I was lucky enough to spend some time in New Zealand over Christmas which I always love and especially getting away from the Queensland heat at that time of year. The heat in Queensland really makes it hard for long rides but I had some great rides in New Zealand in preparation for the Tour Aotearoa.
The bike pictured is not what I will use in the TA and I also didn't have all my gear but made do with what I could find to simulate the load the best I could.
The first trip was a luxury trip being supported my partner Susanne and my daughter Zania but they were in the car of course.
Day one was form Christchurch to Kaikoura, mainly on the state highway which was not too bad. I am accustomed to the NZ roads and traffic like this and I must say most drivers were very considerate of me as a cyclist. Susanne and Zania finally caught up with me just south of the Hundalees, which was a great time for a well deserved lunch stop. Out came the picnic rug and Chilly bin and down went lunch. Back on the bike and just before the last climb over to the coast line my support crew was waiting for me, they had actually been over this climb and Zania said that is too steep for Daddy so they came back to give me a ride. Nice of Zania to think of me but that was never going to happen so off I went. I met them again about 15km south of Kaikoura where I decided that was enough, mainly because of the narrow road and traffic intensity. 177km for the day on a loaded bike with a head wind most of the way and 8hrs on and off the saddle in total.
Day two, Kaikoura to Hammer via the inland road 133km, beautiful winding road but again a head wind all day, definitely makes a difference that is for sure. Just getting me prepared for many head winds that will be experienced in the TA.
Rotherham Store, Est 1878 (Almond Magnum, coke and a Cookie Time devoured)
Day three I took the liberty to spend some time with Susanne and Zania in the morning, where we went for a bit of a walk up Conical Hill and also enjoyed a second breakfast at the Powerhouse Cafe which never seems to let you down, great food and nice coffee. Eventually I got onto the bike at Leithfield Beach and it was looking like I was going to get a tail wind home today, that was only wishful thinking though, as soon as I hit the highway thee is was a head wind again. From here I biked to Sumner then up Evans pass and along the summit road to Cashmere. A reasonably short day of about 90km but all in all a good three day trip.