On March 28th,  Clare and seven clients, plus her 3yr old daughter Evie, embarked on a 350km off-road journey from Mt Cook, on NZ’s south island, to the east coast town of Oamaru. The trail is a partially-finished tourism incentive aiming to bring more mountain bikers to NZ, called the Alps to Ocean trail. We were lucky enough to try it out, and experienced many highs and lows.

Mt Cook was described to us as a skiing and biking Mecca, but it turned into anything but! The staff were poorly informed on which trails bikers could use, and as a result we found ourselves somewhat aimless. However it was not without it’s rewards, when 4 of our group stumbled onto a glacier!

Our next night was spent on a working farm, and we feasted on fresh eggs, carrots, tomatoes, onions in our pasta sauce. It was well deserved after a relentless 5km climb to the house.

From here we circumnavigated Lake Pukaki and made our way into Twizel, where we spent two nights and did our heli-riding experience. This trail was frightening, as we started at 1600m, and the terrain was rocky and steep. Never the less, we overcame our demons (again), and were rewarded with a lunch alongside Lake Ohau. We spent the next night on Lake Ohau in an exclusive ski lodge, then rode our biggest hill yet on the way to Omarama. We luxuriated in the hot baths of Omarama, then did a short jaunt within the weeping willows to Otemtatata, where we spent a horror night in the worst accommodation anyone had ever experienced. Our group took it all in their stride, and the adventure was worth several hours of jokes and discussions along the trail! We did our longest day next, 60km, to another farm stay, thankfully without the climb to the front door! We stayed with a family within their own house, and it was nice to be looked after, after so many days looking after ourselves! She also saved us further heartbreak, by pointing out that our accommodation in the next town was 30km out of our way… we decided as a group to skip that night, double the riding, spend two nights in our destination town. This meant a whopping 70km journey in one day, on already sore and sorry asses! The team remained stoic, positive, & commited, even in their exhaustion. It was inspiring to witness.

Everyone made it, and we spent a full day enjoying Oamaru.

It is another notch in our belt, where we see how amazing ordinary people can be! Special thanks to Chris, who lead the riders from start to finish (he rode 9 days straight, almost 400km), he serviced their bikes, and kept them safe.

Onwards and upwards!