11.00am it was blue skies in Christchurch and the wheels were in motion. Shortly after departure the peloton made a quick detour 10kms in to witness a Pōwhiri, a Māori welcome to country ceremony that has been practiced in New Zealand for generations. The ceremony is steeped in tradition and is a way to acknowledge the sacredness of a place, show respect to visitors, and ensure that everyone is welcomed onto the marae (meeting place) with warmth and hospitality.
At the heart of the pōwhiri is whaikōrero, which is a formal speech given by the tangata whenua (hosts) to the manuhiri (visitors). This speech acknowledges the visitors, their purpose for visiting, and pays tribute to their ancestors. It is a way of formally establishing a connection between the hosts and the visitors.
Following the ceremony, the peloton quickly escaped the CBD traffic/lights, to be greeted with stunning countryside scenery, and a challenging 8km mountain climb, averaging a gruelling 9% gradient. Which obviously wasn’t enough to slow down the mountain goat, Simon Johnson, and veteran Chain Reaction champion, Matt Donoghue taking KOM.
With the climb in the revision mirror, the comradery and moral was high as the peloton cruised down the back of the mountain into morning tea, which only reconfirmed how slick of an operation Chain Reaction is. Tables set with fruit, muesli bars, gels, juice boxes, hydration powder, and staff eager to fill drink bottles.
A successful day one for the Melbourne peloton as we rolled into our hotel for the evening.
Photos from the day: CLICK HERE
Daily Video Highlights: CLICK HERE