The combined 24 hour plane journey conspired to leave me tired, jet lagged and with a DVT that gave me blood clots on my lungs and pneumonia !.
Three weeks after spending time in hospital being probed, punctured, x-rayed and CT scanned, the double dose of antibiotics and blood thinners were starting to work well enough that I felt that a bike ride was possible.
20 km’s was all I could manage, this left me completely buggered, legs were fine but my breathing was awful, gasping for air on the slightest incline. I decided to wait a while longer, distracting myself with books and short walks trying hard to not let the fed upness go any deeper.
Finally I could wait no longer, the bike had been looking at me suggestively, the weather had finally turned into Summer (here in Wellington its been a poor Summer so far) and the wind had died down enough to contemplate a ride along the coast that I’ve been staring at on the map for at least a year now.
Sense took hold and I took a lift to the beginning of the gravel section, quickly reassembling the bike took less than thirty seconds and I was off into a slight headwind, quite pleased about that as it meant I would be assisted home. No one around at the start, by the time I got to the lighthouse I had passed a few walkers and a couple of divers fishing for Paua (a local shellfish delicacy) and then I was alone.
The trail is pure gravel, dusty, sandy and in places deep but no match for the ECR’s three inch tyres, there was just the one section towards the apogee of the ride that required pushing, this is a good thing though as it means you are off the bike for the best views of the Pacific Ocean, I was happy to spend ten minutes sitting listening to the waves and taking photographs of the setting sun.
It was here that the thought occurred to me that in the hour or so I had been riding I never once thought about the illness that had stopped me from riding the Kiwi Brevet, I was just happy to be spinning my legs out.
As the sun was setting I started heading back to base, backtracking along the same roads but now heading towards Wellington, a cruise liner was being guided into dock by a small pilot boat, presumably the thousands of people on board were enjoying themselves but compared to what I was doing it seems like some kind of hell being so confined.
At Eastbourne I stopped to pop a blinky on the rear of the bike, conscious that I was now riding into a low sun, as it happened I needn’t have worried as there was a bike path next to the road all the way back home, home for a shower, my tea and ginger beer, sated for now, happy to have been able to ride a bike again.
Words & pictures – Steve Makin.