Cold, wet, and on gravel. What else could possibly go wrong?
The last ride of the Milford Experience is the Von Valley to Walter Peak Station followed by afternoon tea there and a ride back to Queenstown on the TSS Earnslaw.
On a sunny day I think this ride would be great. The road is well travelled so the gravel is quite hard packed with relatively few loose stones. This makes for quite a reasonable riding surface. I think that the valley and the approach to Lake Wakatipu would also be great scenery (from what I could see at least).
Alas, a sunny day isn't what we got. Cold and rainy with an occasional dose of headwinds was the order of the day.
Actually it wasn't too bad, I was making reasonable time and even enjoying myself. There was one challenging descent that involved many more brakes than usual and also restrained handling in general. See, I can
behave myself on a downhill! Honest!
Then my left foot started swinging wildly from side to side. A check of my sandal revealed that one of the cleat screws had gone walkies. So I switched to the toe cages on the left pedal until I could flag Rosco down and change shoes so that I was using the toe cages on both sides.
Still not too bad, even with the occasional cattle grid.
Then I came to the ford. As in a river crossing without a bridge with loose stones underwater that guaranteed a total loss of traction plus water just deep enough to soak the derailleur and possibly the cluster as well.
So I dismount, pick up the trike and squelch across. Hello soaking wet feet, fun meter now set to zero. At this point I called it a ride the next time I saw Rosco, changed clothes in the van, and rode in relative comfort to Walter Peak Station. Afternoon tea there was wonderful. There was a fireplace and the staff didn't mind me putting my shoes in front of it and wearing (new) socks while my shoes dried off.
I've been to Walter Peak Station before so I didn't bother with photos of the sheep dog and shearing demos which were still fascinating to watch.
After that we caught the TSS Earnslaw back to Queenstown with Sandy. Sandy was the additional guide hired by Adventure South to cover this ride - on clear days the regular guide heads off by road to Queenstown ASAP leaving the riders unsupported until they reach Walter Peak. Sandy provides some support but there's no sag wagon. Given the conditions we left Te Anau early and Rosco drove all the way in.
Sandy got us checked into our separate motels and all I had to do was wait for Rosco to deliver the luggage. And now for the pitiful stats:
| Day||Max ||Ave ||Distance ||Time ||BJ Rank ||Against |
| 18||46.5 || 15.1|| 16.66|| 1:06:11|| 746|| 4889|
| || || Totals|| 852.63|| 46:43:19|| || |
Dinner shortly then planning for a couple of rest days in Queenstown.