Sunday, March 4, 2012

Kiwi Brevet 2012: Day 7

Nelson to Blenheim; 148km
Breakfast was a little different on this day. With anticipation of finishing I cooked up my last back country and some bake beans for breakfast. It was going to be a big day as I knew I had roughly a couple thousand metres of climbing during the day. The Nelson side of the Maungatapu trail is very steep. It was a gruelling hour and half push up. I was met by Owen and Mick on the summit, they were traveling light having sent a bunch of gear home from Nelson. The decent down into the Perlorus was amazing, fast and furious! I soon hit the seal and turned left towards Havelock. A piece of road I have cycle so many times on my roadie. I had the Havelock bakery firmly in my sights. I was soon enjoying a flat white with various treats from the bakery. I sent a text to my transport people telling them that I would be in Blenheim roughly between 5 and 6. I soon began riding around the very scenic ride around the Queen Charlotte drive. I cycled past my old home (Anakiwa) and worked out that I roughly had 70 km to go. How hard could it be, considering what I had already put my body through. I knew the Port Underwood road would be hard but I didn’t think I would grovel as much as I did. I really hit the wall around Robin Hood Bay. Cold pizza was the perfect remedy for what I would consider to be a cycling hangover. The hills around this road are super steep and when chuck the added bonus of having climbed the Mangatapu that morning it was no wonder I was hitting the wall. I finally rolled into Blenheim around 19.00.w I was greeted by my good friends Jim and Felicity with a beer. It didn’t touch the sides. Awesome! What an absolute feeling of elation! I had knocked a full day off my previous time completing the Kiwi Brevet in 6 and ½ days at a rough average of 173km a day by my speedo. Now I have writen up 7 days of brevet action. So brevet day goes from 9.00am through to the following day at 9.00am, so starting on Saturday at 9.00am and finishing Friday at 19.00 puts me at 6 days and 22 hours.


From a gear perspective I was really lucky. My previous Brevet had been hampered by flat tyres and my pannier rack falling apart. I was super impressed with my freeload racks which took severe punishment but handled so well. My Bike responded so well and as far as only one flat tyre, that just comes down to pure luck. I carried a tent, cooker and dehydrated meals(x4) which I would do again. This gave me the ability to camp anywhere. I was amazed that had my clothing down to about 15 items. On the food, I ate lots when I hit towns (cooked breakfasts, pies, chocolate milk and flat whites) and survived on nuts, bananas, carrots, muesli bars and the occasional gel plus dehydrated meals in between towns.
The journey itself was amazing! I met so many inspiring liked minded bike nuts, who just love getting out and having an adventure. I was really happy how my body held up, as my knee had been giving me grief beforehand. Good on ya knee! One thing I did most nights was rub some of that natural anti-flam into my legs which helped with some of the stiffness. Even at some of my lowest moments it wasn’t hard draw motivation on the fact that I really love this sort of thing. I so love these sorts of adventures as they really feed my soul. Do it again. Hell yes! Will it be a challenge? Hell yes! You never know what curve balls the weather, trail conditions, bike, body, mind is going to throw at you. Well hopefully I will line up in 2014. Finally some thanks must be given to all my friends who texted during the event keeping me motivated to pedal on. To David for putting me onto this crazy as event and finally Simon Kennett for putting together such an amazing event!
Final Thought: I am an avergae cyclist, there is nothing elite about me! I just love having adventures in the outdoors. First time round I never thought I would complete the brevet. I know different now! If you are reading this thinking that you need some adventure, go out and find your own brevet to complete. Rock on Gilby

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Kiwi brevet 2012. Day 6

Murchison to Nelson; 178km     

I was greeted on this morning with cold fog. The first 20km seemed drag on for ever. My body took an age to warm up. First climb of the day was the gentle Braeburn saddle. By the time I summited the Braeburn, there was a small posse of riders cresting over together. The fast decent down into Lake Rotoroa was awesome. Taking a quick pee stop was a mistake as the local sand flies are more than friendly. Next up was the gruelling walk with a bike up the Porika Track. This side of the trail is steep and rocky. It felt good to roll over the top where I soon  began a very fast decent down into St Arnuard. Some really awesome riding where you have to concentrate making sure you get the best line possible. Another important thing is to make sure you have everything strapped on well! Strap it on as my good mate S.H would say. As I hit the seal it was again some long straights before I was feasting on some pies from the local shop in St Arnuard. This feed was well needed as I felt like I was hitting the wall. All washed down with chocolate milk. Next on the agenda was the road through to Nelson which is relatively downhill give or take a couple of large bumps, but ultimately you end up at sea level having started at 700m(St Arnuard). It was great to give the legs a break on some of the nice long descents. As I was entering Nelson on some of the coastal cycleways it was very cool to see some local support out for K.B riders with chalked up support on the cycleways. I arrived in Nelson around 6.30 and headed straight to Pizza Hut where I ordered to large meat lovers pizzas. I went to the Cathedral steps and enjoyed pizza followed by a Flat White. I stashed half a pizza in my day pack for the following day. Oh, if I had known how crucial this cold pizza would be! The temptation to stay at home was very high but in honour of completing this brevet by the rules. With belly full of pizza I headed up the Matai valley campground. Was thinking if David Mangnal(My Training manager from Ob who put me onto this silly event) might be around. I spied through the fence and saw a very distinctive pair of yellow holey soles. A quick catch up with David, Ange and Hannah before I was cruising through the new single track in the Matai which is now permanent feature of famous Coppermine loop. Thank you Nelson city council! I headed up to the base of the Mangatapu climb and camped at water reservoir. A superb camp spot! A quick cup of tea and some sleep was in order. Before I went I checked my stats on my cycle computer. Average speed of around 12.5km and 11 hours sitting on the saddle. From memory none of my days were under 10 hours. Some people may think this is unhealthy but genuinely, most of the time I love this!!!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Kiwi brevet 2012. Day 5

Waiuta Trail to Murchison; 165km

Another typical start to this day breaking camp around 5.30 having consumed a can of cold bake beans. I soon found myself cruising past Bill, Julie and Tomas who had camped a couple of km in front of me. Was pretty interesting to be cruising through such beautiful wilderness and then hear the loud sound of a generator pumping water. A firm reminder of the mining that still goes on in this area. I was soon in enjoying the sunshine from big river hut. The next section of 4wd drive track can only best be described as full on. Rocky and busy. I didn’t envy the folks on skinny tyres. It was the first real test of my freeload racks. They handled the jandal superbly. Very impressed! Another little bonus of getting out the Big River section was I didn’t manage to set my spot tracker off!!!! Although, I must admit any time I heard a chopper through the entire Brevet I quickly looked at my spot tracker to make sure it wasn’t me. A call into Reefton for a second breakfast and the usual pick up supplies from the 4 square. Back on the road around 11.30 facing a climb up Rahu and then down into Springs Junction. It felt like an eternity before I summited Rahu saddle. Three hot days in a row were probably effecting my judgement. Was delayed in Springs for a while I fixed a flat tyre. Back on the road, I headed through to the Maruia Saddle. Was pretty funny to be on the saddle at 19.00. It was very reminiscent of Brevet 1 where I was up there at the same time, the only difference being I only had 40km to ride instead of 70km. The ride into the Matakitaki valley is very beautiful and felt like I was heading into home territory as I have done a lot of paddling in this area. I arrived at the Murch campground just after 21.00. A quick plead with the campground owner to get a cabin. A chance to do some washing. Another quality day. I Drifted off to sleep very happy knowing that I was well and truly on the home track.