Thursday, 19 May 2016

Statistic's from our Tour Aotearoa ride 2016

So after a few months recovery of just cruising on our bikes having fun riding the local trails, I have put together the statistics of our days ... how varied they were ... mostly because we stopped to catch up with family and friends except for a very wet day down the coast.

Hopefully it will help with someones else planning of completing the route. We pretty much rode during daylight hours and  had plenty of time to look around and enjoy the scenery.

Activity Name Start time Total Time Riding Time Distance Ascent  Avg Moving Speed Accom
Mossburn to Bluff Mon, 14 Mar 2016 6:45:23 5:59:00 142.5 567 23.8  
Arrowtown to Mossburn Sun, 13 Mar 2016 5:37 11:35:31 8:15:54 152.48 930 18.4 Pub
Haast to Arrowtown Sat, 12 Mar 2016 4:39 13:57:31 11:04:26 207.51 2,607 18.7 family
Franz Josef to Haast Fri, 11 Mar 2016 5:26 11:56:39 7:31:48 153.32 1,640 20.4 Backpackers
Harihari to Franz Joseph Thu, 10 Mar 2016 5:31 9:47:52 3:18:56 63.86 609 19.3 motel
Kumara to Harihari Wed, 9 Mar 2016 5:29 11:34:20 8:01:56 148.01 899 18.4 Pub
Reefton to Kumara Tue, 8 Mar 2016 5:01 11:01:39 6:07:08 109.96 584 18 motel
Murchison to Reefton Mon, 7 Mar 2016 5:19 10:07:16 7:00:34 123.99 1,346 17.7 motel
Wakefield to  Murchison Sun, 6 Mar 2016 6:33 10:50:53 8:10:47 138.81 1,638 17 cabin
Momorangi to Wakefield Sat, 5 Mar 2016 6:31 11:56:46 7:27:07 116.99 1,818 15.7 camp
Upper Hutt to Momorangi Fri, 4 Mar 2016 6:04 12:56:29 10:53:38 123.21 1,297 11.3 camp
Pahiatua to Upper Hutt Thu, 3 Mar 2016 5:27 14:16:05 10:32:15 192.13 1,495 18.2 family
Rangiwahia to Pahiatua Wed, 2 Mar 2016 6:45 10:35:13 7:43:24 130.24 1,468 16.9 motel
Whanganui to Rangiwhia Tue, 1 Mar 2016 7:18 11:24:20 7:03:31 106.26 1,623 15.1 camp
DoC Shelter to Whanganui Mon, 29 Feb 2016 6:31 13:18:46 9:31:03 141.32 2,362 14.8 motel
Taumarunui to DoC Shelter Sun, 28 Feb 2016 9:46 8:43:29 5:48:09 79.46 1,254 13.7 camp
CNI to Taumaranui Sat, 27 Feb 2016 6:33 7:40:07 5:47:24 63.76 970 11 family
Arapuni to CNI Fri, 26 Feb 2016 5:49 13:33:03 8:35:29 94.55 1,958 11 camp
Miranda to Arapuni Thu, 25 Feb 2016 6:15 12:38:04 8:21:15 152.19 378 18.2 Backpackers
Helensville to Arapuni Wed, 24 Feb 2016 5:07 14:55:38 9:35:03 160.62 1,344 16.8 Motel
Waipoura Forest Camp to Helensville Tue, 23 Feb 2016 6:46 13:33:57 10:28:34 166.77 1,408 15.9 cruising club
Ahipara to Waipoura Kauri Forest Camp Mon, 22 Feb 2016 6:43 12:39:29 8:02:58 125.05 2,163 15.5 cabin
Cape Reinga to Ahipara Sun, 21 Feb 2016 9:55 10:19:35 7:48:48 106.42 369 13.6 camp
    266:08:05 183:09:07 2999.41 30727 16.38  
Ave riding time per day   8:24:00 1397 average climbing per day

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Tour Aotearoa - Done and Dusted!

