We knew that we had the Rai Saddle and the Whangamoa Saddle to go over today and were ready for them. The road up to the Rai valley is pretty flat and the run up is gentle. Then suddenly the road starts going up and you know that you have found the start of the hill. I stop take off a layer, have some water, catch my breath and then slip into the low gears to start climbing. Up and up till you can see all around and down into the forested hillsides. The Rai saddle wasn’t bad through, we both reached the top wondering what all the fuss was about really, we’ve been over much worse/harder/steeper/windier/longer (delete as appropriate) hills. But it was still good to get to the top and still have quite fresh legs.
We stopped for lunch and I heard all about the Peppercorn Beast ( a tale we shall share with you in a separate posting). Then on towards the next saddle, which was still some way away. The wind increased and made the cycling harder than it should have been. As i reached Whangamoa (Chris was some way ahead by then), the rain and wind combined forces. It was a steep start and as i tried to cycle the head wind decided that i wouldn”t be cycling. In the end i got off and pushed which with the weight is pretty much as hard as cycling. The rain got heavier and i pulled over to pull on my waterproofs as fast as i could. It was such hard work and my little legs were getting more and more tired. The rain eased off and the road continued to climb. It was slow going but i got there. Chris was waiting for me and we started the downhill together. After 30 secs we both stopped to put on more layers, gloves, and a buff over the mouth and nose, it was freezing speeding downhill!
We then had 7km of glorious downhill. I felt like we were cycling down a mountain. It was great but pretty cold and my hands were really cold despite 2 pairs of gloves! The view was stunning, i couldn”t belive how high we were and the road just kept on going. We travelled as far as Hira and came to a stop. Where to camp? It was really quite windy and cold. So we headed 8km off track towards Cable Bay, the coast.
At the campsite we upgraded to a cabin as it was really quite cold and blowing a gale by the sea.
- Cable Bay
We had a really good night at the campsite as we met two other travellers, Chris and Leyla, who were really good to talk to. We ate dinner together and shared a few beers.
In the morning before we left, the campsite owner came down in his truck especially to bring us some oranges and ask us about our trip, which was a nice surprise. We also got talking to the guy in the motorhome nearby, he was from England and invited to stay if we passed his place in Twizel.
We took some photos by the beach before setting off to meet Andrew at Hira. On our ride back to Hira, we both reflected on the fact that although we had gone 16km off track and paid to stay in a cabin, we had met 4 nice people and got a lot out of the time we spent in Cable Bay.