The route: Palmerston North to Featherstone
Distance: 162km, 20km gravel road. Ascended: 1474m.
Pies: 1, in Masterton & it was very average.
The plan today was straightforward, if not long. Ride to my brother Aidan's farm near Featherstone. Stash the trusty steed & stay at his place near Carterton.
It was nice to share breakfast with Jeff, although we just didn't have enough time to solve the problems of society. I got away by 7.30am to tackle the 250m climb over the Pahiatua Track. This is now a busy road with the Manawatu Gorge road closed permanently.
The 'Shoulder Closed sign was somewhat alarming especially with the number of big trucks labouring up the hill. I realise cyclists can be a pain to avoid, but what is so important, that risking the life
of some else's poppa, husband, father, brother, friend etc. for a few moments delay until it's safe to pass?
I do my best to make it safe & easy to get past but the odd nutter obviously hasn't met my people.
I caught up to 2 sisters in Pahiatua who are riding the route. They've just had a good previous night with family and like me are enjoying the ride. We chat for a while swapping stories & sharing the pain & joy of the journey.
They catch up with me 35km later in Eketahuna as I'm about to depart, this is the end of the day for them and it sounded like a river swim was on the agenda. As we chatted, we were accosted by an older man who had ridden the route a few years earlier. He was still enthusiastic about the experience, "the best thing I ever did".
I had to inspect his e-bike shackled to the rear of his camper. I may meet him & his wife tomorrow as they're planning on riding the Remutaka incline. Although I may be a bit early.
15km of gravel roads were next and it wasn't nice gravel, not as bad as a freshly graded road, but these stones moved the bike around a lot. There were also good long sections of excellent road riding surrounded by rolling hills.
After meeting the sisters I wondered what you call a group of cyclists, the technical term is called the collective noun.
From the little I've seen of cycling on TV, I think 'peloton' is the word, like a group of lions is a pride. But 2 people, I don't think makes a peloton, just like 2 lions don't make a pride. It's just 2 mates sharing a ride, or if you're a lion... a gazelle.
But what about 4? Again from TV, I've heard the term "making a break", so I think it's safe to assume that 4 cyclists are a break out group. Again, if you're on your safari on the Serengeti and see 4 lions together, you can assume that it's not a pride, but either a therapy session or break out group.
So, my musings on the long straights today, came to the conclusion that at around 8 participants the terminology comes into play to describe a specific 'group'.
Now to prove this, there needs to be an exception and I thought I found one that most cyclists will relate to. You've heard of 'a murder of crows' and I assumed that this was the term for magpies as well (conveniently I couldn't check Google). So, a magpie on its own, I would argue is a murder and any cyclist who has been attacked by one would agree.
Such is the mind of a lone long distance cyclist.
The last 60km went quickly as there were less hills, my attempts to draft passing tractors failed as I couldn't get to 40km/hr. A quick muesli bar in Martinborough, had me ready for the final 13km to the farm. It was good to get in and I was greeted by Aidan's daughter & granddaughter who I hadn't expected to see. Nice to see them.
Nothing left to do but have a quick dip in the farm pool, pack up and head to Aidan & Janne's place for a shower, yummy dinner & catch up.