This cycling trip was a bit of a dart throw for me. November in Colorado is brutally depressing – too chilly and dim for much biking or running, yet lacking enough snow to open the ski resorts. American offered a dirt-cheap fare to New Zealand, and I wanted a relatively easy end-of-season bike tour figuring my fitness would have fallen off from its summer peak.

So off to the South Island I went, with Adventure South NZ playing host to 150KM of cycling through the rainforests along the rugged west coast. Despite a persistent cough that sidelined me for a day, the cycling was an easy-going mix of single-track and gravel winding up the coastline from Ross to Greymouth.

Here, storms clash against the western slopes of the Southern Alps, unleashing torrents of rain and making it one of the wettest regions globally. We fully experienced the deluge, especially during a torrential downpour on our third day featuring some “dodgy weir crossings.” But sunshine was frequent enough to allow for some brief hikes inland, offering a bit of a glimpse into the wildness that still pervades in this part of New Zealand.

A final trip on the TranzAlpine scenic train carried us from Moana back to Christchurch, where I have one more day of cycling planned before heading to Berkeley for the Berkeley Half Marathon on Sunday.

Some of my favorite frames:

The Otira Viaduct running down off Arthur's Pass
Outside Ross
Inlet running toward Lake Mahinapua
Hokita's driftwood sign which would look better, presumably, with a sunset.
View down to the Arahura River
Our hotel at in Kumara. I had Otto's room, and was spared King Dick.
Crossing the Taramakau River
Pancake Rocks, outside of Punakaiki
Up the Pororari River Track
Sunset through the flax.
Nice light back at the Pancake Rocks.
About the calmest sea we had on the trip. Waves were big and gnarly.
Train station in Moana, to catch the TranzAlpine back to Christchurch.
Onboard the Transalpine, outside Inchbonnie.
Looking toward Mount Alexander.
Just past Arthur's Pass Village, headed east.