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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Tour Aotearoa Update - May 2015

Fellow tour riders,

The length of New Zealand dirt brevet is less than 9 months away, and many of you have already bought specific bikes and started training. You’re months ahead of me! I aim to stop organising, and start training on the 1st of Spring. But for now, here are three updates to keep your planning cogs turning.

Entry Numbers
There are 240 confirmed entrants – 120 for each start. That is the limit. Based on previous events, 20% will pull out before the start, leaving 100 riders per wave – just right for transport across Kaipara Harbour.

If you do pull out in the next six months, please let us know, as there are now 50 Reserve Riders. If you are a reserve rider and want to move up the reserve list, then you could pay your donation and carbon offset now (no refunds of course).

Also, if you are down to start on the 21st Feb, but could possibly shift to the 23rd, that would be great. There are several riders that are super keen to get a start on the 21st and you would be doing them a big favour.

Transport to the event
By now, some of you will have worked out that if a dozen cyclists book the same plane or bus to get up to the event, there won’t be room to take all the bikes.

Some people are considering alternatives, such as taking a holiday north with family, or chartering a shuttle or bus. If you are organising transport and would like to share with other riders, I can pass out a message.

The revised route
Based on further research and new tracks being built, Paul and I have made several major changes to the route, and some minor ones. Here is a link to the revised provisional route –  http://www.kennett.co.nz/maps/tour-aotearoa/tracks.html

It will change again before being finalised in November. Here is a summary of the major changes.

Auckland Traverse: thanks to several Aucklanders showing me around their metropolis, I think we now have the best brevet route. It will go right into the top of Queen Street on a cycleway, then past three bike shops (on busy roads). One of the bikes shops is Mt Eden Cycles. They have several riders in the tour, and will look after you. Then you’ll nip up Mt Eden, an extinct volcano, which will be one of the 30 photo control points. Finally, after riding the bridle track through Totara Park on the edge of the city, you will be given a choice, either below the Hunua Ranges, or above. Going around the top doesn’t take much longer and is more scenic, but also pretty busy with traffic in the weekends. You can decide when you get there.

Waikato River Trail: They are currently rerouting a section just south of Arapuni. I will research it and get a gps file soon.

Pohangina Valley: Because you’ll all have fat tyres, we will go down the west side of the scenic Pohangina Valley, to Ashhurst. You will be more likely to meet sheep than cars on the gravel road.

Pathway Link: I took a look at the new path between Picton and Havelock yesterday. The diggers were working away, and it looks great. We will use the downhill from The Wedge to Ngakuta Bay if it is finished by November.

Tadmor Valley in – Porika out: this is a big change. I think all the Kiwi Brevet riders enjoyed Tadmor Valley this year, so much so that I’ve moved the route from Wakefield to Tapawera to Murchison. This means Porika would be a dogleg, so we’ve dropped it, in favour of a much nastier dogleg further south.

Big River: yep, I know this is mean, but DOC have done some upgrading work, and it’s such an adventure with fantastic scenery. So we are going via Big River. If the weather is totally horrendous on the day I will allow an alternate via the highway, because Big River would be too dangerous to cross.

West Coast Wilderness Trail: There are two more good reroutes likely on this trail. I’ll travel there in a couple of weeks and check it out.

Wanaka Outlet Track: Just confirming that we will take the Outlet Track into Wanaka. The scenery is too good to miss.

Arrowtown to Lumsden: Fish & Game have opposed the construction of Around the Mountains Cycle Trail down the Oreti Gorge. This means it won’t be finished this year. So we have a choice: either go to Queenstown, take the boat across Lake Wakatipu and then cycle gravel roads to Mavora Lakes and Mossburn, OR, we go to Gibbston, and take four climbs via Coalpit Saddle to the Nevis Valley, and head over to Gibbston, then down the cycle trail to Lumsden.

Obviously some people would be keen to go to Queenstown even though it is frantic in early March, and take the Steamship Earnslaw across the lake. The route via the Nevis Valley would be much hillier and very remote.

Do you have an opinion? What do you think you would prefer, having already ridden 2500 km? Perhaps this should be another alternate?

Invercargill to Bluff Trail: another 7.5 km of this off road trail was opened last month and will be part of the Tour Aotearoa route.

Cliff Clermont is going to produce a highly detailed file for gps and put it on ridewithgps.com
Thanks Cliff.

Remember, this is a community. If you can contribute something to the tour, please do. Perhaps someone could design a classy helmet sticker or t-shirt?

Have you got your Spot Tracker sorted yet? Don’t forget that you can buy a Spot Gen3 with new lithium batteries from tony@spotnz.com for only $485. It could save your life.

And finally, Ollie has a cool article about the tour in the latest Spoke mag. Check it out.

Until next month,
Pedal on!
Jonathan Kennett and the brevet team

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