Well the micro Bluetooth keyboard works despite my fingers being far too large….much deleting to come.
So I’m trying to remember when I decided to make the trip to New Zealand and the grand plan to cycle tip to tip. I think it was soon after I also made the decision to run my first marathon in 2017, around the new year. Right now I’m also trying to remember what my reason for this trip was aside from having an adventure to look forward to? Was it to see this country by bike, hike some of the most incredible trails, see whales and dolphins, attend a very special wedding, catch up with friends, have summer all over again?
Before leaving the UK among other things I had started a job I loved and my beloved dad had been very ill for a number of months without improvement. A scenario that did not make the upcoming 3 months on the other side of the world seem very appealing anymore. There were so many emotional goodbyes throughout December culminating in a very tearful exit to Heathrow Airport on 30th December 2017. In retrospect I wished that I had booked a later departure so as to spend NYE, my birthday and my mom’s 70th with loved ones. But no, I had to put my brave face on.
The 3 flights from London – Dubai – Sydney – Auckland ended up with 1 medical emergency on board and an emergency re-fuel in Melbourne. Nonetheless I still made it on schedule and was collected by an old rowing friend. My first afternoon was spent relaxing with her family and gorgeous 3-year-old, whilst I fought the jet lag. We climbed Mt Eden the following morning for a view of Auckland in the sunshine – hello first sunburn of the trip! By the afternoon I changed hands into the care of another awesome rowing friend. We were beach bound for the wild and rugged Piha bay. With the weather fluctuating and our tanning potential very low, as the rain hit we raced for the insane waves of the most dangerous surf in the country. I let Martin beat me in our stupid “Pheobe style run” race to the water. Had I known what was to follow I may have bowed out completely. Within a 5-10 metre wide section of the surf along with about 70 others we were herded by lifeguards in the water as we fought crashing >10m high waves and struggled against the rip dragging us out and sideways. I was pulled under repeatedly and dragged up by Martin’s huge bulging biceps. What a hero! I laughed hysterically throughout at the stupidity of the lemming-like situation. 70 people fighting with all their might against the sideways pull of the rip. Marching like a stampede of cattle boxed in and losing the battle. All this for a “swim”?! I wondered if this was some sort of weird Kiwi style exercise regime? It reminded me of a recent lunch chat at work, discussing the Japanese rail herders stuffing passengers into already full trains just to have them leave on time. It seems in these scenarios people so easily lose their pride of individuality and strength. We became the lemmings.
Safe, we explored the caves and headed back to Auckland for an evening by the harbour.
And now on my third evening in New Zealand, I am in the Northlands. After a pretty darn scary 7 hour coach drive from sunny Auckland I am sat with my pot noodle dinner in the rainy arse end of nowhere for no good reason. I should’ve been driving up to the northern most point tomorrow morning to start my big cycling challenge. But the weather gods had other ideas. There’s a sub-tropical storm on it’s way in, which should last almost 2 days. To add insult to injury (not being able to start the ride on my 33rd birthday), having put my bike together in a random parking lot, the packing is weighted all wrong. The front end is far too light and I can’t keep the bike stable when riding. So what now?! Beer, noodles and a blog post. This won’t get me far…. Genius ideas welcome. I’m considering a “kiwi style swim/most likely drown in the tropical storm” on 90 mile beach tomorrow.