It was generally agreed that the conditions on the run into Bluff were fitting for the finish of The Great Ride For Heart. Gale force winds, frigid temperatures, and horizontal showers. Maybe because it was a final test of resolve, or simply because we had to keep such a tight bunch to make the final 30km safely.
The final day would have been pretty significant in any conditions, 225km with 1100m of climbing (even though it was described as all downhill) after 12 days on the road.
Apparently somebody had organised the Queenstown Pedallers to tag along and provide a bit of a tow. Whilst the gesture was a nice one, I hadn’t ridden all that way to get assisted in the final drag, which meant that I ended up on the front of the bunch for a lot of the day.
Hitting the signpost in Bluff I did get some satisfaction for having ridden the country fixed, but had greater satisfaction in the group arriving safely and together. The route rather than the two end points were the personal achievement, the mountain passes in particular were quite something. Though surprisingly the Northland stages both in numbers (gradients and metres climbed), and physical toll were the hardest of the lot.
Not sure of the final figures for the 13 riding days but know we climbed over 16,000m, I changed gear 0 times, got 0 punctures, 0 mechanicals, and got 1 sore butt. 42×16 is the platinum gear after all.
Thanks again for all your support, I couldn’t have done it without you (my $10,000+ crew).
[Numbers update: ride was 2210km long – that’s 395,000 pedal revolutions. Thanks to you all I raised $12,717. That works out at about $0.03 a revolution, pretty good value I’d say. Ride also incorporated just under 17,000m of climbing, 10,500 of which occured in the North Island. No wonder the South Island seemed so cruisey.]