Today was a 112 kms with 1100 m of climb. Most of the day’s ride was right along the beach. For the first 82 kms I think that the Garmin only recoded 150 m of climb. Then we hit the climbs.
However I am getting ahead of myself. Let me start back at the Hokitika. It was a very gray sky but still considerably lighter than we have seen in the last few days. The mountains to the east were still shrouded in cloud but off to the west the ocean looked pretty good. I had elected to go with jersey, shorts and a riding vest and this turned out to just about right. I said that I was just going to cruise today and take photos as the ride looked great for this.
At the forty km mark we pulled into Graymouth and met up with Agnes and Amy for coffee. Graymouth is a pretty vibrant looking town and probably the biggest on the west coast. We had grabbed coffee in a place called DP1 which was a funky little coffee joint right on the water front.
After coffee the next stop was at the 82 kms mark up at Paparoa National Park/Pancake Rock. The Pancake rock formations are this stratified limestone formation which out crops right on the ocean. The ocean has craved them into these weird shaped stacks of pancakes. The entire area is probably only a few acres as just down the road the limestone is big blocky sections. The views from the cliff overlooking the ocean were spectacular. There are places where if the tide is right the wave surges through blow holes and is quite spectacular. However the tide wasn’t right so we didn’t see the blow holes.
As we were packing up and getting ready to roll out of the parking lot Lockie from my Italy bike tour walks up. What a shock seeing someone you have ridden with 4 years ago when you are thousands of miles away from home.
It was already 3:15 Pm and we still had 30 kms to go and close to a 900 meters of climb yet to do and while we had gotten away 8:15 Am we had stopped for coffee, stopped for lunch and the stopped to visit the nature park and do the big walk. The first of the big climbs started right away. It was a huge grind up and over this big row of hills which formed part of this nature preserve. There was only one thing to do, and that was put it in low gear and spin your way up. It took a lot of grinding and we were only going 8-12 km/hr but with a little perseverance we made it. That is the good thing about kilometers is that they knock off pretty fast.
The town of Charleston is only 250 people and the restaurant is closed today so we had to cook in the hotel room. Agnes and Amy stopped and bought some premade kababs which I cooked on a community grill. They turned out excellent. Agnes and Amy added some potatoes and green beans and we had a feast.
For the detail minded here is a link the actual route: https://goo.gl/maps/bGZ9DUHemHq
What a great day. No rain, 112 kms of unbelievable scenery, fabulous weather, great supper. It just doesn’t get any better.