But alas, the Chain rolls on, and an early start was on the cards. A little earlier than expected when the riders, and indeed all residents, were abruptly roused from their sleep in the wee hours by sirens reminiscent of World War II air raids. The protocol was allegedly a test of local emergency services personnel to see who could arrive at the station first to turn off the alarm and determine whether Fox Glacians were in imminent risk of avalanche, land slide, fire or whether it was local jokers who’d sounded a false alarm and emboldened for more shenanigans.
As the sun neared its glorious rise, the peloton set off to Fox Glacier’s famous viewing spot to catch a glimpse at first light of its famous glacier. It was a very chilly 1 degrees to start the day but that did not deter a flock of native South Island Kia birds from attempting to disrupt the serenity with a performance which saw them encircle brave backpackers, avid photographers and cyclists. Had they pilfered some caffeine enhanced gels pristinely presented on the pit stop tables by our beloved Chain Reaction support team or do they always carry on like galahs?
A spectacular sunrise soon brought the massive glacier into full view and the riders set off in buoyant spirits for a nice 30km decent down to our first stop at Bruce Bay. Protected from the wind, with beautiful sets of waves rolling onto the beach, Bruce Bay beckoned many to ditch the bikes and don the boardies. Alas, “Onya bikes” was the call, and from here the peloton continued along stunning rolling hills surrounded by grand mountains.
Day 4 is the hump day for the 7-day challenge. After 3 days of challenging riding and conditions, and time for the riders and support team to get to know each other at another level, everyone in the group worked beautifully in formation as a rolling pace line to ensure everyone made it through the day.
There was a 12km free play session to blow out the cobwebs before a nice climb up to knights point, which provided a magnificent rest stop, perfect to take in the views of the Tasman ocean.
The single lane bridge crossings just kept coming and the pristine alpine waters seemed to get more azure blue and crystal clear the further south we rode.
The last 20km of the day provided plenty more rolling hills, which the peloton handled with aplomb, setting up nicely for the final approach into the tiny coastal town of Haast. Home to spectacular, windswept trees that line the coastline, beaches, dunes, lakes and wetlands, Haast has been awarded the status of a "World Heritage" area by UNESCO.
It’s not often that a 137km day in the saddle is anointed “rest day” status, and with abundant sunshine on arrival and a slightly earlier finish to the day’s riding than typical Chain Reaction days, the riders enjoyed lunch at the mighty Heartland Hotel and followed orders to rehydrate and enjoy a massage thanks to the legendary Chain Reaction support team in preparation for what beckoned on Day 5.
|Photos from the day: CLICK HERE
Daily Video Highlights: CLICK HERE