Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wet and Wild

Day: 87
Picton to Havelock
Time: 2:41
Distance: 35.32 km
Avg Speed: 13.1
Terrain: Hilly and wet
Location: 173 45' 50" E, 41 17' 18" S

We rolled into Picton yesterday to be greeted by sideways rain. When we left Picton this morning it had at least slowed down to mere vertical. We donned our rain gear before heading out this morning and rode all day in a steady rain. It never came down hard, but it was enough to get you wet. Our rain gear is pretty good, so we were wet from our sweat only. Nothing like climbing hills wearing little greenhouses.
We arrived in Havelock resembling drowned rats so we decided that instead of pushing on we should get a backpacker room here and dry out a little. Leslie had no back brakes left after the descents so I had some mechanic duties ahead of me. Her back brakes were getting worn a bit anyway and it only took a wet descent or two to throw enough grit on the rim to finish the pads. We had a spare set so it wasn’t an emergency by any means. I guess we are riding our bikes and these things happen.
I am reading a book written in 1973 about a British attempt on Everest via the then unclimbed southwest face. It is written by the expedition manager, Chris Bonington, and details all the grimy details of an expedition of that magnitude. It is quite a good read. While we were riding the train to Picton, Leslie and I were discussing our trip plans and any logistics we needed to take care of in the immediate future. I announced ‘that as expedition manager’ I thought we ought to do this or that. Leslie in her unwavering charm looked at me and said ‘if you are expedition manager than I must be expedition director.’ We now boss each other around and wave our self appointed titles in each others face.
Leslie and I are rather content with what we are doing right now. We no longer remember or dwell on things unpleasant and are content to live this trip day by day and minute by minute. Chris Bonington sums it up best describing the act of planning out an expedition immediately after returning home from one:
"Part of the reason is the shortness of human memory for things unpleasant, part the speed of a change of mood in self or surroundings; the elation of the good days’ climbing, when the route is forced out another thousand feet or so; the impact of a golden sunset; the reward of the ever-expanding scene as we gain height; the satisfaction of facing up adversity and overcoming it-all are there."
I think that this is also true for us in the sense that even though our journey is far from complete, we have a short term memory for things such as rain, wind, loneliness, hunger. Our memories are full of the good things we have seen, felt, and touched. All are there.
Take care.


Class Act said...

HOLA...the class wants you to send 3 large pizzas and have them here tomorrow before Christmas break!! The class says "Awesome" pictures. We enjoy reading about your adventures. Merry Christmas, amd Feliz navidad! If you make it back before May, come and see us.
Mrs. Steele's AWESOME students...

CK and LK said...

Hi Mrs Steele's AWESOME sutdents!
Thanks for following us around New Zealand. Glad you like the photos.
Sorry about the pizzas - it's already tomorrow here.
Have a great Christmas break.
Happy Holidays,
Chris and Leslie