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Monday, 13 February 2012

They've only gone and done it!

New Zealand is a beautiful country and we have been lucky enough to see the length of it in slow motion. Thank you for having us New Zealand, it's been a pleasure.

So, 14 days from setting off in Cape Reinga, we arrived in Bluff. It wouldn't have been possible without all our support from you guys at home. Most importantly, you should feel proud for helping us to raise thousands for charity - well done. All who are reading this, please have a drink for us tonight!

From where we left off on our previous blog, we have endured strong head winds, freezing, feet numbing weather where extreme spooning just couldn't cut it (It was so cold that Tee went to the bathroom in the night and upon her return Kath began to spoon here for body heat before she was properly in the tent!) but best of all, the most stunning scenery, that can make you smile even after the steepest of climbs.

During one of our supermarket stops, a member of staff saw Tee's injuries from her accident and commented 'wow those Aussies make 'em tough don't they!'...haha you bet buddy!

Kath has thoroughly enjoyed the seafood en route - Dad and Ste you would LOVE the mussels and oysters here!

We had to take the 'scenic route' to Dunedin as the motorway was out of bounds for our four wheels, the locals had enjoyed warning us of the challenging climbs ahead of us before we reached Dunedin. So, preparing our legs  and minds for the worst, we set off up the 15km hill. Hill? We thought it was merely a speed bump...just a baby by comparison to the hills of the North. Come on South Island, get a grip!
We had a nice chat to a couple of Kiwi mountain bikers on the way up, who were out for a days ride. Reaching the peak, the sun shone through the clouds and we took a moment to high 5 each other!

We reached Dunedin and had lunch at a funky Andy Warhol themed cafe, where Tee had mushrooms stuffed with garlic and a beaut salad and Kath had a soul warming chicken and mushroom soup and toast :-)
The World's Steepest Street is in Dunedin 'Baldwin Street', which climbs a vertical height of 47.22metres. on it's steepest section, the gradient is 1 in 2.86! We had a walk up there and took some pics.

We continued to head south where we encountered some real hills, where again we had to detour in order to avoid the motorway which extended the days ride more than we anticipated. Having run out of water and the sun peaking at 6pm, we found ourselves battling the vertical hills and longing for a mattress.
Relief came after a huge descent into a town just north of Milton (can't remember its name!) where we found ourselves a motel and slept right through, waking up refreshed for our last epic cycling day.

Throughout the trip, Tee has provided excellent acrobatics with her bike - she is fine whilst moving, but has a knack of falling into stationary vehicles at traffic lights and random objects when stopping!

Our final day was a long one, but it flew by! Every sign we saw gave us the motivation we needed as we knew we were so close to the finish. It was a happy coincidence that as we got closer to Bluff, a lot more vehicles gave us encouraging waves and toots as they passed (even police!)
Invercargill was our final stop, where we were pretty desperate for food as in the remote towns we had been to that day, none of the small stores would take cards and we were both out of cash! So, well fueled, we took off to conquer our last 'official' 25km's! We took it slowly, and had lots of time to contemplate the high's and low's of the last 14 days. This last 25km was pretty emotional at points. Kath was hoping for an iconic song to come on her ipod for the home stretch, something like Spandau Ballet - Gold or such like, instead she got Vengaboys - Going to Ibiza (I have you to thank for that Nathan Critchlow!).
Tee had Walking on Sunshine!

We rolled into Bluff at 7.58pm, gave each other a hug and let out a good old 'YIPPEE'! Booked ourselves into The Eagle and were given a very warm welcome by our host. We are looking forward to being a little less potent and a little more hygienic for the remainder of our time here! Having finger nails full of bike oil won't be missed!

Although it's not quite time to say move over Mr Armstrong, we think that 14 days is a fairly respectable completion time of the two Islands of NZ, don't you? :-)
So, what will we do with the remainder of our time here in NZ? A bike ride to Queenstown perhaps!

This trip has been extremely enjoyable and worthwhile, it is important to emphasize that we couldn't have done it without the massive support from our family and friends back home, or indeed without each other.

We take our hats off to the people who have completed this trip solo, Jim Turner to name just one. It really is more psychological than physical, and goes to show you really can achieve more than you believe.

To all of you who have followed our blog: think of something you would like to achieve, somewhere you would like to go, or something you dream to accomplish...and act upon it. You are the only one to determine your fate, remember... impossible is an opinion, and in our opinion, anything is possible.

