Saturday 8:50am: It’s an empty Air New Zealand flight from Christchurch to Palmy this morning. It seems Palmy is not a popular destination for tourists these days. The lone airline hostess allows us to spread out through the plane. On arrival, it’s unusually hot andstill. This won’t last for long I think.
Later that Saturday: “I had only planned a reco day today” says team mate Vinky, as we stop for a cold coke, three hours into a hot and hard four hour ride. Key sections of Stage Five ridden, the hilltop finale is tough but the recently gravelled descent of the Pahiatua Track could be equally selective. Probably should have worn sunscreen, skin complexion is a bit pinker this evening.
Saturday Evening: It’s good to back at home. My mothers crazy cats seem equally happy to see me.
Sunday 1:30pm: Another day, another stage previewed. This time Stage Two around the legendary Apiti Loop, way out in the middle of nowhere. Today it is raining, which feels far more normal. Still the wind is only a four or five on a scale of one to the Manawatu’s worst.
Sunday 3:30pm: Failed attempt to capture pre-discussed Palmerston North rain on my phone camera. But it was raining with impressive vigour.
Sunday Evening: Today is also ‘Straya Day.’ I rope in anther cat to join me in celebrating the national holiday of my team mates and sponsors.