Warm days and lots of sun followed the rainy days and I spent a lot of time crawling up hills in my 27T, then "ripping" the twisting descents. Well, you can believe the "crawling" part, but the "ripping" part, maybe not. Suffice to say, it's hilly enough that pedaling downhill is a waste of time, if not impossible.
On the road? Motorists are pretty well-behaved. I've had the usual challenges just getting to the Auckland city edge sometimes. Though I'm familiar with a many of the roads from earlier visits, riding in the Auckland area is more like orienteering. Except no compass. And to make it harder, they gave me a map. I think the roads up and down and around these hills follow 200-year-old sheep paths. And the street names change every couple hundred meters, whether they need to or not. It's all pedaling and it's a real kick.
Road surfaces? Rough. New Zealand is the Daddy of chip seal. U.S. states are studying New Zealand technical data to try to improve chip seal stateside. The roads deliver a beating but my Specialized Armadillo tires are riding great, no flats in months now and still hugging the descents.
Since those first few days, I've had a 3 week block of 47 hours. The 27T cog is not the auto-selection anymore and the 24T and 21T and 19T cogs see a lot more action. I've been on a Neal Plan, with some sub- and supra-LT work. I had my best 5 minute power recorded, even compared to other sea level efforts several years ago. Good enough for this cowboy. After all, I'm not trying to get fast. I'm trying to get Less Slow.
Earlier this week I finally rode out to Clevedon and Kawakawa Bay and got to the big hills, wide open roads and spectacular views. I avoided the hill landslide (see Kawakawa Bay photos of "slip") and had a terrific ride and good climbs. And chip seal.
Then I hit a spot of bother a few of days ago. I got blindsided by a bunch of life's stressors (involving family, doctors, hospitals, pets, work, all within 12 hours). I had been sleeping 8 hours every night like clockwork, which enabled me to handled the huge workload. Just one night of very little sleep and absolutely no recovery has slowed me a bit, and now I'm waiting it out before I get back on the bike. All stressors came out fine.
Autumn is sneaking in. Mornings are chilly, the rain a bit cooler.
Now, so far, so good. The salt air and rain have been rusting my chain and cogset and stem bolts since Day 2, but no worries. Oxygen at sea level is a marvelous thing.