Day 2 - Arthurs Pass to Hokitika
Sunday 15th July 2012 - Rian Cope
Arthurs Pass to Hokitika.
What a shock this morning was. The bike was heavier than first thought, the hills were more intense. Then I started to find my groove. EPIC is the only word I can describe the scenery as. Valleys like I had never seen, mountains so steep and snow covered. In the first hour it was everything I had expected the whole trip to be. We had a great morning tea and warm meat pie in Jackson. After speaking with a few Kiwi locals about weather and what to expect ahead, we found our luck had been strong. Only 1 week prior to our arrival the Pass was closed due to the high snowfall which bought below 0 degree temperatures. Now a relatively warm front was making its way through from the West Coast bringing high winds and lots of rain... and I mean torrential rain.
We had expected rain on this journey and had prepared accordingly with the purchase of particular rain/cycle wear. It didn't count for anything with the amount of rain we cycled through on this day. My shoes and socks had rivers running through them, my underpants were so soaked it felt like i was sitting in a cold swimming pool and the high winds would cut through you and freeze your skin the second you stopped moving your body. The trick was to keep riding to keep warm. I was now starting to rethink how I could better prepare for tomorrows ride. We hit the 65 km mark and my age old problem of not refueling enough was starting to effect my riding and my attitude. I hadn't eaten enough and now my energy levels were seriously dropping.
I had flashbacks of my first few days in Indonesia, some three years ago. I had been in similar circumstances and not eaten and drunk enough to keep my energy levels up high enough to ride over 100 kms in a day with a fully loaded bicycle. After a long slug up a gradual hill we found a small convenience store in a small town called Kumera. I sat down for a good 30 minutes and refueled my body. I felt 100% better when I jumped back on the bike but now the cold weather was creeping into my bones as I was still drenched to the bone.
I needed to get moving and fast. We were now heading on a constant downhill for about 30 kms where we first saw the West Coast and the Tasman Sea. We took a sharp left and now we were heading South. We would be hugging this coast line all the way down the South Island. It was predominately farm land everywhere, with the odd homestead and many deers. It was a completely different landscape to what we had witnessed for the earlier part of the day coming down for Arthurs pass. We found a local hostel and dried our soaking clothes off in front of an open fire. I re thought my packing and clothing for the following day as we reflected over a cold beer and juicy steak.
Rian at the top of Arthurs Pass, very windy and rainy, but loving it.