Day 18: Reefton to Kumara

Reefton to Kumara.
Distance: 133km. Ascent: 1604m

Pies: 1 at Ikamatua, very average, but needed 5/10.

I had heard that the first part of today's ride was a challenge so was a bit apprehensive about it. At least there was no rain. I was on the road by 7am, so I didn't need to rush and it gives me options at the end of the day. My plan is to stay in Greymouth, but heavy rain is forecast for tomorrow so I may change things.

The 4x4 track started about 10kms in and was quite pleasant in places, as it wound its way up beneath beech forest. There were some steep rocky sections but mostly rideable. I met 2 groups in their vehicles, they had come in the day before and camped overnight, they were all loving the track and surrounds.

Packing light for the cycling trip | Cycling the length of NZ in 30 days

This picture shows the track but also my bike setup. Directly in front of me is My Food Bag, in which I stow muesli bars and my nut/ raisin mix for the day. In front of that is my spare water which I fill if I think that I'll empty my 2 other bottles. The white page is the route guide and below that hidden by my arm rest is my basic trip meter. To the right is a banana, which was eaten after taking this photo, it is  obscuring the spot tracker that some of you are addicted to following.

Underneath all this is my handle bar bag which has my sleeping bag and all my clothes and in the orange dry bag is my mat. Everything is double bagged to help prevent rubbing holes which can happen if a single layer is used.

A view of the track as i take a breather

The 4x4 track finishes below a DOC hut, which I walk up to so I can record my name in the hut book as a safety measure.  For the next 12km, I will be on a tramping track. It is mostly rideable but I find it tough, slow going. It starts out as board walk to protect the delicate flat country, but soon it is a narrow rut sidling on steep country. This opens up to a wider root & rock pocked track, then eventually I hit the piece they managed to get the digger to, close to the road end.

Rough track, means slow going on the track | PB tours Aotearoa cycling New Zealand

You can see from my speed graph  that the first 30km are very slow, but rises once I hit the maintained track.

The bush is lovely and I start to contemplate what it means to 'tread the road less travelled', as author Scott Peck put it.  It seems to me, that we all are guided in life by some principle.  I came out with 3; faith, fatalism and fortune.  

If it is faith, then we trust in something bigger than ourself to guide & lead. Looking to sacred writings or prophets to enlighten. The future is being revealed. The danger here is that there is no action as the has been no "word for me".

If it is fatalism then it is perhaps life's circumstance that gives direction, again with prophets interpreting events. "The gods are angry/ pleased because..."  Here the future is uncertain and the danger is that no effort is made to effect change because "that's just how it is".

I've called the other principle 'fortune' because this is where we make the future. I am in charge of my future. This is a very rational approach, decisions are made purely on what can be seen, heard & proven. The prophets here are the scientists, economists and politicians. The danger perhaps being the erosion of the sanctity of life. "You're too sick, old, damaged..... to continue".

I emerge from the track to a gravel road that leads me to a 5/10 pie in Ikamatua. I take time to recover and chat with Dallis who I've just caught up with again. Wet weather is predicted for tomorrow with a heavy rain warning in place, so I start to I plan to ride an extra 30km to Kumara to cut down on the riding in such conditions, now only 100km. I make a quick call to Glenys to research accommodation suitable for such weather and she finds a caravan for me.

Rustic caravan accommodation in Kumara for a wet weather expected night

I'm thankful for a shower tonight as I'm filthy, mud coated with dust on my legs & bike. 

My routine when I get in, is to get the bags off the bike, clean it and fix anything. I then sort my accommodation and clean myself & biking clothes, if I can. Food is next, and it usually takes a while as I don't have an appetite after riding. Then I write this blog, send it to Nat & go to bed.