Well there was no lapwing sounding morning revillie but the young person camped near us put up a pretty fine alternative. After one session in the middle of the night – from which Melissa never really got back to sleep – they followed it up with their own version of controlled crying some time before we all wanted to get up. Other than that a pretty good start to the day – enough sun to get the solar charger out and cool enough to carry jacket and full gloves for the coming descent. Had felt something was vaguely wrong when packing this morning and realised what it was when I found my AeroPress – the coffee maker you take with you when you cant carry your espresso machine – sitting in cafe after me leaving it there last night. doh! Yet another climb to start the day but broken up with the rainforest walk about half way up, and finally broke out of the forest at Weldborough Pass into clear skies and great views – far better conditions than on some previous visits.
3 layers and long fingered gloves were definitely NOT over the top for the main descent – 8km and 450 m and you only had to pedal if you felt so inclined. After a little traffic at the top managed nearly all the descent with no other riders to dodge or be dodged by – sensational stuff. Tried for a coffee at the roadhouse before the rest area but when they responded to a request for a double shot with the response that it was instant coffee we figured we’d hang out till St Helens. Great riding all morning though still feeling the effects of the first 2 days climbing and some sections that would normally have seen me pushing through pretty hard just meandered along instead. A final hoot of a descent into St Helens and a coffee saw as grabbing cider ad lunch and continuing on to Binnalong Bay.
Started to doubt the wisdom of this move as we headed out of town smack into a head wind, and it was looking pretty dodgy when faced with yet another brutal little climb, but finally rolled into Binnalong Bay to settle down on the rocks to feast on baguette washed down with Mercury Dry. All good. Much easier trip back with the wind at the rear and a really enjoyable roll back into town. Now with the last few interstate / international rides I’ve booked accommodation for the 2 nights around the rest day, but I REALLY like camping at Bicheno, so had booked a motel here for the night. There had been much discussion of the others coming and freeloading here and jumping in the spa etc, but as it turned out I was pretty safe as it was a pretty basic room. Still it’s got a toaster, a bath and a bed, so its a fair step up from camping. Finally made it back to camp for dinner where the Beet finally turned up – quite nice but the $1000 they claimed to have spent on the truffle oil that went into the dish could have been better spent on TOASTERS! Still a very nice meal and great roast spuds, followed up by yummy berries and cream – though once again their claim that they weren’t frozen could have been another exercise in ‘lets see what we can ge away with telling them’.
Rode back into town and wandered down to the foreshore to watch the light fade and listen to the fish jump.