Peak #14 was Mt Dobson.
It is fair to say that prior to commencing this mission I neglected to fully acknowledge the ‘Mt’ preceding ‘Dobson’.
I acknowledged it somewhat by consuming a large Custard Square at the Fairlie Bakehouse (no pie consumed) followed by a Kumara tart followed by a coffee however I was not psychologically prepared for the 15km climb nor the raging magpies en route. I also neglected to google map the distance from Fairlie to the beginning of the Mt Dobson ski field road. Fortunately, I packed my raincoat.
At 3pm on Sunday November 6th I pedalled out of Fairlie expecting to see the Mt Dobson turn off within minutes…instead I saw magpies cm above my head, viscously dive-bombing me, and then met Steve, a friendly cycle tourist from Yorkshire and then eventually the Mt Dobson turn off.
Upon coming across a farmer not long after I changed down into granny gear and lifted my bike over three gates, I smiled meekly hoping he would not send me back to Fairlie. Cheers to him, he welcomes Mountain bikers to his farm and also let me know the road was 15km. “15km I thought, that is only 2x the sign of the kiwi, that will be fine”……’2 x the distance but 4.3 x the elevation’ did not enter my head.
I estimate that the first corner where I thought ‘this must nearly be the top’ was not even half way, thank goodness for the rainbow that brightened my cloudy mood.
Many, many, many corners, penguin banana stops and additional clothing stops later, I got to the ski field car park at 1725m. Fun fact: this is the highest car park in NZ. Apparently Tawhirimatea wanted to teach me a lesson for grizzling whilst riding up a mountain and blew in clouds and rain in time to completely block my view at the top.
The usual snacks photo is missing from this Peak communique as all snacks were demolished before the top. Also note Puke the Pukeko is lying down, this best expressed my emotions at the time.
The highly anticipated, hard earned downhill was tempered by the chilling wind and moisture now following me down the mountain. I tried to apply my technical pointers for descending on gravel, however as I could no longer feel my knees, my top tip ‘bend you knees’ was made difficult!
I think Steve the friendly cycle tourist distracted many of the magpies on my route to Mt Dobson for on the road back to Fairlie I spent the entire time yelling “ROAR” at the top of my lungs in a bid to scare the now multiplying magpies off.
Alas, I reached Fairlie and the warmth and apparent safety of my car at 7pm.