Today was payback for yesterdays ascent. It was mostly gradual but totalled something like 1000m.
We left Top House and sped down a valley beside the Buller River. 35km of downhill/flat where it felt slow when your speed dropped below 30km/h, for the most part 40+ was easy to maintain (max 67). I didn't see or hit any Kiwi on the highway but there were signs they are there.
Although the clouds hung low in the hills I only got a few spits of rain, there was no wind although the roads were only damp from overnight rain.
It was a nice ride through a landscape which reminded me a little of the Rotorua/Taupo region with its mix of river, pine forest & farms.
After a roadside coffee and short bus ride, over gravel road too rough for the road bikes, we had more delightful riding.
A smooth tarmac road led down the valley back to yesterday's lunch stop, Tapawera. It was a gradual descent and the cloud gave way to sun as we rode.
Farms dotted with trees showing autumn colours, some established Oaks on the roadside and a quiet traffic free road made for lovely riding.
Arriving back in Tapawera meant another chance to try the Cafe's lovely carrot cake until I was tempted by a fresh cream donut. Probably 20 years since I last had one and cycling 58km to get it seemed justification to pig out!
The clouds returned and the rain closed in so we hit the road in the bus headed for our overnight destination; Picton. I didn’t swim in this, cold as hell, river but somebody did!
It's a DIY dinner tonight which, if can get Sky Sport, will most likely be takeaways and (my religion) Formula One.
* It was actually couple of damn fine “Sounds Smoked Salmon” & “Margarita” Pizza from Cafe Cortado in Picton to accompany the F1 Australian Grand Prix. Good to see Petrov on the podium but a pity Webber & Ferrari didn't do better.