My note in my journal for today’s ride is “Too short.” At this point, I was feeling very strong, though a little tired. I only needed to ride 12.5 or 13.5 kilometers depending on the signs you read. Nick designed the days so on Day 4 I could ride to Middlemarch and still catch the train to Dunedin.
I felt very melancholic about completing the ride. It was also one my final days for my adventures in New Zealand. I did my best to savor each moment. In no time I was in Middlemarch. First there was the finish at the official signs and stamp. Nick recorded my feat.
Then I rode further into the old rail station buildings and Quench Café. We loaded my bike in the trailer and walked to Quench to get a Flat White. I pulled out my Picnic candy bar to celebrate. Nick presented me with a certificate celebrating my accomplishment.
I had already packed my bag and so once I returned my cycling gloves, there was little else to do but head to the train station.
I loved cycling the Otago Central Rail Trail. I would do it again for sure. I spent a lot of time on the trail imagining how the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta could benefit from a similar rail trail. The rail trail is terrific for families, for school groups, and for cycling clubs or for individual cyclists like me.
This trail is the first of the Great Rides. Built and maintained by New Zealand’s excellent Department of Conservation. Nga Haerenga-The New Zealand Cycle Trail offers 23 “Great Rides” varying in difficulty from easy to advanced. You can discover all of the trails at www.nzcycletrail.com.