Clutha valley ride day 2: Roxburgh to Lawrence


20140518-184429.jpg Day two, and this one was the biggie, 73km, but hopefully flatter than yesterday afternoon. And, it was forecast rain.

We planned to stop at Millers Flat for morning tea, where a masters rower has a caravan. He wasn’t riding so agreed to organise a feast.

After Millers flat, there was one more ‘town’ but we were unsure if we would stop there, or press on.

We departed Roxburgh at around 9am, hoping to make it to Millers flat in around 2 hours. The day was clear, but rain was forecast later. It was a welcome change to discover the trail rolled alongside the river, relatively flat by comparison to yesterday. We made it to our first stop in good time (no thanks to Steve, who put my front wheel on this morning but forgot to tighten it! Oops!)

As we enjoyed coffee and cake, courtesy of Mike, Diana and Mark, the spots of rain began to fall. I decided to change to the full rain coat at this stage, refill the bottle, more bars and off we went onwards.

Rain and trails don’t go together, it was obvious that we would be very mucky by the time we got to our destination. Not far out of Miller’s flat, poor Iris sustained a broken chain. We stopped, but as soon as it was obvious that there were enough blokes and tools to help her out, I headed off, it was raining hard and I didn’t want to get cold. From here it was going to be a solo ride, as it turned out until I found some more of our cyclists near Beaumont.

The next section of the trail really felt like it was in the wop wops, miles and miles from anywhere, really out in the wilderness, just me, the bike and the river. I was reasonably happy riding alone, taking it easy, stopping for photos, knowing that all bar two riders were behind me, so I would be ok if I had any issues because someone would turn up eventually. Nothing did happen though, and except for the heavy rain (I’d like to do this section in the sunshine, I bet there’s so much more to see) it was a very enjoyable ride in the ‘wilderness’ of the countryside.

When I arrived at Beaumont, (which was tiny in fact) I was wet, it was still raining and I was still riding solo. I didn’t want to stop because I was afraid of getting too cold, so I decided to press on, safe in the knowledge that I only had 24km to go. I still had two bars and 300ml of fluid, I was sure I would be fine.

20140518-184721.jpgNot far up the road, I discovered Donald, who was beginning to struggle, and Iris and Dave who had caught me up. We rode together for a while.

Not much further up the road, we encountered Mark. A welcome sight to encounter a road, and Mark assured us it was not far to go from here once we had negotiated ‘big hill.’

Thankfully we did not have to go over it, we went through it. A small climb, then a tunnel and we were back on the trail rolling towards Lawrence. I was, however, the only person with a light powerful enough to illuminate the path through the tunnel, oops!

From there, it was a reasonably easy ride to Lawrence, the rain had stopped too. The path wound around the hills weaving around the main road, with several crossing points, before going through farmland and onwards to the destination. When I saw the cars and the car park, I felt elated. Me, and the knee had mastered it! 120km over two days, and I could climb off the bike and walk. With only minimal pain. Yay!

I would never ever have done this without the group, it was what made the weekend. Mark was waiting for us at the end of the trail. With coffee and cakes. Awesome! Thanks team, it was a memorable weekend.

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