Friday, February 19, 2010

Touring – Very Serious preparations

My training has been going well, and I discovered another not very sensible training tip while out riding in the Port Hills on Wednesday. Without a jacket or lights. The tip is: getting lost is a great way to have a longer ride than you were planning, and therefore pushing your boundaries harder. That is a good thing. What is not a good thing is if your reason for being lost is because you are inside a cloud and have zero visibility (no exaggeration, I couldn’t see more than 2m in front of me most of the time). Add to that a nasty cold wind and the afore mentioned lack of jacket and lights and you have a slightly freaky ride. Luckily I did have a base layer of wool on which saw me pretty right and I had plenty of food with me, also there wasn’t any traffic thank goodness. I was pretty disappointed when I finally popped out of the cloud and found myself heading down to Gebbies Pass. That meant an extra 35km on my ride and the weather was closing in. I stopped for a hot pie and a hot chocolate at the Blue Duck Cafe and then took off into what had become a nasty head wind. Finally I realised I was getting way too cold and rang my husband who came and picked me up from Tai Tapu with 70kms of riding under my belt for the day. Yay!!! Talk about an amateur mistake. Kiddies, always take a jacket into the hills!

Onto more exciting things, I have booked my train trip to Greymouth and my plane flight back from Queenstown. Waaaahoooo! I’m leaving next Thursday, so preparations have gone into overdrive. I went on a spending spree yesterday and acquired all the necessary things I didn’t already have. And here she is, Rocky Ell, fully kitted out and ready for the trip (disclaimer: bedroll in photo differs from actual thermarest that will be used, I haven’t picked it up yet).

From the photo you can see that I’ve kitted Rocky Ell out with a lovely new front mudguard, rear-view mirror (shudder), bike pump, and handlebar bag. I’ve also swapped out her worn grips for my plush race grips, fitted a myriad of lights and put the bottle cages off my roadie on her. And for added authenticity in this photo I’ve loaded all my clothes, my tent, sleeping bag, towel and various healing balms and pills and stuff onto her. The only thing that’s missing is food.

As you can see from the rear she is a sweet sight with reflective bits galore to grab the attention of any campervan driver.

A view of the cockpit shows my sweet bum-bag handle bar set up, newly installed speedo, double lights for penetrating the thick West Coast rain and of course my no- at-all lame rear vision mirror to keep me appraised of any rearward perils.

And finally the most important addition of all, my mascot. Now I need your help, beloved reader. I have no name for my mascot, it being a gift from my father in-law last night (I think he’s trying to tell me something about being a goat). So get those comments coming in with your brilliant suggestions. I’ll make a list out of the top 5 on Sunday evening and whack a poll up for your voting pleasure. Then on Wednesday night, on the eve of my epic (for me) journey, I’ll have a winner and an appropriate christening ceremony will take place. Thanks in advance for your help, oh intelligent and astute reader.

As well as update you on the name search, I thought I’d show you some of the gear I’m taking with me. The first instalment is:
Home away from home

Isn’t it a beauty? I have to thank my gorgeous and generous friend Sarah Smart for loaning me this veritable mansion.

You’ll notice the spacious interior with more than enough room for me and all my gear (not shown here). It has lovely indoor outdoor flow and is erectable (is that a word?) in no time at all.
Best of all it is light and easily packable when broken down into its component parts, as shown below. I look forward to spending many a comfortable (and dry, aye Sarah) night in this tent listening to the rain and, if I’m lucky, the kiwi.

So with only 6 days to go till I’m off I’ll be heading out at the weekend for some more big rides before resting up next week. Get your suggestions for a name for my mascot flooding in!

PS:The reason I've been so tardy posting recently is because I've been setting up my website to document my writing endeavours (incuding the result of this tour). Check it out at

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