Today we only had to travel 106 km. A trip on the TSS Earnslaw across Lake Wakatipu, then a ride over the Von Hill pass, and then downhill all the way to Mossburn.
An easy day.
We had a second breakfast of pies and coffee from a bakery in Queenstown, and then headed down to catch the boat across the lake. Then Jeremy had his first crash of the tour. After riding a bunch of trails people had told us were ‘unrideable’ on the tour, it wasn’t steepness, rocks, mud, or roots that spelled his undoing. It was flat hardwood decking timber, that, when mixed with rain and very well inflated Raleigh 20 tyres, spelled a sudden uncontrolled dismount for Jeremy. A few minutes later, a polite American tourist tapped him on the arm to inquire whether Jeremy “the disappearing cyclist” was ok. He had been watching Jeremy ride past on the Raleigh, took a sip of his coffee, there was a thud, he looked up from his coffee and the cyclist had disappeared.
We had a lovely trip across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak Station:
Then, at about 11:30, we started riding. According to the forecast, it was supposed to be raining, but it wasn’t, so we rode along, full of optimism. Second to last day, beautiful scenery, nice gravel road, only one climb, only 106 km today, lots of tasty snacks to eat etc
After briefly stopping for some lunch, we climbed Von Hill, named after the original owner of the station, a Mr Nicholas Paul Balthasar Tunzelmann von Alderflug. Jeremy offered me his Vanilla Coke if I could memorise and recite his name at the top of the pass, but I failed miserably. Imagine being that guy’s primary school teacher and having to call that name out on the roll every morning. This was our last big climb of the tour. It was steep to begin with, but evened out as we got higher up, and the view back to the north was spectacular!
Once we reached the top, it was all downhill to Mossburn. Except for the headwind. And the rain. And the deteriorating condition of the gravel road. We spent as much time criss crossing the road to try and find a better lane to ride in, as we did actually riding. The frequent pine shelter belts we passed gave us some temporary respite from the wind, but as the direction of the road changed, the headwind became more direct. Eventually we turned off on to a cycle trail, but having recently flooded, parts of the trail were washed out and rough, making it really difficult to maintain speed on the Raleighs. And it was cold.
We stopped and had a vote- it was unanimous: this was the worst ride so far. We then had a laugh at our recollection of Jeremy’s crash which cheered Daniel and I up immensely, and continued onward. Eventually, at about 7pm, cold and wet, we made it to the Mossburn Hotel, where things took a distinctly upward turn. We had a warm greeting from the owner, showered and then had an excellent steak dinner with sticky date pudding for dessert. There’s a reason every Tour Aotearoa cyclist who passes through the Mossburn Hotel recommends it - we do too. Another great day!
Elevation gain: 824 m
Distance: 106 km
Time spent on bikes: 6 hours 47 minutes
Max speed: 42.8 kph
Calories burnt: 3801