Monday, October 30, 2023

Day 10 Wanaka to Queenstown

Distance: 90 km
Time: 6 hours 13 minutes
Travel Modalities: Cycling, a few hundred meters downhill gravel walking
Gradual uphill out of Wanaka and I reach a closed Cardrona Inn. I head across the street to the Cardrona General Store. I am majorly letdown. After coffee and banana bread, I discover the Cardrona Inn closed sign was from yesterday and I'm just a few minutes early. I poke my head inside, there's no food yet. 
I continue up the hill. I've ridden this one on a tandem. I am not worried. But as it gets steeper, I conclude I was much younger the last time. And it was the first ride of the tour, not the last. And Nico had hired a personal trainer and had monster calves. The last few km are much worse than I remember.

My brakes aren't working well at the top of the hill and they're gone by the bottom. I eventually slow to a stop and touch the front rotor, which burns my finger. I take pictures of sheep and vow not to use the brakes for a while.
I stop at a gate to a 4wd track I am supposed to take. A woman in an SUV tells me to be careful because the track is washed out. I proceed until it starts to get rough and a local tells me it's time to walk. I pass some Germam cyclists walking up. They want to know how long it's steep for. They're going to Wanaka. I have bad news for them, but they speak little English.

I stop in Arrowtown for New Zealand's best pie. (Actually, two of them, but who's counting?)
I eventually admit that I can no lomger stop and make some.brake repairs. I am not an expert with disc brakes, but I bring them back and am angry I didn't do this days ago. I am also thankful I didn't die descending the Crown Range.

I cross the shotover six times. I become more daring on the gravel now that my brakes work.
I stop at the airport to make sure Air New Zealand has a bike box for my flight out. I end up on the highway, but decide the gravel path was more pleasant and rejoin it.
The path gets more crowded. Eventually, I am unable to ride and dismount. I walk to the beach. I am done.

Relive Video


Rita L Cognion said...

Wow. Huge congrats!
The walk to the beach, after all the cycling efforts and the cold wet gravelly hilly conditions you endured, seems anticlimactic. How did it feel? Like closing a book? As if it all came down to that?

Michael Lasko said...

I was hoping for a crowd of people to notice how much stuff I was carrying and ask where I came from. That it didn't happen was the second moat disappointing thing about this trip. The most disappointing was that immigration is now computerized so nobody welcomed me home the first time I used my Kiwi passport. Biosecurity is staffed with humans, but they just interrogated me about macadamia nuts.