Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Navigation Tips I

A Cue Sheet typically forms the basis of your navigation in a Brevet. This is a list of directions/turns you make as you ride the route of your Brevet. You will be provided one for the Great Southern Brevet 2012. An example of a typical Cue Sheet:

Longest Day Ride Cue Sheet

Like your "Brevet Certificate", Cue Sheets have modern alternatives.

Paper maps would be the starting point. Reliable (if not wet) they don't run their batteries down. You can cut/copy/paste sections as needed. If you need a tool to decide which maps to buy/borrow then check out the LINZ website. The map selection tool will tell you which Topo50 or Topo250 map covers your area of interest:

Land Information New Zealand Map Chooser

Topo 250 and Topo50 maps are available on paper (at various retailers, see the website) but also are available as an image file for download to your PC (Mac?) directly from the site. The later makes printing only sections of interest so you don't have to purchase so many maps. They are large files but if you are comfortable working on a PC they can save you money.

A starting point for the Great Southern Brevet would be at least Topo250 Map 26 Alexandra. This covers the majority of the ride. Some areas can be navigated on the cue sheet alone and others are tricky and might need Topo50 type details (more on this later).

An addition (or possibly alternative if you are good at battery management) is a portable/handheld map capable GPS. There are many brands available but the most popular, and well supported, are Garmin. They have a range of models from cycling specific (EDGE 800) to small handhelds (Dakota 20) that mount on your handlebar. They feature full colour map capability and touch sensitive screens for easy selection of options.

Garmin Dakota 20

Topo Maps for GPS units are available and vary in quality and price. Some of the more popular ones are:

All feature detail Topo Maps equivalent to Topo50 series maps (they all use the LINZ data). They range from $150 to $225 for the entire country at Topo50 type resolution. A free alternative is:

The "New Zealand Streets, DOC Tracks and SRTM 10m Contours for Garmin" is a great free alternative. The map is not colour coded (eg. showing vegetation boundaries) like the others but it still features contours and the road network. Also, as a bonus  it has most of the DOC Tracks and they are routable!

You will discover that ALL GPS maps lack certain details but the majority are sufficient and given you are pinpointed by the GPS on the map the detail is pretty good.  It does however take some adjustment getting used to maps on a GPS because of colour/symbol variations. Once you are comfortable they can be handy as you can carry the entire country in a small handheld unit. Not sure what all the Topo50 paper maps would weigh if you tried to carry them ;-)

Like most things, navigating comes down to personal preference and tradeoffs. Technology is wonderful until the batteries run out. Paper is bulky and not so good if it gets wet. Maybe try a combination? And remember if you do try a GPS there is a track of the course ready to load onto your GPS (see earlier post: GPX of GSB2012 Course now available).

Monday, 19 December 2011

Ride Clarification

Just a reminder about what the ride is and isn't. It is not a race or an event. It is not run by a commercial organisation or individual for pecuniary gain.

You partake as an individual but the route is common to other interested individuals. You are not charged ANY fees or monies, donations or otherwise.

The requirement to carry a SPOT Tracker is for Private Land Access NOT public access to Conservation Areas. The SPOT Tracker allows your status on Private Property to be available to allay land owner concerns about safety. You may supply your own SPOT Tracker (beg, borrow or purchase) or hire one from a suitable place (see Great Southern Brevet Final Registration for information about hire also).

Friday, 16 December 2011

Great Southern Brevet Final Registration

You need to complete the following if you are serious about riding in January. There is important information we need. Please read fully and complete before the end of the year (31st of December, 2011). We need to have numbers for ordering SPOT Trackers first thing in the New Year.

Click on the image below to open the form. Please complete one form for each rider.

GSB Registration Form
Great Southern Brevet Registration Form

When is Tubeless not Tubeless?

Well when you are still using a tube but have the puncture protection of your tubeless cousin.

Not quite ready to go tubeless; too messy, or too expensive for you. But you need some puncture resistance, especially from those fine sharp spear grass ends. Well the simple solution is to take a leaf from the tubeless book, or in this case, the sealant they use.

Adding tubeless sealant to your tubes gives great protection for about 95% of flats (a really bad snake bite will still get you). It is a cheap option (60 ml of sealant is ~$8/10) and with tubes you can change tyres without the mess or challenges of getting a good seal again (no compressor needed).

