|Natural beauty in abundance on a recent shakedown ride|
When the idea was first mooted I was always going to be a starter and now with the ride imminent my excitement has reached fever pitch. While final preparations have had the pleasant distraction of a new baby Maxwell, I’ve managed to stick loosely to my plan and pull everything together physically, mentally and gear wise with a few days to spare. We’ve actually been blessed with Max’s 3-4 hour night sleep cycle, but the 6 hour minimum stipulated for the Tour Aotearoa will luxurious by comparison!
My bike setup has seen some incremental improvements from
the steed used in shorter rides such as the Big Hurt and Cloudride here in Australia.
Some lightweight carbon aerobars have dropped half a kg of weight, and coupled
with curvy Carver MyTi bars give a range of hand positions to keep tingly
fingers to a minimum. A refined K-lite dynamo system will allow me to choose
between possum dazzling illumination or USB charging at the flick of a stem mounted
|BLAAT (Bike leaning against a tree)|
|What the wind gets to see|
Newcastle’s Bike bag dude has sewn up some uber-light bags including the maiden ‘fast’ ride for a cavernous frame bag, allowing me to run a huge bladder in lieu of bottles.
My trusty Rohloff internally geared hub remains with my
years of trying to kill it leaving no scars, while the Ground Effect clothing including cat/dog proof Anti-Cyclone and Exocet shorts wee always going to be first on my packing list.
|What I get to see|
Having been through the motions of a ride like this a few times, my mental state has been relatively withdrawn, and only now as I pore of cue sheets and ambitious daily itineraries does the enormity of the task at hand sink in. While I’ve got some of the best form in recent memory over short distances, I’m very much relying that I’ll settle into the old groove of long days in the saddle.
A unique challenge of the route is the requirement to string together a number of ambitious distance goals early in the ride, and only if all goes to plan will we be able to make the ferry sailings. Packrafting could be a backup option but my kayak weighs more than my bike and gear combined so I’m planning to take my chances with the ferry!
To see how it all pans out keep an eye out on Instagram
@whalleyollie where I’ll endeavor to make regular posts, and you can track the
adventure at https://touraotearoa2016.maprogress.com/
|Pack rafting - not really an option for the Tour Aotearoa|