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


Do we really need them?

Think of these as guidelines to make your adventure safer and more enjoyable. The Kiwi Brevet rules were loosely interpreted by many and that seems to be the kiwi way. It is the spirit of the gathering rather than strict adherence that should tell you what to do.

First up: this is NOT a race!
May not be obvious to some but the intention is for a long distance unsupported cycle adventure. Speed is up to the rider but some discouragement of sleep deprived mega-cycling efforts may be needed. This is as much for your own safety as for others with sections sharing the road with vehicles being a very real  risk.

Taking a leaf from the inaugural Brevet's book the following is a starting point (with a few minor edits):

1- Do it all yourself, under your own steam.

2- Riders must carry all their own gear (i.e. no domistiques).

3- No outside support (deliveries only to business addresses, no support from friends along the way). No posting stuff to anywhere prior to the race.

4- Follow 100% of the course. If a rider leaves the course, they must return to the course where they left it, under their own steam. If a rider takes a shortcut (or long-cut) they will incur a time penalty for the section they miss, equal to twice the slowest riding time taken for that section during this year's brevet.

5- Riders must carry a personal locator beacon, and agree to cover the cost of rescue in the event they need to be evacuated.

6 - Times under 4 days and 12 hours will be recorded as 4 days, 12 hours.

7 - Between noon one day and noon the next, every rider must spend at least one block of at least four hours not travelling. That is, the maximum time any rider may spend travelling along the course will be 20 hours (between each noon-to-noon period).   If a rider fails to take a four hour break they will incur a time penalty equal to twice the mandatory break time (penalty of eight hours for each infringement).

8 - Riders should finish in under 8 days.

9 - Drafting is OK.

10 - Follow the Road Code at all times. Many roads appear only as tracks but traffic may be encountered at any time (4WDs, farm bikes, etc.).

11- Txt-ins to be made from designated towns to a designated mobile number (resources for call-ins may not be available so txting is a practical alternative).

12- Riders arriving at Christie's Hut (head of Waikaia Bush - Whitecoomb Road) after 4pm in the day are strongly advised not to proceed up and over Old Man Range. It is an exposed section of track and the climb up is significant.

13- No entry fee; no prizes.

14 - Roady tactics are strongly discouraged. If you catch up to someone, don't blow past and leave them eating your dust (you know who you are), slow down and say hello. Remember it is NOT a race and some may need a bit of encouragement to keep their spirits up.


Non-traveling time is an issue for a few riders but the risk is very real of a sleep deprived rider  being involved in an accident. Please take this guideline seriously.

The Great Southern Brevet

After the successful inaugural Kiwi Brevet of 2010 a number of riders expressed interest in doing it all again (?). Many were keen for a new route and so a move to the lower South Island seemed logical. With many summers spent in the Lakes and Central Otago a route was developed quickly. After waiting for the Banks Peninsula and Wanganui Brevets to take their course the date was set for Waitangi week 2012.

The intention is to take in as much of the central High Country while avoiding more trafficed main roads. This time round will be more opportunity to commune with nature and less with cars. Of course that also means more time climbing up for those great views!

The route is a mix of high country pastoral tracks, historic gold mining tracks, early settler routes and even a touch of rail trail. A Google map will be posted soon but to whet the appetite the following is a list of tracks:

Begin Tekapo
Tekapo-Pukaki River Road
Black Forest Road (Private road, do not ride this before the event)
Broken Hut Road
East Manuherikia
The Mt Ida Water Race
The Central Otago Rail Trail (taking in Ida Burn)
Thomson Gorge Track (sometimes known as The Sunshine Road)
Cardrona Valley Road
Cardrona - Roaring Meg Pack Track
Bannockburn and the Nevis Crossing
Waikaia Bush
Old Man Range and Prospect Hill
The Old Dunstan Road (including Rohan, formerly know as Poolburn Reservoir) 
The Central Otago Rail Trail (again)
Naseby - Kyeburn Diggings
Danseys Pass
Hakataremea Pass
Finish Tekapo

There is one section with land access to be negotiated and the rest uses public or Conservation Area access. Once the route is up on Google feedback and suggestions are welcome. Some fine tuning will be in order as more local knowledge is bought to light. The Cardrona section was originally via Lowburn but a wise man told me bikes and Spaniards don't mix well for great distances! The majority of the route has been checked but as departure time grows near detail directions will need updating so input is invited.