Sunday, 14 February 2016

What I need for the Tour Aotearoa

I have to admit that I am what one might call a weight weenie, but only within reason. $$$$$$$ and reliability are the key factors which make me decide whether an item is suitable or not. I need to know that the gear I use will do what I want it to, is not too heavy but not so light that it just won't last or even worse fail whilst you are using it. So I have listed below what I am using for the Tour Aotearoa, this is what I need for my comfort physically and mentally to tackle something like the Tour Aotearoa.  I am not carrying any cooking gear as I will be relying on dairies, petrol stations, supermarkets, cafés, Subway and other fast food outlets and basically any where that sells any form of food when needed.
Up the front attached to the handle bars I am using a Revelate Sweet Roll (0.25kg).
Inside is the following (1.25kg)
Louis Garneu 29 long finger gloves
Louis Garneu knee warmers
Louis Garneu shoe T cover
Spare cycle top and tri shorts
Camp seam sealed rain jacket
Macpac seam sealed over trousers
Seal Skin socks for those rainy days
Sea to Summit Dry Lite towel
Poly Pro gloves, Buff head scarf
Plastic bowl
Sea to Summit Ultra Sil 20L Dry Pack, The only time this will be worn is when I need o buy food for the end of the day and the stat of the next, otherwise it will be stashed away.

I have also attached a Salomon Front pack (0.130kg) to the Sweet Roll, which is great for easy access to those items you always want to lay your hands on. It also has two bottle holders that can be used for extra water but I like to use it for food, Bananas, other fruit, bars etc.

Inside is the following: (0.26kg)
Money and credit card and Licence
Seat To Summit spoon fork knife
Cable lock
Cable ties
Anti Chaffing cream
Tooth brush, tooth paste and dental floss
Sunscreen and SPF 30 Chap Stick
Head phones
Various medical tablets and water purifying tablets
Chain cleaning brush and oil
Lezyne Macro Duo 400 Lumen USB chargeable light, Helmet light when needed

Out the back I am using the Revelate Viscacha (0.392kg)
Inside is the following: (3.0kg)
Intents1Ultra Pack 1P tent, check them out on trade me (.74kg)
Sea to Summit Ultra light un insulated sleeping mat (0.355kg)
Sea to Summit Aero Ultra Light pillow (0.06kg)
Sea to Summit Spark 1 (0.35kg)
OR Synthetic down jacket with hood
Warm winter weight long sleeve cycle top
Running shorts for sleeping in and for normal wear if needed
Lightest Jandals I could find,(not that light). It will be nice to get the cycling shoes off at the end of the day that is for sure.
More Anti Chaffing cream, Voltaren cream, Betadene antiseptic and so on
Spare parts, puncture repair kit and tools

I also have a Revelate Gas Tank on the top tube of the bike which has a Romoss (which allows pass through charging) power bank in it, my cell phone, cables and space for food.

This is what I will be mainly riding in, this really nice clothing made Lawn in the Czech Republic, A Limar super light Helmet, Louis Garneau T-Flex LS-100 BOA MTB Shoes and Sziols X Cross sport glasses. The shorts and top are super light so I am carrying a spare set. 
I think and hope that I have every thing I need for the Tour Aotearoa but if not it is New Zealand and I have my credit card.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Das Fahrrad

The bike........ how it started
I built this bike up myself with a frame from, the frame is the FM256 and so far seems like a very good frame. I have had other frames from Hongfu and I have never had any issues. For the price and quality of their many products I would highly recommend them. The rest of the bike came from a 2014 Giant XTC Advance SL0, which comprised of Giant Carbon wheels, carbon Bars, and stem and SRAM's amazing XX1. I am using a WTB Volt saddle on a 31.6mm Easton EC90 seat post and running Maxxis Treadlite EXO TR tyres. I picked this bike up brand new in 2015 for $3000 Australian and still have the small sized frame to sell and recoup some of the costs. The bike as pictured weighed 8.9kg but soon shed some weight when I fitted a Laud Fork, and came in at 8.4kg with pedals and two drink bottle cages. Even if most people think that the Lauf Fork looks strange and potentially ugly, it definitely has place in my world and many others. The reasoned being that at 990 grams, no maintenance required and 60mm of suspension, they make for a very good choice from the Breveter to the serious cross country racer. They will definitely add some serious comfort to my Tour Aotearoa. 
So with the change to the Lauf Fork also came a Shutter Precision 15mm Dyno hub laced onto a Stan's Crest rim, which took the bare bike weight to 8.6kg. Then the addition of all the electrics and lighting system from kLite, The kLite is great and completely self sufficient as long as you just keep pedalling. It gives me a choice of 600 or 1000 lumen headlight that I generate the power for and also the ability to charge my GPS, Phone, Cache battery pack and any other USB rechargeable device. 

