An enforced holiday in the first half of 2020 was an unexpected event, I had not planned for this…
I had planned for Tour Divide in June. Like massive amounts of people around the world it was time to adjust, reflect and become creative. I never ever get bored normally and I definitely did not get bored during this lockdown. I am lucky to live at my business, Vibrant Living Retreat in Hanmer Springs, New Zealand. In the foothills of beautiful, accessible, mountains and rivers.
With no guests or clients to look after here it was just me, my wife Mary Jo and Josefiina. For a little bit of routine we’ve done yoga and Wim Hoff breathing exercises most mornings. We organised an outdoor activity for us to do together each week, something we called ‘Adventure Wednesday’. We hiked to the summits of Mt Dunblane and Mt Isobel, we rode to a swimming hole just under 20 km away on a warm Autumn day and had a chilly swim. We rode out to some natural hot pools on another Wednesday. We rode the local singletrack network another week. We had fun and the weather was beautiful, even more enhanced with the spectacular Autumn colours. I did not go any further than a 30 km radius from home for the whole lockdown period.
Mt Dunblane and Mt Isobel are easily accessible peaks reached in a half day hike from the village of Hanmer Springs, both topping out at just over 1300 meters in altitude. We climbed Mt Isobel via a beautiful waterfall and rugged terrain in lush forest on a clear calm day. The top of the lesser climbed Mt Dunblane was also spectacular, with amazing views in all directions. There is something great about reaching the peak of a mountain, its very invigorating , food for the soul!
Riding over Jacks Pass on the Clarence valley river road was a big deal for the girls, Mary Jo had done it once or twice, but Josefiina never… I have no idea how many times I’ve ridden this gravel climb from the village, climbing over 6 kms to crest over the pass and down into the valley. So off we went on our mission to a deep swimming hole on the Clarence River some 19 km from home. Bike ride, sunshine and a cold river swim made for another great lockdown day. Myself and Mary Jo were riding our Surly Pugsley FAT Bikes, great gravel munching machines.
For our trip to the natural Hot pools, we loaded the van. It was the FAT Bikes again! we drove over the pass and parked near the gate to the Edwards Road. The ride was about 14 km’s on dual track with a couple of river crossings, rewarded with a fantastic soak in the hot pools that are in Cow Stream. This is just off the St James Cycle trail, great places to camp with Scotties hut just a little further on towards the Waiau River.
On all of these micro adventures we hardly saw another soul, most people must have really been staying local!
I did not tap into mainstream media news, I stayed in my bubble 🙂 although more than likely going against the guidelines! Always aware of stricter restrictions around the world and the terrible nature of the current global crisis. I am grateful to be in New Zealand, to have this space, this precious fresh air and this time to be.
Other than the adventures with Mary Jo and Josefiina, I continued to ride and spend time on my indoor trainer. I was less focused on training for an event, simply because there were none! just enjoying riding my bike, which I always do anyway regardless.
This year I also entered the Silk Road Mountain Race in Kyrgyzstan to start in August . The final call has not been made on whether this will go ahead or not?
If the Silk Road Mountain Race does not happen I’ve pencilled in the Race To The Rock, over in Australia in September. This is a self supported race from Adelaide to Uluru. I’m excited for this as I’ve wanted to do this race for a few years now. I do like to have a big race or two lined up on the horizon to look forward to, to train fo , to be motivated and to get excited about the adventures to be had on the bike. The world is changing fast now so we have to adapt and flow with the rhythm. It’s more important than ever to get out in nature, fresh air,sunshine and get some exercise. This will hopefully help to boost your immunity way more that any future vaccine will.
Make it FUN!