It’s New Year’s Day and my thoughts again have turned to the Kiwi Brevet event in two months’ time. On checking the official site I notice that there are getting on for 100 entrants now. I think therefore that it might be time for me to enter. The cost of entry appears to be nothing.
On closer examination it seems that I have to make a charitable donation to some cause or other. Luckily for us non giving people, they have made it easy by reducing the choices to just a few organisations. I don’t see the ‘Stop Humans Breeding like Rabbits Foundation ‘on the list or for that matter one of my favourites ‘The Society for the Decriminalisation of Child Discipline’. It’s not all bad though as the charities available are cycling orientated. The rescue helicopter option may even come in handy one day if I fall off my bike somewhere remote.
|Looks can be Deceiving. Early Stage of the Porika Track.|
I have made ‘forced’ donations to that one in the past and continue to support them thanks to my long involvement with Westpac Bank. The Westpac helicopter continues to rescue foreigners who set off into the mountains and then get hypothermia and decide they’ve now had enough ,or pluck fisherman from the sea who after a beer or two and a quick ciggy then fall into the surf while not wearing their life-jacket. And when my investments once again come up for renewal and I look at the pathetic interest rate that I am to receive for the next 12months, I can at least feel warm and fuzzy in the knowledge that I am doing my bit to rescue un fortunates.
My last Kiwi Brevet practise just before Xmas went well and taught me a thing or two. After loading up my bike and heading out to do the Porika Track and associated gravel back country cycling I returned home the next day with at least three lessons learned. And in fact that 300km Porika /Braeburn and home circuit was so hard that I’m not going to mention what I learnt because fellow Brevet people may be reading this and hoping to learn stuff the easy way. The easy way being not going arse over kite down the Porika (because it’s so steep and chewed out), or getting virtually no sleep at the half way point because the ground was so hard and cold without a bed roll.
I can share other useful points though like the fact that the fish and chips at Murchison are disgusting. ‘Niel the wheel’s tip in Murch is to not spend more than $10 on fish and chips because they are so yuk that you won’t be able to eat any more than that. Financially buoyant people will be able to stop at the restaurant but if you do that you may be riding into the wee small hours making up all that lost time, and who’s to say that some tosser won’t nick your bike when you’re in there wine -ing and dining your sorry arse.
Not giving any clues away, but the Porika is so rough that I will now triple wrap my tent due to the constant vibrations wearing through any coverings not made from bullet resistant weave. I took minimal gear with me on the trip but with the exception of needing a sleeping mat have decided in the interests of getting back to Blenheim in time( to get back to work at the bike shop) and with a smile still on my face, I’ll dump some other things that I thought were necessities.
I will now not take my portable barometer and weather station. Gone from the list is my brass compass. There won’t be room for such luxuries as my combination ‘Browning’ stainless steel knife fork spoon (with integrated can opener).
Realistically now I can’t see myself having time sweet talk any locals, so will take no casual / party clothes. This will be strictly business. If it doesn’t involve me moving forward on my bike then it will not be on the radar.
I need one more overnight training ride to fine tune the bike and gear. More importantly I need to suss out the off road stuff around Reefton. Big River is an area I have never been and mentally I need to know that it’s passable on the Mercian. Even if I have to push or pull the bike through what I believe is the toughest part of the event, I’ll feel better when I’ve done it once. So in a couple of weeks I’ll ride on the road to Reefton 180kms, then the next day do the Big River and back to Murchison ~130km before on the 3rd day riding the long way home (another 180kms).
If I’ve got the energy after that I’ll do a day ride over the Mangataupu as like the other off road sections I fear that the Mercian and I may be doing it tough.
|The Braeburn . Wet Feet and ................|
The photos attached have reminded me of what I learnt on the Braeburn trail. Firstly you realise how lucky you are to still be alive and operational after crossing the Porika Track. But other than that you learn not to ford the splashes at such a pace that you soak everything on the bike including yourself. This is because you will most certainly not have fully dried out by Murchison and will be frozen while you eat your greasy flavourless fish and chips. You’ve got to grin and bear it though. While you stuff it down you’ll be thinking, tasteless as this fast food is, it’s good for me. Full of salt and carbos and washed down with a litre of coke for electrolyte replacement.
Just what the doctor ordered.