Friday, May 2, 2014

Day 51: Taieri Mouth to Milton

April 25th 2014
Distance cycled: 24 km
Total distance to date: 2974 km

I thought I'd break the 3000 mark today. But then I ended up only cycling 24km. Oh well, it will be tomorrow then I suppose... unless I only do 24km yet again...

Today was another one of those days that started terribly and ended fantastically. I left Taieri Mouth as a storm threatened from the west. That was the direction I had to go, though, so I suited up in my rain gear just in case. No sooner had I started up the hill than it started to rain. The wind was quite strong too, and I had to stop multiple times just because it was such tough going. Finally the hill seemed like it was over, but in fact I was greeted by a series of little downhills followed by steep uphills, the rain persisting all the way through. Great. 

I finally rounded the corner to lovely views and started the descent. The rain had stopped by this point. 

The downhill was fun but I was soaked and cold and ready for a respite. The town of Waihola came into sight, only 12km from my starting point. I was ready for coffee, a snack, and hopefully a fireplace. Luckily I found all of these things at the only cafe/bar that was open in town, as today was Anzac Day, a public holiday in NZ. I set my wet things by the fire and stood there for a while, absorbing the warmth, then went to a table by the window and drank my coffee as I looked out the window into the street. 

As I gazed at the passing cars, I noticed a cycle tourist with long hair go by. It appeared to be another solo female touring cyclist, and I hoped she would come in for a drink so we could talk. She did - like I said, it was the only place open in town.

I waved as she came in the door, and she came over to me. Her name was Gabi from Bavaria. She was headed the same direction as I was, although she had come much further than I had today - she'd started in Dunedin. I was the first solo female cyclist she had seen in New Zealand. I told her she was my 3rd, after the other Kyla and the German lady I met at the very beginning, Alexandra. Gabi and I decided to cycle together to Milton, another 12km away, and stay at the backpackers there.

After we both had some coffee and some food, we headed into the strong headwind down Highway 1. It was flat but felt like an uphill battle the whole way, plus the additional strain caused by the terrible traffic. I was glad we were stopping for the night in Milton, even though it meant my numbers for the day would be pretty paltry. 


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