Thursday, 19 January 2017

Weather Bomb!

Never a dull moment with the Great Southern Brevet. The forecast weather bomb is currently blasting Wellington with 150 kph winds. There is a severe weather warning for the Central Otago region with gale force winds on the tops and a freezing level down to 1400 metres.

The crossing of the Pisa Range via the high route was due to the Roaring Meg Track closure. This route rises to just shy of 2000 metres and has a short but very exposed section at Sallys Pinch. There would be significant risk riding in those conditions. Common sense would dictate that riders wait out for the weather to improve (forecast for later Sunday/Monday improving). However it is understandable many riders would like to progress.

Metservice Severe Weather Forecast January 2017

Two options have been developed which will keep riders largely below the worst of the weather (there is no guarantee you won't get wet though!).

Option 1 and 2 share the same first section and that is Wanaka to Arrowtown. From there they split with:

Option 1 heading east to Cromwell via the Gibbston Valley Cycle Travel and the Kawerau Gorge. From there it rejoins the current route and proceeds over the Nevis and down the Round the Mountain Trail to Lumsden and onto Waikaia.

Option 2 leaves Arrowtown on the Queenstown Cycle Trail for Queenstown. From there it is a ride on the Earnslaw to Walter Peak and the Round the Mountain Cycle Trail to Lumsden and onto Waikaia.

Option 3 Of course we could just wait and see what the weather is like and carry on over the original course. For the front runners there is a risk but for those arriving in Wanaka and heading for the Pisa Range Sunday/Monday things should be improved.

Both alternate routes (Option 1 and 2) are within 10kms distance of the original route. The Queenstown option being less riding as you use the Earnslaw for some of your trip ;-)

Please check out the Google Map of the options below (click on the map icon below and it will open Google Maps):

Please Vote for an option below:

GSB2017 Weather Bomb Route Options Voting Form

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Time to get your SPOT on!

If you have your own SPOT Tracker or you need to hire one, it's time to register. Tracking will again be available this year so be sure to share the tracking link with friends and family so they can enjoy watching you suffer, oops, bath in the sunlight!

You will have to enter some of the details again as the service provider has a separate registration system but hopefully it is only a cut and paste. Check out the Live Tracking tab above or the links below to register.

Benmore Dam...  your target for the first day of riding

If you are a rider and have a SPOT Tracker yourself, or need to hire a SPOT Tracker, please use the links below.

The first link is to register your details with the service provider and the second is to register you against the Great Southern Brevet 2017 ride. Both are needed to complete the process.

Register my SPOT or let me hire a SPOT device

Once you have registered for an account at MAProgress then join the event using the link below:

I want to join the GSB 2017 Tracking

We have some good news, and some less good news!

And no bad news, just more opportunities to ride your bike!

The good news is the course is done and the GPX is available (see link below).

As much as the Great Southern Brevet is a challenge to ride, it also has it's challenges to organise. Ignoring busy life for a moment, the every changing landscape of access creates the need to check and gain permissions along the route.

The Great Southern Brevet is an off-road bike-packing event. By definition it travels lesser used paths which are often on public land (conservation areas, reserves, parks, etc.) and occasionally on private land. Access to this land, both public and private, changes over time.

Central Otago has developed into a dichotomy of land access. More and more cycle trails are being developed for use by everyone, while at the same time more and more landowners are restricting access to a few (and sometimes none).

Cycle trails are a good thing, besides the economic and health benefits it is just plain more fun to ride without looking over your shoulder for vehicles (and hence the Great Southern Brevet). But the push for these new cycle trails has heightened resentment, sometimes deep, from land owners and land custodians.

This years GSB has changes as land issues boil over and unfortunately fall short of getting resolved. You will see some quirks of the land access issue as you travel (more about those at the briefing).
However you will also get to ride your bike through some spectacular countryside thanks to the generosity of landowners.

So as you curse having to throw your bike over a locked gate you can also celebrate you get to ride in such a diverse and challenging landscape.

