January 7: Christchurch to Arthur's Pass

A steady slow rain welcomed the group as breakfast was being served. The plan was to be shuttled by minibus over the Canterbury Plains to the beginning of the Torlesse Range where the individual riders could decide to either begin the day at the base of the Porters Pass (929m) with its seemingly vertical climb especially near the summit or continue the shuttle to the top and begin the day's ride with a steep decline. The weather would help make that decision when the time came.

Mother Nature was once again in her glory. With mountains dividing the east from the west coast, she had the perfect target to throw her mighty force again. Her intent seemed to be to put on a display of her might. As the minibus approached the "put out" point for those wanting to do the Porters Pass, she moved clouds out of sight and let the sun shine. Several riders wanting to attempt the challenge of the pass fell for her trick and disembarked joyously and started the journey up the mountain with thoughts of a perfect riding day. Very shortly into the ride Mother Nature tested their determination by releasing a "north-wester". Wind gusts down the mountainside pushed against all efforts to move in a forward direction. But the riders hung in there and pedaled forward.

The second group shuttled to the top with hopes that the wind would not be a menace when going down. The first several kilometers were steep enough that any push back that Mother Nature tried, failed and thus the riders cruised nicely down the mountains backside. But then Mother Nature regrouped her team. Her wind squad took the lead and blew with all their might. Pedaling became an act of pure strength and endurance as the gusts belted the body. At times it seemed as if no forward motion was going to happen no matter how hard one tried to push on the pedal. Every time the wind squad would take a breath Mother Nature would send the rain. At times is was sheets of driving rain in the face, other times a mere mist. Between the two of them they were determined to stop the "bike train" from rolling across country. The terrain also played part in the test of endurance. As soon as one would reach a valley the road would jump up again climbing up the side of another mountain. The route was the only one over the mountain range. Up a steep incline and then down the back side -- normally this would be a perfect biking landscape. However, with Mother Nature doing her finest and the Wind squad joining in the symphony, the pedaling venture of the day was a hard and difficult one. No one escaped the wrath of the weather. Everyone pushed on determined to push through. All clad in rain gear looking more like drowned rats, the group pedaled on. Final score: Bike Team 12, Mother Nature 0!!

Bikers in the lead for the tournament. Next game tomorrow!!

Rest stop for the night is on the east side of Arthur's Pass.

All Out Who Want To Do The Pass!

First Sight of the Mountains

Former Home of Those Who Were Responsible For Clearing the Roads in Winter

Our Minibus and Trailer

Sharon: "Okay Let's Roll!"

Em: "They Should Be Over That Pass Any Minute Now!"

Pedal Tours

Jona: "I Made It!!"


Mary Jo

Castle Hill Rock Formations

Castle Rock

The Road Less Traveled

Em: "Here's Lunch" Lauri: "I Made It!!"

Sue: "We Are On the Road Again!"

Last View Before the Storm!

The Perfect Ending To The Day!