Continued on from Ride 1, Ride 2, Ride 3, and Ride 4
ALPS 2 OCEAN RIDE 5
The beds in the glamping tents were so comfortable, many of us had the best nights sleep. Although saying that every time I woke up, all I heard was rain, rain and more rain.
Previously we had all talked about how lucky we were with the weather. We’d just had 4 sunny and still days. We had been expecting it to break, but it was still a challenge to get out of bed with the thought of a 77Km ride (our longest day in the saddle) to come.
Breakfast set us up well though. Tasty muesli and fruit and free range bright orange eggs. I paid for a packed lunch and I was not disappointed. I had trouble fitting it all in!
Amber and Patrick dropped us back off at the winery, where we collected our bikes and psyched ourselves up to get going.
Kurow to Duntroon
The trail winds its way through the vines to the river. It’s pretty and flat! But within about 10 mins we were soaked!! The trail stays off road and follows the river tracking farm land on the right as we went. Our first glimpses of dairy farming so far on the trail. The trail had seen a fair bit of damage post the extremely heavy rains the week or so before and after the downpour last night there were quite a few puddles.
We crossed two streams along the trail, which in normal circumstances would have been small and no issue but they were a little challenge as there was so much water! (Please don’t worry if you’re thinking of doing this trail and the next picture freaks you out a bit – the Alps 2 Ocean team prioritised sorting out the issues at this stream which created by the extreme conditions).
After about 15Km the trail leaves the side of the Waitaki river and heads back towards the road. It then follows the road for another 8Km or so. At this point you can take a side trip to see the Maori Rock art. http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/photograph/22741/maori-rock-art
Unfortunately, we did not stop to appreciate it as it was still raining, pretty cold and windy at this point.
We arrived wet and soggy in Duntroon, and we stopped in a shelter there to have some lunch. I headed to the fossil shop (not only is it pretty much the only place open in town, but my dad collects fossils… so I thought I’d see if I could find something a bit different here). Ian at the Fossil Shop was very welcoming, giving us a hot coffee or a hot chocolate so that we warmed up a little. I also found a small selection to send him – bonus!
From here we rode out on to a new section of off road trail, it wasn’t officially open when we rode it (plan is to be opened by next season) but we had permission to check it out, and it was great. Smooth surface and nicely done. It’s “undulating” in the South Island sense of the word!
The group split up around here, the faster ones just kept riding and the slower ones took it easy. This turned out to be a good plan, because it was so cold when you stopped that it would have been risky having lots of people waiting for long periods.
I stayed back with the slower group, because I felt that I could help encourage the guys that were struggling a little and so I could help out if there were any mechanical problems or other issues. It’s worth noting, how weather like this changes the feel of the day completely, alters the mental attitude to riding so many Km’s and also quickly increases the risk of someone getting cold if they get injured or have a mechanical failure.
Duntroon to Oamaru
Once the trail leaves Duntroon, there are no towns really along the way. The trail passes through some small villages/collections of houses but there are not many place to have a sheltered rest stop.
Not long after Duntroon, the rain picked up another level, the wind got stronger and the riding got harder with some sections of head wind.
It was tough going for the less experienced bikers of the group. The sections kind of blur into each other here. We did less camera work, talked less and just put our heads down and rode. There were a good few hills in amongst all this. Enough to get us warm and to get the legs burning.
A few highlights were:
The group trying to name the various hills, Bobs Folly, The Devils switchbacks to name a couple!
The railway tunnel, which was surprisingly long and dark and cold!!
Riding through Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe movie scenery
Rogers flat tyre with 15Km to go…. 🙁
Being completely soaked all day and having wrinkly fingers like we’d spent too long in the bath.
Riding through the mist at the top of one of the hills, felt one of those white outs you get whilst skiing!
Then finally arriving in Oamaru!!
Seeing the sea was a real buzz!
We’d got ourselves all the way here. Riding all the way from the mountains! The past few days of riding really did feel like an epic journey from the Alps to Ocean.
5 days of riding with this group had been so much fun, mixed in with some hard work of riding so many Kms, and the wonder of riding through such beautiful places.
It was a great achievement together, our motley crew, and we celebrated with some awesome craft beer and pizza…. oh and colouring in some artwork in the pub!
78Km of riding. Undulating.
Along Waitaki River and then through farmland landscapes to Oamaru.
Not much shelter or provisions along the way so be prepared.
Adventurers can organise your Alps 2 Ocean trip for you, just drop us a line.