The New Zealand trip is coming to an end.
Its been pretty amazing despite not being able to do the riding that I wanted to do, there have been some awesome rides, the central Otago Rail Trail with my wife being the highlight. However ,there haven’t been any wild camps or S24O’s as anticipated, all that map staring came to nothing, but now as we are in our last week here I have had some time to reflect and consider how lucky I am in being able to come and spend some time in this amazing country.
By far the biggest part of this experience has been the firming of the friendships I made last time, good people who started as cycling companions and are now firm family friends, plus we also have a new family to call our own over here in New Zealand (No1 daughter is marrying into a kiwi family) we have been welcomed into their homes, eaten their food, and shared some sublime experiences.
But now its time to head home and see my family, go riding with my friends, and talk about future plans.
Today was the start of my annual get fit campaign, harder this year after a bit of a hiccup health wise but more enthusiastic as a result. I headed out to seek some new to me trails. The Hutt River trail heads inland from the coast, consisting of hard packed gravel and concrete paths its an easy ride, apart from the ever so slight rise and the nagging headwind its a straight forward follow the signs affair. The open trails soon give way to some urban single-track, all the time following the river upstream, great views and far enough away so as to not hear the rumble from the paralleling state highway 2.
I stopped to take a photograph and my foot sank into the freshly deposited mud (its rained quite a lot over here of late) and I fell onto my elbow, there might have been swearing.
A few minutes of wincing and I was going again.
I was deep in thought, thinking about friends, thinking about recent tragic events over in Australia (Mike Halls sudden and shocking death) thinking about the number of people who are out there in the world riding bikes right now and gaining so much pleasure from this simple activity, before long I had arrived at my turning point.
Birchville Bridge was to be my crossing point so I could return via the west side of the river, sadly the bridge was closed for repairs so I retraced my steps on the east side, slightly faster due to the slight downhill nature of the trail, laughing to myself because obviously the wind had now switched directions back into my face.
Arriving back to the pie shop opposite my daughters house, two of the best home made pies and a banana milkshake made everything good again, but 60k had wiped me out, once again I’m looking up at that big hill again, grateful that I can see the top and am able to start the climb once again.
Words & pictures – Steve Makin.