All Presta valves feature a core that can be removed. Most are fiddly monsters that require great care as they will drop inside the tube, but a few tubes have a removable core the same as the best tubeless kits.

Continental Tubes feature a removable valve core
Pop the core out of the valve (or drop it carefully inside if non-removable, remember to keep it to one side and not lose it!). Squirt ~40/50 ml of sealant (Stan's is readily available in 60ml bottles at most cycle shops) into the tube. Ensure the tube is slack and the liquid is free to run into the tube. Pop the core back in (or do some serious fiddling to work the core back out and attach the small bead). You can now pop a little air in to assist mounting into the tyre/rim as normal.

Tubeless sealant also works in Tubes!

To finish filling,  ensure the valve is between 4 and 7 o'clock so the liquid remains at the base of the tube, and fill to your desired pressure. You are now protected against the majority of small punctures. The only messy bit is you must remember is to allow any sealant to drain from the valve (between 4 and 7 o'clock position) before adding or letting air out. Otherwise you can swap tyres with ease, and no compressor is needed, and no mess to wash up.

Leg 4 Wanaka to Cromwell Description

Time to leave the summer playground of Wanaka and head into the hills (the Pisa Range to be precise). Head out of Wanaka on the Cardrona Valley Road. Up the Cardrona Valley turn off at the Snow Farm Road and follow the DOC signs to Tuohys Gully Track.

The Historic Cardrona Hotel - you've missed the turn off if you get here!
A bit tricky navigating the gates and fence styles through the farm but follow the orange top warratahs and you will soon be rising into the Pisa Range. At the top (Tuohys Saddle) head right to the Roaring Meg Track.

Roaring Meg Track
Roaring Meg Track is famous for it's spear grass. These little (and sometimes large) plants are the antithesis of an inflated tyre. Very fine sharp tips seem to cause tyres to deflate at the mere sight. Tubeless is well worth the investment here. Your other option is to add some sealant to your tubes (a note on this later)

Spanish Spear Grass in the foreground

Once you reach Plank Creek cross to the other side of the valley for a challenging (DOC guide description) single track ride to Roaring Meg Dam access road. Drop down the access road onto Kawerau Gorge Road (State Highway 6) and head towards Cromwell (and hopefully in time for some end of season fresh cherries).

Cromwell from atop the Pisa Range

Thursday, 15 December 2011

GPX of GSB2012 Course now available

For those with GPS, or map packages that read GPX files, the course is now available in GPX format. This is a filtered version with the same level of details as the Google map but will save some hassle if you are not savvy with GPS conversion tools.

GPX of GSB 2012 Course

With most Garmin GPS models you copy the file into the GPX directory and under Track Manager enable "Show on Map" for each Leg and the tracks will appear when you are located near the route. You can change the colour they appear in the Track Manager settings.

GSB 2012 Track for GPS

The track has been filtered to decrease the data points. A more detailed track will be available later but for now this should allow you to explore the course. Waypoints for Txt-in and other information will be added to the final file (a bug in Mapsource means I have to do this combination by hand).

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Clarification of Rule 5 - SPOT Trackers

Now that we have secured a supply of SPOT Trackers sufficient for the ride, Rule 5 has been updated. You will not need to hire, or own, a PLB or EPIRB but you are required to carry a SPOT Tracker. These will be available to hire for the duration of the ride (at cost, no profit will be made) to riders. If you have your own SPOT we will have a form online to capture details to allow you to use it with Trackleaders.com

Along with periodic updates to allow rider tracking, the SPOT Tracker has emergency notification capability as well. We will require emergency contact details for each rider and pursuant to Rule 5, you agree to cover costs, if incurred, in any subsequent rescue. This is standard NZ Search and Rescue policy. Note: in a genuine emergency cost recovery is not the norm.

SPOT Trackers differ from PLBs or EPIRBs. The emergency notification is sent directly to a Search and Rescue Service, however the SPOT also provides additional contact notification options (buttons).

SPOT Buttons

The SOS button is highest priority (equivalent to a 111 call). However you can cancel a message if you feel the situation is not as bad as first thought and send an OK message. An EPIRB however cannot be cancelled (at least until the helicopter arrives). Both have their advantages but for the purposes of the Brevet the SPOT Tracker is sufficient if you are aware of it's limitations.

Rider Tracking by Trackleaders.com

You will be riding in some remote territory and also on private land in the Great Southern Brevet. It is important, both for landowners and your own personal safety, you know help is available. A SPOT Tracker will be carried by each rider to ensure this is possible.

