Recreational riders facebook users advised that Ōhau to Omarama was likely to be too narrow and rough for the Motom, and a sign cautioned that the track needed repairs, so we sensibly skipped this part of the A2O. Feeling a little sore, and tired after our great Dark Skies experience at Tekapo the previous night (bed at 3am), I decided a short grade 2 (easy) section Kurow to Duntroon would work, and allow Brian (my father) join Matt and I on an electric bike for a gentle, relaxed ride.
My father didn’t know what relaxed was and we had to persuade him to slow down and enjoy the journey. Not many 83 year olds (a month off 84) would be leading the way – nor trying to ride while talking on the phone as he was doing at one point. Next he will be asking for a unicycle to make it more Interesting.
The ride started pretty warm and the occasional shady spots cycling under the trees by the river or between rows of poplars beside a vineyard were welcome. This trail was a mix of nice wide light gravel paths, and rougher paths with big river stones or deep gravel (which Matt rather enjoyed, but just added more effort for me on a day where I wanted easy). The spectacular scenery of the previous rides was replaced by blackberry (blackberries not yet ripe) and gorse bushes along the sides of the trail.
We heard a popping sound. Investigation revealed it was popping seed pods on the broom (a weed shrub) – recording below that is quieter than the reality, but at least gives an idea of the frequency of these seed pod pops.
Two completely dry, wide river beds were very lumpy but passable, and another included a river about 15 cm deep that we had to walk through with Matt lifting the back of the Motom up to keep the motor dry, and Matt and Brian on each side of me to keep my balance walking through the river. At this point we had a brief stop for a jellybean as I unusually had a mild hypo – not only do I have motor neurone disease, but type 1 diabetes as well to add further complexity.
A couple of barricades were navigated easily by Matt and Brian, especially the second one where a nearby fence had a barbed wire loop that could be unhooked for a little lift, yay!
We finished in Duntroon with a few spits of rain and a much cooler temperature. We decided that we had done enough of Alps to Ocean – having got the best parts – and it was time to have a rest day looking at Aoraki and then head off to a new trail.
Distance: 29 km. Total since 6 Jan: 400 km!