Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Finishing Post!

This morning, after a lie in and a leisurely breakfast, Del prepared himself and the bike for the final run to The Bluff.
Would you believe it! He discovered a puncture in his front tyre - the only one he's had on the bike throughout the whole trip! He fixed it and took off, covering the 30kms in glorious sunshine and in record time.
Julie and I were at The Bluff to greet him, feeling very proud and excited. Del was exhilarated and, with all our cheering and clapping, a crowd of on-lookers soon gathered, shaking his hand, taking photos and asking questions.
After a celebratory glass of bubbles, lots of photographs and phone calls to family and friends, Del insisted on cycling the 30kms back again to our motel! Before he left, Julie began to ask him what his next challenge was. I quickly stopped her in her tracks!! I'm not ready for that yet -  just relieved that he's back from this one safe and sound. These photos tell the final chapter of the story.

                                                    The end -        or is it just the beginning?

Friday, February 25, 2011

The End is in Sight!

Well, Julie and I didn't get the chance to catch up with Del in Gore as we had planned. He decided to make a run for it and cycled 132kms from Balclutha to Invercargill - 8.5 hours of pedalling - beating his own record!
Knowing that Julie and I were waiting for him there made him determined to get the challenge finished as quickly as he could. We surprised him by meeting him en route to Invercargill with a bottle of Powerade and a Mars Bar to help him over the last few kms.

 He arrived at our motel in Invercargill at 5.00pm in a state of exhaustion and happy stupour.

The conditions were good with long flat stretches and little wind. He had to "Run with the Bulls" at one stage when a herd of energetic steers stampeded, drooling and snorting down the road. The drover advised him to stand still as they passed around him though he was a little nervous that his high viz shirt and fluttering flag might be the next best thing to a "red rag"!
He'll complete his challenge tomorrow and cycle to Bluff! The return journey is 60kms so no need for the usual 6.00am start!  Julie and I will be there to record his achievement and celebrate his safe arrival "home".                      

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Today, on my flights to Invercargill, I met two strangers who had been directly affected by the Christchurch earthquake. One was returning to his damaged home after having been away on holiday when the earthquake happened. The other was a woman who scrambled out of her office building on Cathedral Square as it collapsed around her. Today she was escaping from the horrors of the aftershocks. As the plane left Christchurch I noticed that she was silently weeping. I gave her a hug and we wept together.
Del battled wind, rain and cold to reach Balclutha today. He's tiring now - so near his goal and yet still nearly 140kms to go! He was feeling energy less and lethargic. In his own words he'd "hit the wall". He was in serious need of a hug but had to make do with a telepathic one. His mood revived instantly when he learned that Julie and I were in Invercargill waiting for him. He'll head towards Gore tomorrow but, as the trip is over 70kms and hilly in parts, he may do it over two days instead. We'll try and meet up with him tomorrow somewhere along the way and give him some encouragement, a decent meal - and a big hug!