This won't be the end of our outrageous adventures, there's sure to be something else in the pipeline, but for now it's time for us to have some R+R!

Thanks for all your support, we have felt you were actually here riding every km with us. In fact, during one water stop, we were asked "where's your support vehicle and crew" to which we replied, "they're back home".

Signing off for now, before we make ourselves cry!
Loads of big hugs and kisses, can't wait to see you all.

Lots of love, Kath and Tegan xxxxx

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Trials and tribulations

Some days you can do over 200km and it be a walk in the park, other days after the first 30km you feel like throwing the towel in. But always, always keep going.

First things first, on our last blog we mentioned that Tee's stitches needed to be removed. Rather than wasting time, Tee convinced Kath that we could carry out our own DIY stitch removal! So, we managed to get hold of some scissors and with tweezers in hand, Kath cut the knot and we extracted the stitches :-0 Kath almost threw up a couple of times, but woo-hoo, we saved ourselves a couple of hours in a health centre and the job was done to perfection!

It's always a shivery start here in the South, until the sun comes out, which is great for a refreshing wake up call! The next thing we look forward to is a hot coffee somewhere en route after the first 20km or so. There are lots of gorgeous little tee shops with SOFA'S!!

Yesterday we made it to Christchurch - unbeknown to us as we stopped to ask directions, to hear the reply "you're already in Christchurch!"
We met with Leigh-Ann at Hubco (One of Kath's work contacts) to say a quick hello and introduce ourselves. It was a really nice stop (won't go into detail as will bore anyone unless they are into roof bars!) and a chance to have a break and another coffee :-)

Tee was also going to meet her friend in Christchurch, but unfortunately our times did not coincide - she looks forward to catching up with Stephen when he visits Oz this year :-)

We found ourselves searching for a campsite in Rolleston as time was ticking. WE took a quick pit stop to get some supplies, Kath asked the young boy at the checkout if there was a campsite in the town. He said he thought not, but turned to ask his colleage - who happened to be a lady from Yorkshire!!! Cheryl had a kind face and seemed eager to offer us a helping hand, she said the next campsite was about 40km away, but "I can help you out" she said. My eyes lit up, while Tee was still scanning the fruit isles. Cheryl said that she lives in Burnham (7km away) and has an olive grove that we would be welcome to pitch our tent in, and could use her home for a shower etc. An offer we could not refuse! So, last night we stayed amongst Cherly and Billy's olives, enjoying the company of their black lab, who seemed very interested in Kaths watermelon and Tee's salad!!  So, huge thank you to Cheryl and Billy for their unexpected and much appreciated hospitality. They have also sponsored us. Good people. Cheryl- if you are on Facebook, please add us.

We bid farewell to the olives a little later than expected as we hadn't set alarms that night, so to conserve battery life of our phones (woke at 7.03am).
Headed south, hoping to take advantage of the relatively flat terrain, until BOOM...Puncture number 1 came along and put a spanner in the works of our rapid pace! Dammit! Anyway, we thought this was sorted after changing the innertube, but having set off again, the tyre rapidly fell flat once more.
Several hours and much persistance and help from passers by later, we got the problem sorted and had Tee back on the road!

This brings us to tonight, rolling into Timaru we had our routinely call into a supermarket for supplies, where a helpful man took an interest in our ride and informed us of a top 10 holiday park "just down the road"! Perfect. So here we sit, in an internet room, a few yards away from our cabin!
Both very tired tonight as it has been an arduous day, with trials and tribulations!

Night night all.
Much love K&T xxx

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Wow!

We are blown away by the fact that over 900 people have viewed our blog - wow-wee! Thank you for all your support guys...big love, K&T xxx

If hills were kilometres, we would have cycled round the world!

You know you are going up a bloody steep hill when someone literally takes their hat off to you as they drive past in their car and shouts 'go girls!'

So, we haven't posted in a few days, we have been busy conquering an Island! Since our last post we have completed cycling the North Island - wooo-hooo! How does it feel? ...Like we can take on anything!
One memorable town we cycled through towards the end of the North Island, was a small town called Bulls. The signpost leading into the town read 'heard of Bulls? A town like no udder' The rubbish bin read 'response-a-bull', the church read 'Forgive-a-bull', the corner shop read 'restock-a-bull' and the police station read 'const-a-bulls'. It seems whover planned this town had a sense of humour!

