There is no explanation.

We have often experienced that when you travel a new route for just the second time in reverse, the distance covered seems to be a lot quicker time wise.

Anyone else share the same?

That was our new days Dunstan Trail anticipation heading back from Alexandra to Cromwell, on the bikes.

Until the weather gods decided to huff a gusty head on wind into our faces.

The first nine kms to Clyde were along the Otago Rail Trail which is virtually straight.  It was the warm-up.  Even the hundreds of rabbits infesting neighbouring hinterlands were perched low to the ground for contour line cover.  Laughing with squinted eyes.

Where we entered onto the Otago Rail Trail at Alexandra bound for Clyde.
Eggs and bacon breakfast at Clyde … not at Benjamin’s though!

Stopping at Clyde for an eggs and bacon our breakfast diet, the napkin taking off disappeared from the direction ridden, to become an added feature on the Clyde to Alex terrain.  There was only so many times one could lick the plate procrastinating what was the inevitable.  Toughen the fk up, get on the bike seat and get on with it.

Into it.

The Clyde Bridge with its magnificent structure above the Clutha Rivers was the crossing point of no return, before we hung a right, grinded up the dam slope and then into the gale.  Damn white caps on the lake were in their hundreds too.  A never-ending escort.

Mates from the Thirsty Thursday crew were doing the ride in the opposite direction to us – Cromwell to Clyde.  We knew there would be a nose rub reunion somewhere on the trail.  The first three riders of their group didn’t even recognise us as they flew passed at pace.  With the wind up their jacksies.  Possibly because we had our helmets down looking at the trail gravel for aerodynamics.  We did connect with the remainder of the group and seeing fellow bikers out there doing it lifted our spirits.

White caps escorted us up the lake.
Hugo swing bridge from the opposite view – ore spectacular than yesterday.
Thirsty Thursday mates from Christchurch riding with the wind.

It was the adrenalin shot booster to keep going after a group photo was taken.  Another stop was taken at a winery near Bannockburn where we sheltered under a heaving willow tree to eat our lunch – leftover lamb shank meat portion sandwiches and watching trail blazers arrive and depart at a gate that had to be negotiated after a little zig-zag ascent.   They were going with the wind too.

There were moments where the gusts nearly brought us to a standstill. The worst of it was actually along the trail on the northern side of Cromwell’s Lake edge where counterbalancing it meant the bike at nearly a 45° angle.

Cromwell just down and up around the bend.
Cromwell’s northern side on the lake was the worst wind of the day.

Unclipping cleats and dismounting after arriving back at the third-bedroom again above the 45th Parallel concluded the ride.  It had taken us longer today than yesterday for sure.  Meeting and greeting a new caravan neighbour, they were to ride the trail themselves today however, the tour company advised against it due to the wind conditions.  Pfft!

Made us smile and gave us some solace that we had knocked the bastard off because of the hurricane.  And before the forecasted change in the weather for it to become overcast and rain.

The other positive when doing a route for a second time in reverse, are the things you don’t notice going in the opposite direction.  We were certainly not disappointed in the days riding, wind, grime, dust, dirt and all.

Hopefully enough to motivate you to tick it the Dunstan Trail off – whether novice, intermediate or experienced outdoorsy type.

In either direction.

With the wind.  Or not.