20/02/14, Day 21, Cob Cottage to Hanmer Springs

Day 3 on the Molsworth Muster Station Track. Laid in my tent quite early yesterday. As i was the only one on the DOC campsite I wondered whether I would  be nervous about that. Sleeping on my own, along the road, no social control. It turned out that I was tired enough to sleep until the alarm went off at six. As it was still dark I snoozed till 700, but still had a hard time getting up.

I was on my way around 745, but after some 500 meter had to stop to unload my bike to lift it over the fence again. For the third time! Then rode the 5k that I already did yesterday, including the 250 meters of climbing. After that followed a steep pass to about 1100 meters. Once on top I could almost touch the low hanging clouds 🙂 Views from the top were magnificent!

After descending from the pass I came to what they call the “Isolated flat” which indeed was flat, and actually gradually downhill 🙂 The road was still quite shitty though, so progress was still quite slow. After about 30k I came to the point at which I abandoned my originally planned route, after which followed 55k of unknown territory. I like to know what’s more or less ahead, even though roads and their toughness always turn out to be a surprise. For this stretch of road I only had a rough profile from the DOC website, which turned out to be highly inaccurate.

The road turned out to follow the Acheron river downstream, so most of it was gradually downhill. It was all shitty gravel though. Lots of wasbord. And there were some steep climbs in between on places where the road couldn’t follow the river. My biggest fear was the last pass that the map showed right at the end. Jack’s pass. I really didn’t like the prospect of some steep 250m climb right at the end of the day. Luckily there was no choice but to push through 🙂

This stretch of road was very isolated. Even more so because it was closed to motorized vehicles. So I came across 3 cars of the farm and that was about it. And I cam across one cyclist 🙂 riding the opposite direction. Tom, 55 years old, from Dutch decent, so hij sprak een beetje Nederlands. We chatted for some 30 minutes on gear and the road ahead. He said the road was oke and that there was some climbing lef to do. I didn’t know by what standards though. Kiwi’s wont brag about it, but I think they are tough as what…

So I continued and came across another locked fence. Lifted my bike over and was treated to this amazing view. My mind made the mistake thinking that I was nearly there. So I lazed around a bit, watching the view, reading my book. Then went on my way again. Not five minutes after leaving I turned into a valley and someone opened up a jar of wind. My old friend the wind had came to see me again 😦 So instead of going uphill on a shitty road, i was now on the flat on a shitty road, with this insane tough and cold mountain wind blowing in my face 😦

No other option but to push through though… At the end of this village would be an “Alpine Resort” town where I would be able to find some proper food and hopefully a bed! I ground away the kilometers bit by bit and made it to the turn off to Jack’s pass. Being cold, hungry and just tired, I was really happy to see that it just went up gradually. 

After some 3k I made it to the top. All that was left was a 800 meter descent. A nightmare for the hands on these kind of roads 🙂 Right before reaching the top of the pass I passed a convoy of 8 4×4 jeeps, who had come from the Rainbow road. They were fixing a flat tire on one of the vehicles. I had been 1/3 down the hill when they caught up on me. I stopped to let them pass and watch them go by. The first car came by and the people blew their horn, waved and put up thumbs. And then all 7 remaining vehicles did the same 🙂 so that was pretty kind of them 🙂 pretty cool!

It didn’t make me feel less cold and hungry though, so I continued my way down. I found a bed in a hostel and took a very long warm shower, even though a note on the door requested to keep showers short. After the shower I went into town to find some food and after that I went straight to bed. 

I’ll be sticking around here today tomorrow. The past three days have just taken it out of me. Today was 86k and another 1500 meters of climbing, on shitty roads. Riding these kind of roads gives you a full body workout 🙂 I did make it through tough! And I did it without hurting or killing myself, and without setting the area on fire!

Getting all stuff over the same fence for the third time!

I’d soon be climbing into these clouds

Magnificent view over the isolated flat…

Views would be quite stunning throughout the day though…

I had to put a lot of work into it…

But it was worth it…

My favorite… two rivers flowing together…

Me fooling around… thinking i was almost there… what a joke…

Getting there…

The final descent!

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