with Rod Oram


B to B 2024

B to B 2023

Tour of NZ 2023


Tour Aotearoa

At one with the Earth

Aug 11, 2023

Day 10. Tuesday, Aug 8. Mountain camp to River canyon camp.   125km, with 2,456m of climbing.

My heart burst with wonder and joy at the vast panorama before me near the summit of our very big climb this morning. It wasn’t just the extraordinarily beautiful vista that triggered such an upwelling of emotion. It was the sense of infinite connections with this place and its people to all of humanity and all of the Living Earth.

Up to that point on my journey, I’d ridden through impressive landscapes and had fleeting encounters with delightful people. But up here the sense of oneness was overwhelming. Yet also deeply disturbing. How can humanity be so stupid as to destroy this planet by exploiting it so mindlessly, so ruthlessly?

…at which point, my phone sprang to life with a burst of WhatsApp and other messages. Weirdly, so far from anywhere, so high, there was a strong 4G signal – who knows where from. Automatically, my phone sent this pre-written message to my Newsroom editor, Jono, in Auckland:

Jono, hello! Apologies for v brief msg…am deep in back country with v occasional and weak signal. I’m better but the riding is very full on. I realise now I can’t write a column each week. My great apologies for that…will follow up with fuller msg when I have a better signal. All the best, Rod

To which he instantly replied:

As Nikki (one of our colleagues) said, we were impressed by your ambition! Let me know how you’re going…

Was my emotional state due to the punishing climb and the high altitude? No. Along with a handful of other riders, I’d taken the van up to save my energy for the descent and then long ride down the valley to that night’s camp. So, elated we set off very fresh from the 3,100m peak for the glorious descent.

…and the beginning of the day’s ride for those who started the climb from our camp:

1 Comment

  1. Geoff Scott

    How bizzare you should get 4G when so utterly remote!
    Stunning photos and brilliant reporting – Newsroom will just have to wait…