Helen and I spent a long weekend in Hanmer Springs, rolling around the local tracks while I am rebuilding my confidence on technical mountain bike tracks, the leg has healed fine and is strong and getting stronger ... well ... the head is taking a bit longer!
We also snuck over into the big country to ride the St James Cycleway, I love this ride!!! The big mountains, the huge valley, the sense of remoteness it has so much going for it! It is an adventure! And the riding is great too! What more could you ask for!
We park at the St James Homestead, rode the 20 kms up the Clarence Valley to Mailing Pass (head wind all the way!) dropping down into the Waiau River along that lunch at the swing bridge, back up over Charlies Pass, with a quick bite to eat and a hot brew at Charlies hut before riding out to the car, the last 5 or 6 kms are such a blast, smooth flowing track ... what a way to finish! Just under 9 hours for the 86 kms including stops.
But wait there is more!
A Marlborough Loop ...
With four days up our sleeves, we left Helen's flat in Nelson and rode up to St Arnaud, a warm day which climbs steadily to Nelson Lakes National Park, we found a cold beer to quench our thirst to watch the drizzle set in ... nice timing!
The next day brought a forecast of westerlies ... a whole day with the wind at our backs and it was down hill! St Arnaud to Blenhiem to spend a lazy afternoon in a cafe, before riding out to Rarangi on the coast to camp.
The third day brought hills and wind ... the eleven hills through the stunning Port Underwood and a very strong headwind (yes! it was still blowing a westerly and we were now heading west!) from Picton to Pelorus Bridge ... bloody tough going but just had to suck it up buttercup!
Between our camp and home was really only one hill ... the mighty Maungatapu ... 8 kilometres, 1 hour 35 minutes of climbing, just you ... your bikes smallest gear ... and the hill! But what a downhill ... wahooooo! just a little sketchy at times on a fully loaded bike haha!