As per previous days, we once again we had to wait for the rain (as well as the thunder and gusty winds) to abate for about an hour before we set off. We weren’t bothered as we only had about 30kms to ride today and it was allegedly all downhill. We wish!!! The run down to Walpole proved to be our toughest day yet though. The rain held off mostly but the hills were out in force. Because of the wet gravel road and the rutting from the rain, we had to descend each hill at a crawl, holding firmly onto our brake levers and trying not to skid our of control. This meant we had no momentum to get us up the next hill and we’d invariably end up pushing the bikes for 500m or more to the top. We did this about a dozen times during the day, up some of the biggest and steepest hills we’d encountered yet. By the time we came of Beardmore Road and onto North Walpole Road we were pretty buggered. We’d been going sideways all morning and up and down. Now it was time to head south again and down to the coast.
And the downs were great – and long too! But…the ups weren’t finished with us yet as a long, steep one nailed us near the end. It was so steep we were barely able to push our bikes up it. Our eyeballs were nearly popping out with sheer exertion by the time we’d pushed the km to the top. The view was amazing as the forest bordered grazing land and farms. Everything was verdant green except our faces which were bright red!!!
It had been a long, hard week on the road, a real wake up call. Our first week had been all flat and relatively easy going (compared to this!). Now we’ve had our first taste of constant hills (and wind and rain) and our expectations have shifted. Daily distances will have to be calculated using road profiles and wind directions from now on. Welcome to long distance cycle touring! We took a well earned rest in Walpole and assessed our way forward.
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