Three weeks in to term and the Year 9 students have gone far: 152km through the vistas of Central Otago. Cycling through a painting comes with stories - the following are a few from the boys.
“Despite all the pain and biking of the bike ride, it was a really cool way to get to know everyone I'm going to school with this year. Although most boys were too sore to have a game of touch or run around, it was awesome to have a bit of banter with the lads at dinner time. For me the highlights of the trip were the scenery and views, sleeping on the floor in a tent with 2-4 people, swimming at the Ophir outdoor pool, our 10-17km home-baking and rest stops, the delicious meals we got from the awesome chiefs, and spending time with everyone. Overall the trip was a painful but enjoyable way to spend three days.” – Toby Dean
"As I approached the viaduct a sense of excitement was brewing in me. Once I was around the bend there it was, the Poolburn Viaduct. I dismounted from my bike and began a slow trundle across the great bridge that a train once rushed over. I slowly walked across it, letting many other bikers pass me to get to the other side. Once off, there was a short distance into the first of two grand tunnels. Once again I dismounted, turned on my torch, and began my walk. As I walked through, the wind was howling through the tunnel making a loud roaring noise just like a lion. After getting out of the tunnel, I remounted my bike and it was mere minutes before the next tunnel arrived. Then it was all down hill to Omakau, our next stop." - Fergus Parks
“For me, the rail trail was alright, but also very challenging as I was at the back of the group most of the time. Although I was disappointed with my effort, I had my friends with me most of the way to Middlemarch. Falling off my bike a couple times definitely helped me realise that I needed to show grit to do well on the Rail Trail. Altogether the rail trail had awesome views from atop the mountains and it was a demanding journey. The highlight of this trip for me was when we arrived at Middlemarch and started the bus ride home.” - William Tong
“On Wednesday the 15th of February 2017, we set off on our journey to Clyde. The first group had started on Monday in Middlemarch and met us in Clyde with the bikes. We arrived in Clyde at about lunchtime and the first group arrived about half an hour later. The first day was the shortest at only 37km to Omakau. The Omakau camp was great. It had a huge tennis court on which we played a big game of football. On day two, we got up at around 7:00am. After a good breakfast we departed the camp and began our journey to Ranfurly. In my opinion, that day was the most challenging with quite a climb up through Poolburn. In Ranfurly we had fish and chips for dinner, which was good. On day three we awoke early to a lot of fog. We had to start very early because we needed to catch the bus in Middlemarch at 1:00pm. The day turned out to be a stunner so we powered on, the last 14 kilometres were long and tiring but we made it. And thanks to all the parent and teachers that came along for the journey.” - Dan Kunac
“On the 15th of February, the Year 9s started on what for some was the hardest challenge of their lives. We went from Clyde to Middlemarch. The Manuka Gorge wasn't too nice to a couple of boy’s stomachs, which ended with breakfast cereals on the floor of the bus. We had lunch at Clyde and collected our bikes from the other group, which had come the other way. We started off with 8km to Alexandra to give us a taste of what was to come. It was pretty much straight and I thought: “Yeah this is going to be easy.” I regret saying that. I just stayed focused on getting to Omakau. I had an attitude that I was not going in the van no matter what. The uphills really took it out of me, especially in the Ida Valley. This was where I felt I couldn't go any further, but after some stops I pulled myself together and said: “Just keep going”. Approximately 4km out of Wedderburn was about the highest point and then it was all downhill. This was where I was over the moon that it was downhill from there. I was on top of the world and had a ‘can do’ attitude the rest of the way. We had fish and chips in Ranfurly which was very rewarding. The next day was 60km and it was the easiest way because it was all down hill. This was extremely tough but I recommend it to anyone for a challenge.” - Tom Procter
The students and staff want to give their sincere thanks to the parents who joined and went out of their way to support us.