SPOT 2S Satellite Personal GPS Messenger

Using a combination of GPS technology and satellite communications your position on the course will be relayed every 10 minutes back to our tracking partner Trackleaders.com  and displayed on the Great Southern Brevet Course Map. The SPOT unit runs on AA or AAA batteries and is a little larger than your average smartphone today. Lithium batteries are recommended and if switched off when you are not riding (you should be sleeping sometime right!) they should last 5+days (but be sure to carry a spare set of batteries).

Sample of course map on Trackleaders.com

Your progress, and your fellow riders progress, will be displayed on the Trackleaders website. The webpage is available to view any time, day or night. You won't be alone in your suffering, your mates can watch it from their desks in the city!

Haven't finalised cost of the SPOT tracker hire but it should be less than $NZ 100 for the 8 days. Good value for the piece of mind it provides.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Txt-in Checkpoints

Did you know a Brevet is a Diploma or Certificate (should have paid more attention in high school French class?). The certificate refers to the card carried by riders which gets stamped or signed at checkpoints along the way. It is also used to refer to the event itself, that is, a certificated ride.

Now with a Kiwi twist the "certificate" will be going digital. Txt-ing in at Checkpoints will replace getting your card stamped. And they might even show up on Twitter ;-)

For those coming from overseas (not just the North Island) a SIM for your cellphone can be obtained for as little as $NZ 2 and a complete phone on Pre-Pay for $NZ 39. If your phone is unlocked then a Pre-Pay SIM is a cheap alternative to expensive roaming charges. Check out these providers:

Vodafone NZ

Telecom NZ


From checking out the course, both Vodafone and Telecom have good coverage. Telecom would have better high speed data coverage.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Buses from Christchurch to Tekapo

Starting point if you are looking for transport to Tekapo. Can't vouch for any particular service, sorry. Naked Bus does seem to have issues around pickup but with any of these operators I think it needs to be made very clear when you travel and where they intend to pick you up. The confusion often seems to be people waiting at the wrong location. Would pay to ring them the day before you travel to be super clear you will be there.

These timetables were updated 28/11/11. Please check times with operator.

www.atomictravel.co.nz | Ph: +64 (0)3 349 0697 | Fax: +64 (0)3 349 3868 | reservations@atomictravel.co.nz
Christchurch 7.30am, Tekapo 10.40am, Queenstown/Wanaka 2.30pm
Queenstown/Wanaka 3.00pm, Tekapo 6.45pm, Christchurch 9.45pm - 10.00pm

www.nakedbus.com | Ph: 0900 NAKED
On-line booking service throughout New Zealand. $1 fares available if you book early.
Christchurch 9.00am, Tekapo 1.10pm - 1.40pm, Wanaka 4.30, Queenstown 6.00pm
Queenstown 8.30am, Wanaka 10.15am, Tekapo 1.10pm - 1.40pm, Christchurch 5.05pm

www.southernlinkkbus.co.nz | Freephone: 0508 458 835
Christchurch City 9.00am, Christchurch Airport 9.30am, Tekapo 1.10pm - 1.40pm, Wanaka 4.30pm, Queenstown 6.00pm
Queenstown 8.30am, Wanaka 10.15am, Tekapo 1.10pm - 1.40pm, Christchurch City 5.05pm, Christchurch Airport 5.25pm

www.greatsights.co.nz | Ph: +64 (0)9 583 5790 | Freephone: 0800 744 487 | info@greatsights.co.nz

www.intercity.co.nz | Ph: +64 (0)3 365 1113 | info@intercity.co.nz
Christchurch Airport 7.30am, Christchurch 8.30am, Tekapo 12.00pm - 12.40pm, Queenstown 4.30pm (Newmans)
Queenstown 8.05am, Tekapo 12.00pm - 12.40pm, Christchurch Airport 4.00pm, Christchurch 4.10pm (Newmans)

http://www.mackenziejourneys.co.nz/ | Ph:  +64 3 685 6045 |  info@mackenziejourneys.co.nz
Mackenzie Journeys can transfer 1-10 persons from the Mt Cook/Mackenzie region to or from Christchurch, Timaru, Dunedin, Queenstown and the Central Otago Rail Trail (including Airports) and other destinations by arrangement.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Leg 3 Oturehua to Wanaka Description

Leg 3 starts with hopping onto the Central Otago Rail Trail in Oturehua. Check out http://www.otagocentralrailtrail.co.nz/ for a few details. There are countless resources these days describing the trail and the facilites available. This section from Oturehua through the Ida Valley is perhaps the most interesting section of the trail with the viaducts and tunnels. And it is largely downhill!

