I could say that I enjoyed the riding today and it would be sort of true, but it doesn’t get away from the fact that today IT SUCKED. I know I’ve probably ridden through heavier rain and definitely through colder rain but it still sucked. Yet another relaxed start as I enjoyed the last hot toast for a few days before shakily riding back to camp with fully loaded bike and pack on back. Got a bit of a shock to see only half a dozen tents left standing, but that wasn’t enough to stop me heading for one last damn fine coffee in town. Didn’t start raining straight away but made up for it later. Forecast strong winds as well but thankfully not too bad and mostly a side wind today. Pretty tedious first 30 km or so then once about halfway up to the plateau the riding got much more scenic – which was a good thing because the rain also started to get more serious. Still at least when it was raining the sweat wasn’t running down the side of your face from the high humidity.
After lunch it REALLY started getting serious and on some of the uphills you were riding through rivers flowing down the road. I want to take this chance to sing out a giant THANK YOU to the inventors of contact lenses – at least with them I could occasionally take my riding glasses off and have some idea where I was going. Legs were working pretty well today and If you could have seen anything it probably would have made a pretty good days riding.
Today’s route said Whakatane to Rotorua but we aren’t staying at Rotorua and we didn’t ride through Rotorua – instead we headed round the top of the lake and ended up arriving at a paddock full of either sheets of water or cow turds, depending where you looked (I’m told some of the sheets of water had been more like rivers an hour or two back.) Town is a half hour return shuttle bus away and by the time I had found somewhere several inches above the sheets of water and in between the cows’ hard work, If I’d caught the shuttle in I would have just about had to stay on board for the return one as they stopped at 5. So I have no idea what Rotorua is like. Had an extremely ordinary meal washed down by a couple of ciders – it’s now been several hours since the rain finally stopped and they say we’re looking at clear weather tomorrow but I’ll believe it when I see it.