Day 5

It’s a new day,

It’s a new dawn,

I have new socks,

And I’m feeling GOOD!

Distance: 248km
Riding time: 17hrs
Total ascent: 3000m

The following morning after scrambled eggs on muffins, a big improvement on buckwheat porridge, we set off for Murchison looking forward to a second breakfast.  At the start of the Maruia Track we saw Beth at the side of the road, just getting going after a cold night camping in the bush. This was the start of much criss-crossing, and we were within half an hour or so of each other right up to the end. The track was another treat, with a gentle upward gradient and a fun descent. The six stream crossings sign-posted at the start were counted off as landmarks. At Murchison, after French Toast, restocking on supplies to get us through to Nelson, and checking the blue dots, we headed off up the Mangles Valley, another gentle climb on a gravel road through peaceful forest. 

Michael Dann drafting again! 
A pre-Porika stop by Lake Rotoroa was cut short by the sandflies, and there was no delaying the major climb of the day. The Porika Road ascent is described as “steep and rough” on the DOC website, and didn’t disappoint. When I got off to walk, my legs protested, “You have trained us only to pedal, and now you want us to walk?”. Usually a little walk is a refreshing chance to use some different muscles, but this didn’t seem to be the case and I was finding it easier to ride. The view from the top over Lake Rotoroa and the descent on the other side made it all worthwhile, and took us into pretty rolling farmland along the Hope Valley.

Stumpy having a rest half way up Porika.

Lake Rotoroa from Porika Track.

The next fuelling stop was Tapawera, where I was unable to fulfil my craving for plain rice, and had to settle for tinned rice pudding, vanilla custard and some more Gaviscon. There seems to be a gap in the market for easily digestible savoury carbs, but I am happy to receive suggestions. Bethany turned up shortly and finished off my custard.

We were now entering the territory of the Tour de Vineyards, which I did over New Year, so Mike again had to put up with me pointing out the landmarks and stories of my illustrious road racing achievements i.e. I finished and I wasn't last.

Riding into Nelson was a little annoying as the cycleway was a little hard to follow as it weaved and ducked between housing estates, but the beautiful sunset over the hopfields and vineyards made up for it. A Domino’s pizza in Richmond was much needed sustenance, we bought three between us with plans to have some for breakfast, but they were fully polished off within 20 minutes. Friendly (or drunk) locals took an interest as we sat and refuelled on a bench watching the moon rise over Noel Leeming.

After pizza we just had to buy food for breakfast and to get through to Pelorus Bridge the next day. I found myself staring blankly at the shelves unable to make any rational decisions. Discussion with other Breveteers confirm that this is a common syndrome. In the end I stuck with the tried and tested tinned rice pudding, and some Jelly Belly beans, which served as a guess the flavour game as well as a sugar top-up.

We carried on through Nelson, and thought more drunk people were shouting at us until I heard, “Peg, Peg, PEG!!!”. It was Brett and Glen who had given me a lift from the ferry, and their teammate Pete. They were doing the Brevette course at a leisurely pace and had been tracking us.  They had been standing on the street corner for ages, wondering why we had taken so long to get across town. They even had a spare banana, which transformed my tinned  rice into a proper breakfast the following morning. It was great to see them and get some encouragement. I was a little jealous when they told us about their plans to have a cafe breakfast before cruising a few more kms the following day. Bethany emerged from Burger King with a bag of goodies, and the three of us headed on into the night towards Matai Valley campsite, about 8km out of town. 

Day 6 

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