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I Feel Free

By in Sports & Fitness Comments Off on I Feel Free

You will need the name of the group to get the full benefit of this song:

The obvious connection – I do indeed feel free now that I am not totally consumed with doing miles. Today was 70 and they were done by 3pm. The wind was more or less non-existent and the terrain was mostly flat and I just pushed the pedals, watched the scenery role by and did some good hard thinking. Even Mt Hercules turned out to have a Maori name of Mt Nowherenearasbadasanythingonnorthisland.

By the way, a word or two about the Maori. Firstly, I see no obvious signs that they are oppressed and marginalised in the way that the Aborigines and Native Americans went once the white man turned up. They seem to be very much part of mainstream life, not significantly poorer than the white man and their culture seems to be part of daily life in NZ and embraced by all. Secondly, they seem to have more or less abandoned South Island. In the north I probably met more people of Maori descent than white anglo-saxons but I don't think I have seen a single one since landing in Picton. There are still many Maori place names and signs for tourist attractions featuring Maori carvings, art etc but no actual Maori. Maybe someone with more time than me can google it and provide the explanation.

I am riding with the Southern Alps to my left and the Tasmin Sea to my right, and very lovely it is too. This morning, as I rounded a corner I happened to glance left and saw the alps in all their glory. I doubt this picture, taken on my phone, will even begin to do it justice.

Secondly the hidden song connection – I expect many of you have been thinking about my arse. Certainly Annie will have given this considerable thought. In F1 there was a period when winning was all about tyre management, well in long distance cycling it is all about arse management. In my experience, saddle soreness is a routine part of the trip, usually kicking in at about day 4 and taking a week to settle down. Well, thanks to the liberal application of Sudocrem morning and evening (a grisly business) my sore bum has finally settled down to the background level of pain that never goes away and this has further contributed to my general feeling of well-being today. I knew you would be pleased!

I am in Franz Josef, site of the first of two big glaciers on this part of the coast. It is real tourist-town and not my sort of place but the next stop is 30k and two huge climbs away. I am staying in a YHA (now THAT is a sentence I never imagined I'd ever have to write again). It is, naturally, full of students, poor people and other vermin but I am trying to fit in. For tea I will probably scavenge the waste bins and eat whatever I find with some lentils.

Tomorrow I must do two monster hills across to Fox glacier. If, when I get there, there is NOT a polar bear standing on a very large mint there WILL be trouble. After that I hope to press on to Haast, though this is 86 miles sway….watch this space.



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