Tour Aotearoa – Day 2.11

Wooohoooo! Sunshine again! However after a late one last night neither of us wanted to wake up so we only managed to get going gone 10am.

James needed to get some chain lube from the bike shop so the plan was to go there first thing then across the mammoth climb of an actual mountain.

It was hot, really hot, and I was looking forward to acclimatising to the heat whilst James was in the bike shop. However he changed the plan and wanted to just go to the bike shop in Queenstown instead but hadn’t told me so I wasn’t prepared. Cue grump-a-saurus. James laughed in my face after he saw I was having a strop literally over nothing hah! Then we began the climb.

It was gradual, but what made it worse was the cars. Once again Kiwis are really shit at driving and don’t know how to drive past cyclists safely. I tried to cling onto the positives but for the one nice driver who slowed down and pulled out to get around us there was 50 who didn’t. It was tough and we’ve both never said ‘fucking HELL’ in unison so many times before.

The hedgerows became filled with lupin, which was beautiful. (I know they’re not native and pretty invasive, but still, they’re pretty!)

We pass what I think is a flip flop wall as I was sure there was a flip flop wall somewhere, basically all the flip flops found at the side of the road, but this wasn’t the flip flop wall. It was a bra wall, raising some money for Breast Cancer Care NZ. As we’re travelling light and I only have 2 sports bras with me I couldn’t donate a bra, only money.

Back riding, and climbing we make it to the Cadrona Hotel, our photo point of this section. I wasn’t too keen on leaving our bikes out on the road unattended so ask if we can bring them round the back to the beer garden. They let us walk the bikes straight through the pub! We enjoy a plate of wedges and a cool drink in the shade. Just what’s needed before the giant climb up the mountain.

We start climbing, and continue climbing. I check my bike computer and it tells me we only have 221m left to climb, considering the bike home from work is a 260m, 221 isn’t a lot at all! Before we know it, we can see the top!

The view is epic, there’s snow topped mountains just hidden under cloud, mountains all around and Lake Wakatipu in the distance. Deeeeelightful.

It looks like I’ve photoshopped us here – promise I haven’t!!

We start to descend and because of the sharp corners it’s not as fun or fast as you would expect. Not helped by a delightful car driver overtaking us on a corner marked at 35kph because it’s sharp -facepalm- kiwi drivers at their best once again!!

We miss the turning off the main road and descend into the valley below. Not before another driver thinks they’re faster than us and we spend the next 3km descending held up by them because, shock horror, they’re not faster than 2 bikes going downhill!!

The road is long and boring into Queenstown but then we make it onto the bike path from Franklin to QT. It was beautiful and in shade – phew!

After a quick sandwich stop by the side of the lake, involving the can of coke we had being too warm so james putting it in he lake for 10 mins to chill it, we then get going to find the bike shop. We’re on a shared path, but it is plenty wide enough for bikes and people. We pass some families and kids on bikes who are all very pleasant then coming the opposite way is a couple. Male and female. Walking at us and not looking like they’re going to step to the side. We have both moved to the left. It’s none other than the National Party leader Judith Collins. Without revealing my political persuasion, I shall say no more about her not moving to one side or smiling…

We find a bike shop and grab what we need, then head to the motel. I asked James if it was up a big hill when he booked it. He said no. He lied.

After a quick laundry wash, shower and change we head back into town for dinner. Tonight was pizza, from the same pizza place we went to when we were on our last roadie down here. The lady misheard my order so I had garlic bread for dinner and James had a real pizza. We sat down the waterfront in the sunshine to eat it.

Before we head back home for the night I had to dip my feet in the water, knowing just how cold it was going to be. Bad move. It was even colder than I remembered!

A quick stop off in the sweet shop for James to grab some creme brúle fudge then off to bed!

The adventure continues…

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