Last Saturday was a true test of character and one of those rides I will reflect on when ‘the going gets tough’ at any stage throughout the Velothon.
The weather the night before was wet and windy, however when I looked out the window the next morning it was clear and cold, but not frosty…perfect! With many layers on I headed off and meet Julz down the road. We headed across the city and up Dyers Pass Road, riding was going well and the morning was calm, providing us stunning views across to the snowcapped mountains!
However as we approached the top, the road got icy and two cyclists heading down the hill warned us it was slippery. 100m later he hit the deck. It’s fair to say Julz and I were now feeling a little nervous about the descent into Governors Bay. We stopped at the top to reassess, and decided perhaps the better option was to head along the Summit Road where there was sun, and potentially head down to Gebbies Pass.
So onwards we pedaled, until about 300m up the road we came across snow on the road! We got off and walked this bit, then carried on. Until around the next corner the snow actually just kept going, and yet another cyclist came towards us and said it was pretty bad up there!
Laughing at the situation we now found ourselves in, we decided to err on the side of caution and sent an SOS out to Julz’s husband to come and collect us from the top of the hill and drive us down into Governors Bay. We slowly made our way back to The Sign of the Kiwi and grabbed a hot chocolate to warm our hands while we waited for our ride! Surprisingly we weren’t the only mad cyclists in the café!
Once safely down into Governors Bay we were away again, however now the wind was up, and having sat around in a warm café for half an hour we were lacking a little motivation and energy. Yet the only way home was to ride, so we pedaled on towards Motukarara!
Cold and battling into a head wind, the conversation was minimal and the ‘enjoyment’ factor wasn’t there. As we rounded each corned on Gebbies Pass the wind did its best to bring us to a standstill…but we won the battle and reached the top. Holding on tight our bikes and leaning into the wind to stay upright, we starting laughing! Were we mad?!
Feet like ice blocks we had to keep moving, so away we went. Rotating through to give each other a break from the wind, we got out onto the main road and turned towards Christchurch. Mentally this was encouraging. Given the nature of this road winding past Lake Ellesmere we were at times lucky to catch a tail wind, which was a very welcome relief, and hitting 35km/hr felt like we were rocketing along, after the 20km/hr average pace we had been riding!
By the time I reached home I had clicked over 70km, which felt like a real achievement and I was proud of the determination we had shown! Had I not had the company and support of Julz on this ride, it would have been a much different story. By having someone to share the pain and craziness of this adventure with changed it from a miserable lonely ride, to a fun adventure that builds character and mental toughness.
That mental toughness is what will get me through Day Three of the Velothon. The ability to keep turning the pedals over and focus on the course in small sections will see me through to that finish line!
Team CP Sports Coach