Auripo Viaduct
You will hop off the Rail Trail at Omakau and head up Racecourse Road for Thomsons Gorge Road. The track takes you through what was once rich gold mining territory. Starting at Matakanui you head up the gorge ascending the Dunstan Mountains to Thomsons Saddle. You pass old gold mining sites like the Rise and Shine Reef and the Come-in-Time(?) Reef. Descending the other side of the Dunstan Range drops you into Bendigo.

Gold Stamper Battery Bendigo Creek
Once you join State Highway 8, cross over and up Maori Point Road onto 8A and Luggate. From Luggate we will hop onto the recently opened Upper Clutha River Track taking us to Albertown. A gentle singletrack with great views.

Upper Clutha River

In Albertown, ride under the bridge on State Highway 6 and enjoy the pleasant cruise along the Outlet Track into Wanaka!

Wanaka (will be a little less snow in January!)

Wanaka is one of the top holiday destinations in the South Island and most facilities are available (a wide range of accomodation, bike shops, supermarket, etc.).

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Leg 2 Otematata to Oturehua Description

Leaving Otematata is a gentle climb on sealed roads. Did have the option of taking you straight over the Ewe Range but if you need a food top up then Omarama is the place.

Omarama from the air

Once refreshed in Omarama, head out of town on Broken Hut Road. The road continues up into private land (DOC have negotiated right of access to the conservation area). With a small airstrip on your left and a gate on the right you will see the sign boards for the Oteake Conservation Area). Head left of the sign boards up a good grunt to Little Omarama Saddle, down into Camp Creek and the East Manuherikia River.

East Manuherikia

Continue down the East Manuherikia River to hitting Hawkdun Runs Road (DOC sign at intersection). Hang a left and cross the river and then right down Home Hills Run Road. After a km or so you will see DOC signs for the Mt Ida Water Race Track.

Shepherds Hut Creek Track

Head up Shepherds Hut Creek to the Water Race. The Mt Ida Water Race runs 108km to Naseby and was finished in 1877.

Mt Ida Water Race

After 12.8 kms you will drop off the water race and head to Falls Dam at Hut Creek.

Falls Dam Fishing Huts

The quintessential Kiwi fishing huts dot this remote spot making it picture perfect (ala Grahame Sydney). After dropping over the dam carry on down Fiddlers Flat Road to Loop Road and State Highway 85. A short stretch on the highway and then onto Hills Creek Road to Oturehua. You are ready to join your first section of the the Central Otago Rail Trail here.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Sprint Brevet in Early January 2012?

Well not quite a Brevet but navigation practice that may come in handy once you start your adventure on January 21st, 2012. Check out http://www.otagomtbo2012.co.nz/ for a weeks worth of mountain bike orienteering events in Central Otago.


Distances will be a tad shorter (~20km/day) compared with your days out on the Great Southern Brevet but you can get a taste of the landscape, riding and food around Central Otago. A great way to get back on the bike if you have overdone the Christmas/New Years Cheer and need some motivation. The navigation practice certainly won't go astray!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

GSB 2012 Leg Mileages

These are estimates from the GPX track of the route.  Checking against routing calculations on the GPS and actual GPS tracks would indicate the error over the distance covered on the ground would average 2 to 3 %. So overall the ride would be 1042.2 * 1.025 = 1068.2 kms. Not that far really! Average 133 kms/day over the 8 days ;-)

Leg 1   Tekapo to Otematata           102 km
Leg 2   Otematata to Oturehua       104 km
Leg 3   Oturehua to Wanaka            105 km
Leg 4   Wanaka to Cromwell            57.7 km
Leg 5   Cromwell to Garston            81.1 km
Leg 6   Garston to Waikaia               88.8 km
Leg 7   Waikaia to Alexandra           99.4 km
Leg 8   Alexandra to Middlemarch 141 km
Leg 9   Middlemarch to Ranfurly    60.2 km
Leg 10  Ranfurly to Kurow             100 km
Leg 11  Kurow to Tekapo                103 km


The longest distance without a shop/store is the 141kms of Leg 8 Alexandra to Middlemarch (there is a pub in Poolburn and accomodation in Moa Creek). By comparison, the longest leg without a shop/store on the Kiwi Brevet is the 205kms of Leg 1 Blenheim to Hamner Springs. Thats over double the distance GSB riders will have to travel on Day 1 to reach their first replenishment stop in Otematata.

