pleased.

Mud

And the league of Clevedon Wheelmen

Was it mud or was that a cow pat? It was neither, it was ‘the Dean’.

We were out west, Puhinui reserve to be exact, tracking down trails and backroads. Not training so much as escaping the consistent rain that was sheeting in from the east. The trek was a mix of gravel and grim. At my 5 o’clock he crashed through the knee high reed and pug like an 18 year old, taking the point at pace and showering me in a brown-green streak of something indescribable.

Onward, he whipped up the bridge between paddocks, lost his footing and ended up on his back in a shambles of man bits and machinery.

The Dean was done for the day. I smirked and sympathised. We moved on, feeling our age.

IMG_0491

Introducing the wheelmen

LOCWDean Ogilvie is the chief perpetrator of the League of Clevedon Wheelmen, a small collection of eccentric old fellas with big cycle touring dreams. This is the precursor blog of the pain to come. Yes there is another tour in the planning and ‘the Dean’ being the dean of the League of Wheelmen will be in attendance (acting his age).

Mama will be pleased.

Greytown to the end of the line

Day twenty two

Damp

It was a damp start to the day and nothing of my kit is really dry, but it doesn’t matter as this is the last day. I packed, stuffing everything back into dry bags and panniers and then strolled out of the trees to find some early sun. This is by far the coolest start I’ve had on the road in three weeks, with dew on the ground and a stillness in the air. All is quiet in Greytown. I skipped breakfast, I was out of coffee and wanted to hit the road.

The state highway south to Featherston was light of traffic and breeze. In one of only a few days on this entire trip it was calm and flat, with the sun streaming like staccato through the tree lined road. Rimutaka growing ominous in advance of me.

I’d already chosen the incline route and considering what I’d done to date this should be an easy climb, but trepidation was getting the better of me. After coffee I swung south from Featherston to find the beginning of the incline.

The last climb

The climb up from the Wairarapa proved to be suitable grade as my worn tyres slipped and crawled their way over the rough ground, I just keep going and going, crossing the debris field thrown down by the storm clouds further up the ravine, transiting the tunnel and there is was… the summit. All my trepidation abated. I’d made the top and everything from here was basically downhill.

The southern route was a slow river flowing down the mountains.  It almost felt like it had stretched itself out smooth and long to bathe in the morning sun. Best I get on in case its mood changes. I have to say that the incline has been one of the most stunning tracks I’ve taken so far… and familiar as it dropped down into the high valley of Kaitoke.

I’d reached the top of the Hutt by noon… it was now a river trail south to Wellington. It’s a gloriously still and sunny day. Perfect ground.

I pulled up on the Petone foreshore to get a glimpse of the finish line way across the bay (Wellington), just as Jack White began to wail Wayfaring stranger.

‘I’m just a poor wayfaring stranger. Traveling through this world below. There is no sickness, no toil, nor danger. In that bright land to which I go’

Timing is everything.

The end of the line

I pushed onto Wellington at pace, with renewed energy, I felt I could go on and on. The end of the line was Queens wharf and I was there before I knew it.

1,668 kilometres later, to the hour of starting way up at Cape Reinga three weeks earlier, I was there. Alone. All I could think of to say was… “is that all there is?”

Todays top track: Little feat – Willin’ 

Greytown to the end of the line

Day twenty two

Damp

It was a damp start to the day and nothing of my kit is really dry, but it doesn’t matter as this is the last day. I packed, stuffing everything back into dry bags and panniers and then strolled out of the trees to find some early sun. This is by far the coolest start I’ve had on the road in three weeks, with dew on the ground and a stillness in the air. All is quiet in Greytown. I skipped breakfast, I was out of coffee and wanted to hit the road.

The state highway south to Featherston was light of traffic and breeze. In one of only a few days on this entire trip it was calm and flat, with the sun streaming like staccato through the tree lined road. Rimutaka growing ominous in advance of me.

I’d already chosen the incline route and considering what I’d done to date this should be an easy climb, but trepidation was getting the better of me. After coffee I swung south from Featherston to find the beginning of the incline.

The last climb

The climb up from the Wairarapa proved to be suitable grade as my worn tyres slipped and crawled their way over the rough ground, I just keep going and going, crossing the debris field thrown down by the storm clouds further up the ravine, transiting the tunnel and there is was… the summit. All my trepidation abated. I’d made the top and everything from here was basically downhill.

The southern route was a slow river flowing down the mountains.  It almost felt like it had stretched itself out smooth and long to bathe in the morning sun. Best I get on in case its mood changes. I have to say that the incline has been one of the most stunning tracks I’ve taken so far… and familiar as it dropped down into the high valley of Kaitoke.

I’d reached the top of the Hutt by noon… it was now a river trail south to Wellington. It’s a gloriously still and sunny day. Perfect ground.

I pulled up on the Petone foreshore to get a glimpse of the finish line way across the bay (Wellington), just as Jack White began to wail Wayfaring stranger.

‘I’m just a poor wayfaring stranger. Traveling through this world below. There is no sickness, no toil, nor danger. In that bright land to which I go’

Timing is everything.

The end of the line

I pushed onto Wellington at pace, with renewed energy, I felt I could go on and on. The end of the line was Queens wharf and I was there before I knew it.

1,668 kilometres later, to the hour of starting way up at Cape Reinga three weeks earlier, I was there. Alone. All I could think of to say was… “is that all there is?”

Todays top track: Little feat – Willin’ 

Tiraumea to Greytown

Day twenty one

Right… time for an early start. If today is going to be like the last two then I need to get away early.

The day was grey and cooler than previous days, “looks like rain” I said to no sheep in particular. I packed, ate, left a donation and got moving.

I took a look up that climb that defeated me yesterday, the devil looking down, chalking up his cue. I had to pay a bribe, a toll, something that showed I was righteous enough to make passage and I had it.

Fumbling I put on a playlist from the only band to have sold their souls to the devil… it was time for some Led Zeppelin.

So with ‘Mothership’ blasting in my headphones I made peace with the devil and he was pleased. Beyond that initial climb the land fell away into ever broadening valleys and shallowing peaks. I made it to Alfedton in a little over an hour, then continued south for Masterton. The devils billard table behind me.

It began to rain about an hour out, but that didn’t stop me. I was drinking strong hot coffee by 11am.

The rain picked up as I hit the road again and I was soaked by the time  Greytown appeared through the milky haze.

I may have been wet, but that was the best 100km I had ridden in days. Thank you Jimmy Page.

The last night 

This should be my last night on the road and it was going to be a wet one. It didn’t matter, I was more fixated on tomorrow and the Rimutaka.

I kept thinking about the last good climb to come as I prepared my last dehydrated meal. “I should be good for this” I said aloud, but I was filled with trepidation. I’ve not ridden this way before, “I sure hope I make it”.

As I drifted off I was reminiscing how far I’d come. Maybe 1,600 km in the big wiggle. It had been a cathartic journey with reality on the other side of those mountains. Maybe I should keep going… Maybe the road is my reality… I drifted off…

Today’s top track: Led Zeppelin – Ramble on