A couple of good rides today including one really fun descent. Much good scenery, photos later.
We started by driving from Hamner Springs to the Boyle River turn off where Phillip and Paula started the 15 Km ascent up the Lewis Pass. I on the other hand went with the rest of the group to the St James hiking path which is only about 1km below the summit of the pass. A brief climb and then it was a swooping descent for about 10Ks that led into a fast stretch where I was running in top gear for another 8 ks or so through misty forests until we exited the valley and had morning tea.
From there we headed to Springs Junction whete there was an option to skip the climb up the Rahu Saddle but I couldn't be bothered waiting for the bus so off I went. One thing I'm really liking about this tour is that I'm not totally outclassed by all the other riders - I can actually ride with some of the others and enjoy a chat along with the scenery.
As for the climb, the Rahu Saddle is not as bad as Lewis Pass would have been. However, it is a saddle so that means an undulating* stretch of about 3-4 Ks at the top before the descent. After the descent we had a good ride towards to Reefton but I found my energy levels dropping off and my legs screaming on even the small hills. Plus I was getting really hungry so I passed on the last 10Ks and rode in the bus into Reefton for a late lunch. Mind you getting 50Ks in before lunch is nothing to sneeze at so I was quite pleased at that point.
After lunch we drove to Ikamatua for a shorter ride to Blackball. I took it easy given that we were facing headwinds again (although nowhere near as bad as the yesterday) but even the small hills were beginning to be a bit of a struggle. Russell (the guide) picked a bunch of us up about 8Ks out of Blackball which was just as well given that the remainder of the ride did not contain little hills. Or gentle hills. Or, apparently, flat bits.
We gathered in the Blackball pub for a drink or two before driving to Greymouth for tonights accommodation and dinner. Blackball as you might gather from the name is quite significant in the history of the union/labour movements in New Zealand and the pub was almost a museum to this history.
So, today's stats:
*Undulating in tour guide speak translates to painfully hilly for mere mortals like your humble correspondent. :)