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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Tour Aotearoa Update – Feb 2015

The 2015 KiwiBrevet finished earlier this month and it was one of the best rides of my life. Long days in the saddle, good company and great scenery combined. It also gave me a few ideas for next year’s big tour.
First of all, this is a beautiful country, so I’m introducing 30 Photo Control Points where you will have to stop and take a photo. They will be at iconic places like Cape Reinga (see below) and Bluff.

A list of all 30 control points will be announced the day before the event starts.
Secondly, some tyre advice. Be fat! Those with narrow tyres (less than 2 inches) on the KiwiBrevet all regretted it. Narrow tyres are just too harsh over rocky ground, so I strongly recommend 2 to 2.4 inch tyres. If you have good off-road skills then you’ll be trying to get away with something minimal and super-fast rolling, like Stans Ravens. That’s my choice anyway.
The fattest and thinnest tyres on the 2015 KiwiBrevet
And thirdly, there were quite a few riders surprised by how tough the KiwiBrevet was. This was exacerbated by: bikes unsuitable for off-road riding, carrying too much gear (or too little), and riding so fast that nothing was left in reserve. Also being unprepared bad weather, and really hot weather. So I’ll do my best to develop a range of realistic expectations for Tour Aotearoa.
Entries and Expectations
Tour Aotearoa starts in exactly one year. As you know, entries will be limited to 100. There are now over 200 riders on the mailing list. So I need to do some negative marketing before calling for final entries (see below).
The TourAotearoa is 3000 km long, and that is a looooong way ( I ditched the idea of North and South Island options ages ago – so it’s all or nothing!). You will ride through horrible storms, develop festering boils, crash and hurt yourself and suffer mindboggling mechanicals. At times you’ll be tired and miserable and may wish you had never been born. What else? Oh yeah, homesickness, mental fatigue, aggressive drivers, navigational errors, etc, etc. And this tour isn’t a race, so no one but your mother will congratulate you for riding really fast. There will be no prize money, and no sag wagon or support teams – you’re to be self-supported remember? If, like one rider at the KiwiBrevet this year, you get a puncture and push the panic button on your Spot Tracker, I will disqualify you (Mwah ha haa). HONESTLY, I wouldn’t enter if I was you. It sounds horrible.
Entry and confirmation
OK, so if despite the above advice, you contact me and say you’ve gone to the effort of booking your leave and/or travel, I will now count you as entered. Your entry will be confirmed later in the year when you donate to one of two designated charities and offset your carbon emissions for the event (boo hoo to you climate change deniers – another reason not to enter ).
So far we have 100 definite entrants and 80 people in reserve. The very final confirmation will be when you have donated to the official charity and paid for your offsetting carbon emissions. More on this shortly. Carbon emissions will be calculated using www.carbonzero.co.nz/EmissionsCalc/tourismeditor.aspx
The course
I’ll put out a revised course in autumn but it won’t be final until the end of the year. There are still several cycle trails/paths under construction and their progress will decide exactly where we go. We will use as many of the best cycle trails as we can but still follow a reasonably logical route.
As soon as it is finalised, the Kennett Bros will write up the route and put it into a special edition of Classic NZ Cycle Trails, which will be published in late November.

Recent question: what are the riding conditions like?
Here is an approximate breakdown by distance, and, more importantly, by estimated time (working from averages of 20kph on seal, 10 kph on gravel, 5 kph on single track). You will also spend about 8 hours travelling on boats/ferries.

Kilometres Estimated time Overall percentage (by time)
Beach 80 8 hours 3%
Cycle trail/path 693 139 hours 50%
Gravel Road 415 42 hours 15%
Sealed Road 1813 91 hours 32%
Total 3000 280

As usual, if you have any questions, fire away. I’ll send out another update next month, with an updated list of Definitely Entered riders. Until then, I hope you’re taking advantage of summer and getting some great riding done.
Pedal on!
Jonathan Kennett

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