Friday, 21 February 2014

Kiwibrevet Day 7. Culverden to Blenheim.

Sunrise Culverden.
Red sky in morning means get up, followed the east coast breakfast model and had a steak and cheese pie and a flat white at the local bakery, grabbed a custard square for the ride to Hanmer. The ride to Hanmer felt longer than the advertised 36km, the custard square was yummy though. Hanmer has a resort town sort of feel with lots of accommodation and eateries, I broke the cooked breakfast routine and had bacon and banana pancakes instead of the largest breakfast I could find.
No eggs and beans.
I got some extra supplies from the food market and headed for the first climb of the day. Jacks Pass climbs steadily out of Hanmer to 870m, once at the top there are panoramic views back over Hanmer and to the North. I really enjoyed the ride up the Clarence valley, the weather was mild and there was a slight tail wind, only downside was the corrugations in the road surface, you could see the tyre tracks of those who had passed before wandering all over the road looking for the best line. The weather started to close in as I was going past Lake Tennyson and got progressively worse as I headed up towards Island Saddle, the highest point of the brevet at 1347m, about here the batteries in the camera gave up. I had to stop part way down the Rainbow valley to put extra thermal layers on as it was still raining lightly and the wind chill from the extended descent was making things a little cold. At the toll gate I ran into  Rick D who had had some rotten luck and managed to split the rim of his rear wheel, he was a lot more philosophical about the situation than I think I would have been. The ride down to the SH63 turn off was smooth and fast, I caught up to a number of Brevette riders, all of whom were in good spirits and enjoying the closing stages of the Brevette
Jacks pass.

Island Saddle looks damp.
The SH63 meant decision time, I had seen the facebook post at Hanmer saying that the North Bank section of the Wairau was now optional. I could either tuirn left and head to St Arnaud and complete the Brevet tomorrow or turn right and head for Blenheim. I was already wet it's a predominantly downhill run into Blenheim, it was also rumored an easterly would arrive the next day to make things more difficult, I was also now keen to get this thing finished. It was about 8pm so I thought I would make Blenheim around 1am. The ride to Blenheim was largely uneventful with little traffic on the road until Wairau Valley when a local concerned that I was out so late offered me a bed for the night, I politely declined. Wairau valley also has a bus shelter with laz-y-boy and occasional table, this would be my last rest for the Brevet.
Wairau Valley, last rest.
I was now aware that I might be keeping a raft of blue dot junkies up, some consternation was caused when my tracker wasn't updating, seems the Wairau Valley isn't the best for gps reception, and I think the spot tracker may have got turned around. I pressed on now fueled almost entirely by peanut M&Ms and dreams of glory. Aunty Steph found me halfway between Wairau Valley and Renwick,checked if I was OK and asked how I liked my coffee, white please no sugar. I arranged to meet her in about an hour at Seymour Square

Almost dead on an hour later around 12:30am, I arrived at Seymour Square, I turned my tracker off almost immediately as I was wet and cold, this may be why it never registered my finish. Aunty was there with my coffee and a cheese toastie. 

Day 7, 241km in 17 hours.


  1. Dave congrats on a great achievement that was a huge last day! Cheers Brett

    1. Thanks Brett, I'm not sure where that final day came from. Glad to see you recovered from the cold ride over porters.