Thursday, 20 February 2014

Kiwibrevet Day 6. Sheffield to Culverden

Overnight I had replaced the frayed deraileur cable that I had noticed about 300km earlier, if had broken on the trip over Porters Pass I think I may have cried, it was down to it's last 2 strands. The Famous Sheffield Pie Shop opens at 6am, steak and cheese for breakfast, bacon and egg stuffed in the camelbak for lunch, lamb roll and pizza bread for later. During this time I saw Brett heading off in the direction of the Wharfedale.
Breakfast of champions.
Had the usual  trouble getting moving, the 20km to the Wharfedale trail head seemed to take forever, this wasn't helped by one of the local bogans who had stolen the Woodstock Rd sign. The Wharfedale is an excellent piece of beech forest singletrack, again, the ever cheerful Paul caught me up, he also had a bag laden with goodies from the Sheffield Pie Shop. This was the first piece of proper mountain biking since Big River, and it's not a proper mountain bike ride unless you've had to carry the bike at some point.
Mountain Biking at it's best

Wharfedale hut

We stopped at the Wharfedale hut and hooked into our baked goodies. The sandflies and wasps made their presence felt so we didn't stay long before heading out into the Lees Valley, we had the same navigational dilemma that others appeared to have with the double river crossing, but were only held up for a couple of minutes till we found the trail markers. I had lost my cue sheets somewhere in the Wharfedale, Paul kindly let me photograph the remaining cue sheet, before the usual pattern of him disappearing into the distance when the terrain became more suited to his cross bike, this was the last time I saw Paul for the Brevet, indeed it was the last time I saw a fellow Brevet rider until the end of the Rainbow Valley.
Lees Valley
I hated the Lees Valley, it was hot, exposed and there was a headwind, the climb out of the valley with it's unchanging scenery felt endless. Lees Pass marked the beginning of the private land section through MacDonald Downs, this was more exposed gravel farm roads and plenty of climbing. I found the navigation through this section tricky whether this was from fatigue or not I don't know but I was glad to have my topo maps to get my bearings, the only sign I found wasn't much help.

The cue sheets gave conflicting instructions at the exit from Macdonald Downs, once I worked out which way to go the route wasn't difficult to follow. I got to Hurunui about 8:15 which gave me about 40 minutes to get to Culverden before the takeaway shop closed at 9pm. I put the hammer down and got there at about 10 minutes to 9, ordered fish and chips and got 2 magnums for desert. Both the hotel and motel were booked out, so I headed back to the camping ground where there was shelter next to the pavilion and started to set up camp, a Sweedish tourist who was travelling the South Island trout fishing took pity on me and let me into the pavilion, where I slept on the floor.
Day 6, 138km in 14 hours.

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