Last legs – day 4 the end of the Otago Cycle Trail New Zealand

All of us from the group last night are up early and at breakfast just after 7. Our hosts tell us the rain rumoured all this trip is likely to hit around 10 am.

We scarf down our breakfasts to avoid a sodden last ride. We are all heading for Middlemarch today for our various bike hire vehicle transfers back to Clyde.

We say farewell and head for our bikes. But I sense today there is an air of competitiveness of who will  be first to the drop-off point on our last leg. Game on I say privately to myself.

The babyboomer couple with matching zero body fat are the first out of the gate. I am in the next two in the line up of 10 of us.

The trail is an easy gradient and just under 30 kilometres length today. Its now or never to get into top gear on this trip.

Before long I am belting along the path so fast I burn off  some skittish sheep who try and race along in front of me. A hare then races out in front of them but he is too quick and I never catch him up.

I am so focussed on a quick time, I even take the bumpy wooden bridges at speed with no thought to my lady parts.

The speedometer says  I am making 27 Ks an hour on the flat! A speed I thought was only possible on a steep down hill. At last my legs feel fit for purpose, its just a shame its on the last day.

I do have to make a requisite stop to collect another stamp in the rail trail passport book at Ngapuna, which is backed by beautiful ranges slung with low cloud. I am seduced again by the scenic beauty and take several photos squandering time and my place in the race.

I also use the stop to swath myself in sunscreen as it is now very sunny. I wonder later when the skies remain steadfastly blue, if our hosts used the threat of rain to clear us all out in a hurry. Then they are free of us cycle loopies for the day until late afternoon when a new batch arrives.

Before long Middlemarch, the end of the trail, comes into view. It still has a real looking station not the ghost of one. I arrive fourth in the line up and plonk myself down on the grass in the station.

The others dribble in off the trail. Some happy to dismount their bikes for the last time immediately, but I am not quite ready to end this journey and circle the small town taking more photos.

Finally I do have to separate myself from my bike. The transport is here and our cycles are loaded onto a big trailer to be towed by our bus back to Clyde. I could be a bit subdued its over, but in the bus waiting room I have already picked up a pamphlet for another cycle trail adventure.