I keep on bumping into Kevin, the Canadian cyclist. He caught up with me yesterday near Taumaranui. We even shared a cabin at a holiday park. This morning, I left early but we may see each other again down the road.
The TA guide suggested that heavy laden bikes use the highway instead of going through the woods. I gladly obliged, although I really wanted to go to the Bridge to Nowhere. But the two previous days of mountain trails were enough, at least for now.
When I left the holiday park I also left behind my bottle of water. I was hoping to buy one at the nearest gas station but the nearest one happened to be 40km away. During one particularly long and steep climb my legs started to cramp, but I managed until National Park, where I got my thirst quenched.

Passing by the turn to the harsh stretch of Tour Aotearoa route, my sense of adventure was whispering: “Turn, go for it!” and my common sense was saying: “Continue straight, it may not be worth it”. Common sense prevailed.
The day was ordinary, even boring: same ol’ ups and downs, same quickly changing weather (I got rained on 4-5 times), same pretty scenery.

After cycling for seven hours I ended up in Pipiriki, the same place I would have mightily struggled to reach one day later, first through mountainous woods, then by boat on Whanganui River, had I chosen the harder route.

Today in numbers:

100 km – distance cycled
5 – hours of continuous rain right after I setup my tent
⅓ – of the route is done, 2000km to go