122km 1685m elevation
Murchison dawned fine and crispy at 5•, and as we cycled down the valley the temperature dropped even more. The fog in the distance gradually receded as we got closer so we were never fully enveloped. Although the sun was coming up, the valley walls also got higher so we didn’t get into sunshine until around 9:30. I didn’t actually feel the temperature change much, but it warmed the cockles of my heart.
The sign at bottom of the Maruia Saddle warning about the road being only suitable for 4WD vehicles didn’t phase us, since the Maungatapu trail is so rough it’s closed to all vehicles!
The dappled sunlight as we rode up through gorgeous native beech forest was lovely, and the great thing about climbing a saddle is the downhill on the other side!
I had leaned from my previous days mistake of not eating enough, and had bought extra food from Murchison to see me through the day. We also stopped at Maruia road side café for a delicious lunch, with homemade gluten free bread!
By midday it was hard to imagine it had been single digit temps in the morning. The sweat was dripping off me. Springs Junction was the next town we came to and knowing there was a big climb over to Reefton I treated myself to an ice cream - like I need an excuse! Scott is riding a single speed bike, which always draws a crowd of interested blokes. It’s quite funny to see.
The Rahu Saddle was a good challenge along SH7. I was looking forward to the downhill, the guidebook said a 30km cruise into Reefton.
I’ve been learning the power of expectation affecting your experience. This time it wasn’t the guidebooks fault though. It was indeed a gentle downhill. Unfortunately since there was a strong headwind it definitely wasn’t a cruise! We got to Reefton at a reasonable time though, and after a shower, laundry and dinner it was off to bed. Ready for a Big Day tomorrow on Big River Track!