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Monday, February 10, 2020

Tour Aotearoa Update – 7 February 2020

Only ten days to go for the first wave of riders! Let the countdown begin!

Start times
Not everyone realises it yet, but the start times coincide with low tides on Ninety Mile Beach.

7am, 17th February
8am, 18th February
9am, 19th February
10am, 20th February
11am, 21th February
12 noon, 22th February
1pm, 23rd February

7am, 3 March
8am, 4 March
9am, 5 March
10am, 6 March
11am, 7 March
12noon, 8 March

If you are not sure of your start date, please check your details on the public start list: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1e2VTW2D5BcBY-zlNcgmESIR0uqX3-nhgbhYDD6E61m8/

If you can’t find your name on the list, and want to enter, then please email us by the end of the next week (touraotearoa@kennett.co.nz). There are spaces left in the last three starts.

Final changes
Correction: in the last update I mistakenly referred to Whakamaru Dam, which is not even on the TA course. I meant Waipapa Dam. The on-road alternative route that has just been signposted on the Waikato River Trail route, is from Arapuni Dam to Waipapa Dam. It is optional.

Te Paki Stream, between Te Paki Stream Road and Ninety Mile Beach is open to walkers and cylists. The closure you may have seen mentioned on Facebook only applied to motor vehicles.

The holiday park at Waipapakauri is currently closed for renovations. It is the one about 15 km north of Ahipara, on Ninety Mile Beach.

Kaipara Harbour: Please don’t forget that there is only one boat you can legally take across the Kaipara Harbour – Kaipara Cruises. The other boat, AliCat has been sold and left the district. And remember, you don’t have to take the boat, you can take the alternative option around the harbour, which is detailed in the TA guidebooks. But it is about 100 km longer.

The Arataki Wire Bridge has been repaired by DOC and so the course is still as described in the guidebooks (from Mangakino to the Centre of New Zealand). There is no change.

There are ‘road closed’ signs on Maruia Saddle at the moment, but cyclists are getting through ok. A report from riders says that it looks like a new bridge and general repair works have just about finished.

There is a great new cafe with accommodation in Maruia right on SH65. They opened at Christmas. The cafe is new and first class. Contact details are:

Reids Roadhouse 65
1956 State Highway 65
Email: enquiries@dogsdelight.co.nz
Ph: 0274 750 780

Reefton is gearing up for you. The town will be decked out in TA street flags, and some of the businesses will open longer hours if they see your dots heading their way. Keep an eye out for TA signs in town, and the Merijigs Hotel snack bar on the track to Big River.

There is a kissing gate below Big River Hut that you have to lift your bike over. If you are knackered, then open the gate with the combination 1969 (= the number of km you have ridden from Cape Reinga).

In Bluff there are medals available for $10 each to anyone who has walked or cycled from Cape Reinga to Bluff. You can pick them up from the café at Sterling Point, overlooking the AA signs at the end of the tour.

There are bound to be dozens of other changes you discover along the way!

Just a reminder that you need to sign up for tracking on MAProgress by going to https://touraotearoa2020.maprogress.com/event/register. There are various options to hire / buy / or connect your own tracker to the Satellite network.

Shane will be at Cape Reinga to meet you and hand out the trackers for those that are hiring them.

Transport from Auckland to Cape Reinga

Real Far North Tours are offering bus trips from Auckland Airport (and Whangarei and Kerikeri) to Cape Reinga. Riders will be taken to a camping ground 6 km from Cape Reinga. There will be large tents with mattresses set up for riders to use at the camping ground. The cost will be $200 all up. Bookings essential. Contact: realfarnorthtours@gmail.com

Congestion on the course
There will be a lot of riders out on the course this year, so there might be a few choke points. Please be patient. You are no more, or less, important than anyone else travelling the tracks and trails of TA.

For more information…
Go to the Tour Aotearoa website or the Tour Aotearoa: General Forum on Facebook

During the event, Paul will be cycling the tour on a tandem with his son, and I will be riding Kopiko Aotearoa. Simon Kennett will be fielding any urgent questions. His email is simon@kennett.co.nz and he will be keeping an eye on the Facebook forum and posting Official Updates.

What could possibly go wrong?

Well... in 2018 three cyclones hit NZ during the tour, four unlocked bikes were stolen (two recovered) and two riders crashed and went to hospital with injuries. Almost every mechanical issue you can imagine happened, but never stopped anyone for long. And by the end of March, 87% of the riders had made it to Bluff, although many had been forced off the course in places. If the outcome of this adventure was certain, then it wouldn’t really be an adventure.

If there is a course change, Simon will post about it.

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