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New Zealand 2004

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Journal for 23-Jan-2004 : Methven

Left Christchurch at the crack of 9:30 today. Only made one wrong turn on the way out of town, which got us to a double lane, triple bypass highway roundabout.

We had a nice tailwind for the first 40ks to Kirwee. I'm still getting used to my new pedals, and decided to loosen them off a bit more after getting stuck in them in the Christchurch traffic. 6ks down the road I was having even more trouble, and quickly worked out why. I'd loosened my pedals to the point they automatically disassembled themselves. Worst of all, a rather uniquely shapped nut attached the springs via the adjusting bolt to the cleat mechanism managed to fall onto the roadway. At Linda's insistance, and under my protests (it was back into the wind), we turned around and started riding back the way we came in search of something the size of a finger nail. Just 500m from Kirrwee Linda spotted "something" on the road. I turned around for a second look, determined to prove this search had been a waste of time. Nothing. I turned around again and there it was, that wonderful gleaming little piece of metal in the middle of the bitumen strip. Linda reckons I found the needle in the haystack. I enjoyed the sensation of bagging my first wild goose.

Large mountains thrust straight out of the plains in front of us. "These mountains don't seem to have any foothills" I observed. Linda shot back "they *are* the foot hills!"

Had lunch at Hororata. By this stage the wind had shifted, and the gentle climbing to the town of windwhistle (or was it wolfwhistle?) seemed to take forever. The height we'd obtained by Rakaia gorge was as spectacular as it was surprising. We had great views of Mt Hut and the (dry) ski fields on top. In a few minutes, a SW change rolled through, spraying water mist up the valley and quickly replacing the mountain with thick black clouds.

Some serious hills climbing to Mount Hut "village", then down long straight run to Methven.

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