Today, a local community paper showed up which had a story about a couple of guys who are raising money to improve signage along some popular cycle routes. One of the important ones is called the Long Bays route, and is featured in the Festival of Cycling in early December. It's a 75 km (45 mi) loop around some hills south of Christchurch. It's got two major hill climbs and innumerable smaller ones.
Out of curiosity more than anything else, I decided to do the Long Bays route today. I'd never done anything quite so long or with so many hills, but there's always a first time, right? My route [maps.google.com] almost exactly follows the route taken by the Festival of Cycling event (it's run anticlockwise). I did 76 km in 3:25 for an average speed of 22 km/h. I can do 30 on the flat, so those hills really killed me. And today, as soon as I rounded the bend at Motukarara, I was hit with a relentless headwind that just didn't let up until I reached the top of the hill just before Sumner.
Nevertheless, having completed this, I'm pretty stoked! I'm nowhere near _fool territory, but this just shows that nothing is really out of reach.