Ride day 4 – Wanaka to Makarora

After yesterday’s epic battle we had a near perfect recovery ride today, 66 km (about 40 miles) along a beautiful stretch of road from the lakeside resort of Wanaka to a cabin in Makarora. Tailwinds assisted us virtually the entire way. The temps were cool but not cold. And the scenery was just otherworldly beautiful.

We followed the shoreline along the shores of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea virtually all day long, with rolling hills adding some excitement. On one steep downhill stretch I hit 72 km/h, a new speed record for me on this bike.

Given the short distance to cover, and the general trashed condition of our legs after yesterday’s struggles, we stopped several times along the way to just absorb the scenery.


Coffee stop along the way


Waterfall along the side of the road

We took a quick break at one point and saw a couple of riders with Paniers. It turns out that these two gals were from L.A and Fremont, were in the process of travelling around the world, and just decided on a whim to come to New Zealand and cycle around the South Island. They had never done a serious ride before!


Panoramic view of Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka is 1,000 feet deep, with the bottom actually being below sea level. The dramatic scenery is a result of glacial action from the last ice age. As the glaciers retreated they carved out this incredible valley and left the lakes in place.

The crew enjoying the views

We ended the day in Makarora, a place that is one stop short of a one-stop town. The location makes up for the lack of amenities. I sat by myself on the porch for quite awhile just enjoying the view, not thinking about anything or attempting to do anything other than enjoy the moment.

A moment of Zen
Sunset in the mountains

As we’ve done about half the nights so far, we (well, not me) made a fabulous dinner. Tonight’s delicacy was pot roast, veggies, and corn on the cob, followed by cheese cake for dessert. I’m not sure we’ll lose any weight after all this cycling, but I suppose it’s important to keep our strength up.

Family fun time!