Tour Aotearoa Day 22Day 22: Completion
Epilogue & Shit List
Epilogue & Shit List
Mossburn to Bluff 137km
I was grateful to have spent the night indoors as it had rained quite heavily in the night. I backtracked the 3km to Mossburn where I met some fellow TA riders who had stayed at the hotel in Mossburn among them some I hadn't seen since the North Island including Seth, Steve, Grant, Mark and others whose names escape me now, they were just rolling out as I arrived in town. I took a dose of voltaren with my breakfast as my knee was still quite swollen but thankfully not as sore as the day before.
The conditions for the ride to the next stop in Winton were the worst of the TA for me. The cold, the rain and a strong headwind made the gravel roads a tough slog. This was the only time I had any trouble with my hands, experiencing some tingling in my palms. I was passed by two more riders along this section.
|Lookee Ma I Done It|
I caught a flight back to Wellington the next day after first stopping in at the Invercargill iSite to pick my memorial plaque.
I got to travel the country from one end to the other, regardless of conditions, and see this amazing place from a perspective that not many get to see. I did it solo, but not alone. So here are some musings from the experience.
First of all I want to thank my family, and especially my lovely wife, Tanya, and my 3 daughters for allowing me to participate in the Tour Aotearoa. I would also like to thank everyone who supported me, helped along the way and rode with me. Thanks also to the Kennett Bothers for organising, Erik for the cue sheets and Jessie for the T-Shirt design.
I would also like to appologise to those whom I met along the way but whose names I have been unable to remember.
I used the same 2016 Giant XTC (JTA) I used for KB14, going against the general trend for 29er bikes, mostly, because it's what I had in the shed. The only change to the bike was the addition of some Ergon GP3 grips, which almost completely eliminated the hand problems I encountered on KB14.
I felt a little underdone, having done just one ride longer than 100km in the lead up, a ride around the Wairarapa Coast, notable mostly because it was the first time I had covered the route during daylight hours. My preparation had also been hampered by us moving into a new house, me organising a surprise fiftieth birthday party for Tanya and starting a new job in the months beforehand. My training consisted mostly of my daily commute from Upper Hutt to Wellington, a flat ride along the river trail with not nearly enough hills.
My first ride fully loaded was the 20km ride from Waitiki to Cape Reinga, 90 mile beach was a rude awakening.
I used a Revelate Designs Harness on the front too secure a dry bag, which was much more convenient than the areo bar attachment method I had used previously. On the back I used a Thule Freeload rack to carry my tent and the other dry bag. Two drink bottles on the frame, a camelbak for additional fluids/foods and a top tube bag for incidentals made up the rest.
|All my stuff and a clean bike in Opononi|
The first 3 Days
I got myself sunburnt in the first few days as the shorts I was wearing were about 5cm shorter than my normal shorts and I had rolled up my sleeves, forgetting to slap on the sunscreen. I was also dehydrated despite drinking about 6l of fluids per day and struggled to eat enough, particularly experiencing trouble with hot chips. There was significant time pressure to make the ferry sailing across the Kaipara, as sailings were few and places limited, this was also largest gathering of riders since the start and the last major bottleneck before everyone spread out.
Three days off road
The Waikato river Trail, The Timber Trail and the Bridge to nowhere were probably the hardest section of riding with the least distance covered per day and possibly the highest ratio of genuine mountain biking.
5 days on the West Coast.
From Kawatiri to Pleasant Flat I loved the West Coast, the coast had 3 of my favourite trails, Big River/Waiuta, The Maruia Saddle and The Wilderness Trail. This was coupled with the beautiful rain forest and magnificent scenery in the glacier and Haast regions
I camped for 11 of the 21 nights in my $50 warehouse tent, which represented great value for money and did keep me warm and dry. The tent, though, was bulkier and heavier than a lot of those others used, and due to the separate fly took me longer to set up and take down. This was a much more pleasant arrangement than the bivvy bag I used last time, I think also that the extra comfort led to less eagerness to get going in the mornings. The other 10 nights were spent in peoples homes, motels, hotels, camp ground cabins and the Kaipara Cruising Club. The longest stretch without a shower was between Upper Hutt and Springs Junction, 3 days.
I tried to get a decent cooked meal at least once a day, and stocked up with sandwiches, rolls and custard squares when I could. I supplemented this with muesli bars, chocolate, peanut M&Ms, bumper bars and confectionary company dinosaurs. I kept some OSMs in reserve for emergencies, but avoided using these as they remind me too much of chip board.
I would consider a cooking setup next time as I found myself getting to my accommodation in the evenings after everything had closed. I'm more night owl than early bird, so I struggle with early starts, but early starts would lessen the likelyhood of arriving after closing time, particularly in the smaller towns.
I utilised mostly ground effects clothing and was double shorting after about 7 days due to a sore arse. Sweet Cheeks Butt Butter kept the nether and nipple regions in good shape, no chaffing or saddle sores. I had some toe numbness for a few weeks afterward and my hands held up well due to a new grip/glove combo. My right shoulder got quite sore by the end, which may have been a result of the camelbak. And my left knee blew up for the last few days, which I suspect was a combination of overuse and my seat post slipping.
I used a combination of cue sheets, my cellphone GPS with the app maps.me, and following tyre tracks in the dust/mud. This method only let me down once when I took a wrong turn to Waihi on the Hauraki Rail Trail.
- 90 Mile breach
- The Waikato River Trail
- The Bridge to Nowhere
- The Maungatapu Track
- The last 10km to Poutu Point
- Wrong turn at Paeroa.
- Left behind cellphone at Kohukohu.
- Setting off the metal detectors at CHCH airport 3 times.
So good I'd do that shit again, anytime.
- Big River/Waiuta
- Maruia Saddle
- The Timber Trail
- The Wilderness trail
I'd like to go back and try that shit again.
- The Bridge to Nowhere. To do it fresh and without time pressure.
- The Waikato River Trail, see above.
- Tane Mahuta, to check it out during the day
- The random generosity of strangers.
- My $50 Warehouse tent
- Deraileur hanger, snapped on the Maungatapu.
- Top tube bag (2 blown out zips)
- Lights (battery and cable)
- Camelbak Spigot
- Sunglasses (Kawakawa Bay)
- Gloves (spare pair on The Timber Trail)
- Ralph's on Dominion Rd, Auckland.
- Ongarue Flashpackers, Ongarue
- Fords Cafe, Nelson
- The Cheese Barn on The Hauraki Rail Trail
- The Broadway Tearooms and Bakery, Reefton
- Left knee.
- Insect bites.
- Melancholy at Walter Peak
- Mangakino Reprobates.
- Ergon GP3 grips
- Revelate Designs harness.
- Riding with my friends Edd and Karl.
- Meeting family in Ashurst, Martinborough and Upper Hutt.
- Sweet Cheecks Butt Butter.
- Sharing the adventure with fellow TA riders.
- Retailers that went out of their way to help out, especially the now closed Reid's store in Maria Springs.
- The hospitality at the Formerly The Blackball Hilton.
- The traffic, I can't recall a single bad experience.