The day started pre-sunrise in Methven with a clear sky and a fresh 6 degrees after the fresh snowfall on the nearby Southern Alps from the day earlier. We knew we would finish on the other side of the Alps so a big day of climbing was in store.Most breakfast conversations centred on the weather and the type of clothing that would be needed to get through Arthur’s Pass; with talk of maybe riding through the snow. Leg warmers, tights and warm jackets were stashed in the day bags - just in case. The day started with a deceptively steady climb out of Methven along the straight (and not really so flat) roads of the inland Canterbury plains.
A steep descent in to the Raikia Gorge was followed by an equally steep wake-up climb out of the other side.Morning tea at Sheffield was the precursor to the main climb of the day. Nervous chatter throughout the peleton, as we were told ‘4km flat, 4km up and 4km down’. The ‘4km flat’ description was stretching it a bit, and everyone’s legs were feeling pretty beat up after the 80km of riding to get to this point before the climb over Porters Pass.
Traffic management was seamless and excellent as the peleton stretched out over the hill.Porters Pass is the new code word for ‘grovel’. A quick re-group and the teams set off individually towards Castle Hill to raise their Lycra egos for team photos and videos in the breathtaking scenery.
From Castle Hill to the lunch spot at Bealey’s Point the road followed alongside the braided Waimakariri River, with yet more energy zapping climbs. Some relieved faces amongst the stretched out peloton arrived for a well deserved lunch at Bealys Lodge.
A small group of tourists applaud the peleton’s arrival in Otira as tired bodies head for bus to Day 3 accommodation in Greymouth.The Chatter on the bus to Greymouth was louder than a Harry Styles concert as stories of the day were enjoyed over a few beers. As we enjoyed these refreshments we relaxed our tired legs, uploaded our stravas and thought ahead for the next couple of days down the West Coast.