G'day. My first full day on the road is behind me and I can report that I should have trained harder :-(.
I had a difficult night's sleep but this is usual for the first night of camping. It takes a while to re-learn the art of sleeping in a tent slightly smaller than an empty crisp bag. I was up and out promptly – for some inexplicable this seemed much easier without Knobby. I even tried remembering I needed a poo just as I was ready then fiddling with my saddle for a bit but I was still on the road on time at 7:30.
The first 25 miles were very easy, flat with no wind at all, and I reached Kaitaia in no time at all. I loose something on every trip and this time it was my multi-tool so when I saw a couple of cyclists I asked them if there was a bike shop in town. The answer was No but one of them insisted on giving me his multi-tool; I tried refusing and offering to pay for it but he wouldn't hear a word. I didn't catch your name but THANKS!
After a nice breakfast at McD's I set off full of confidence and this is when the wheels came off. First the headwind returned then there was an enormous climb. By the way, the best thing about a headwind (from a very short list of contenders) is that is shields you from the wind on the climb. After conquering the north face of the Eiger the terrain was just generally lumpy, not crazy but the big climb had exposed my lack of fitness and from that point on it was a struggle. The sun had put a particularly large hat on, just to add to my woes.
All this is just my way of breaking the news that I only did 80 miles. This is still plane-catching pace but NOT Frank-catching pace. Hopefully there will be an overnight miracle and the strong leg fairy will pay a visit.
I am in the Ohaeawai hotel and the grandest thing about it is the name. It is really a pub with rooms and VERY cheap – $35 for the night. Given that you will not be familiar with the exchange rate and general NZ cost of living the best way to emphasise the cheapness is to tell you that the tin of corned beef for last night's dinner cost $8!
After a little nap and a tasty fermented beverage I feel a little revived and am looking forward to my $20 steak.
This is a very small town and tomorrow they bury a little girl run over by a local man. The barman has warned me that it might get a little ugly in here later so as soon as I have eaten my steak I'm off to hide under the bed.
I was working MUCH too hard to play at being David Bailey today so here is another so-so snap taken during a moment when I was suffering a little less than normal.