Well, we must have chosen the hilliest country to cycle through in the entire world, there really is no flat before Auckland and after Hamilton, which means pretty much all of the country is made up of hills!
We were determined to get to Wellington as soon as we saw the first signpost, for us to see this sign was psychologically incredible and meant that finally, after all the climbing, the final piece of the map could be folded over! With time running out, we pushed on, faught the pain barriers and cycled a couple of MEGA long days - one of which we finished cycling at midnight in sheer anticipation of the ferry port! We were buzzing that day!
So, we got our ferry tickets for Picton and caught the 2.05pm ferry across the water. The ferry was immense! Like a 5* hotel inside, with a gorgeous food court, cinema, games room, but most importantly for us...RECLINING CHAIRS! After an amazing breakfast to fuel up, we took our spot, waved goodbye to the North Island and fell to sleep for the remainder of the journey! The good thing about taking bikes onto a ferry is that you get to be the very first to disembark! Yep, no queuing to get off for us :-)

Helloooo South Island! It's always a toss up as to what's worse, steep hills or a strong head wind. Oh guess what, we don't need to ponder the decision, the South Island offers both!
What a stunning Island this is, we can see the definite contrast to the North Island, cycling with the ocean in sight, with limestone walls beside us...this is what dreams are made of!

Kath's sleep talking is still going strong. Last nights conversation went something like this:
K: "Where's the cheese?" (waking Tee up)
T: "What?"
K: "You wanted the cheese on crackers"
T: "I don't think so, I don't eat cheese" (Kath wakes up)
K: "Why are you waking me up again?!"
T: *Laughs*

On our first afternoon on the South Island, Tee mentioned that she felt as though she was 'carrying bricks'. It later transpired that she had a flat tyre which we discovered at the end of the afternoon! We pitched our tent at a lovely campsite and decided to sort the puncture in the morning!
So, the morning came, puncture sorted fast and we were off for the day. This brings us up to present, where we are drinking a cup of tea in a place called Cheviot after completing approx 200km! Talking of tea, everytime Kath asks for tea, the waiter instinctively offers "English Breakfast?"

Update on Tee's injuries - trying to keep her arm dry and letting the air get to it as much as poss, in the meantime she's having fun repulsing Kath with the daily puss that oozes out of it :-( We will need to stop soon to get her stitches out, which may cause a slight delay (Kath won't take them out for her!). Thumb swelling going down, but still looks slightly deformed. Tee was a bit mortified realising this is the hand she may have to offer someone at the alter one day!

We have our morning routine down to a tee...Kath sets her alarm for three different times - 1st one for Tee to get up as she could dilly-dally for England/Australia, second one for Kath to get up (2.5hrs later!) jokes, then the 3rd as a 'get up both of you, or we're in the shit' alarm!

I (Kath) would like to just say a MASSIVE thank you to the very generous people who have recently sponsored me, it is very much appreciated: Melaine Woods, Jimmy and Hilda, my cousin Mark and..... Bonsall-Heimer (with excellent taste in literature...took me about 3 seconds flat to work that one out Heimer, but I continued to laugh for at least 5 minutes!) You all make this do-able, infact you make it a breeze. Thanks, hold your heads high.

Big thanks to AndyG for updating our map - you're my hero xxx

Much love K&T xxxxxxx

Friday, 3 February 2012

Life of surprises!!!

They're a friendly old bunch, the Kiwi's. Ask them directions to the nearest campsite, they offer you their back garden!!!

Firstly, we owe a huge 'Thank you' to Marty and Glenda (is every male in NZ called Marty?!). We popped in to their net cafe at the side of the road for some respite from the sun at its peak, they couldn't have been more helpful - calling several nearby campsites to see if they had space for us, drawing us a map and giving us a bag full of scooby snacks for our trip. Glenda makes THE BEST home made sausage rolls EVER!!! (Tee enjoyed her bananas).

We then got to our very luxurious campsite, at Kerikeri, where we met our host, a very red faced Phil and his moped, who proceeded to give us a guided tour of his spectacular facilities, which were clearly his pride and joy. After hearing his life story, and seeing the pristine shower area, we were keen to get out of our smelly clothes and into the showers. Eagerly anticipating a magical shower, we were undressed and ready to go, popped our $2 into the box...NO FREAKING WATER!!! Back into our sweaty clothes and found the 'basic' shower block, with running water :-)

We managed to do our washing at this campsite, but unfortunately Kath couldn't distinguish between the washer and dryer, so our clothes got washed twice! Luckily Phil's Thai employee came running, shouting "Noooooo... don't do that" Ooops! Out they crawled and into the dryer!

