We were up early for the first ride day of the tour. Breakfast was included in with the hotel and we were kind of under the impression that this was something special however it turned out to be Special K and toast. However it did get us out the door in good time.
The ride to day was 133 kms and was longer than the longest ride that Jos and Tom have done for some time so there was a bunch of trepidation and certainly a bunch of expectation that I was going to do most of the pulling.
It was about 3 kms down to Stirling Point which was the southernmost point of New Zealand which has roads to it. So we wheeled down there and did the picture under the sign post thing as it was too steep a rock face for wheel dipping. The weather was heavily overcast and it looked like rain was eminent. So everyone was dressing full on rain gear plus safety vests. The florescent yellow was enough to cause temporary blindness.
Jos had forgotten his cycling shoes so he had to ride from the start up 32 kms to a bike shop in Invercargill to buy shoes. Seriously who goes on a bike ride and forgets his shoes? Well in fairness organizing a tour is no easy task and there are a million tasks and to forget one is not that hard. Finding shoes wasn’t too hard and within 15 minutes we were on our way.
My free down loaded Garmin maps from OpenStreetMaps loaded perfectly and the route I had put in from MapMyRide came up and I was very pleased with the overall result. The detail was unbelievable with the Garmin displaying every street well before I arrived at it and it displayed every turn. Looking on a cue sheet was an annoyance I have never liked and this made todays 20 turns easy. On two occasions the route took us down a gravel road. However I was easily able to navigate around them.
Lunch was in a small town called Winton at the 66 kms mark and we rolled in to this little café called the Adagio. Agnes and Amy were waiting for us. We had the fish and chips dinners and were blown away by the huge platter of fish and chips we got and they were absolutely delicious. After lunch the clouds had broken and the sun was out it was perfect cycling weather down deserted country roads. It just doesn’t get any better.
New Zealand is famous for their sheep. They are everywhere. You cannot pass a field which isn’t filled with sheep. It would all so appear that the sheep have been well trained to get a move on when the dogs start to bark. So I had a bunch of fun barking at the sheep and watching them scatter. I am sure that by now it has been posted on SheepBook the dogs are now riding bikes and every sheep in New Zealand knows to look out.
So we rolled in to Mossburn a little tired but happy to have a great ride under our belt. We jumped into the van and made for Te Anau which was 40 kms off a side road. We got into town and booked tickets for Milford sound boat trips tomorrow. Then on Sunday we will ferry back to Mossburn and pick up the ride.
Wow what a great day!
Ps: For another opinion check Tom’s blog at: www.tnaamazingadventurez.com