The road less travelled... The Nevis

GSB 2017 Route GPX

The Cue Sheet for the GSB 2017 will be posted soon. The updates will hopefully be complete tonight. Check back if you plan on carrying it for back up or as your primary navigation aid.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Planning on over-imbiding or having second helpings over the holidays?

Not that you will need an excuse, but at least you can say you will be riding it all off at the end of January and it won't sound so bad!

Nothing like a 8 day cycling adventure in the South Island to get rid of those excesses from Christmas, or perhaps you want to keep up the good work after putting in a few good long rides while on holiday. Either way have we got a ride for you!

This is your invitation to the fourth edition of the Great Southern Brevet to be held in January 2017 starting in Lake Tekapo, New Zealand. With a very busy bikepacking calendar in New Zealand coming up over the next year or so it has been decided to moved the ride up.

From humble beginnings bikepacking has grown to having an event every month of the calendar year these days in New Zealand. Mainstream bike manufacturers have released gear and even bikepacking specific models. You no longer get those odd looks when talking about your 380km ride over the weekend!

The 2017 Great Southern Brevet returns to it's roots and the original course. It's been 7 years so there will be a few changes but it still has the 90% off road riding (and the odd hill!).

Check out the information on the tabs above and the map to the right. Still interested, then drop us a registration (Great Southern Brevet 2017 Registration Form) and get out on your bike.

Traffic on the Great Southern Brevet?

Friday, 29 January 2016

It's a wrap for 2016

The Great Southern Brevet 2016 is over and dots are all back at Tekapo

Tracking dots re-converge on Tekapo at the end of the Great Southern Brevet 2016

 Arguably the toughest GSB to date with a few notable firsts:

  • shortest notice - it almost never happened but for the persistence of Matt (hint, you can blame him for the pain!)
  • longest course - seems the consensus was 1150 kms total. A tad over the predicted 1079 kms.
  • finishing times - pretty much 24 hours greater across the board, the tough course, the weather and the extra distance? 
  • finishers - just on half of the starters completed the full course. I blame the weather!  However all finished 24 hours earlier than previous GSB. 
  • toughest course - maybe, OK, yes but the weather was also the worst yet and riding such challenging terrain with the heavy weather doesn't help
  • worse leg - not sure this is a fair call: Grandview Ridge. Some enjoyed the old-school mountainbiking and on a good day the views are definitely grand!

There were some impressive efforts among the field with several rookies showing serious fortitude to complete the course. Stephanie and Aliesha's efforts stand out. Reckon the boys would still be out there if Aliesha hadn't dragged them back to Tekapo and Stephanie conquered long stretches on her own to grab a satisfying finish in Tekapo.

The young guns ranged in preparedness and equipment but did a fine job with Phil and Max and co finishing well. Of course Pascal's effort goes without saying as insanely tough riding. On a borrowed bike from the 90's with v-brakes and flat pedals!

1150 kms on sandshoes and with v-brakes!
So having failed miserably at making the GSB easier for 2016 there is a silver lining.

The 2014 edition of the GSB was harder than the 2012. And the 2016 edition harder than 2014. So with the course for 2018 reverting to the original 2012 course it will be the easiest next time round! Of course a few of you may wish to wait a few months before thinking about another brevet ;-)  And to those who just don't learn the Tour will provide that sought after dose of pain.

Till next time enjoy your riding.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

The final four

The wind ramped up and down teasing the final four riders as they got closer to Tekapo. Fortunately not easily dissuaded after 1050 kms, Cjell, Russell, Max and Pascal rode into Tekapo for an early evening finish.

Arriving in style to cap off another Great Southern Brevet, Cjell, Russell, Max, and Pascal

1100 kms together, inseparable, Cjell and Russell

The young guns, Max and Pascal

Cheers from the Great Southern Brevet 2016!

Final Check-in:

Date: 23 January 2016 at 18:53
Subject: SMS with Max Doesburg

Back in tekapo! Wicked event thanks

The wind continues and so do the riders

It looks like today will be the last day for the Great Southern Brevet 2016. The final 5 riders are over the pass and heading for home.