After a good nights sleep, we packed up our gear , waved goodbye to Phil and his moped and set off heading to Wangarai. The undulations today were longer with a lesser gradient than the first couple of days, but the sun was still in full force. We are starting to develop a nice 'bike tan' - Tee especially with her Aussie start! We ventured onto the main highway for a few km, before realising that the slower 'B' type roads are much more gratifying not only in terms of scenery, but also flow of traffic. Having almost been blown into oblivion by several trucks (although their wind force was good for a push along at times!)  we came off that road as quickly as we could and re-joined our trusty B roads, along the beautiful scenery. We stopped at the top of a hill for a photograph of the amazing scenery - the ocean in the distance on one side of the road and lush fields of grass and cows on the other.

Tonight we ended up on a beautiful campsite on the beach in Waipu. Upon arrival, a lovely Kiwi lady took a liking to us, and approached us with a bag of fresh Snapper, caught that morning! Tee cast it a look of disgust, while Kath's eyes lit up and accepted it with great enthusiasm, later revealing to Tee that she was full but accfepted out of gratitude for her generosity. At odds with what to do with the mass of lovely Snapper, Kath decideed to hide it in the tent...Tee repulsed by this! An hour or so later, Kath got peckish, so we cooked this fish with the campsite faciulities and it was AMAZING!  Tee also managed to have a conversation with a Londonner, who came over to our tent asking if we had a spliff?!?! No...but Tee's offer of bananas were politely declined!

We headed out the following morning, nice and early. Began riding through Langs Beach coastal region - so beautiful here, then began some steep climbs through the cliffs, with equally steep descents. Unfortunately, road works had been carried out on one particular winding descent, which made it very hard to remain in control of the bike with all the gravel on the ground. Tee was flying down the hill, attempting to slow down at a sharp bend, and flew off the bike. With blood on her arms and legs, the plaster/band aid offered by a passer by was never going to suffice! It was clear that medical help was needed. Kath found a guy with a truck and asked him to take Tee and her bike to the nearby medical centre. He (Shayne) kindly took Tee along, where the nurses quickly took her in. Big thanks to the lovely nurse Heather, who was very caring and kind. Two stitches later, with bandages and ice pack in place, we went for a well deserved coffee across the road.

Having some hours passed by we reassessed our plan, decided to try to carry on and play it by ear.
It was a very long day and Tee was a trojan, she managed to carry on and we covered at least 95km that day. This was amazing considering the injuries, and the hills that were undertaken. Well done Tee!!!

We stayed at Kaukapakana that night, there was no campsite and we had been out of water for what felt like hours, so we pulled into a pub in this village, where we stayed the night. Tee rebandaged her wounds, Kath feeling a bit sick with the dripping gunk. Kath repulsed by the room - slept on her sleeping bag rather than the mattress(!) and was eaten alive by mosquito's. Give me a tent anyday!

Determination and strength pulled us through the following morning...during trying times we were thinking of our charities and the amazing people back home who have sponsored us.

On route to Auckland, following highway 16, we somehow branched off onto the new motorway, where we were quickly escorted off here by the traffic officers! Luckily Kath had experienced this before in Spain, so recognised the flashing arrows and stopped accordingly, while Tee remained oblivious, happily carrying on!

This brings us to today, where we have covered a phenomenal distance. Luckily the weather was cooler and the terrain much flatter, so we were able to catch up on lost km. We are almost at our destination (Glen Massey) and will be absolutley pooped tonight!

Signing off for now, thank you all for your support. Knowing you are thinking of us is a brilliant inspiration!

Love K & T xxxxxxx

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Day One (and a half)

We had an interesting journey to Cape Reinga yesterday. Left Paihia at 9am and had a very long journey to the top due to our very laidback driver- Marty from Cape Reinga adventures. Marty had a passion for possum collecting off the side of the road, he received $8 from his friend for every possum collected in order to make a wool blend- apparently the finest in the world. Much to our digust, he left them at his feet whilst driving with us in the front!! With a speedo permanently set at zero and rock n roll music blaring through the speakers, we knew we were in for an interesting ride! About 70km from the Cape, Marty broke the news that he was too tired to drive any further and that we had to take over!! Kath nobly took the wheel and got us to the Cape safely while Marty fell asleep on Tee's shoulder. We finally reached the top and bid Marty farewell, had our photos, did a last wee and began our journey!

