GUEST BLOG - The Pedallers Alps to Ocean Ride
THE A2O SYMPHONY - 22 AND 23 APRIL 2018
Written by Katrina G
Having chosen the weather with care and collected the 13 players Peter was ready to conduct the A2O Symphony,
First the Sonata: along the Tekapo Canal to Lake Pukaki, slightly downhill with a chance to zone out as the fabulous scenery of Irishman’s Creek unfolded, to eventually reveal the lake and a full-time view of Mt Cook. This movement finished in a flourish as we flew down to Lake Pukaki at 57+ kph in brilliant sunshine.
Day 1 - Lake Pukaki with Mt Cook in the distance (above 3rd rider from left)
Second the Adagio: lyrical spinning; once past the Info centre at Lake Pukaki we crossed state highway 8 and flew down a few bends to open grassland where the track had a great surface and we glided across the terrace at a steady 25 kph to the entrance to Twizel. Sharon and I lost sight of the others and had a tour of Twizel, as we eventually made our way across to the Red Barn via a muddy forestry track.
Day 1 – Lake Pukaki, clear view of distant Mt Cook, right of centre
Day 1 – Dinner at Poppies Restaurant in Twizel
Intermission: Sunday Dinner at Poppies restaurant, which proved very relaxing with good food, great company and a lovely Neudorf Sauvignon Blanc from Nelson. A great starry night for Sandra and Austin to walk back and enjoy the Dark Sky Reserve.
Day 2 - Above Ohau River weir, Maurice calls the missing riders (eating Katrina’s cake)
Next morning Peter gathered the players for breakfast and a briefing for the dancing Scherzo. This began with a practice run up to the Hydro Power station and a back-track up to the south side of the canal and around to the Ohau river weir. From there a dance along the track, following Jan around Lake Ohau, winding through the Matagouri and tussock to Lake Ohau Lodge, a short break for lunch and to take in the view and then on to the crescendo.
Day 2 - Lake Ohau, near the (fake) old hut and Matagouri thickets
Day 2 - Lunch at Lake Ohau Lodge
Day 2 - Maurice on the big climb
Day 2 - Sandra at the start of the big climb
Sandra and Maurice at old shearing shed
Crescendo; this was a 10-kilometre section which climbed from 542m to 900m on a packed boulder track strewn with random head-sized boulders, three (or four?) false summits and the occasional tight climbing bend, all of which required extreme concentration. If you let your concentration lapse there was a Manuka bush or stony bank to lean on to recover.
After resting, the rollicking Allegro was our reward for having persisted. A steep descent from 900m for 2 km and then a steady 4 km downhill across tussock country dotted with the occasional large puddle or small creek out to the Quailburn Road and the final 14 km to the Clay Cliffs corner and our support vehicles.
Congratulations all round, and from me a big thank you to all for company, encouragement, advice and laughs.
Thanks for the memories:
Weather window, riverbed ride, frosty morning, old acquaintances, haze from smoke, blue lakes, massive mountains, peeking mountains, false summits, new views, salmon farms, fishers, power station, meditation, starry night, red tractor, old poster, bike ratio, short cuts, wet shoes, great food and wine, fantastic guide, nuts, buff, hot spots, look where you want to go, bike takes care of where you are, guts, persistence and resilience, people, Paul, Graeme, Lyn, Jan, Michael, Sharon, Pat, Maurice, Peter, Murray, Katrina, Sandra, Austin, in the zone, zone out, Daisy, fatigue, sore bum, other riders, smells, speed, Clay Cliffs, Old Woolshed, whirring off to Dunners.
Thanks Katrina for your great write up of what sounds and looks like a fantastic trip on a stunning trail!
All photos courtesy of The Queenstown Pedallers.