Thursday, October 26, 2023

Day 6 Greymouth to Harihari

Distance 122 km
Time: 7 hours 30 minutes
Travel modalities: bicycling

The first weather forecast on television this morning is in Maori. I don't understand any of it, but the pictures and numbers look bad. I haven't sailed in so long, I can't remember if SW winds means out of the south west or into the south west. I decide not to check, but assume it will be bad for me. Hail accumulates on the hotel balcony as I get ready.
i eat a full breakfast and wait for the rain to subside. I plan on leaving at 8, as yesterday that was when the rain was supposed to stop. Today, it's supposed to rain until noon. (Did that make sense? The storm is lingering and the ride is too long to wait for the rain to stop).
I stop a couple of times to put on or take off gear. The rotary club had built shelters along the course, I try to time my stops to them. It is partly sunny for the first few km, I think I've dodged the worst of it. But it starts sprnkling and looks terrible up ahead. Did I mention it's also freezing? Locals are complaining about the cold. I gown up. This is the moment I purchased just about every piece of gear for: 4 waterproof bags, waterproof socks, waterproof pants, waterproof jacket (with hood that is supposed to fit over my helmet, but only fits under, waterproof gloves). It rains for about 10 km--stronger than a light rain, buy never the deluge I've been watching from my hotel room for the last two days. 
I elect to do a combination of the Tour of Aotearoa, the course most bicycle tour companies use, and some google maps recomendations. Today's distance is too long for at least one the Tour of Aotearoa side tracks. This gets me to Hokitika quickly, but requires some highway riding.

I rejoin the Tour of Aotearoa route and am rewarded with this rainforesty looking gravel track. I stop to shoot a photo, but then decide a video would be better. The track feels safe enough for this. (I don't know how to embed a video on the app, so you have to click the link.) I'm not sure if this track is more beautiful than other places I've been, but it's very different than the barren coastline I've been riding along for hours. The track becomes more dangerous with turns too sharp for a cyclist with my skill level to make without dismounting. I see an impossible angle coming and put a foot down, but fall anyway. I land on my shoulder, so the bike is okay. It is not the first time I've fallen on this trip, but definitely the most painful.
I take very few pictures. I stop for some sheep for Nico because I have my full finger gloves on and can't work the phone without takkng them off. There's fresh snow up ahead. I get much closer, but this is the last photo I try to take of it. The wind is unrelenting. I remember the meterologist this morning warning "Keep in mind, these are steady wind speeds, not gusts." I wonder if they measure in kmh or knots for the weather report. Either is bad. I am crawling along at 11 kmh in my easiest gear on flat ground. I wonder how much longer I can do this for. 30 km, I tell myself.
I roll into Harihari and make sure the pub isn't about to close before crossing the street to the world's best shower.
I've been making these ride videos. I'll start linking here. 

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