I have officially made it to New Zealand. My first time south of the equator. When USA Cycling asked if I would like to be a part of the Tour of New Zealand, I did not even pause to think about it! New Zealand!? Yes! I’m there!
Why do they call it “down under”? I am under the equator, and they are right. Things are different here. Maybe even a little backwards.
They drive on the “wrong” side of the road here. This may seem simple enough until you try to ride around here and you are used to the “left, right, left” routine and find yourself turning into oncoming traffic. Note to self: Look both ways, look both ways again, wait until it is clear and then make a quick move and hope it works.
Don’t make eye contact with the passenger, make eye contact with the DRIVER (they are sitting on the opposite side of the car).
I heard that toilets flush differently here. In order to investigate, I filled up the tub and then watched the water drain—in the opposite direction! So, it isn’t an old wives tale. Crazy. I then repeated the experiment in the sink as well, just for science sake. A repeatable experiment is a valid experiment.
ShelleyO, JanelH, and RobLOVE (mechanic extraordinaire) all met in SFO to Aukland. 14 hours in the air. Not bad. We picked up ANeben (Olympian, World Champion, AMAZING rider) in Aukland and then had to go through customs pick up the 9 bikes, tools, and a beautiful Italian soigneur, Nadia, and walk from the international terminal to the domestic terminal. We made quite the exhibition as we snaked along through the 5am traffic at the airport. The US National Team was growing in members and bikes and staff! Welcome to NZL!
As the plane flew into Wellington, the mountains transcended into the clouds, and cascaded down into the ocean. The water is deep blue, and the hills are electric green. I have never seen such colors so vivid, so alive. What a beautiful place. Did I mention the mountains? Yes. Real mountains. They look steep. This will be a tough race. The winds will also be a factor. The tour starts Wednesday.
2 more days to ride and get acclimated. My first impression of NZL: I love it. Can I stay here?