Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day Six

I woke with a start with a loud scratching just by my ear. In panic I turned on the light and saw something scurry of into the darkness. I scanned the hay wall with my light and noticed many small burrowed holes. This place must be full of mice and rats! Uneasily I went back to sleep.

Getting up in the morning I mixed up the last of my complan for breakfast while Andrew cooked up a brew on his cooker. As usual it took me forever to get ready and Andrew headed of first into the early light of dawn. It was overcast and chilly but no longer raining thankfully. The misery of the Awatere continued though as I slowly got my legs moving. Meaningless climbs followed one after the other. After one final long climb – the Awateres sting in the tail – it leveled out and civilisation started to show its signs. Vineyards appeared on both sides of the road. The end was not far away. Turning of the main road towards Taylors pass – the last uphill of the whole Brevet – I had mixed feelings. It was almost over which was a relief in a way but it was going to be hard to return to normal life after such an amazing experience.


A few hours before, I had decided I could eat no more until Blenhiem Throughout the ride I had been fueled with OSM bars interspersed with welcome chocolate milk and hot food stops in cafes and shops on the way. OSMs had got me through and for that I was grateful but I could eat them no more. I had had enough. I could hardly even look at them. My system had rebelled. I decided to run my body down to empty rather than face another mouthful of dry OSM bar.

The descent from Taylors turned into a final detour along the Blenheim bike paths. Houses started appearing on either side in greater numbers until I realised I was in Blenheim proper. A search for Dashwood crescent took a while but I was determined to do the course properly and I finally found it and popped out onto the main road. Seymour square was just ahead. I imagined the people going about their business oblivious to my presence were cheering throngs welcoming me back. I got to Seymour square and a familiar figure emerged. It was Darren - smiling broadly he gave me a big man hug. So he was ahead of me after all – he had missed seeing the sign in book at the start of the Molesworth.

We headed to a cafe at the edge of the square where Andrew McLellan was relaxing. I was very very hungry and ordered portion after portion from the all day breakfast menu. I have rarely eaten as many calories in one sitting in my whole life. Soon Simon, John and Thomas joined us having finished, along with Darren, the night before. Some of these people I had only known for a few days but it felt like a reunion of old life long friends. I had hardly ever felt as relaxed, satisfied and deeply contented. The Brevet was a concept of pure brilliance and perfection. It was one of the most amazing experiences and weeks of my life. Mr Simon Kennett you are a genius.

We watched Phil and Ann turn up not long after and welcomed them in. They joined us at the cafe smiling and also full of stories and excitement. Eventually we had to go our separate ways – John and Simon to the airport, Andrew, Thomas, Phil and Ann to the ferry and Darren and I back to the car to drive home to Christchurch.
I had managed to complete the Brevet in under 5 days (4 days, 23 hours and 15 minutes to be exact) on a rigid singlespeed. Oliver Whally was the fastest in 4 days 2 hours. Darren had rolled in at 4 days 9 hours in 6th place – a hugely impressive effort. I was happy. Ollie was quoted as saying when he finished 'life changing shit'. I couldnt have put it better myself.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic fantastic write up Jasper. Thanks so much for putting it together... I wouldn't be surprised if your account finally gets me out on the bike again :)