Crowning Glory

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
1
264
360
Trip End Aug 21, 2011


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Where I stayed
Wanaka Hilton

Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Friday, May 20, 2011

The ride out of Queenstown was as beautiful as the arrival here a few days ago. The weather was once again very much with us and when we reached the Crown Range turn off we had enjoyed a straightforward 12 miles. We knew that ahead of us there was a very tough climb.  What we did not know is that it would prove to be the most physically challenging ascent we have done on the trip.*

The first couple of miles followed a road through several switchbacks.  Those driving up and down were clapping us on and giving us the thumbs up but it was really hard work.  We stopped for a photo shoot to look back down the valley to Queenstown with The Remarkables in the background.

After some respite on the Crown Terrace we started to go up again.  It was so steep in places Polly was concerned about her front wheel lifting off the ground.  It went up and up and I must confess that I thought we had taken on too much and might have to walk.  The monument at the top confirmed that we had done well to reach the summit.  This was the highest road in New Zealand, a route used a couple of hundred years ago for the gold diggers, and we now had the downhill to enjoy.

Before that we had a lunch with a view to rival any spot in the world.  The only problem being that we were so high up we quickly became very cold and had to put on extra layers for the descent.  The descent was a little too steep in places to switch off but after several miles downhill we stopped at The Cardrona Ski Range for hot drinks (well I stopped, Polly took her eye off the road ahead and almost crashed into the back of me whilst hurtling along at 30mph).

The last 20 miles to Wanaka was easy and beautiful.  Wanaka is another town set on a lake and we are lucky enough to be staying at the holiday home of the wonderful Agates.  The fire is roaring, sausages are in the pan and New Zealand continues to be absolutely perfect  (except for the speeding fine from yesterday!)

*By this Mikey means steepest. The 18 mile climb in freezing cold China is still by far the most brutal and demoralising, but today's climb really took it out on the muscles. Our lower back and legs were screaming at us to stop! I think in rainy/misty weather it would have been horrific as the road was pretty narrow. We were so lucky.

Miles cycled: 45 with the toughest climb of the whole trip
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Comments

Jojo on

I didn't know Tony and Lindsay had a holiday home as well! What a georgeous spot. I'm glad to hear the family hospitality is up to scratch - they are a great bunch.

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