So today was to be part one of my two day trip to meet James in Wanaka. Day one was a shorter, slightly hilly route to Arrowtown. Most of this was the same route I took to Queenstown a while back so I was pretty familiar with it. Or so I thought.
About 40km in I think I see my turnoff. Weird, the sign doesn't say Arrowtown but it says Wanaka via Cardrona, I thought to myself. I make the turn, start climbing. I shouldn't be climbing like this so I stop and check the Pedallers' Paradise book's sketch map. Looks right, think I'm on the road that goes up and then I turn left to Arrowtown instead of right for the Crown Range climb.
2km in, I'm to about 650m elevation. Something isn't right. I get to the scenic overlook. Hey, that's…. Arrowtown…. Guess I'm meeting James in Wanaka tonight then.
If I go down I have to make this climb tomorrow, and well I'm too lazy for that. Now the Crown Range climb is from ~350m where I was on my turn off up a sharp winding road to 650m at the scenic lookout, flat for a bit then slams up to 1080m, the highest point on a highway road in New Zealand.
My legs were not ready for the second steep climb. About halfway through the stiff 3.5km I'm done. I can't push a pedal down hard enough to not roll backwards. I get off, take a short break on the edge of the highway and still can't do it. So I start walking. It's hard to even walk up this! I frown and push my bike abut half a km to another scenic look. Flop on the ground and lay there for about an hour, getting talked to by people who walk past. “You're almost there!” “Tell that to my legs!”.
Eventually I assemble enough gumption to get back on the saddle. Turns out I was 1.5km from the peak. With about 100m to go the road gets steep again and I can't pedal. Whatever, I'll walk over the top. I get up there and have 40km to drop the distance I just climbed in 8km.
I get to Wanaka and try to track James down, then we make the ride out to the furthest possible camp site in town. Uuuuugh.