A Final Push to Ferg!

Sun 25th September: Wanaka to Queenstown – 68 km

As nice as it was to be hot-tubbing it on the shores of Lake Wananka, enjoying the world renowned Ferg Burger in Queenstown was literally something I had dreamed of since I last visited in 2008. Between us and Queenstown was the task of climbing through the Crown Range up the highest paved road in New Zealand!

The Lads at WanakaThe lads in Wanaka, all set for Crown Range

The morning we left Wananka there was a very harsh cold head wind. We all worked as a team, taking turns to lead the train to the foot of the mountain up the toughest drag of the tour. If it wasn’t for the hard work of everyone in that train, getting to our first break of the day would have been nearly impossible, not to mention making it up the 1091 meters above sea level that would follow.

The climb after the break was a real slog. Around every corner there was an even steeper incline that would have to be attacked. The support crew were perfectly placed halfway up the climb to shout on encouragement and provide a banana – an absolute godsend at that stage of the climb! By the time we had reached the snow it really didn’t feel like the road was ever going to level off. The sense of achievement at the top wouldn’t be surpassed for the rest of the cycle.

Crown RangeThe first view of Queenstown from Crown Range

The descent to Arrowtown was probably a spectacular sight but there was no opportunity to take your eyes off the gravelly road. The zigzagging and fast tight corners were great fun to negotiate but it was a miracle that only one person came off their bike (nothing too serious) that day. From Arrowtown we had a very hilly cycle to Queenstown. Before we would meet the support vehicles again we would have one final short but sheer climb. So sheer in fact, that I was lifting my front wheel off the road as I tried to force my pedels to turn. If you were to stop there was no hope of getting back on the saddle.

On ariving in Queenstown we posed for photos for a local newspaper. Before I knew it we were slugging back Guinness, watching Ireland make light work of a hardy Russian team in Póg Mahone’s. That night, after a huge dinner and with a few more pubs visited, I wandered off from our singing crew for my first Fergburger in four years… and it didn’t disappoint. I was back for another two more giant burgers before we would leave.

Ferg BurgerMy first Fergburger in four years

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