Friday, February 10, 2012

A good day plus parrots

Today I rode 100km horizontally. That was actually quite nice! Not too sore or painful, making good time for some reason, and the scenery was great. Good stops for an awesome scone, and then coffee and a good chat.

In the last 10km, though, I gained about 500m vertical, which was nuts. I had to get off and catch my breath 5 times (but only in places where the road was wide enough) or I might have keeled over. At one point a crowd at a scenic lookout gave me a round of applause when I finally made it up to them.

(When you're doing tough guy things, you have to pretend it's no big deal. But I, and I think secretly ever other guy, really want to shout out "Yes! Look at me! I am such a tough guy! I am so tough I cannot even believe it myself! I'm, I'm... I'm goddamn Spartacus or something! I'll be acknowledging all the desire from the ladies and fear from the men now!")

Anyway, so I made it most of the way up, and now there I was, huffing and gasping, 9km into this massive ascent, going up a shallow hill which I could just barely manage in my lowest gear, and I heard caws. And here came two keas circling me. Google "kea". These guys are cute, majestic, super intelligent, and occasionally known to be aggressive. So here I figured I'd just made it up the toughest goddamn hill in my life, and I was gonna get pecked off the road by a couple of bloody parrots!

(But nothing happened. Good story, right?)


  1. wow that is a crazy-long distance!! good for you. that's hilarious they gave you a round of applause. awesome!

  2. Impressive ride, young skywalker....
    sounds very tough. Applause was in order!
    Please mention where you are when you blog- we are curious.

    I looked up your kea and now I wonder if that isn't the same nervy hook-beaked bird that sat on the roof of the laughing tourists' car while it waited to enter the tunnel to Milford Sound. When it is not flying, it looks grey/brown with a subtle green tint to the wings, and you can't see the orange under the wings. Also -this bird likes to chew on the rubber seal of car doors, which is right where he was. They are supposed to be very good problem solvers, so it's good you won that round!

  3. Hah, I guess I didn't even mention where I am, did I? Arthur's Pass. (the little village in Arthur's Pass national park.) Spending a day here, then tomorrow I'll ride to a little town called Springfield, and in Christchurch the day after.

    Oh, and I found out it was magpies I should have been worrying about on my bike, not keas. Magpies attack sometimes, keas just take stuff if you leave it there. (So even less of a good story.)

    But that bird at Milford might probably was a kea. There are a few at a cafe here that act like it- they just hang out on the tables, quite unafraid unless you yell at them. I saw one steal a big piece of a pie.