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Rail Trail Day 4

27 Apr

Feeling: pleased with myself & proud of my family
Distance travelled: 52 km
Average speed: 15.7 km/h

I intended to write this last night but I was too busy out celebrating our achievement with a meal out with the family, followed by (most of) a bottle of Hinton ‘I survived the rail trail’ Pinot Gris.

It was bloody cold starting out yesterday from Waipiata and with 52 km to bike (our biggest day overall) it seemed a bit daunting. The day was mostly downhill though and the weather fined up from an overcast morning to show off more stunning Central Otago scenery. This was a day of dramatic vistas looking down towards the Taieri river, and across the Strath Taieri plains.

Some of us did a little detour (on foot) just before the Hyde rail tunnel down to the Hyde diversion tunnel. This was bored out to divert the Taieri river to assist with gold mining back in the day. It was well worth the steep walk to see the stunning views and observe the water gushing through the tunnel at a ridiculously high speed.

We stopped for lunch in Hyde, where I had a Speights steak & ale pie, with a Speights Summit on the side. Just what I needed to get me through to the finish line. Our group all met up in Ngapuna (as we were normally riding in smaller groups or pairs along the way) to ride the last 7 km together. They let me lead the pack the whole way to the end at Middlemarch. It was slightly anti-climactic though – we weren’t sure if it was the end or not (there was no stamp box for our Rail Trail passports!) so we were all just standing around going ‘is that it?!’. I think we all thought we deserved a welcoming party, or confetti or something. Nonetheless, it was an awesome feeling to finally finish and stamping that last page of my passport book (once we realised the stamp box was down the road) was extremely satisfying.

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Rail Trail day 3

25 Apr

Feeling: tired and a bit sore
Distance travelled: 33 km
Average speed: not sure because I accidentally had Runkeeper going when we were in the van coming back from Naseby! Estimate around 17 km/h.

Who would have thought the fun factor associated with biking would increase exponentially when one switches from uphill to downhill terrain? We passed the highest point on the trail this morning after a short (not that it felt short at the time) climb out of Oturehua and it felt AWESOME gunning it downhill into Wedderburn. The weather hasn’t been as kind to us today – it was pretty cold, and quite windy at times.

We cycled downhill to Ranfurly where we stopped at the pub for lunch before being picked up to take a detour to Naseby to give curling a go. A sport that I’ve thought looked completely ridiculous when I’ve seen it on TV was actually loads of fun. Hilarious watching each of us initially attempt the slide delivery of the stone, but everyone managed to get the hang of it in the end. And, my team won.

There’s been lots of lovely old buildings to look at and photograph today. Ranfurly has several art deco style buildings and Naseby is like taking a step back in time. A time where stores didn’t have snazzy made up trading names, but just the owners surname and the stores purpose clearly displayed.

After getting back to Ranfurly we had a short, but cold, journey to our final stop for the day in Waipiata. The colours of this Central Otago landscape in the late afternoon sun were absolutely stunning.

We have fabulous accommodation at the Waipiata Country Hotel, with the whole guest wing to ourselves. We arrived and the fire was already roaring in the guest lounge, and all our rooms are lovely. We had a great evening meal here too and I’m more than ready for a good nights sleep now.

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Rail trail day 2

24 Apr

Feeling: drunk & happy
Distance travelled: 36.2 km
Average speed: 11.5 km/h

After spending the night at the Omakau Bedpost, in the old post office building, we got back on the bikes & did a little detour to Ophir in the morning which was well worth the 6 km return trip. It’s a tiny town with a handful of really cute historic buildings and a pretty awesome bridge.

We got back on the trail and biked to Lauder where we grabbed a takeaway lunch to have later (best cheese scones in all the land from here!). The weather was cooler & cloudier than yesterday & the wind picked up top which didn’t make the climb towards Oturehua any fun. We all got through it OK though, and there was some absolutely amazing scenery along the way, including two tunnels and the majestic Poolburn gorge & viaduct (and a spirited discussion over what exactly the definition of a viaduct was).

My youngest sister, who has recently moved to Queenstown, has come to stay with us tonight, which is awesome because I haven’t seen her since she moved several weeks ago. She brought me a bottle of Pinot Gris that I ordered too which sweetens it even more.

After a BBQ tea, and the bottle of PG (which I shared!) we went down to the Oturehua pub to play some pool and darts. Then it was back to our accommodation for some cards and drinks. I’ve had a great night. Hope my head is OK in the morning.

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Rail Trail Day 1

23 Apr

Feeling: ridiculously full
Distance travelled: 40 km
Average speed: 11.5 km/h

Right now I’m in the Omakau Commercial Hotel recovering from a seriously good buffet meal – although by the time I get to post this we’ll be somewhere else as there’s barely any cell reception here, and there’s an even slimmer chance of picking up a data connection.

We left from Clyde this morning after having a wonderful nights stay at a B & B (Argyll on Clyde) & biked to Alexandra where we had to stop to get my brother in laws bike fixed (huge shout out to Henderson Cycles & Mowers for helping us out). There’s 11 of us altogether – my husband & I, my sister & brother in law, my mum, my mother & father in law, my two brothers in law & my sister in law & her husband.

Once we got back on the trail we made our way to Chatto Creek where we had an awesome lunch at the Chatto Creek tavern. We were feeling pretty good at this point, but the hardest bit was coming up. In hindsight, having a big lunch before attempting the steepest portion of the rail trail possibly wasn’t the best idea.

It seemed like forever biking uphill (in reality it was only about 7 km) but we all made it. And coming downhill the final few kms to Omakau was fantastic.

So far there has been wonderful scenery, great food and lots of Lycra. Looking forward to tomorrow.

If you are so inclined you can follow my tweets throughout this trip using the #railtrail hashtag.

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