After a bit of uphill from Arthurs Pass to the ridge it was, at last, my chance to tackle the amazing Otira Viaduct descent. I had been denied this on two previous trips due to miserable weather but today was rewarded with perfect conditions.
It's a steep grade (16%) that goes on and on down a stunning Southern Alps gorge. I got to 85km/h on the straight part before deciding it was prudent to brake for the "recommended" 45km/h corner rapidly approaching. Even with several photo stops maintaining a high average speed was no problem. As it flattened out a little, but still downhill, another Easterly tailwind made it easy to maintain 30-45km/h for the next 30km.
I saw this amazing Weta on sale in Otira, wonder if my Dad would like it for his birthday…
After a coffee stop we headed around Lake Brunner, on quiet rolling roads, to Moana for a lunch stop. By this time we had done about 65km but the gradient and tailwind meant it felt like less!
After lunch I struggled a bit, feeling a bit "tight" in the legs, but think this was in part due to adapting to a different bike. It's a lovely 21 speed Trek road bike and some adjustments helped as the afternoon went on. The 20km Moana - Stillwater ride was a bit dull compared to the spectacular scenery earlier in the day.
It wasn't helped by some long straights, which I don't like, and a bit of headwind as the sea breeze came up the valley. I seriously doubted making the whole 140km to Punakaiki but after Stillwater the road got a bit more twisty and interesting my legs seemed to come back.
After hitting the coast a mix of stunning scenery, fine weather and no headwind made the last 30km to Punakaiki a pleasure. By the time I arrived at our, beautiful, accommodation the odometer showed 142km, max speed 85km/h.
Dinner, whitebait fritters entree & hapuka main, as the sun set over a calm (for the West Coast) was a lovely finish to the best ride I've had, ever!