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Brodrick Pass

Brodrick Pass: Day 03 Report

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Hope is something that you can ride on. I had left the states knowing that my 20 year old cat, Kool Thing, a more than purrfect little black piece of feline work, the type of cat that people who hate cats love and people who are allergic to cats pet, was going in for surgery to remove a golf ball sized cyst from the top of her head. Last word I received before leaving Danseys Inn was that it was touch and go. So when, upon waking to an amber dawn and a sparsely clouded sky, I took it as a good sign. Thats a good sign thing right? Like a the storm has passed type trope thing that everyone gets, brass tacks good sign material, true hope material, the kind of awe inspiring image that has made its way onto posters in the breakrooms of office parks across the US always emblazoned with powerfully inspiring quotes from Gandhi, Moses, or Scott Stapp. With all that in mind it could be said that I had a pretty good feeling about the day and my little old cat’s health. Breakfast and couple of coffees later I was still up, feeling great, but when we stepped out to start our ride a self-righteous “tailwind” bummed rushed our little caravan dragging behind it a grey rumpled shroud of clouds. With that amber promise now drained from the sky my outlook went from promising to bleak and we traveled through howling bursts of wind while pushing our bikes atop fist size gravel spackled with drifts of crusty brittle snow. Did I mention that we were all in shorts? Well we were and you see, shorts in a cold, biting, snow chilled, wind situation, like the one we had on our hands during this particular phase of the trip, tend to channel discomfort towards your body rather than away. As it turns out the advantages of shorts, in particular their “short-ness,” that makes them ideal in a “summer” climate, are a huge disadvantage in cold weather situations. So it went; hopelessness and chills for the duration of our morning.

Eventually the clouds did break, or rather they were pushed aside by the galling wind. Past midday we dropped off the hillside, and back into some degree of humanity.”

After two days we were back in cell coverage country. The team’s screens lit up, beaming information into our little piece of the world. My cat had passed in the night. I called my wife, charges be damned, things were tough. We talked about Kool Thing, her final days, hours, moments, we cried a little, these things are sad. Eventually I had to go, phone off and preparing to ride on Patrick made an announcement. “I’m having a BOY!” Highs and Lows right? Fate is fickle, and the world, my simplistic, shortsighted, solipsistic world has a way of balancing itself out, or at least I make it so. As it happens Patrick is one of those allergic feline-misanthropes who happened to love Kool Thing, so I can’t help but think that her little wise assed, so sweet, too cool for school cat energy made its way over to Patrick’s wife’s body processing plant is helping make their little tyke even cooler, as if they would need it. Maybe that golden dawn was her little farewell, a final good by, our chance to bask in the simple promise of a new day. Maybe not, but that’s what I believe.

Ida Railway Hut

 

The sun came out for a few moments and gave us a little sneak preview.
The Two hunters are Taehi (left) and Jeremy (right) with their black lab Boy (the dog). They were up hunting Red Deer when the snowstorm dumped enough snow on the ground that driving their four-wheel drive offroad rig was not an option. So they ended up just hanging around the hut, keeping the fire going. Which was nice. Because we showed up very cold and tired. They welcomed us in, gave us beers, and we spent the night parsing American fact from fable. Growing up Taehi thought America was one big nation of white picket fences and school buses; that it was always a party with “heaps of babes.” We talked about the Affordable Healthcare act, and we came to the conclusion that when you have a universal healthcare system, and you have always and forever will, you actually approach just take care of problems when they come up, which is pretty rad. Also check out those gaiters.
These are just dip your bottle, cup your hands, put your lips in, and drink creeks. They are everywhere in New Zealand. It takes a while to find the courage to trust their purity, but if you trust me, then you can trust them.

Hawkduns

 

The advantages of shorts, in particular their “short-ness,” that makes them ideal in a “summer” climate, are a huge disadvantage in cold weather situations.
Hey Kyle, what’s going on with your face there bud? Hows that wind treating you?
It should be noted that Paul rode a completely stock AWOL on this trip, stock means he rode on Specialized Trigger Sports, these are basically big volume road tires with tiny dimpled traction knobs. He didn’t have a flat the entire time and he was never the last one down the hill. This sounds like something a robot would do, right?
I call this one “Giant ginger rock troll drying its hands on a strip of linen.”
When you stop in the Hawkduns after a summer snow and you only packed shorts, you should stop by a rock to minimize your exposure. According to our readings this technique yields a 15-20% increase in your heat retention coefficient.
Our crew was able to use our keen wayfinding skills and sensitive spiritual intuition to find a balance nexus just off the road. And a truly exceptional nexus at that. This move here, the divining peregrine, absolutely cannot be accomplished even by a true master of the arts without the radiant assistance of a notable nexus.
This is an excellent example of
what our morning looked like.
Wind is for sailing, generating power, spreading seeds, and carrying song. Wind is not for working on bikes. This is a fact.
During the course of our journey we were able to observed something special about being Ultra, which is that being Ultra requires sensitivity, compassion, and above all empathy. Nothing is more Ultra than empathy, and there is nothing more empathetic than the interaction between two Ultras. Seen here are two Ultras mid-ritual, practicing an act that they call “Understanding sensitivities while being sensitive to the sun.” The tears we shed were from the magnanimity of the gesture, not the cutting of the wind.

Omarama Pass

 

It was summer down here but it wasn’t, “Rad, summer, finally!” like the way you get in May when school is about to get out and the weather is just I-DEAL. Nope.
We came off the snow scabbed rock tundra and found ourselves right in the middle of August heat, AA-powered handheld mini-fan heat, swamp cooler heat, unfortunate heat. At least things were pretty barren despite the heat change, so we still had exposure going for us. (Listen, Yonder Journal is well aware that May is not TECHNICALLY summer, but it was always the month that signified the start of something good, and thats what we think of summer, something good. Still if you feel you must comment, please do so, though you can’t do it here, we don’t allow comments.)
This is another one of these really-too-steep-to-ride hills. And you could see it coming from a long, long way out. Like a real Ass-Kicker. For some members of our group Omarama Pass was kinda a breaker. Yet for those of us who were saddled with the burden to motivate, we had one strong and powerful ally, and that ally was the knowledge that there was no other option, and not having a choice is such an amazing motivational tool, it rarely fails to get the job done. For all of you would-be adventurers out there, the best thing you can do is set yourself up to be put into positions where you don’t have any choice but to keep going, where the only exit strategy is the actual exit. You should get there, probably.
Did we already talk about the importance of wearing comfortable shoes on these deals? Well it’s important enough to mention again. Wear comfortable shoes when you go bikepacking, because if it’s done right, you will be walking. And comfortable shoes are the kind of thing that will make walking an okay experience.
See those mountains way over there in the distance? Well we are supposed to be going over them on the next day of the trip. I am glad I brought my comfortable walking shoes.
The look that says, “Hey world, you’re all right.”
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