To Cromwell - New Zealand 1991 - CycleBlaze

December 17, 1991

To Cromwell

We were up early, to a cold, clear sky.  Scatteed clouds hung low over the Clutha.  It was quite until the day warmed a bit.  The first 10k continued through the flat orchard country we enjoyed yesterday afternoon - but after that we spent about 20k in quite rugged hill climbing along the Clutha.  The country is very scenic and colorful here - the turquise river below, the shingled rock outcroppings breaking up the hillsides, the blossoming wildflowers.

About 5k before reaching Alexandra, I received the first flat of the trip; and as I repaired it I noticed that the rear rim of my bike was breaking through.  This discovery colored the whole day.  We were very lucky to find a bikeshop in Alexandra that had both the parts and the time to work on it today.  It left us though with a four hour gap in which to relax and visit the town.  We spent time on business errands (postcards to home, cashing travellers checks, calling my parents answering machine to ask them to forward money to us in Napier a few weeks down the road).  We also took time to relax by the Shakey Bridge, enoying the sun and watching children and dogs frolic in the river.

By 3:30 the wheel was done - it needed a new rim, hub, and spokes.  It set us back $105, but we felt extremely lucky.  They said that the rim broke completely while they were working on it.  It certainly could have happened at a much worse place or time!

From Alexandra we had a flat, easy ride to Clyde; then a long, hot climb up above the new Clyde Dam, still under development; and then moderate ride blown by a big tailwind all the way to Cromwell along the banks of the Clutha.  We quite for the day here - not too many miles, but the wheel repair ruined our schedule for the day.  After setting up camp in yet another cabin we biked into town for a meal at a bistro - I had pork and gravy with broccoli and cheese, while Rachael had fish and chips with salad.  We were both entertained by an elderly crowd singing old time songs to an organ accompanist.  We were also entertained by the waitress, who played I'm dreaming of a white Christmas in our honor.  Then, back to camp to do our laundry and retire whil a huge wind battered the shelter.

Fruitlands
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The Shaky Bridge, Alexandra
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Resting up, Alexandra
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Today's ride: 50 miles (80 km)
Total: 178 miles (286 km)

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