Leg 1 Tekapo to Otematata Description

Leg 1 is designed to ease you into the weeks adventure. It is relatively easy riding on 'mostly' good back country roads. The climbs are gentle and the views spectacular.

There will be a neutralised section on the road from the Church of the Good Shepherd (the official start/finish point) till hitting the trail proper. This is to allow all riders to safely cross State Highway 8 in Tekapo township. The start could have been down an obscure track but the shores of Tekapo set the scene much better!

The track exits the streets of Tekapo and follows power project roads to the Tekapo river (riding alongside the Tekapo/Pukaki Canal).

Tekapo/Pukaki Canal

The next section is a more vague track alongside the Tekapo river as you head towards Lake Benmore. There will be a little navigating your way around the informal summer campground at Haldon Arm before heading towards Black Forest Station proper. When checking the course, this section was under water as water was being spilled from Tekapo for the first time in 12 years (fingers crossed 2012 won't see a repeat!)

Haldon Arm - Lake Benmore

Once approaching Black Forest Station you will hang a sharp left after crossing a small bridge to begin the climb into the hills. Some spectacular views over the heavily turquoise waters of the Lake await (and the odd hill). This is a remote section on private land so it is important to stick to the track and travel through as quickly as possible. Little drinking water available from Haldon Arm onwards until you pop out at Benmore Dam so prepare to carry what you need.

Benmore Dam

A quick cruise across the top of the dam and downhill to Otematata (campground, small shop) and your first 100kms should be behind you. It will be a long first day but with extended daylight hours, and good roads, it will  be achievable.

Course length and Leg details

The good news is that the course should be a little shorter than the 1200kms originally proposed. Just finished converting and merging files and course comes out at 1051kms. Of course this doesn't take into account the ups and downs and all the twists and turns. If you look closely at the Google map you will notice it approximates the route in several places. Had to filter it down to allow Google Maps to handle all the track points. I would estimate based on a more accurate sample section that the actual course length should be around the 1130km mark.

Over the next few weeks we will add a brief description of each leg from the Google Map. This will be short and general as not to spoil it for those wanting the surprise but it will mainly focus on advice and what you can expect or need to prepare for each leg. Some legs will present challenges not visible on the map (extra sharp Speargrass or difficult navigation at night) so the description will provide guidance. Remember you can cycle as far or as little each day as you wish, the course is merely broken into legs to help manage the file sizes and convenience.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

October Update

Seems there has been some confusion over the dates for the Great Southern Brevet.

An email has been sent to all currently registered riders to clarify this ride is taking place in January 2012 and not February 2012 as rumour has it. It was scheduled in January to not clash as a courtesy and to allow some time between rides for those wishing to do both.

Please, and this is important, if you think you have registered for the February ride by emailing greatsouthernbrevet@gmail.com or visiting the website www.greatsouthernbrevet.blogspot.com then you have not. Either of these methods mean you should be riding in January. Please email us at greatsouthernbrevet@gmail.com immediately so we can take your name off the list if you have registered for the wrong ride. With limited resources it is important we know ASAP if you have mistakenly registered.

With over 95 riders currently registered we have passed our available resources. We have not set a limit at this point as a number of riders will obviously withdraw once they realise that the Great Southern Brevet is in January in Tekapo and not in February in Blenheim. This should bring numbers in line with resources. We are still keen to accept interest (should you wish to ride in January) so visit the website or email us.

Am off to Australia for a weeks riding (and encourage a few more Australians to enter). In the meantime feel free to write us on greatsouthernbrevet@gmail.com or visit us on www.greatsouthernbrevet.blogspot.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greatsouthernbrevet.

Enjoy your riding and hope to see you on the shores of Lake Tekapo in January 2012.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Less than 6 months to go!

Finally recovered from the sleep deprived month of July? Hope you enjoyed watching those late nights from that other famous cycle tour in the northern hemisphere! Watching the battles through the Hautes Pyrenees inspire you to do a little of your own hill climbing? The drama on Alpe-D'Huez made you hungry for a some mountain air?

