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The Odyssey Brevet

The Odyssey Brevet, Alexandra with "Big John the Cycling Machine"

A long weekend so it was time for an adventure on the bike with John.

After a long drive to Alexandra we span out the legs with a short loop along the 150th Anniversary river trail to Clyde before heading into the Ferris Road Brewery for some brevet sustenance & to meet our fellow breveteers

It was going to be long & hilly so we started early on Saturday. The warm up took in some of the rail trail before starting on the Old Dunstan road (this is a VERY LONG ROAD) & climbing up to Poolburn dam. There had been a bit of rain but thankfully the clay surface was still rideable, just the odd patch of porridge like gloop. The landscape was very pleasing on the eyes as we ticked along the undulating trail feeling very antlike in the never expansive hills.

A lovely downhill brought us to Linnburn for a short section of flat riding to Paerau before picking up the Old Dunstan road again & heading up into the Rock & Pillar conservation area. After the steep climb it was nicely undulating terrain past an un-named reservoir & many more undulations with mind blowing scenery until we finally started descending. It had been perfect conditions until the rainy hail arrived. Wahoo! We made it to Clarks Junction where there was a pub in the middle of nowhere. Time for a wee rest after 120km, 2770m ascent and almost 9 hours in the saddle. Now the heavens really opened, big rain & hail.

I put on more or less the whole contents of my bike packing bags including the trusty rubber gloves & off we went enroute to Lawrence. The rain came & went in waves so we still got to enjoy the views but the temperature was cooling & the idea of spending the night in my bivvy bag or in Johns small 1 person tent was not looking attractive! Spurred on by the thought of a dry bed & a hot shower we tackled the undulating terrain through to Lake Mahinerangi. A massive lake! Still very pretty with a mixture of farmland, green hills & forestry. From here the Waipori road took us through Bungtown with a few more ups & downs until we arrived at the welcoming town of Lawrence. 52km, 910m ascent & 4hr made a total of 170km, 3680m ascent & 13hours of riding for the day. The lovely lady at Jafa’s motel agreed to let us gatecrash a room that Andrew & Tony had thoughtfully booked – Yay!

Sunday morning was a stunner. After a luxurious night at Jafa’s motel & once the boys had fueled themselves with pies & half the hot counter at the local night & day shop we set of refreshed, dry, warm & full on the 100km back to Alex.

The Clutha Gold trail took us all the way to Roxburgh Dam with a stop at Millers Flat café for a wee snackett & coffee. It was a gently undulating trail following the beautiful Clutha River. More wonderful photo opportunities. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better we crossed the Roxburgh dam & started the Roxburgh gorge trail. It winds its way around the edge of Roxburgh lake for about 10km to a Jet boat pick up. The boat took us up about 10km with a few drenching spins as we learned about the local history & viewed some of the tiny stone mining huts that remained on the embankments. Then it was not the final 10km of the trail back to Alex. Despite the cruisey nature of the trail we still covered 100km & 1000m of ascent. A wonderful way to finish of a fantastic brevet circuit. A big thank you to @Theflahute , John, Andrew & Tony.

If you enjoy big country, stunning scenery, being away from it all & don’t mind a bit of climbing this is a must do.

All up 300km & 5000m of climbing.

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