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 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.