Eventually the top came and a and gave me the chance to use the suspension that been a passenger for the last 140km. The extra weight made for an interesting descent, the Nelson side of the Maungatapu is a looser and rockier surface than the Pelorus side, I caught up with some of those that had passed me on the climb, including a loose association of Brevetters not riding as a team.
I hit Nelson just after 9am and joined Mike for my first proper breakfast of the Brevet at Fords Restaurant and Bar, hung around for too long and we hit the road for Wakefield just after 10am, the Great taste cycle trails out of Nelson are a bit of a maze so it was handy to have some help with the navigation.
Wakefield is the last resupply point before St Arnaud about 60km away, grabbed a yummy pizza at Chateau Rhubarbe, ate half and stuffed the rest in my camelbak for later. Dean was just rolling out of Wakefield as we turned up, maybe suffering a bit from his early morning arrival in Nelson. We had also been passed by a few faster riders who hadn't pushed so hard on the first day or maybe had risen late after staying in Nelson. The others left before me so I wound up on my own leaving Wakefiled, 88 Valley Rd climbs steadily out of Wakefield and after a couple of name changes culminates in two climbs. On the way I caught up with Phil Brownie another rider I would see quite a bit over the next day or so. The heat, by the time we hit the climbs was intense, it wasn't surprising to see riders on the wrong side of the road sheltering from the sun. The days highlight was passing Beeby's Knob apparently named for a distant relative on the wife's side.
Beeby's (eroded) Knob
St Arnaud was a welcome chance to have a rest and resupply, I joined the gaggle of riders lounging outside the Village Store and decided that I would push on and camp somewhere around the Porika. Dean had booked a motel for the night and the last I saw of him for the Brevet he was riding off for a comfortable bed. I left St Arnaud around 7pm, the 16km to Howard Valley is a gentle downhill so I made good time, the road turned to gravel and then tuned upwards as I entered the Porika. The Porika was mostly a walk, a climb that I am convinced I would have ridden with fresh legs. The descent into Lake rotoroa is steep and rocky, some of which I walked, footprints on the side of the track told me I wasn't the only one. I got to the lake at about 9pm having passed Mike who was having tyre issues. I joined a growing number camping at the Lake Rotoroa camp site, with riders arriving for the next hour or so having done the descent in the dark. The legendary Rotoroa sandflys are indeed legendary, if you stood still for a few seconds your legs were black with them. Day 2 about 152km covered for 14 hours on the trail.