Christchurch to Arthurs Pass
155km | 2200 climbing meters
Ok, if you hear today's ride was "ok", or "not to bad" whoever you hear that from is a liar. Today was epic.
Leaving Christchurch at 7:00am into a direct headwind was not the best start; for some demoralising. Christchurch is a coastal city and hence lies close to sea level and the ride out is on a false flat, which basically means it looks flat but actually has a slight rise up into the mountains. Combine these factors together and you never have the chance to rest. By the time we actually hit the climb the majority of team 20 were completely spent. They had no cookies left! We later heard while team 27 made the climb the headwind was so strong it blew two riders off there bike. But team 27 are prone to exaggeration.
Then came the rain - cold ice rain - and the temperature in the mountains fell to 3.8 degrees. Riders started losing feelings in the extremities and some looked like they were starting to shut down. It was the first time I thought we would have to cap the ride for the day with 30km to go. When riders start peeing on their hands to warm them up, you know things are pretty bad (Matthew and Dan I it helped!).
But then things changed, the rain stopped and the road started to undulate a little with riders being protected by a thick tree line meaning nil wind for our run into Authors Pass. Team 20 made it - just. But we have never had a start like today and it may take its toll on tomorrow 234km journey to Franz Josef.
However there may be a few positives for tomorrows ride that will help the cyclists make the journey. 1) we will be riding down to the coast for the first 60km 2) weather reports are predicting a small headwind/crosswind 3) cyclists who pee on their hands are pretty tough.