Breakfast of Champions or champions at breakfast? Hungry Brevet riders

Dean done and very dusted/dusty

Max cresting Hakataramea Pass

With Pascal not far behind
The Great Southern Brevet is about old school adventures on your bike. Off the beaten track, no bike parks in sight, no manicured berms or pump track. What better way to do it than on an old school  bike!

OK, maybe not, those 29er wheels roll beautifully across the rough back country but for one intrepid GSBer this year it was pure old school, v-brakes, 26 inch wheels and flat pedals. And he borrowed the bike!!!  Wonder if he mentioned it was going to ride 1100 kms of the toughest country around ;-)

Could you ride 1100 kms old school?

Last climb guys! Russ and Cjell topping out at Haka Pass

Talking shop (bikes) at 1000 metres in a howling gale, Jon explains descending really is better on a tandem

That's better :-)

Should we tell Cjell that beer has a higher specific gravity than water so it is actually heavier to carry on  your bike!

Pascal powers into the headwind approaching Haldon Road

Phil, post headwind smiles

Date: 23 January 2016 at 12:09
Subject: SMS with Dean Marshall

Done and Dusted 2016 GSB
Thanks Dave

Date: 23 January 2016 at 13:13
Subject: SMS with Wendy Riach

We're heading up to chear on the last group

Date: 23 January 2016 at 16:04
Subject: SMS with Phil Petersen

Phil at the church at 345. Done and dusted! Thanks so much for a great event.

And the wind just kept on.... and on....

No let up in the wind for those pushing through late yesterday. What was a stiff breeze up the Hakataramea Valley turned to a roaring gale at the Pass and the last 45 km was testing to say the least. All credit to the stamina of those wanting to finish!

Ian about to touch down for the last time in Tekapo

And the full welcoming committee at the Church of the Good Shepherd

Cloud build up as the wind speed kept climbing

Rosie and Craig, late evening arrival and job well done

Stephanie after a tremendous solo effort into the gale force winds

And the welcoming committee still awake!

The finishers today had to put in some herculean efforts to do the 'last mile' late yesterday.

Date: 22 January 2016 at 17:42
Subject: SMS with Dean Marshall

Arrived at Kurow

Date: 22 January 2016 at 21:35
Subject: SMS with Wendy Riach

Shakeys heading up hill on road to tekapo

Date: 22 January 2016 at 21:47
Subject: SMS with Phil Petersen

Cjell, Russ and Phil are settled in at Kurow for the night. In Tekapo at some stage tomorrow. Relatively relaxed day today :)

Date: 22 January 2016 at 21:56
Subject: SMS with Wendy Riach

Stephanie on Haldon rd 4.6 km from dog kennel corner

Date: 22 January 2016 at 22:30
Subject: SMS with Craig Shakespeare

Well the "The Shakies" are in!! Pleased to be in Tepako after 6 day 12 hrs!!

Thanks for all the support!!

Date: 22 January 2016 at 23:44
Subject: SMS with Max Doesburg

Max and Pascal camping tonight on the outskirts of Kurow. Awesome ride over Dansey's pass today

Date: 23 January 2016 at 08:58
Subject: SMS with Wendy Riach

Ian and wendy are in tekapo.  After the ferocious winds to kurow the initial ride was really good.  And then the wind came and the heat picked up and the water bottles became very light. Then we could see tekapo from the hakataramea pass where  we met dave.  The wind was one of the strongest  I have tried to cycle into.

Room full of brevet riders, thankfully after they have all had a shower ;-)

Friday, 22 January 2016

Wind and more wind

Suspect the talk will all be about the wind today.

Stephanie rests her bike next to the tidy piggy

Under a hundy now!

Narrow, Check. Steep, Check. Fords, Check. Snow and Ice, not today :-)

Shooting at a sign that doesn't move, is that sport??

