Day 2: Tuesday 19 February 2012
It’s not your typical girl job, but tanker driver Valda Swarbrich couldn’t be happier.
She’s driving the real deal – no automatics for this girl – just an 18-stick gearbox.
We caught up with Valda outside Mayfield as we were wrapping up today.
We are now in the Mayfield Tavern having a cold pint.
Last stop before the pub, we caught up with Irish woman Maureen Crowley, who was painting her verandah, and drain layers Callum Bartlett and Dan Anfield – who were filling their tums at the Udder Dairy.
We are sitting under a shady tree with three old rams on the outskirts of Mayfield.
The rams are not at all surprised to find us in their backyard.
We have just visited Mayfield School and spent half an hour talking to the children and enjoying an orange drink.
We have been grilled left, right and centre by the students asking what we are doing, why we’re doing it and how many times have fallen off our bikes.
Before the visit, we had pedalled hard up hill. We’re feeling shattered but it’s good to be under the shade.
We’re heading off to Mayfield and will be finishing at the pub around 4pm.
It’s lunchtime and we’re hunkered down by a tiny bridge over the dry Hinds river.
We’ve wobbled our way down two kilometres of shingle road and been peppered with stones and dust from cockies.
The last 10 kilometers have been tough – searing heat and air so still. Dust hangs in the sky.
In the past two hours, we’ve seen no-one – just two contractors passing hay in distant paddocks. And cows.
As we brush dust off our bread rolls, we’re watching a truckie trying to back a big rig down a drive – it’s not working.
As the Guardian On Tour team heads up Swamp Road near Hinds, the weather is super hot while the roads are super long and nearly empty.
We are leg-roping anyone we can find for a chat and first bumped into Guyan Cameron carting hay.
We saw the boys from Murray Smith Aluminium fixing windows before catching up with a few guys and their crazy poodles.
Unfortunately our tyres are now covered in tar after following Roger Harris on his road-roller.
It won’t stop us from carrying on towards our target of Mayfield. We are now following the road up the Hackthorne, so you might see us there.
Day 2 has dawned with the promise of being another scorcher. We’re on the road out of Hinds early, hoping to hit Mayfield before the late afternoon heat bites.
Yesterday exceeded our hopes on every front – easy biking, great people and fantastic rural scenes rolling by. Today it’s going to be an uphill slog. Yes, it is uphill to Mayfield even if it doesn’t appear so from the seat of a car. Try it on your bike some time.
Fingers crossed the nor’wester stays away. Beautiful biking conditions early morning but there’s a definite hint of autumn in the air.
We plan to ride up the Ashburton side of the Hinds River – think it’s called Swamp Road – crossing over to the Mayfield side at Hackthorne. We’ll be on the look out for kindly souls with cups of coffee at the ready around 10am!