- quiet roads, we ride on State Highways, they are one-laned each direction but most of the time they are QUIET with few cars
- spoiled for choice: short spiky hills or looooong climbs or pancake flat or gently rolling
- the views are surreal, I mean just SURREAL!!!!
- almost year-round riding temps -- I've been without arm/leg warmers from November through April, and am starting to pull them out if I start early. Ride-able conditions from September to June, starts to get quite nippy, but okay for ~2hr cold rides July-August (around 1-5 degrees C)
- low precipitation, high sunshine hours!!!
- everyone here is an athlete of some sort. Nicky Samuels (on NZ Olympic team for London 2012) lives here, other pro triathletes as well, both short course and long course, altitude training at SnowFarm for athletes coming abroad (Simon Whitfield was here this summer!)... pretty much guaranteed to get your ass kicked if you wait a while. EVERYONE does SOMETHING.
4% not so nice, but it makes you hard as fuck!:
- WINDY, really windy in the summertime. I'm talking regularly 60-70kph (37-44mph), and on "calm" summer days usually still around 30-40kph. It's harsh out in the alpine, desert climate. In training for Challenge Wanaka full-iron distance tri last year, I remember one 6 hour ride, with the last 70km into a brutal 70-80kph headwind. I became dehydrated in the middle of no-where farmland thinking there'd be someplace to refill (nope!), hallucinated, paranoid someone was trying to kill me and so dispirited that I think a part of my soul died. The wind here does make you HARD AS FUCK, though, no doubt about that.
- CHIP SEALED ROADS, as in we don't have asphalt here. No nicely smooth paved roads! One thing about New Zealand is that it's quite poor, and the government paves the roads poorly. As in, they use oil by-products to slap on some tar on the road, then they shake gravel and rocks over the road, hoping with time and car usage that the rocks smoothen out. The rockiness is surreal, and if you're racing here but used to smooth roads, be prepared for your calf muscles to be torn apart. The bike shops joke that road and TT bikes in NZ should come equipped with suspension. It hurt so much in my first summer here, now I'm used to it, but dang, I expect a couple kph increase when I race abroad! Wheee!!! It'll be so quiet and smooth!!
Still worth it, wouldn't live anywhere else in the world:
|Crown Range Rd looking down into Queestown|
|Top of Crown Range... the only section (~3km) I know of asphalt|
roads... at like a 12-15% grade though.
|Heading up, Crown Range.|
|Out to Treble Cone -- farmland!|
|Out to Tarras... flat/gently rolling|
|Towards the West Coast, hilly riding!|