Sunday, 28 March 2010

Up the hill

With my West Coast bike trip only a week away, I thought I should do some riding on hills. In the weekends the main road up the Port Hills, Dyers Pass Rd, is a dangerous mix of cyclists and day trippers in a hurry, so I elected to go up Mount Pleasant. A 7km ride on the flat through Linwood and Ferrymead past the estuary brought me to the base of the hill, then the road climbed steeply to gain the main ridge line through St Andrews Hill and onwards to Mount Pleasant.
Google Earth view of the hill section of yesterday's ride. (Click to enlarge.)

The gradient settles back to steep but not gut-busting, with occasional zig zags past steep sections, and joins the roads coming up from Redcliffs, then up through farm land to meet the Summit Road, at 404m above sea level. The climb took 50 minutes, with one brief stop to check the map, and a good rest for a drink and a mini Moro bar at the top.

The southerly change had arrived during my climb, so I put on a windproof jacket and set off on a long downhill, towards Evans Pass, where I stopped to look at Lyttelton Harbour, and affirm our decision to not sail that day. There was only one yacht that I could see, and it was struggling to hold a spinnaker in a brisk southerly - not much fun! I was cooling off rapidly, with no exercise on the long breezy downhill run, so I zoomed down into Sumner and started pedalling again. With a south east tail wind, I was back home in another half an hour, for a total of 35km and a height gain of 400m, all in 2½ hours.

This morning I have slightly stiff calf muscles, but otherwise I'm feeling fine. I think the longer trip will go fine, as long as I pace myself and don't try to rush. With full panniers, that's not very likely!

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