Well it is less than 6 months to go before you will be enjoying the crisp rarefied air of the Mackenzie Country. While we cannot promise the crowds lining the route cheering, you will enjoy stunning scenery and feel the sting in your legs from cycling a multi-day tour. And the vineyards of Central Otago will have to pass for those of  the Languedoc. 600 year old Chateaus will be replaced by 150 year old miners huts and we might be able to convince a local farmer to setup a crop circle :-)

We have been fairly low key with communication up until now to save your inbox from an extra influx of email but with the big week fast approaching we will be making contact soon to start getting the details rolling.

First up is the setting up of a Google Groups email list with all those that have registered. This will be used for main notices and is also available if you wish to pose a question or observation. Emails to greatsouthernbrevet@googlegroups.com will go to all members of the group. If you haven't registered but still want to follow along vicariously then hit the subscribe button below:

Google Groups

Subscribe to Great Southern Brevet Group


Visit this group

More updates will follow (via email and this website) in the next few weeks. One more trip down south is on the cards to finalise some route options and a much more detailed course will be put up on Google Maps. We will also look at other forms of new media to keep you informed and up to date (don't be surprised if we don't pop up on Facebook and Twitter!).

PS. As I finish typing this it has just starting snowing here in central Wellington (at sea level!). Bring on summer.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Start date and what a scenic start!

Midday (12 Noon) on the 21st of January, 2012 at the Church of the Good Shepherd on the shores of beautiful Lake Tekapo marks the start of your 2012 Great Southern Brevet adventure.

Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo

Have been working to coordinate the start date with a few other events and also to avoid the crowded roads and accommodation of the holiday season. The 21st to the 29th (Saturday Midday to the following Sunday Midday) of January seems to be the best compromise. Pressure should be easing from the peak holiday period, and although few secondary roads are used during the ride, accommodation could be a challenge otherwise. Weather wise it should be settling with fairly warm weather down low but still cool at altitude.

The first day of the ride begins with long flat stretches leading into a gentle climb to the high point (Monty's Saddle) and then downhill to Otematata. With extended daylight hours riders should manage the journey through Black Forest and Benmore well before dark.

So pencil it in your calendar and hope to see you on the shores of Lake Tekapo in 2012.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Food and accommodation?

A few people have commented on how challenging the route will be and that there are few places for food and accommodation.

The route was selected to be an adventure and to highlight the Mackenzie Country and Central Otago. However it was carefully planned to also allow options to re-stock supplies and have varying levels of accommodation from camping to motels/hotels.

Although riders of Brevets have noted that a day pack and an EFTPOS/Credit Card would be all you need, the Great Southern Brevet visits high altitudes and remote places so traveling that light is not encouraged. A few legs have been designed to ensure a bit of planning effort, and judging of personal fitness and ability are required. This is part of the adventure, a little uncertainty goes a long way to making a challenge ;-)

So if you are keen to do your own planning and map your own adventure then you may not want to read below, but to help those hesitant rest assured you shouldn't starve or go without a bed with a little planning. Some days you will enjoy a morning latte with Rail Trail riders and others a sip from your camelbak with just the spectacular view. Below is a sample of options and locations:

Tekapo - 4 Square supermarket and accommodation options from campgrounds to 5 star hotels
Otematata - small store, campground with small shop as well
Omarama - medium size store, petrol station, cafes, campgrounds to motels
Oturehura - pub, rail trail accommodation options
Lauder - small store
Omakau - 4 Square supermarket, summer campground and rail trail accommodation options
Wanaka - New World supermarket and accommodation options from campgrounds to 5 star hotels
Cardrona - historic pub and accommodation
Cromwell - lots of fresh fruit! New World supermarket and accommodation options from campgrounds to motels
Garsten - pub, cafe and hotel
Athol - cafe/shop
Lumbsden - 4 Square supermarket, shop, cafe, various accommodation options
Waikaia - small shop, Piano Flat DOC campground
Old Man Range - DOC huts
Alexandra - more fresh fruit! New World supermarket and accommodation options from campgrounds to motels
Poolburn - pub
Middlemarch - shop, cafe and various accommodation options
Ranfurly - 4 Square, small shop, pub, campground and motels/hotels
Naseby - small shop, cafes and campground, motels and historic pubs
Kyeburn Diggings - historic pub
Dansey's Pass - campground
Duntroon - cafe and summer campground
Kurow - shop, cafe and various accommodation options

Monday, 21 March 2011

Registration of interest

In case some visitors haven't kept up with the comments, information about expressing registration of interest has been added. Cheers,

Registration of interest in the The Great Southern Brevet can be made by email to greatsouthernbrevet at gmail dot com. For now just a few details such as name, brief contact info, date of birth, whether you will need to hire a SPOT Tracker and brief summary of cycling experience will suffice. All information be will treated as confidential and not shared (your name only may be listed in the list of participants). Later in the year we will need further details (emergency contact, etc.) and will be in touch.

