Being in Te Anau with a library that had free wifi was quite nice. So nice I sat there until some time after noon today before I started riding. Had lots I needed to catch up on. Was really far behind on emails. People mostly stopped emailing me when I dropped out of the world so it's not too hard to keep up. Hadn't talked to some people I like talking to in a while and managed to catch some of them online. Spent time trying to find new things to eat. Saved a bunch of tunes on Spotify and got more pictures uploaded. Productive morning.
Now I was kinda worried. Setting out for a 100km ride after lunch time. The road from Te Anau to Tuatapere was mostly flat, slightly downhill except for Jericho hill. On my elevation chart in Pedallers' Paradise it was just a giant spike. Anyway, I'd been pedaling with a minor tail wind and pretty happy about that up until Jericho hill at which point I weave back and forth going up the climb and lose that tail wind. About half way up I start realizing I think I have a bit of a cold and this cold drizzle surely isn't going to help. By the end of the climb I'm feeling miserable but the even steeper drop on the other side helps.
Not long after this hill I'm in a wooded area and I can hear the trees violently swaying in the wind. Trying to figure out what direction it's going before I get out of their shelter. Wait. It's… coming from behind? No way.
I get out of the trees and feel like I get shoved from behind. Enormous winds gusting are sending me sailing. I stop pedaling and am being pushed at almost 25mph! I spend the next 60km gently pedaling and cruising between 20-35mph on a fully loaded bike. Every time the road bended it was terrifying. I was almost always getting enough wind from behind still to keep a good pace but was also getting hit from the side and could feel myself being shoved around the road.
About half way through the windy times I saw a fully loaded tandem bike pulling a trailer, going the other way! They stop and we chat for a bit. A couple from France that was not having fun today. I tell them about a cheap backpackers place 10km off the road we are on, I certainly wouldn't want to do 50km more into the wind at that point.
Tuatapere is, apparently, the sausage capital of New Zealand though I ate no sausage tonight. More importantly it's along the “southern scenic route” and a 85km ride from Invercargill, a big city on the southern coast.