Friday, 10 February 2012

Day 1 - Blenheim to Acheron

Ready set go!
Perhaps I'm getting old - missed the briefing by going to the square instead of the movie theatre. Eventually caught up with everyone and spent my time chatting to the other competitors - with hindsight perhaps I should have been having a second breakfast in proper Hobbit fashion. Since the wind was behind us I had decided I would try and push through to Hanmer - the wishful thinking of age! Photos of all and then at 9am we were off. All began well round the cycle way to start the Taylor's pass climb. The 23 kg of bike, gear and water made its presence felt as the youngsters moved ahead. Simon (unnecessarily) pointed out I was drifting behind son Alex by the top of the pass - its not a race! Steady progress and still on schedule till 3/4 of way up Upcot saddle - then sudden power failure and I realised I had allowed myself to run out of food. There were no shops so I had been relying on bars and one square meals.Fortunately Jonty had suggested I take a few gels for emergency and I had two of them then and there plus some water. After 10 mins of slow walking, life returned to the body and I resumed previous progress. The tail wind helped me to the Molesworth shortly after 4.30 pm - well within Simon's cutoff of 5pm so along with Pat Hogan, Peter McKenzie, Owen and Mick we decided to push through. Well, cramp going up Ward Pass was a disappointment followed over the other side by the discovery that we now had a head wind. I'm afraid we didn't make the other side of the Molesworth by 7pm (more like 8.30 pm). We were all stuffed and Pat didn't make it at all, so decided to camp at Acheron and scoot down to Hanmer in the morning for breakfast rather that descend Jollies pass in the dark. I had made this mental plan to only bike in daylight and try and enjoy myself rather than bike all night. Unfortunately this meant dining on more one square meals - probably onto my sixth bar by then -  and decided that from now on it was proper food, sandwiches, pies, pastries, fruit, veges etc. Slept moderately well for a tired old guy!
Pat Hogan suffering at top of Ward Pass - but he bounced back strongly! 

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