Well ... the time had finally arrived ... TOUR TIME!

It was with a bit of apprehension and excitement that I left Christchurch for Cape Reinga! To say the least - 3000 kilometres - known! Unknown was the 22 days 1 hour 45 minutes and 30,000 metres of climbing it would take!

This tour was not to dissimilar from other experiences I had completed ... Sea Kayaking in Alaska or Kayaking the Grand Canyon ... they all had a start point and a finish point ... they all had a big unknown in the middle ... How was the body going to hold up? How was the mind going to hold up? Had I made the right equipment choices?

We were about to find out ... things were about to get real!

Helen and I had a few goals for the event ...

Ride during daylight hours to enjoy where we are
Complete at least one 200 km day
Enjoy time with who we meet along the way
Aiming for 21 days but would not be upset with 24 and ecstatic with anything less than 21
Eat well to maintain a healthy body

Low Moments

Gordon, Jill, Emily and Helen on 90 Mile beach
The low points on this journey, were not many fortunately, but the first came early ... three hours into the event on 90 Mile Beach, if the head wind, flat unrelenting pedalling to get anywhere wasn't enough ... my lower back started to lock up ... dam frustrating as we had got ourselves into a nice wee group with some Nelson friends Jill and Gordon, and Emily from Wellington. I was soon reduced to stopping and stretching and Emily shared some Voltaren with me.

Ginny Wood nearing Ahipara
As we were holding up the other three, Helen and I bid them farewell and were reduced to walking, watching other groups go past.  At one point we even waved a car down to see if I could get a ride out of here! Eventually the Voltaren kicked in and I was able to resume some riding ... eventually being picked up in a group of seven and rolling into Ahipara about 7.30 that evening ... one of the toughest days riding I have ever had!

There were times the event was a little frustrating, certainly catching the Jet boat down the Whanganui river, having to wait while the driver shepherd a couple of overweight tourists wearing inappropriate footwear up to the Bridge to Nowhere and back again ... didn't he know we were in an event ... time was kilometres not being ridden!

Catching the Ferry across Cook Strait ... who knew they would be so fully booked ... half a day in Wellington !

That's a serious bike rack powered by 500 cu in of V8 ... this was the better of the two companies to deal with!

These two days felt like they were disjointed and we could not get the flow to happen ... it played with your mind as by this stage you were into the habit of packing, eating, riding, eating, riding, eating, riding, eating and sleeping!

Equipment Failures

Even though I had taken care in choosing and testing my gear ... there are still those moments where shit happens! Riding out of Helensville on Day Four, taking it easy climbing as my back was still tight first thing in the morning and the body is adapting to the levels of fatigue ... I mess up a gear change and drop the chain between the cassette and spokes ... eventually Helen manages to get it unjambed! The problem was it bent the rear derailleur and stretched the chain, these were replaced in Mt Eden by Mt Eden Cycles!

What we hadn't realised was that when the chain had dropped onto the spokes it had damaged them, so while riding into Whanganui the first one went PING! The drive side spokes are the only ones we couldn't replace on the road, so it required a stop in at the bike shop. One spoke replaced and some additional bar tape added to my grips for some additional comfort!

The second one went PING! riding into Masterton. So for peace of mind we called into the bike shop and purchased a new back wheel and had the old one couriered home to be rebuilt at a later date!

How to Navigate on Tour

About half way through the Tour I worked this out ...

You come to an intersection, one road goes up, the other goes down ... you go up!
You come to an intersection, one road is sealed, one is gravel ... you take the gravel one!
You come to an intersection, one road is gravel, one is a 4WD track ... you take the 4WD track!
You come to an intersection, one is a 4WD track, one is a single track ... you take the single track!
You come to an intersection, there is a sign giving two routes to the same town, one is direct, the other is three times longer ... you take the long way!
You come to an intersection one road goes up and is sealed, the other goes down and is gravel ... you take the gravel road down because around the corner you know that it will go up and eventually become a 4WD track, before turning into a muddy single track ,which takes you away from where you are heading!

