An early start on our last Saturday in NZ for the trip with Andy and his mates Rod and Tim to Hanmer Springs for the St James Cycle Track. The guys set off on the 60 odd kilometre route on a cold bright morning at 9.30am while I pottered about on my hire bike getting muddy before driving the ute to pick them up later on. Very much later, say around 4.30pm, two bikes were seen on the horizon, the first of the four. Tim and Rod, A class elite racers, followed by Andy from Natural High and Gary representing the St Helens/Welsh connection. All back safely, Gary nearly broken in two though. The ride newly opened up by the DOC is one of the first advanced range of cycle paths. I stress advanced, lots of tough, steep climbs, mixed with good deep, wide river crossings and gnarly single track. It's certainly one of the toughest days on a bike Gary as ever done.
The rest of our time in Hanmer Springs will be sent preparing our stuff for the flight to Melbourne of Thursday, mountain biking in the forest and wallowing in the thermal pools!