Monday morning we thought we would have an easy day, after two very hard ones. We hopped on the bikes and rode from Ranfurly to Wedderburn, which is getting near to the highest point on the Rail Trail, before it descends all the way to Clyde.
Bit of a wind against, and a slight climb almost all the way to Wedderburn (13 kms). So it was going to be very easy coming back, and only 26 kms in total. We remembered the hotelier at Wedderburn not being the most welcoming, but we were prepared for him this time. A waste of good preparation because we arrived at 10 am and the place was not open until 11. No cup of tea then. A bit surprising that he was not putting himself out to open for early riders – the Rail Trail has been a huge boon for businesses along the way, but presumably only those that open their doors. The trail opened in 2000 and now hundreds of people cycle it every week. The average age is mid-50s, and the average spend (accommodation, food, drink, bike hire, souvenirs) is $100 per day - “Recession? What recession?” is the cry round here.
Cycling back was not as easy as we expected. The wind seemed to have reversed direction and strengthened. A bit of a work-out, but being downhill and only 13 kms, nothing like so arduous as Sunday or especially Saturday.
We had already checked out of the cabin, but had left the car there. We loaded the bikes onto the rack, had a drink at a cafe in the “art deco” township of Ranfurly, then drove to Alexandra. Here we shall be doing alternate days of cycling and walking. I don't think we shall bother going back to Wedderburn to ensure we cover every inch of the Rail Trail. We have done that before. Also, in the past 3 days, with doing several sections twice, back and forth, we have already cycled 140 kms on a trail of which the total length is 152 kms.
We have also walked some of it this morning. We covered the same 26 kms circuit I was doing, every day for two weeks, at the end of February. They have had another go at the kilometre posts along the river bank and seem to have got it right at the third attempt.