Simple! Just follow the Pink line on your GPS!


Food was one of the major concerns each day ... the rule of Brevets is ... if you see a place which sells food ... stop and stock up because you don't know where the next place is, whether it will be open or what it will have in stock!
A plate of Asparagas rolls and a pie for morning tea in Winton

Well ... I broke that rule riding from Franz Joseph to Haast, we rode right on past the Salmon Cafe, which Helen wanted to stop at and I said don't worry there is another cafe at Lake Paringa! WRONG ... there is no cafe at Lake Paringa ... lunch was later consumed at 5.30 in Haast at the Hard Antler pub! I am not going to live that one down very quickly!

Trail Angels

These people just really made our day!
Warm scones and Elder Flower Cordial in the middle of nowhere!
Paul cleaning and oiling our chains near Mangakino - Legend!

The whole Tour was one big highlight! It took us into rural New Zealand, along back country roads, allowing us to interact with many locals.  It is helping small communities by hungry riders needing accommodation, stopping and spending money, the economy of some of these places would have trippled overnight!

Broadwood's only store!
Family and Friends ... along the way we stopped to chat, eat or ride with Marty, Tank, Grant, Philip, Gillian, Penny and her two kids, Maria and Campbell, Jo & Crunchie, Sara & Harold, Paul, Max & Margaret & Mel, Jenny (Helen's mum), Helen's Dad, Tom & Paula, Louise, Debbie, Pete, Olwyn, Dillon, Jacqui, Bruce, John, Toni, Mary Jane, Damien, Lucca ... thanks for the support out on the track!

While others stalked us by the Maprogress site, sending messages and the occasional phone call ... thanks too! It was a little spooky at times who knew exactly where we were ... texts which would say ... Welcome to Reefton ... we hadn't even stepped off our bikes!

The tracks, the Kennetts have put together a fantastic route taking you onto some beautiful bike trials and back roads. I will let the photos speak for me ...

Would I do it again? Hell Yeah!

Monday, 15 February 2016

Growth and Confidence

At the beginning of October I was made redundant ... not that unusual in the construction industry ... never good timing!

Financially it is a set back  and was stressful ... there was plenty of difficult dicisions to be made. Some plans had to be put on hold, some postponed, some cancelled altogether!

It has given me time out from working which has been a good thing ... to take time out and reasses where I am at, what do I want to do, where I want to live, what my skill set is, what gaps are in my skill set, what does really interest me, what sort of risk am I comfortable with.

Along the way I learnt that there was no access to help through Government agencies ... to many assetts, to skilled ... etc. I wasn't able to access my Kiwisaver funds ... not in financial difficulty enough!

Well, all that did was force me to put my family home on the market and cash up ... the outcome was and is quite freeing ... it has opened up more options for me.

For the last fourteen years I have struggled with self belief and the confidence to back myself. I know where this started ... with the drowning of a student, on a kayak course which I was running ... The subsequent costs ... losses ... closing the business, investigations, inquirees, dreams, family and confidence. Having to go back into a job or industry which I didn't have a passion for ... really put me on the back foot, always doubting what I was doing,and I had become risk averse.

During that time I had often taking on roles (not always by choice) that meant I was working out on a limb on the edge of my comfort zone ... this in the long run builds on skills, confidence ... if there is the right support in place you get to grow. Looking back over the last five years I have had that support. It has come in many forms, role models, counselling, mentors and friends.

They say success breeds success, the need to build in small successful steps, to reflect on what you have learnt along the way ... confidence grows.

The redundancy has been a catalyst ... sure you go through the classic frustration, anger, blame phases ... but popping out the other side of that is what you can turn that situation around and into.

