I lived in Otago for 10years and Adi and I bought our first house down here. I had only cycled North West Southland and Southern Otago a few times however and you can forget a few of the more relevant things. The first thing I forgot was the steepness of the hills. The other thing I forgot was the severity of the coastal winds. Those two things alone would probably have broken me today. The wind in the Catlins was so strong I could only just make headway in the middle chain ring. This really annoys me because I like pushing big gears (old school) and when I have to use what I consider hill climbing gears on the flat I need to control my frustration. Luckily as I have got older and particularly since my cycle trip across Australia I have learnt to control my frustrations when a few years ago I would have been swearing at everything that moved.
Anyway when I approached a hill of which there were many I had to chop down into the small ring on my triple chainwheel. These gears I usually hold in reserve for alpine passes pulling a BOB trailer.
I was not a happy camper. Especially as I had left early and I could see the days objective slowly becoming a fantasy.
But I wasn't totally beaten until the third hurdle hit me. Gravel. This was not really a mistake as I was on a route that I hadn't cycled before and had two maps neither of which gave any indication that it was comng. It transpired that on top of the hills and wind I had 40kms of loose gravel. The bike was equiped for it with 26 x 1.75 touring tyres but even then the camber on many of the corners was unrideable and I had Sidi road shoes on so walking wasn't a favoured option either.
|Gravels Great When You're Not in a Hurry.|
It all just costs time. Adi struggled a bit also with the Vespa in the gravel and in the wind. But today was one day I'd rather be on the motorbike.
I decided to cut my loses and stay at a place called Balclutha and only covered 125kms. But at least I got here early-ish and tomorrow is another day.
I certainly can't complain about the amount of sun I'm getting though. Since the wet day on the West Coast it has been beating down relentlessly.
Thanks for the comment regarding horses Jane. I thought you were the horse rider and karyn more the cyclist. Horses I'm sure dont mind gravel or wind. But certainly karyn needs to skill up on 'simple and cheap ways to keep your horse running smoothly' if she's going to work them over too hard. Either that or get her a cheap one she can thrash and keep the good one for the weekends.