So as pictured above without the drink bottles the bike weighs 16kg with all of my gear for the Tour Aotearoa, it will soon hit 20kg with the ability to carry three litres of fluid and the necessary food to keep me going all day, day after day. This a pretty light setup but as soon as you hit any hill you know about it.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

What I was meant to be doing

Training in New Zealand, take 3 (22nd, 23rd and 24th of January)

My next adventure was meant to be the Red bull Defiance Multisport race as part of one of the Thule Adventure teams. But my Swedish team mate became sick in the last two weeks and was on antibiotics. When I couldn't find someone to fill the spot I took the chance to get out on the bike again.

I planned a three day trip from Christchurch down into the McKenzie country and return.

Day 1 was a bit of a late start(7.30am) as my daughter wanted to have breakfast together. It was nice to enjoy sleeping in a little bit, having a nice breakfast together and let the day warm up ever so slightly as well. I headed to Ashburton via as many back roads that I could find and it was quite interesting travelling on roads I never knew existed.
From Ashburton again I hit bask roads and shingle roads to about 25km's short of Geraldine. It was a hot day and from here it was the main highway via Fairlie and then onto Tekapo. Biking into Tekapo I saw some bikes on cars and realised that the Great Southern Brevet was on so I called in for a chat. They offered me a piece of grass to pitch my tent if needed. Off I went to find somewhere to stay and some hot food. Tekapo was busy and the few paces I tried were fully booked. Next stop was food and since I didn't want to sit down in a restaurants and scare everyone away with the smell and then Lycra look, I chose a Burger and Chips. You rally can't beat a true Kiwi burger and I was not let down. I went back to the Brevet head quarters and I was welcomed in does and even got a shower after dinner. After being up to long for an early start the next day I was pitching my tent at 11pm. It was good practice for what is to come in the TA. Up at 5.30am, banana and a muesli bar for breakfast, packed up and gone by 6.15am, today was going to be the longest ride I had ever done day well at least that is what I had planned. I took the A2O (Alps to Ocean) cycle trail to Twizel and then stayed on the Highway to Omarama, it was now time for COFFEE and a real breakfast at

I was disappointed to learn that they did not do either Pancakes or French Toast but the toasted muesli and berry compote that I ordered was delicious. From Here I headed out on the A2O again, they have not finished this section of trail so it soon heads back to the main road.Once I hit Kurow it was time for another Almond Magnum and a Hamburger was ordered and put in the bag for a bit later. I headed up the Hakataramea Valley which is somewhere I had never travelled before and it was a beautiful ride up and over the Pass apart from the strong head wind.

From there it was out to the main ride and a few km's to Burkes Pass. Finally the wind was now behind me and it seemed to take no time at all to get to Fairlie but I was moments too late for the Four Square Supermarket. I scouted around for somewhere to eat and again since it was a Saturday night in a Canterbury high country town I decided not to go to the pub all though a good roast would have gone down a treat. The only other option was takeaways, so Hamburger number three here we go. I was now 8pm and I decided to continue to Geraldine, it started to rain get dark and I some how had a slow puncture but I managed to get to Geraldine on it. It was now dark , time to consume another Magnum and fix the puncture. I liked for somewhere to pitch the tent but in the end decided to head out of town. Finally found somewhere about an hour down the road and 319km from the start of the day.

Day three, I was up super early and on the bike by 5.10am, I was looking forward to getting to Methven for a coffee and the French toast I had missed out on the day before, the only problem was that there was a very stiff wind in my way. Eventually I got to Methven and sat down at 131 Café next door to Big Al's sport shop. They had French Toast and that is exactly what I ordered and a coffee off course. The food was great and the service was friendly. Once I could get myself out of the comfy chair it was time to hit the headwind again and head to Lake Lyndon via the Lake Coleridge Road.

It was nice to get off road again and it was a nice ride through to Lake Lyndon and nice to tick that box as I had meant to do that part on another trip but never did. From there it was up and over Porters pass and now the no Webster was finally behind me and with it pretty much being all down hill to Springfield it was a blast.

