BAC New Zealand - 2015
February 20 - Fox Glacier to Haast
Germain Berube and I arranged to ride together today. His roomie, Richard Hanke, asked if he could join us. I was surprised because Richard is one of the fast riders in our group. I suspect that he needed a day at a casual pace to recharge his energy level. He not only rode with us, he pulled us for 120 kms giving us a chance to put less pressure in our legs. So today was "Richard Hanke Appreciation Day".
We started the day by packing our bags into the van at 7:00 and riding about 1km to The Hobnail Cafe for breakfast. We had a full breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast, tomatoes and coffee. It was chilly outside, so it was nice to sit in the restaurant for a casual meal while the sun tried to get over the mountain.
As you can see in the above photo, the terrain was very flat. It continued that way most of the day. I stayed in my big chain ring 75% of the time. We stopped halfway into the ride at The South Westland Salmon Farm and Cafe . I had a good blueberry muffin and a cappuccino while sitting on the deck with the rest of our group in the sunshine.
Back on the road, we began to ride over some rollers. We played leapfrog with a couple of Brits who were fully loaded and riding at our pace. One of them had been to the US to ride across the country. Both riders were very strong.
Toward the end of the ride we had to grind up three sharp peaks. Germain and I struggled while Richard flew. He waited for us before the last downhill.
We stopped at nature area that is one of the major wetlands in the South Island. We did not stay very long. Richard is a magnet for biting bugs, so we got out of there in a hurry.
One of the things unique about traveling on these highways is the number of bridges and the fact that they are all one-way bridges. You have to make sure nobody is heading in your direction before you start across. Coming into Haast we rode over a very long bridge that had a couple of turnouts along the way. Vehicles respect bicyclists' rights and wait patiently for us to get across.
After our social hour, Ann and I joined most of our group at the motel's bar/cafe for dinner. She had a falafel salad which she reported as the best salad on our trip. I had a hamburger which was OK.