Riding for Hospice - Day 11

We rose at 7.00am and Rene and Denise fired up the BBQ and prepared bacon and eggs on toast while we got packed and laid out our riding gear for the day. A real bonus of preparing breakfast instead of going out, is the amount of time you save in the morning. We were keen to get away earlier today as David had told us a Southerly head wind comes in after lunch and builds through the afternoon, with 87km to ride today we were keen to make as bigger hole in that in the morning. Firstly we bade farewell to an extended Maori family who had occupied three cabins directly across from us and with whom we had had some fun moments with last night.

It was misty with the sun just breaking through as we set out at 8.30am, but we had our wind jackets and arm and leg warmers on as the temperature is still pretty cool early on, especially riding through the forests where you're in shade all the time. It was pretty flat terrain so even with a few minutes stop to take in the beautiful vista at Bruce Bay we made the 20km mark in 54 minutes. At 27km we stopped at a local Salmon Farm, which had a thriving café attached and the muffins and coffee were excellent. Rene and Denise caught up with us there and proudly announced the extended family staying across from us at Pine Grove Motel had given them a $100 donation for Hospice before they left… true family spirit. The cabinet food at the café looked really good so on leaving we grabbed some generously sized smoked salmon and salad sandwiches to have later for lunch.

Rene and Denise drove on to find a suitable lunch destination around the 60km mark and discovered an ideal spot at Knights Point Lookout. ‘Lookout' generally means a hill or hills.

Sure enough around 1.5km from the lookout we ran into a steep rise climbing 250m to the lookout, which proved a great spot offering a stunning vista up and down the rugged coast. The smoked salmon sandwiches were delicious and eagerly consumed by us all. There were lots of tourists stopping at the lookout and we struck up some conversations which resulted in a donation. Everyone around the world knows how outstanding Hospice organisations are and the great work they do globally, so our ride and fundraising always resonates with people. Our stop was only around 20-minutes given the speed of our recovery these days allied with the plague of sand flies driving us nuts.

Our pleasant descent was short lived as we ran smack into a second and larger hill… it was tempting to get off the bike and walk but we're hardened riders in our eleventh straight day of riding so we just got into our short gears and kept riding until we reached the summit a bloody long way up. That's it we thought, downhill now and flat riding through to Haast township circa 25km away… no! One more bloody hill, fortunately not as challenging as the previous two and when we crested the summit we knew that our mountain climbing obligations for today were complete.

It was a pretty straight forward 20km ride into Haast and we rode past the beautiful Lake Moeraki en route. The wind although not fierce was definitely freshening so we were pleased with our decision to leave earlier and felt quite strong as we arrived at the Heartland World Heritage Hotel in Haast for our overnight stay. We will make sure we grab a picture with management before we leave as they generously donated our accommodation in recognition of our epic ride for Hospice. Another day down, 11 straight days of riding and 876km clocked up, leaving just 489 to the finish line.