MilfordSound.jpgFollowing Challenge Wanaka Jo and had a bit of a holiday. One of the first in a long while where we’ve not trained … though we did sneak out for a fun bike ride at one point. After the race we travelled down to Milford Sound and spent a morning Kayaking. That is one amazing place and we were so lucky to paddle with dolphins and seals. I feel pretty lucky when it comes to seeing dolphins – it seems whenever I’m somewhere where there’s a chance I end up seeing them. Milford Sound is one of the few places in the World where you really want it to rain. It rained a little whilst we were there the transformation was wonderful; suddenly waterfalls appear everywhere. I was just wanting it to rain torrentially. The road in and out the sound is something else as well. Whatever possessed someone to think it was possible to cut a road in there. You’d think when they got to several hundred metres altitude and were face my an impregnable wall of rock continuing up to 1,500+m they’d give up. Not these Kiwi’s … the answer was obvious just dig a tunnel through over 1km of some of the hardest rock on earth. Then after all this, at the end of the road they build next to nothing. A ferry terminal, a bar, a motel and a lodge… all nicely hidden. It’s a real credit to this nation that they’ve completely resisted any significant commercialisation of the Sound.

We’d enjoyed Wanaka so much we decided to return there for the last couple of days. Coming back I got stopped for speeding and fined. I felt absolutely rotten and embarrassed. It made me think about it a lot. For starters other than on motorways in the UK I would never speed having been on a speed awareness course. Yet here in NZ I was speeding. The funny thing was Jo and I had been discussing what the speed limit was on these roads as other then on exiting towns you didn’t see single sign. I wondered whether there was a national speed limit like in the UK. When you hire a car in a country I think they should inform you of “unusual” road rules (in NZ the bizarre give way to someone turning right if you’re turning left) and speed limits. Anyway, I was caught and I was guitly, no two ways about it. I find it interesting that prior to being caught I was still speeding but it was only the act of being caught that made me feel embarrassed and depressed.

We stopped in Queenstown which didn’t really help my mood. It was so commercialised we just didn’t want to hang out there. Getting to Wanaka, checking in to our lovely little friendly backpackers place and then heading out for steak night at the Wanaka Ale House did cheer me up. It was like going to Wetherspoons Steak Night in Taunton … only better. Steak was better, view was better (the beer wasn’t better) and Jo was treating ;o)

Next day we did the ride round to Cromwell and over the Crown Range. We’d been told this was the highest tarmac’d pass in New Zealand. We’d also been told that Takaka hill was the highest when we did that. Now we’ve done both to be sure. It’s a great ride that has everything. Flat riding to Cromwell, udulating riding through an amazing gorge. Alpine like switchbacks, that Arthurs Pass ‘esque steep climb then a full throttle decent. Great ride and already we’re hoping to get back to Wanaka before heading down to Taupo. Ended up close to 6 hours of riding .. not exactly a recovery week ride. Though Jo would probably argue because it was just for fun it wasn’t training.

It’s twice now that I’ve done a pretty solid ride close after an Ironman and noticed how well recovered I’ve felt after. I went riding a week after the race and felt great, then ran yesterday and felt like I’d not race the weekend before. All bodes well for doing Roth a week after Ironman Austria if thats what I decide. Still going easy now though for a couple more days then on Wednesday I’m back in the Saddle getting ready to nail Ironman Taupo. For now I’m just sitting around in my finishers t-shirt enjoying the feeling of finally having won my age group.

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