Thursday, October 29, 2009
Four seasons in one day
(Ed. note: Today's post is from our resident Senior Customer Services Consultant, Nicola.)
We woke up to a cold rainy day in Mountain Valley. It was a big contrast to what the sky looked like during our al fresco dinner on the deck last night.
Given the morning conditions, we were expecting another cold, wet day but it didn’t last long. We did ride through snow flurries and hail as we passed the local cafe, Oscaz at the Summit, but the sun came out at 10:30. Even with all that, would you believe that this was my best riding day ever? It really was!
The first half of our day was full of hills – mostly long gradual inclines but there was one short steep one to get us going. I told a few people that I loved the hills, and they looked at me a bit strangely. But it was true!
Thoroughly soggy by this point, a few of us stopped at a cafe ¾ of the way to Taupo to warm our feet in front of a gas heater and a fire. We had a good rest there with plenty of hot drinks all around. The others stopped a few kilometres back at a truck stop that I’m told had the best coffee. Some even said it was the best coffee in the North Island!
The second half of our day had us riding over rolling hills into Taupo. After four-and-a-half-days of this trip, I finally discovered that my bike has a third gear! I topped out at 50km/h down a hill, my personal best although definitely not the fastest of the group. (Sean and Yoko on the tandem road bike hold that record, with their 92.4 km/h (!!) speed down the big hill just before the Mountain Valley turn-off yesterday.)
As we neared Taupo, I heard a lot of “This must be the last hill!” comments, only to find another one looming. But after the big ones we had already done, these ones were easy!
Fighting headwinds through the outskirts of Taupo, we rode our way through town to the Taupo YHA. The very wise hostel staff had the outside spa all ready for us – great motivation to get us there. I can’t tell you how great it felt to soak in the hot water after all of the hills and weather conditions today!
Just one more day of riding after a good sleep tonight. Thanks for the spa and the comfy beds, guys!