Today’s “morning ride” did indeed start in the morning and finished 8 hours, 218.5 km and 6,132 calories later. The sun was shining over the North Island and the trucks were out in full form on State Highway 1! It’s hard to stay on the road when these massive things blast past you at 100 km/hour.
Today Cam also got the first puncture, which the multi-talented one-person support crew Alice helped fix up. Keep munching on those Blue Dinosaur Energy Bars Cameron, you definitely need all the paleo energy you can get after a day like that! 10 days and 2,000 kilometres to go until we hit Bluff at the bottom of the South Island.
Also, Cam is riding through New Zealand to raise funds and awareness for CanTeen New Zealand and Australia – a charity that supports you people dealing with cancer. Please head over to the campaign page to learn more about the ride through New Zealand:
Let me paint a picture for you… After spending 40-or-so kilometres on Highway 1 I was looking for any possible way to get to Auckland without Highway 1 forming part of the itinerary. When you’re faced with a 100-km-per-hour one-lane highway with sections where there’s zero bitumen over the white lines, logging trucks become a major consideration, especially when they vacuum you in when passing.
After yesterday’s big ride and over 2,400m of climbing today, I couldn’t keep a high cadence throughout the day. After a couple of mechanical issues, I found myself with the sun setting on country roads, hunger flatting as I had not passed a town or petrol station in over 70 kilometres. As it got darker and darker I found myself starting to get nervous. My phone was completely out of battery and all I had to navigate myself home was a GPS on a bike computer.
I passed a few rural properties and knocked on a door asking for where the nearest town was and if they could spare a muesli bar. No bar (or any offer of food) but I had 18 kilometres to the next town. It was pitch black on 100-kilometre country roads, so I turned my Exposure Lights provided by Bike Box on high beam. I am now forever grateful for these lights. Cars pass me with consideration, outside of a few. The roads are not flat; there are steep climbs and descents. I battled up the climbs with limited energy stores left and I carefully glided down the other side, unfamiliar with the pitch black roads.
Feeling incredibly vulnerable, I entered a pub 18 kilometres later at Kaukapakapa on the outskirts of Auckland. As I walked into the pub a table of drinkers looked up me and down, and asked in a condescending way if I’d finished my ride. I explained that I’m on my way to Bluff and riding for charity. One of the blokes at the table said he heard about my story on the Channel 3 NZ news the previous night.
The conversation opened up and we had a great old yarn. I charged my phone so I could contact my wife, Alice, to let her know everything is OK. The two lovely people below (Ivan and Di) offered me their phone while mine was on charge. We got chatting and they insisted on dropping me on the other side of the highway so I don’t have to risk it. I ordered a pizza, we got to know each other, and then they dropped me to the front door.
A big day and lessons learned about just how difficult this solo ride is going to be.
Read all about the other days of Ride the Long White Cloud: