But climb it we must if we wanted to get home.
We left just as the sky was beginning to lighten in the east and the huge gusts of wind during the night had died down.
The calm before the storm.
We took a new route up to the ridge which was a mix of pushing, carrying and surprisingly a bit of riding.
I found it easier to carry my bike on my back so I could keep my steps small and the work in the gym paid off in that my legs were comfortable with the extra weight.
We had reached halfway when the wind started and clouds built over the mountains to the right.
Luckily we could stay on the left slopes, which sheltered us from the worst buffeting. The drops down into the valleys below were not something you want to be tossed into by the wind.
The last 700m was difficult as the wind roared over the ridge and the rain started. I had about 300m to go to get out of the wind but was getting really cold and I needed to waterproof my camera.
Richmond caught up and was about to help me put my bike on my back when his gloves went bowling down the hill. A longer wait ensued while he scrambled after and I was really miserable.
Then Glenn came bounding back for me, grabbed my bike and started running back to some shelter. I ran after and at 2700m breathing was quite hard and at one point I was running sideways because of the wind.
Out of the wind and the rain squall over, we pushed on for the luxury lodge called Tena Head. Hot coffee and rusks sustained us while some more rain squalls rattled the windows then it was time to drag ourselves off to our final destination of Rhodes.
What followed was an interesting mix of pedaling hard downhill into the teeth of the wind and being pushed uphill with hard wind at our backs.
The spectacular switchbacks were made more interesting with the constant changing of the wind but were no less exhilarating.
It was a quiet last 10kms to Rhodes as we thought back over our journey to this point.
Then it was over with congratulations all round to the finishers. New Whip Bearers were Rob, Fjord, Fred, Ant, Elja, Paul and Maarten.
Welcome to the Freedom Trail family.
I'll post pictures next.