It has been over 2 weeks since we have got a package with Acepac bikepacking bags. But we did not have a time to try it until now. There is a longer weekend (Wed-Fri) ahead of us and the weather forecast seems to be good. But where should we go? After a while of searching we decided for one of the Great Rides – Alps 2 Ocean. We don’t have a time for the whole route which takes 4-6 days and picked up the best parts instead: Twizel – Lake Ohau – Omarama.
We don’t have much experience with packing our stuff into bikepacking bags so we started on Tuesday evening. Everything went well and on Wednesday morning we put only bags and bikes into a car. The weather wasn’t perfect but never mind let’s go!
We arrived in Twizel around 10am but honestly, I didn’t want to go anywhere. It was cold and cloudy outside. Surprisingly I wasn’t allowed to stay in the car. Now the funny part started – put all the bags on their place on the bikes. It took us almost an hour, a test ride around a carpark if everything was ok and we were ready to go….to the nearest cafe.
After a brunch we were finally ready. First 20km were flat. We crossed the Pukaki Canal and followed the road beside it to the Lake Ohau. The cloud dissolved and everything went smoothly. At the lake we followed a single track around the lake edge (10km) and it was absolutely stunning. We rode last 5km to Lake Middleton Camp ground where we were going to stay that night. There is Lake Ohau Lodge another 5 km down the road with a famous 3 course dinner menu but we wanted to test our new tent, sleeping mats and a multi-fuel camping stove.
We had tried to build the tent at home so we didn’t have any problems with this part. We lay down for a while and simply enjoyed the comfort of the mats but then it was time to make a tea and dinner. Jakub took the stove, I stayed in the tent far enough. He pumped a fuel bottle, turned a valve on and fired the stove up and waited. A loud hissing noise came out, then flames and then nothing. He tried it again. And again with a tyre as a windscreen. After about half an hour of trying and smelling burnt hair we ran out of fuel and there was nothing else but went to sleep at 7pm without dinner.
There was no rush in the morning. Without any breakfast we started pack our stuff. We were freezing but thinking of possible breakfast at Lake Ohau Lodge made us faster. A few kilometres and we were saved. There were toasts with jam, coffee and a nice and comfortable sofa with a view over the lake and Mt. Cook.
Around midday was the highest time to move on. There were about 45km in front of us, mostly a single trail and first third only uphill. The Sun was shining, we were taking off our clothes and shifting to the lowest gear. The problem was when I needed to shift back. A lever worked but a derailleur didn’t. We searched where the problem could be and tried everything. Suddenly Jakub somehow fixed the mysterious problem (and he didn’t know how). Then it was close to the highest point of the track and we were looking forward downhill ride.
First few kilometres were fast but then we got slow down. I checked my tyres but everything was good. It’s weird. We had to pedal even it was downhill. I stopped to check my brakes. There must be something in my brakes. No, nothing. The problem was a muddy and soft ground even it seemed to be ok. We carried on. Slowly. We were tired, hungry and angry. Hangry. Fortunately it didn’t take long to get to an old wool shed. We ate a late lunch there and then followed a gravel road. All troubles were forgotten. The road was slightly downhill and fast. What a joy!
The sun was setting down when we reached the highway. We tried to hitchhike back to Twizel but with no luck. We decided to bike last few kilometres to Omarama, spend a night in a campground and hitchhike again on the Friday morning.
It is Friday midday and we are finally sitting in our car. We are tired but happy. We experienced some lows and highs but all of them we need for our journey. We are excited about the bags, the tent and sleeping mats. We are less excited about the stove, we will need to learn how to use it properly. But we still have time…