OK, now that the crisis has passed I have a confession. Yesterday wasn't just hard it was desperately hard. In cycling there is a term called 'bonking' for when you have completely exhausted all available energy. The effects can be quite spectacular and yesterday, at about 60 miles, I bonked big time. Never mind average speeds of 10.7, the last 10 miles took me 2 hours. The final mile to the pub was up a gentle gradient and I had to walk. Only Knobby will understand the significance of this….. Steve does NOT walk up hills!
I went to bed a very worried man. However, the restorative powers of a $20 steak and 10 hours under the bed
should not be underestimated. I set out with considerable trepidation but today was OK and I managed a magnificent 92 miles – this is well into Frank-catching territory and more like 7 miles beyond target. AND I was done by 4pm!
Although I am definitely less fit than I would like, I think yesterday was a combination of jet-lag, starting the day too fast and not planning my food stops well.
At my breakfast stop this morning a funny thing happened – I met someone I knew. It was the driver of Friday's tour bus who happened to live in the town. He teased me about the slowness of my progress so I teased him about the smallness of his enormous trees. How we laughed.
So, New Zealand…….so far the Northland can be best summed up as 'very pretty'. It isn't spectacular but the endless rolling green hills are very easy on the eye. The Far North is incredibly empty and even riding on Highway 1 (THE road) I was often passed by fewer than 20 cars in an hour.
From the approaches to Whangarei the traffic has steady built and I am now only a day away from Auckland, home to 25% of all Kiwis.
The best thing about NZ so far? Pies.
In Merica the valuable retail real-estate next to the till in gas stations is wasted with huge displays of beef jerky. In NZ it is given over to the hot pie counter. NZ 1 – USA 0.
I am in another pub room – this time only $30 – in Wellsford. Tomorrow will be entirely consumed with getting through Auckland, including a brief sea voyage across the harbour.
I will sleep much happier tonight.
Ps the photo sums up Northland – green and hilly