Those of you who follow the blog will know that Ruth largely leaves the planning to me. This is a big responsibility as I have to plan bike rides that avoid hills. Well that is pretty much impossible so we both now kind of understand how this works. I tell her that it is PROBABLY mostly flat or even better, downhill, and she reserves the right to get a little grumpy if it is not.
Well the ride from Kaiteriteri was a bit like that. During our bus ride last week I could see that there were going to be a couple of Ruth averse sections. Unfortunately, the very first section, fell into that category.
The bikes we had hired were good, the best we have had for any ride. The weather was close to perfect but when we rode out onto the road it ascended skywards and when roads or tracks do that, any amount of good things are immediately wiped out for Ruth.
However, as noted during the walk, our fitness is so much better. I puffed my way to the top of the hill and turned to be shocked to see Ruth still peddling and not complaining. Things were looking promising until we hit the second hill a few very short minutes later.
The first 4 km of the ride were over a mountain bike path. By the time we had biked very slowly over the endless switch backs I was in serious need of redemption. A stormy looking Ruth asked if there was going to be any flat riding; fortunately I could wave my arm towards the immediate horizon which resembled a table top.
You cover flat ground quite quickly and after a couple of hours of riding we were starting to get hemmed in by hills, it did not bode well. I knew from the tour notes that it was bad, “this grade two and three section will warm you up but there are some fantastic views from the top”. As I mulled over the best way to break this new to a much happier Ruth, she pointed at the mountains in front and said “I hope we are not going over those”. I saw my opportunity and pointed to the hills to our left and replied ” no, we only have to bike over those little hills”.
Even little hills can be deceptive from sea level. The view was quite impressive from the top and the really really good news was that I could point at Nelson in the distance and the land in between was all FLAT.
After 45km we arrived at our overnight stop, Mapua, a place neither of us had visited before. A splendid little village that is again thriving thanks to the bike trail. In the morning we wheeled the bikes onto the ferry across to Rabbit Island and in the sunshine yet again. We beat the forecast rain, and our bags, into Nelson and declared the 81km ride a success. Even Ruth was starting to mellow on the whole hill issue. She still wants to avoid them but I got the feeling that she does accept that one or two may be ok. Well that was my take on it.