Today Phil and I had a 2.5 hour bike ride on tap- a nice change from the four hour monsters we've had over the past few weeks. But of course we couldn't just get out and ride; no, we had to go and do something mad like riding up three of Auckland's volcanoes.
Volcano 1: Mt Eden
Mt Eden came more quickly than I was expecting. One minute we're rolling up College Hill (that's right suckahs- I just roll right up now!), the next we're making a ghastly sharp right turn and heading straight up. But once we got over the first few horrible meters, the rest of the climb was pretty easy! Or maybe I'm just hardcore!?!
We forgot to take photos at the top- d'oh! But the views are quite spectactular, and worth the (anticlimactic) climb!
The way down was Not So Fun. White knuckled braking (I actually had to hold my front brake in my drops because holding from the hoods was not getting the brakes in enough), cattle stops (one that was too wide to even attempt) and trying to re-start on a steep steep steep decline! I was relieved to get to the bottom, and I don't think we'll be bothering with that one again!
My "vanquishing Mt Eden without even breathing hard" (poetic license....) pride took a blow when we turned left up Landscape Ride on the way to One Tree Hill. It was one of the steepest roads I've ever climbed! Seriously- my cadence wasn't working, so I can't use that as a reference, but my speed was somewhere in the 8-9kph zone. i.e. the "Tarawera Rd after the rest of the Rotorua Half IM with screaming knees, hammies, quads, glutes and calves" zone!!
Volcano 2: One Tree Hill
Wow. What a RIDE! Live in Auckland? Got a bike? GO THERE NOW. Your legs may never forgive you, but your sense of achievement makes it all worth while.
I hadn't been to OTH (is that what the cool kids call it? they do now!) for years and the wee lambies gambolling around the road on the sunny day made me smile. The wall alongside the road, and the people milling around all over the place made me feel like I was riding in le Tour. Just, you know, slower. And more puffed. The climb starts out innocently enough, but when you get to the "top" there's an extra wee loop to the summit (and actually, an extra wee-wee loop on within that). Approaching the first just-one-wee extra loop is like riding your bike straight into a brick wall. But instead of smashing head on, leaning back on your back wheel and riding up it. Sorry if I'm being all pansy-assed about it, but THAT HILL IS INSANEO STEEP. Luckily, it eases off a little towards the end, so you finish full of pride and enthusiasm. And also, able to talk in sentences, which helps. Though to be fair, the sentences I was going for were pretty short. Such as "WOAH" and "holy freaking mother of all that is holy". Phil was pretty impressed by my climbing skillz- he was struggling enough that he didn't think I would make it. Well, I showed that doubter who's boss!
Speaking off that doubter, here he is. In all his "I'm an awesome climber and barely broke a sweat. Actually, I climbed that in my mega big chain ring" glory.
Again, down was not so fun. But there was something about the vibrancy of the people people everywhere that made clutching at the brakes and travelling at 12 kph seem like an OK thing to be doing.
Things got a bit muddled after One Tree Hill. We took a wrong turn and we realised we didn't have any sunscreen on. So we spent a bit of time trying to get back on track, and another bit of time riding round in circles in Onehunga trying to find sunscreen. Fun (Not).
To get to volcano 3, we headed from Onehunga to the shared path that goes around the Manukau harbour. It was OK, but not a patch on the Northwestern motorway path.
Volcano 3: Mt Wellington
The lead up to the Mt Wellington climb was probably the highlight- lovely leafy suburban streets, after a good few minutes of riding through industrial areas and waiting at stop lights with no bike sensors. The rest? Not so great.
The start of the climb itself was bloody steep. I seriously doubted whether I could do it, but decided to be awesome instead- cos I am- and just freakin nail myself until I reached the top. Unfortunately, a giant big cattle stop halfway up the steepest bit put an end to that awesomeness. And it was rather difficult trying to get started again on the insane-o incline. But eventually, I remembered that I could still be awesome instead, so I executed a stellar hill start and made my way to the summit. Except, unlike the other hills, at Mt Wellington you cannot ride to the summit, so we stood at the carpark, and snapped a few shots.
What with Rangitoto looking so gorgeous and the sun shining so brightly, we decided to detour home via Glendowie, not just St Heliers. Unfortunately SOMEONE who shall remain nameless decided he didn't trust my navigation skillz (maybe fair enough, I had sorta kinda gotten a little lost trying to find Glendowie on Friday...) and took us there the yucky way instead of the gorgeous roller coaster route I'd envisioned. Luckily, he then missed our turn, which meant we took the roller coaster in anyway, and then explored a new way back to the bays, where we got Movenpick. Well, he got Movenpick and I got a distubring coloured slushie from Starmart.
Then we rode really really fast around the bays in our aero bars until we got home.