Day 20 – Cheating and back to the middle of nowhere

Today I feel like I cheated. For the first time in almost three weeks I was propelled by something other than my legs. I woke up and road in early Dunedin rush hour traffic (ugh) to get to the rail station. The plan was to avoid the hellish way out (via “three mile hill” and other serious ups and downs) by taking the Taieri Gorge rail then a 20km mostly dirt road into Middlemarch. Well despite arriving an hour early, I was told the train was completely booked, but was put on a waiting list. Sat in or near the train station impatiently awaiting to find out if I had to murder my legs getting out of town or not. Last minute they called me in and gave me a ticket. Being on the train felt like I was getting away with something. Here I was, seeing beautiful scenery and doing no work!

My one way ticket dropped my bike and I off at Pukerangi. The guide told us the town had recently doubled in size when a second farm house was built. Glad to be away from the city and back to quiet rides. From here it was weaving around on dirt roads for about 10km then, would you believe it, I road with a monster tail wind after I turned off the dirt road to head north. After making great time I reached Middlemarch, the trail head for the Otago rail trail that I'll be on for the next two days.

Stopped at my fist bike shop of the trip here. Waiting until I was out of the city to do this was probably a mistake. My chain has been accumulating some muck that I haven't been able to get off but they didn't really know how to help me with this. Had no degreaser but offered me a bucket of hot soapy water and insisted I switch to wax based lube at what seemed quite the price for a bottle. Well the bucket of water and a spare toothbrush did well enough after cleaning my chain at least. Also couldn't help me with any of the stuff I needed to pick up (shoe covers and new gloves). They did want me to buy new tires, claiming mine aren't suited for dirt and gravel like the rail trail. Yeah, okay.

Today when I stopped on the dirt roads to eat some lunch I discovered that my hot sauce bottle lid had rattled off at some point since I got off the train. Perhaps I should keep stuff like that in a zip lock bag. It was in the top pouch of my rear panniers which didn't let any drip into my clothes but it did dissolve a handful of ibuprofen pills into a big nasty mess in the pouch. While cleaning it I found out that those panniers (Arkel t-48) are pretty dang water proof. Filled the pouch with water from a spout and it only lightly beaded around the seams.


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