Or, three very different rides and a rainbow.
I was picked up from the hotel at about 8.30 and the group went to the Adventure South depot to finalise bike fit plus a few other bits and pieces. A biggish group for Adventure South- 10 others mostly couples. A good bunch and I may even learn names sometime soon.
First we drove up to Summit Road for a ride along a ridge overlooking the volcanic caldera that is Lyttleton Harbour which was good as I'd previously seen it from the base. Some good climbs early that I handled fairly well. I'm still having some problems in the bottom range of the cluster, but the lowest gear is OK so I can manage. There were also some good descents and the final screamingly fast (and fun) descent into Sumner for lunch. It would be fair to say that I exhibited trike-like tendencies on this ride...
Then we drove to Greta Valley for the ride to Hamner Springs. With one exception (Phillip, the designated cycling machine of the group), we only made about the hardest 20Ks I've ever ridden before everyone crawled into the bus at about 4ish. It wasn't the slight climb for that 20Ks that was the problem it was the most ferocious headwind I'd ever had the misfortune to meet. Pretty scenery though and I had plenty of time to appreciate it as I grinded along at sub 10KPH speeds.
Then we drove on for a bit and turned a corner so that the headwind was now a tailwind about 13Ks short of the main highway. Yeeha! A nice sprint followed with me in top gear or close to it fanging along at about 30 - 35 KPH. Now that was a fun and satisfying ride. I think the scenery was nice but I was all about the ride for that stretch. Whilst Phillip rode on the rest of us gathered at the Hurunui Pub for a cleansing ale or a rather nice hot chocolate in my case. :)
After that it was the drive to pick up Phillip once the wind turned again and then on to Hamner Springs. On the way in we started seeing this spectacular rainbow and hopefully my photos will capture the glory of it. Of course when there is a rainbow the rain is not far behind so soaking in the hot springs dropped off the agenda pretty quick. I'm not too disappointed though as I was able to do that the last time I was here. I note that headwinds also seemed to be a feature last time as well but not as violently so.
And now for some stats (you knew they were coming):
*On Bike Journal.
Tomorrow we're off to Greymouth which will again be a mix of driving and riding since a) Lewis Pass is in there somewhere b) It took us at least two days to do this distance last time on the "serious cycling" tour and c) This is a "recreational cycling" tour. After that I'll be heading north into new territory. :)