Riding for Hospice - Day 18

Last evening Tony had been attended to by physiotherapist Wendy Fowler at Silver Fern Beauty Therapy in Lumsden. She obviously knew her stuff as by the time he had returned for dinner he was already showing great signs of recovery. Wendy was very taken with our journey and mission and graciously gave Tony his treatment without charge.

In order to catch up on my blog and in need of a later start after yesterday's 102km ride we did not set out until 10.50am anticipating a relatively straight forward ride… they say you should never assume! Only 6km into our ride it all turned to custard as we were toughing it out directly into a very strong and cold head wind when Virginia (was sitting directly on my tail sheltering from the wind and got too close) lightly clipped my rear wheel then swerved violently into the middle of the road, crashing and burning big time.

Tony and I raced over lifting the bike off her and quickly assisting her to the roadside. An SUV with 4 lovely Aussie tourists pulled over to see if they could assist as Virginia was obviously distressed. Within minutes our support crew arrived and Denise swung into action. Apropos her pharmacy background she attended to Virginia's rather ugly looking knee injury, which at first glance looked like a tour ending incident for her. Denise (rightfully) was keen to take Virginia back to Mossburn for medical review and treatment. However Virginia had ridden 95% of the South Island and nothing was getting in the way of her ride to the finish line in Bluff tomorrow. Denise professionally cleaned and dressed the wound and after a 30-minute delay we were back on the road with Virginia (gutsy girl) leading our advance.

It was a big slog into the strong headwind and it was dammed cold (circa 9 Celsius) with a biting wind adding chill factor. Shortly after turning left onto Avondale Road we ran into a fairly large hill and thank fully it was sealed (rest of the road was rough gravel) from bottom to top enabling us to ride it to the summit. We caught up with Rene and Denise at the top for a quick refuel then got going quickly given we were well behind schedule. We battled away into the wind for another 20km across rolling terrain on a gravel surface, trying to keep our spirits up. We had the best wind and wet weather gear but it was still bloody cold. We met up again with Rene and Denise at the 44km mark where they had found a road side shed (likely for rural delivery drivers to put parcels in) that was tall enough for us to stand inside and have a sandwich while sheltered from the chilling wind.

15 minutes later we were heading south again very keen to get to our accommodation at Winton before 5pm and hopefully avoid the threatening rain. We enjoyed a terrific 10km stint averaging 30+km per hour (wind at our backs) down Hundred Line Road before heading back across and slightly into the wind for several kilometres (a reminder to the days conditions). At one stage stopping at a roadside farm shed to shelter from a short, intense rain burst. As we arrived in Winton the clouds opened up and a deluge occurred, how fortunate we were to not have that happen earlier and become the crowning moment to a very testing day. Virginia showered and Denise redressed her wound, which had held up nicely during the 58km she had ridden since injuring herself. I made tea and coffee for all and once we were all showered and dressed we popped the cork on a bottle of 2010 Amisfield Brut Cuvee… an appropriate way to acknowledge our challenging penultimate day of the journey. Later we enjoyed a very tasty and hearty dinner in the bar at the Commercial Hotel we were staying at – it was our final supper with Rene and Denise. They had been an amazing support crew to us throughout the journey, their assistance was invaluable to helping us to fulfil our epic ride. One more day to go, it will be quite emotional for us all and I hope it finishes without incident… 1,286km down, 69 to go.

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