In which I discover that tarmac with a headwind is preferable to gravel with a tail wind
After a brief drive to Burkes Pass Village we started on the McKenzie Pass Road. McKenzie was something of a local legend - a sheep rustler who used the eponymous pass to move sheep quickly and who made a habit of escaping from custody. Even
tually he just disappeared completely.
The scenery in this valley was wonderful but, alas, the road was gravel, uphill, hard work, and slow. 26Ks of this would not be an enjoyable day so I got into the bus after about a kilometre for a ride to the top of the McKenzie Pass. Just as well since there were some nastily steep bits in there (if the gradient profile provided by Adventure South can be trusted as much as a 6% gradient in some places).
I started riding at the top hoping to enjoy the descent but I was robbed, robbed I tell you! It must be McKenzie's ghost rustling the descents away from deserving cyclists. :) I still had to pedal the entire time and the only way I knew it was a descent was that I was managing 15KPH instead of 7KPH.
After about another 6Ks or so of this I found my way back to the sealed road for a much more enjoyable ride with scenery that was just as good. A headwind popped up shortly afterwards but I wasn't letting it get in the way of enjoying good surface and kept going to the pickup point. The other riders managed some of the gravel and called it a day as soon as the headwind got nasty.
After driving to Lake Tekapo (glorious to look at) we walked up a path to the summit of Mount John with more glorious views, astronomical observatories, and very strong winds. Oh and a little gift shop where I picked up a neat t-shirt for me and a truly cool geek gift for [censored]. Feel free to try and guess what it is and who it is for but I won't be answering. :)
Walking back down we had a late (as in we could have checked in at the motel first) lunch and then checked in at the motel.
The original guides Russell and Natasha will be handing over to Rosco tonight who I've just met briefly and will talk to more over dinner.
And now for some truly pitiful stats (the low average speed shows how hard the ride was though):
Usually I try to insert a witty post cut comment here but I'm drawing a blank tonight.