Monday, 13 February 2012

Day 3 - Wharfedale to Arthurs Pass

Klondyke Corner
Big skies over central divide
Awoke to find everything quite wet from overnight rain. Also discovered that I had lost some strength and dexterity in my thumb and little fingers - too much banging of the heel of my hand and not enough different positions to hold the handlebars. Combined with the vicious sandflies it took me forever to get everything packed up and tied on my bike. Fortunately no-one was watching but it must have looked quite comical to see me doing 5 to 6 slaps to the face, legs and neck between tying each piece on the bike. However if I thought I was a slow starter Owen and Mick were even slower as I caught them up soon after the Wharfedale Hut. We continued slowly up to the saddle - riding considerably less than I had done a year earlier with an unladen bike. Things improved considerably down the other side and we were soon on the roads towards Sheffield and a famous pie. Discovered the reason why my chain had been jumping around was two bent teeth on my front middle ring. Using a pair of pliers to bend the teeth straight - I broke them off! However this seemed to do the trick. Also discovered a broken spoke but this was quickly buddied with another with a bit of electrical tape and all was running well again. While I was doing all these repairs Tor Madsen arrived having done a big push to the Lees Valley all the way from the other side of the Molesworth the day before then taking advantage of his 6' 5" frame to run through the gnarlier parts of the Wharfedale. We set off together hoping to make Arthurs Pass by dark. Taking advantage of a tail wind, rejuvenated by the clear blue skies and real food diet I powered (for me) up Porters Pass at over 7 km/hr in less that 25 minutes and raced through Broken River, Craigieburn, Castle Hill, Flock Hill admiring the expansive views of the surrounding hills. Heading down Flock Hill at about 70 km/hr I felt a sharp pain on my throat and realised I had trapped a wasp in the V of my top. Releasing one hand carefully I flicked it out - too late to avoid a sting, but fortunately I don't seem to be allergic to them. Reaching Arthurs Pass at 7.30 I had booked a room in what used to be Oscar Coberger's place and was dining at a nearby cafe when Tor arrived. We ended sharing a room and reminiscing about times 20 to 30 years earlier when our families had known each other quite well in Wilton in Wellington and filling in the intervening years. A shower and chance to wash clothes was taken instead of continuing to bike on.Also chance to visit Brevet site on internet - pleased to see my son Alex was still with the revolution team approaching Blackball. A great sleep in a soft comfortable bed followed - something you seem to appreciate more with age.

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