Headwind 39 kph , distance 45 kms, do the maths :-(
The Hakataramea 965m,, the last mountain pass on this years Great Southern Brevet

Cresting, it's all downhill from here

Must be afternoon tea time, biscuit Wendy?

More finishers and still a few battling it out in the wind.

Date: 22 January 2016 at 12:49
Subject: SMS with Allister Adams

Al and Kim back where it all began, thanks everyone

Date: 22 January 2016 at 13:41
Subject: SMS with Craig Shakespeare

 Refuelling for the push home in Kurow!! Another hot head wind day!!

Date: 22 January 2016 at 13:51
Subject: SMS with Hamish Southcott

Got in at 1.3o with matt, aliesha. Cheers hamish

And the temperature at 1000 metres today:

Another hot and windy day coming

Brilliant day in the Waitaki Basin. Calm morning but the wind has crept up around 9 am though :-(

Crossing the Waitaki just got a whole lot easier, Ian and Wendy

For those who have done past GSBs the Waitaki crossing was noted for the wait at the one-lane bridge. Now it is a museum piece.

A section of the old one-lane bridge at Kurow

21st century vs 19th century engineering, gone is that little break riders got waiting for the stock trucks to cross
Headwind getting up, 22 kph

Rosie and Craig looking fresh after morning tea at the Flying Pig in Duntroon

I know a hungry rider or two that might try to eat the display at the Flying Pig Cafe

Morning Txt Check-ins coming a little slower, could it be the strong headwinds holding things up?

Date: 22 January 2016 at 09:22
Subject: SMS with Dean Marshall

At Ranfurly

Subject: SMS with Wendy Riach

We camped next to you last night.  But didn't see  any signs of life

Date: 22 January 2016 at 11:02
Subject: SMS with Max Doesburg

Max and Pascal in Ranfurly. Strong head winds are a battle.

Late evening update

Out of any form of coverage last night so the first post this morning catches on on the late evening happenings.

Stephanie clocking up the kms on the Otago Rail Trail late evening

This is what it looks like when you don't push things too hard! Cjell, Dan, Russell and Phil on Macraes Road

Feels timeless in that headwind :-)

 Nice night for a bike ride apparently ;-)

 Date: 21 January 2016 at 18:52
Subject: SMS with Hamish Pedersen

Hamish P
Text in Kurrow
Just having a refreshing swim under the bridge then might crack on 4 a bit

Date: 21 January 2016 at 19:31
Subject: SMS with Mark Wallace

Kurow. Sun has been brutal today. Pushing on into the night for as long as we can

Date: 21 January 2016 at 20:28
Subject: SMS with Hana Black

Finished the unoffical Central Otago Rail Trail deviation today at 1pm, 790km. Off to physio tomorrow as can hardly walk  now I'm unclipped from the bike! Cheers to all the other deviants who have kept me company and my wheels turning over the past few days.

Date: 21 January 2016 at 21:14
Subject: SMS with Craig Shakespeare

Just thru Ranfurly pushing on to Nasby!! Will camp somewhere!

Epic day very hot and quite windy!!

Date: 22 January 2016 at 09:21
Subject: SMS with Craig Shakespeare

In Nasby!!!

Date: 22 January 2016 at 09:21
Subject: SMS with Russell Lawry

Cjell, Russell & Phil made it to Ranfurly and could not go a metre further!

Date: 22 January 2016 at 09:22
Subject: SMS with Hamish Pedersen

Riding bikes is fun

Date: 22 January 2016 at 09:22
Subject: SMS with Stephanie Smithson

Thru ranfurly. Stephanie s

Date: 22 January 2016 at 09:22
Subject: SMS with Mark Wallace

We made it to tekapo at about 4am. Another amazing night for riding. Thanks for the incredible course. Its great to see u pop up around the place throughout the week.

Date: 2016-01-22 9:22 GMT+13:00
Subject: SMS with Nathan

Kurow checkin, a quick snack before a few KMs up the hill

Normal late night fare for some but not sure they then get on their bike and cycle 105 kms

Thursday, 21 January 2016