Began cycling through breathtaking scenery- lush green hills that go on for eternity, not to mention undulating hills that also go on for eternity!! The sunshine is immense which makes the scenery even more glorious. Cows eyeing us off as we ride past their paddocks... Talking of paddocks, we stayed in a field near Hohoura last night. After trudging through chest high sticks and straw, we made it to the fence with our bikes, not realising this fence was electric until poor Kath got electrocuted (not just once- but she went back for more!!) We then realised the only way to camp in this field (which obviously wasnt meant to be camped in- but we were miles from an official campsite and it was past 8pm by this stage) was to limbo underneath and leave the bikes on the other side.

With tent pitched and sweaty gear remaining on, we collapsed in our sleeping bags with snacks. We fell asleep..till 3am, when Kath decided she desperately needed to wee, she tried to get out of the tent but was unsuccessful, and terrified of possums or creepy crawly insects..so went just next to Tee's feet (extra toasty!) in the porch of the tent! Tee couldnt find her water in the night and slightly disorientated, she began prodding Kath, who panicked thinking she was being attacked by a killer possum..

Woke up this morning at 6.30am (hadnt been trodden on by cows), packed  up the gear and set off at 7.40am.. Had a beautiful day riding, very hilly with the outstanding views making it all worthwhile. Just stopped into a nice little internet cafe while the sun is at its hottest. Have done well so far, heading to Kerikeri for the night, which will take us to around 130km.

So, it's bloody beautiful, extremely hilly, with amazing weather :)

Mum- we're slapping on the suncream don't worry!
Nathan- thank you for reading and commenting, you do make me laugh!
Mick- looks like my training regime finally paid off!!        \
Jay- can't wait to see you when I'm a lean mean cycling machine!
Andy G- i miss you endlessly and thinking about you lots. Love to you and Shona.. Im eating lots of bananas haha- T
Russ- if you are reading this please tell Ted I can't wait to see him


Loads of Love, Tee and Kath. xxxxx  

Monday, 30 January 2012

Hey-y'alll!!!!!

Wowzer!!! Met Tee at Auckland airport yesterday at 2.30pm our time - was amazing to see her after 30 hours travelling! We then had a major rush to get to the bike shop to dump my bike box (bike in perf condition thanks to B&W international bike case!!!!!!) Unfortunately, Kat emptied her pockets onto the floor and low and behold, she had NO KEY!! to get into her bike box... In a mad scramble, we used Tee's bobbypin to try and pick the lock, then in sheer desperation Tee tried to pry the lock off with a screwdriver.. The day was saved as Kat used her lock picking skills (done this before?) to undo the case.. BINGO! pop went the lock.. There was bike oil everywhere and we were sweating up a storm. Now to get the back wheel back on Kath's bike - the 'mechanic' in the bike shop was as much use as a choc fire guard - it would've been better if she had admitted her ZERObike maintenance skills, rather than pretending she knew exactly what to do and MASHING my chain set. ARRRGH!!!!!

Anyway, all set to get there, with time quickly running out we made our way back to the hotel and ordered a maxi taxi to Auckland main city to connect up with our bus.. 40min later we met our charming 'Naked' bus driver (nakedbus.com) who was a little taken aback by 2 girls arriving with bikes and gear.. "Girls, where do you think these are going to go?!" later to tell us "I dont want your shitty bike oil all over my bags." We disembled the bikes yet again and packed them in to the almost empty bag space! Eventually made it to PaiHai 3.5hrs later and checked in at our hotel where we took the bikes up to sleep next to us. Kath had a much appreciated shower (thank god, she was starting to reek- haha i kid) and we conked out. Tee decided to wake me up at 3am with the sound of the kettle whirring as she realised she was thirsty and needed a cup of tea!!!...the water beside her would not suffice. I then thought it was time to go and started to get ready...only for Tee to break the news that I should just return to the land of nod, as we had hours before get up time!!! Glad to report that Kath's sleep talking behaviour has continued on from our Thailand days.. had a little conversation with her last night, and when mentioned this morning, she had no recollection.. Thinking I may have some fun with this ;) hahaha..

About to depart for the Cape - our official; start point, so, lots of love to all. We have both been laughing lots whilst writing this...so should be an awesome trip! Kath & Tee xxxxxxxx