It was a lot warmer at Blue Duck Station than Epic, and I got away by 6:45. The jet boat was booked for me from Murapara landing at 1:30pm and the lady from the café warned me it was taking most people six hours.
The single track from Whakahoro was rugged. I slipped, fell and walked my way to the end, breaking my previous record from Mangakino by taking two hours to do 12km. After that the track improved but the hills just kept giving. I did spot Mt Taranaki in the distance so you get good views from up there.
I’d worked myself up onto a bit of a state by being really nervous on the single track due to my previous injury, which made me clumsy, which meant I fell more. I told myself to harden up and try to ride more than walk. I realised I’d been too keen when I fell over and slid off the track down a bank. I went headfirst down but managed to use my bike as leverage to get back on the track since fortunately it stayed up top. After that I was kinder to myself. I heard from a friend today that a guy fell off a cliff and had broken his back so I was definitely being looked after. Thanks to everyone for their prayers!
I found the narrow swing bridges the most physically difficult part of the day. I had to tip my bike on its back wheel, and tilt my handle bars to get through. Not easy when your bike weighs 28kg with gear and water. The one with the steps almost finished me off since I couldn’t lift the bike up the steps. Taking off and resetting the bags takes ages so I gave it all I had. Which meant I succeeded in flipping my bike over one of the grounding cables and had to start again.
I finally grunted enough to get it done and was on my way. But two bridges later I realised I had lost a water bottle. It is a special extra large one I’d had to order in. So I unloaded my bike and raced back to the flipping bridge which is where I assumed I’d lost it. There is was, hidden under some ferns.
When I finally got to the landing at Murapara I wasn’t feeling very friendly, so it’s a shame that was when I bumped into Josie, who is a friend of my workmate Jocelyn. Josie, if I ever meet up with you again I will try not to be so dour.
When I finally got into the boat I started to cry. All the emotions I’d been suppressing came flooding up. It was so nice to be able to relax for half an hour and enjoy the beauty of the Whanganui river.
It was action stations at the other end though. Cleaning my bike to try and remove the squeak which had gotten steadily worse. Eating, refilling water bottles, and eating more knowing I still had to cycle 77km to make my goal of Whanganui.
Some people stopped off at a road side camp site, and I was tempted to join them but with only 23 km to go I knew I would sleep better in town.
I booked the first accomodation I could when back in cell phone range and headed off to reset for the next day. I got in around 8pm and couldn’t be bothered with dinner, so had a handful of chips and a chocolate bar and went to bed after the nightly chores at 10.30pm
Exhausted, but strangely content. And very grateful for all the support.
Bridge to Nowhere
Jet boat ride down the Whanganui River