Five dry days on the West Coast is a pretty good run but, alas, it has come to a very soggy end this weekend. Yesterday the forecast was for heavy rain on both Saturday and Sunday so I made the call to shelter here in Ross for both days.
It is raining very heavily as I write but the outlook for the next week has suddenly taken a promising turn – it should clear tomorrow and I might get another five dry days. Here’s hoping.
The week has been a mix of highways and trails. There was more cycle traffic on the popular West Coast Wilderness trail than motor vehicles on the roads – long may it last with regard to the roads as I am on state highway six all the way from Ross to Hawea on the other side of the Alps. I rode a few km along that road last evening and never encountered a vehicle so that was promising.
On the 84km ride from Reefton to Greymouth I had my first gear failure. As I was negotiating some road works on a single lane bridge, the bike suddenly lost interest in forward motion. I assumed a flat tyre but when I dismounted, the tyre was fine but my rear rack was dangling unassisted. The strut had sheared off. It did not look good but I thought that I could jerry-rig it with some gaffer tape. Fixing things is not my strong suite.
I entertained the road construction crew by unpacking all my gear to retrieve the tape and scissors. I still had 30km to ride to Greymouth so it needed to be a reasonably sturdy ‘weld’. I surprised myself, it held well and I was able to get a replacement rack in Greymouth. The owner dropped what he was doing and I was back on the road for the last few km in no time. It has been the second act of kindness shown to me on that particular section of the ride.
I decided that you don’t take a rest day when it is not raining so started the West Coast Wilderness trail on Wednesday rather than Thursday as planned. It was a short ride to Kumara for the night so seemed like a rest day.
I really enjoyed the trail this time, no rain makes a big difference. The only slight hitch was that I sent a photo to Ruth of the spot where the front wheel came off her bike on our ride here 18 months ago. I added what, I thought, was an amusing message, that she should sing the butchered version of the Kenny Rodgers song “you picked a fine time to leave me loose wheel”. I stopped to take a picture a bit later and noticed a message from Ruth – “has your wheel come off, are you all right”. No cell reception by this time so I put my Zoleo satellite communicator to use to put her at ease.
Ross was not a long ride from Hokitika but accommodation options from here are limited and I either need to be prepared to ride 100+ km a day or break some days into one shorter ride and one more manageable longer ride. So the ride to Ross was a bit like the Kumara ride – nice and easy.
I have been mixing up the accommodation over these last few days. In Reefton I stayed in the ‘Old Nurses Home’. I probably gave good cause for it to be renamed ‘The Old Cyclists Home. In Kumara I stayed at ‘The Undertakers’ and here in Ross I am in a shipping container – if this rain keeps up I might be floating in my shipping container.