I stopped at a café I had been to on a similar and I was really looking forward to a carrot muffin and a coffee just like last time. That was not to be, so I reluctantly ordered a pie for $5.50 it went down a threat but expensive for a pie. Down the road 13km and there was the famous Sheffield pie shop and I was keen but the queue of 10 people denied me of eating my second pie in 5 years.

From there it was onto the Old West Coast Road and I was down on my Aero bars doing 37km's an hour with the Norwest behind me, it made me think of my days competing in the Longest day Coast to Coast. Normally during the C2C the wind Nor Western never last's but fortunately for me it did and carried me all the way home. 200km exactly for the day and many lessons learnt in preparation for the Tour Aotearoa. The biggest thing for me is to accept the speed of travel due to all factors, weight of bike going up hills, wind, day after day of long km's and lack of sleep. When you come from a racing background you tend to think I should be going faster or pushing a bit harder but that is not the way to treat something like the Tour Aotearoa.

Day trip on Banks peninsula

Training in New Zealand, take 2 (15th of January)

An early start for another day on the bike, starting from Cashmere I headed up over Dyers Pass and around to Diamond Harbour, Purau, Port levy, then on to Pigeon bay. From there I headed up Middle road to the Summit Road, boy is this a steep one and at about half way it turns into a shingle road to make it even tougher. I was happy with my riding up there fully loaded and with a 1 x 10 set up with a 34t up front and an 11-36t cassette at the back. (this is not the bike I will be using for the Tour Aotearoa).

From there I continued along the Summit Road until the descent into Akaroa. It was seriously windy up there (Nor West) but I managed to stay on the bike and road thankfully. I was also amazed that from reaching the summit road to the descent it was another 1000m of gained elevation. Heading down to Akaroa was not as much fun as it could have been due to the wind but nice all the same. Akaroa was full of Tourist thanks to a cruise ship anchored in the harbour but I still managed to find a bench to sit on all to my self and enjoy the views and my lunch. Frome there it was then back to Christchurch via the bays, Little River and the Rail Trail. I enjoyed a nice coffee and a chat with an enthusiastic local at Little River. She had done many cycle tours in a previous life and was intrigued by my Revelate bike packing set up. In the end I had a very enjoyable 168km with 4100m of gained altitude and 10 hours on and off the bike.

Escaping the Queensland heat

Training in New Zealand, take 1 (6th, 7th and 8th of January)

I was lucky enough to spend some time in New Zealand over Christmas which I always love and especially getting away from the Queensland heat at that time of year. The heat in Queensland really makes it hard for long rides but I had some great rides in New Zealand in preparation for the Tour Aotearoa.
The bike pictured is not what I will use in the TA and I also didn't have all my gear but made do with what I could find to simulate the load the best I could.

The first trip was a luxury trip being supported my partner Susanne and my daughter Zania but they were in the car of course.
Day one was form Christchurch to Kaikoura, mainly on the state highway which was not too bad. I am accustomed to the NZ roads and traffic like this and I must say most drivers were very considerate of me as a cyclist. Susanne and Zania finally caught up with me just south of the Hundalees, which was a great time for a well deserved lunch stop. Out came the picnic rug and Chilly bin and down went lunch. Back on the bike and just before the last climb over to the coast line my support crew was waiting for me, they had actually been over this climb and Zania said that is too steep for Daddy so they came back to give me a ride. Nice of Zania to think of me but that was never going to happen so off I went. I met them again about 15km south of Kaikoura where I decided that was enough, mainly because of the narrow road and traffic intensity. 177km for the day on a loaded bike with a head wind most of the way and 8hrs on and off the saddle in total.

Day two, Kaikoura to Hammer via the inland road 133km, beautiful winding road but again a head wind all day, definitely makes a difference that is for sure. Just getting me prepared for many head winds that will be experienced in the TA.
Rotherham Store, Est 1878 (Almond Magnum, coke and a Cookie Time devoured) 

Day three I took the liberty to spend some time with Susanne and Zania in the morning, where we went for a bit of a walk up Conical Hill and also enjoyed a second breakfast at the Powerhouse Cafe which never seems to let you down, great food and nice coffee. Eventually I got onto the bike at Leithfield Beach and it was looking like I was going to get a tail wind home today, that was only wishful thinking though, as soon as I hit the highway thee is was a head wind again. From here I biked  to Sumner then up Evans pass and along the summit road to Cashmere. A reasonably short day of about 90km but all in all a good three day trip.