Saturday, 15 February 2014

Kiwibrevet Day 1. Blenheim to Maungatapu

I'd taken the 1:30 Bluebridge ferry the Friday before and arranged lodgings with my Aunt and Uncle in Renwick for the night and was duly delivered to the briefing at the Top Town Cinema the next morning. We were given a run down on the private land sections, spot trackers and given the info for call ins, there ensued  an awful lot of fumbling with cellphones particularly from those new to the twittervese, call ins this time around were to be via twitter. Briefing over we had about an hour to kill before the start, a chance to get some last minute supplies including a cream bun. In the square I meet Paul and Dean two guys I had previously shared jungle riding adventures with in the Akatarawas and Tararuas.

I don't recall being nervous I guess when the event is 1100km long there is no point getting too worked up. The clock chimes and we are led out in a neutral start until we have crossed under SH1, then it's all on at the front end, I decided to take things easy as I was expecting a hard time around Port Underwood Rd, but it is difficult not to get exited and push a little too hard. Port Underwood Rd is a seemingly endless roller coaster of ups and downs each descent taking you back down to sea level. Fortunately the day was overcast and not too warm, there were plenty of riders around some of which I would cross paths with many times others I would not see again. The last climb was sealed but seemed to go on forever I found the last 15km into Picton difficult and had developed a headache possibly a consequence of not having drunk enough.

A stop at the Picton 4Square where a gaggle of riders had gathered, overflowing rubbish bins evidence that a large number of riders had already passed through, bought some fruit and powerade and hit the road to Havelock, Dean caught me on the hilly section of Queen Charlotte Dr heading out of Picton, though he was spinning out on the flat sections and I would catch up to him again. We arrived at Havelock together at about 7pm and had a snack, there were still plenty of other riders around, some looking more haggard than others, I hoped I wasn't one of the haggard looking ones. I wanted to get to Pelorus at leas this evening and around this time discovered I had lost my rear light somewhere on Port Underwood Rd, so I wanted to get off the highway as early as possible. We hit Pelorus just after 8pm, I was keen to carry on at least some of the way up the Maungatapu Track, the biggest single climb of the Brevet, Dean was keen to get to Nelson and make use of the available accommodation there.

We set off up the Maungatapu as it was getting dark, I stopped just before 10 having already passed a couple of campsites at the side of the track and set up my bivvy, Dean carried on over the top to Nelson. I'd been on the road nearly 10 hours and covered 138km.

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