Well, I am looking forward to new challenges, once I have finished riding the Length of New Zealand I will be heading to live in one of my favourite parts of the country, setting up a new business and getting on with life!


Tour Aotearoa Starts Soon ... Very Soon!!

It is ony a few days out until the start of Tour Aotearoa ... the length of New Zealand Brevet ... me, my bike, my gear and my visa card to get from one end of the country to the other ... approxiamately 3000 kilometres of riding!

Am I ready ... well as ready as I can be!

We fly Christchurch to Auckland on Friday morning, grab a van and head to Kaitaia. Friday night in Kaitaia, before meeting Helen down the road to ride to Tupotupotu campsite about 5 kms prior to the Cape.

We depart at midday in Wave One (118 riders), waves two and three a further two and three days later, respectively.

Our thoughts are three days to Auckland building into the event with days of around 130 km each then building up the mileage from there on. Reckoning on about 21 days of riding to reach Bluff.
All my gear

To follow us you can jump onto this link ... and if you want to know more about the event you can visit here

Thursday, 7 January 2016

New Years Excursions - Big River Waiuta

With the New Year looming we headed south to the Town of Light - Reefton, once we had set up camp we wondered over to one of the hotels only to bump into some other mountain biking friends. A quiet evening was had in good company and the New Year arrived.

The first ride of 2016 was to be a cracker Big River-Waiuta, this is a classic ride and is included in both the Kiwi Brevet and Tour Aotearoa, it has been around for years now.

It is rich in mining history from the early days up to about 1960, it gives you a glimpse of big back country, it has a mix of four wheel drives tracks which give way to single track which was the old miners path.

The day started with breakfast at the local bakery ... not to be missed! Helen and I headed out from Reefton, soon turning off onto the four wheel drive tracks for a couple of hours stopping occassionaly to enjoy the vistas and a snack.

We arrived at Big River Hut for lunch two hours after starting, we enjoyed sitting in the sun, chatting with others who had ridden in. After an hour we found the energy to get back on our bikes and tackle the single track through to the ghost town of Waiuta.

The next two hours starts with you being lulled into a false sense of fun ... a bit of boardwalk ... a bit of nice single track ... all rideable ... a little slippery in places but fun! Then it changes some hike a bike, a bit of pushing up some short steep inclines, suddenly the character of the track has changed!

Half way through there is a slip which requires a it care with ... it is still lots of fun just a bit more effort required as you ride through some stunning forest. It must have taken a lot of man hours to carve this track out originally by hand!

Suddenly the track broadens and you near the end, through a gate and you pop out onto a four wheel drive track for a kilometre arriving in the town of Waiuta, this historic place now deserted is worth a visit whether you are driving or riding through.

Most trips end here with a vehicle being left as a shuttle, but no we were riding back to Reefton which meant we had seven kilometres of fast smooth gravel road to descend, then wind our way along a cute valley which pops onto the main Grey Valley road.

On reaching the Grey Valley, Helen and I sat down to have a snack and mentally prepare our selves for the last 24 km on tarseal back to Reefton, when Linda and Craig ride up, while we did have breakfast with them they left an hour or so later. Now Craig is a bit a of a legend in the NZ brevet scene ... strong and fast! We all rolled out back to Reefton together Craig leading and when he asked if we were all on ... I knew the train was leaving and it was going to be a quick ride!

Well I wasn't wrong, we were soon sitting on 32 kmh and at times it started to edge up, but my Yorkshire genes came to the fore when I brought a ticket for this train and I got the 50% off one ... true to form ... I got off the train just a bit quick for me ... Helen, well she brought the full price ticket and was hanging on, until she looked back and saw I had popped! Oh well, we rolled on with Linda, Craig was in his happy place totally unaware we had all got off the train! After a while Craig rolls back down the road to us and we cruise up the pass and into Reefton together for an ice cream and a swim in the river!

2016 has started with a great day on the bike ... bring it on!