A simple form is available through the link on the right. You fill out the form before clicking on the "Email my Registration of Interest" button and it will generate an email on your email program. Then just hit the send button on your email. Blogspot doesn't seem to support sendmail so this is a basic solution.

An email list has also been setup so as the adventure approaches and people have questions about gear choice, etc they can share and discuss them with fellow participants.

Friday, 18 March 2011

What is the course like?

For those wondering what the course is like, well it does have it moments. A total of 3 weeks (spread over 2010) was spent riding and checking out the course (and alternatives when problems presented). Given I had to return to the car after each ride that would mean I have done the ride almost twice ;-)

There is a section (~8-10kms) I haven't ridden. I was just plain too stuffed that day to continue. Free SPOT Tracker hire to the first person to guess where it is ( I will drop hints between now and January).

In general the terrain is quite good (cyclocross riders rejoice?) but there are a few steep hills. That is steep going up and others steep coming down. As I didn't have full Brevet gear on when doing the pre-rides there will be a few sections made more challenging by the weight I suspect.

There is water, mud, rocks, grass (and grass with sharp bits) and everything in between. Some of the puddles(?) on the Waikaia Bush Road will easily swallow a bike and on the Old Dunstan Road the ruts do swallow bikes. But then there is cruising along the Mt Ida Water Race dropping a meter for every kilometer (not quite a screaming downhill then).

There are many tools available today to check out the course remotely, ranging from your reliable standby the printed topo map to 3D video flyovers (see links to the right for these). But remember they are no substitute for the real thing!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Elevation Profiles for legs added

Just adding elevation profiles for each leg. More detailed info can be found on Map my Ride. Check them out.

GPS track and the course

GPS devices are becoming more common and also more useful as they shrink in size (price?). I used one for much of my rides checking out the course. As you can see from Google maps the course doesn't follow the road accurately at all times. The snap to road feature on Google Maps creates some bizarre routes and of course in many places there are no roads or tracks (Google roads that is). A more accurate track could an interesting and useful tool.

Closer to the event time I hope to have a better GPS track of the course for those interested in carrying a GPS. Of course paper maps are still recommended as their batteries don't fail ;-)


Tekapo to Otematata

Otematata to Oturehua

Oturehua to Wanaka

Wanaka to Cromwell

Cromwell to Garston

Garston to Waikaia

Waikaia to Alexandra

Alexandra to Middlemarch

Middelmarch to Ranfurly

Ranfurly to Kurow

Kurow to Tekapo

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Great Southern Brevet timing

I began corresponding with Simon as soon as I returned from the inaugural Brevet. I was keen to use some tracks I am familiar with from many summers spent in Central Otago. Simon explained that although he was not keen to do another Brevet (at that time), John was going to run one in February 2011 and I should avoid 2011. No problem, it would give me more time to check out route options. So I moved to 2012.

The Great Southern Brevet course passes through some spectacular countryside and on more than one occasion I found myself having to stop and just soak into the truly awesome views (you will not be disappointed). It may be a little longer and have a few more climbs but that's part of a new adventure.

Given resource constraints (SPOT Trackers) we will not be able to run the Great Southern Brevet on the original planned date in February 2012. We will look to move it into the 3rd or 4th week in January 2012. Later in the year is too risky weather wise for the high tops.

So which Brevet will you choose? If you are unsure and haven't done a Brevet before then the Kiwi Brevet may be the one for you. If you have done the Kiwi Brevet and are looking for a fresh adventure then you might want to try the Great Southern Brevet.

Course now up on Google Maps

The preview of the course is now up. There are small changes to be made but the majority of the course is good to go. Am looking to get access to the farmland so you don't have to ride the highway into Tekapo to finish.

Click here to view Course