Monday, 28 April 2008

Sunday 23rd March

Lie in at Tina's, it's a glorious luxury to have the apartment all to myself. Twas a splendiferously sunny day and as I had not had the chance to ride my bike in Wellers on my previous visit I thought it rude not to indulge. After some deliberation and the obligatory half-hour map ogling I settled on riding the 'Tip Track' which involves a super-steep and relentless climb up a 4x4 track. No sooner had I started the ride than I passed a couple at the foot of the climb deep in discussion about the suitability of the ride for the fairer sex. As I rode past I heard the bloke say in desperation 'There! That's how your supposed to do it love'. I sympathised with both parties as the Shandyman has been guilty all too often of taking my nearest and dearest on a ride that was deemed more torturous than being a volunteer at Herman Goering school of pain giving. 'This feels worse than giving birth' was the phrase of choice for one of my rides in Kentmere! Anyway, as I sweated my way to the summit, each sw itchback being relentlessly followed by another, I really began to feel for the couple I'd left struggling at the bottom who had set out with the best intentions of spending some quality time together whilst engaging in a bit of clean healthy exercise. On ya mate! After summiting the hill and enjoying the vista that is Wellington on a clear day I followed the guide book and got hopelessly lost hundreds of vertical meters from any ridable track. After much cursing of the book authors (three Kiwi brothers by the name of Kennet if you've not been paying attention), I eventually stumbled upon the track I needed along a ridgeline that would terminate straight into the sea at Red Rocks where the land meets the Cook Strait. Added an extra loop to see some WWII lookout bunkers then peered over the edge of the ridge which presented a fierce looking descent off what to all intents and purposes was a cliff. It looked really juicy but there was no obvious track down and so sadly common sense got the better of me and I followed the track in the book. Never again, go with your guts Shandyman. It led to an absolutely awful descent through a hillside jungle that was completely unridable, I should have took on the cliff, at least I would have gone out with a smile on my face! If you do a tough climb you expect a bit of payback at the end of it. No such luck today, I was not a happy bunny by the time I'd chainsawed my way down the hillside. If I wanted to go on a scramble would I have brought a bike? Kennet brothers hang your heads (joking lads)! To add insult to injury I'd scored a puncture that wouldn't fix. This threw me off schedule and meant I missed the meeting, oh and I'd managed to pick up my first sunburn of the trip as I'd been riding without a t-shirt so now a piece of my back which was now toastie red. All this calamity had helped me work up an appetite so had 2 Chinese meals in quick succession then watched the highlights of The Black Caps versus England at Lani and Pieters. Early night in preparation for a big day tomorrow.

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