Wednesday, 30 December 2015

And more changes.....

The Cardrona-Cromwell Pack Track was originally used by gold miners to access the Cardrona Valley in the 1860s. It has been used as an access across the Pisa Range for over 150 years. More lately by walkers and the odd keen mountain biker.

After such a long history the assumption would be this public access is somehow protected? There are literally hundreds of brochures, maps, and websites eschewing the merits of the track. But alas get LINZ involved and things turn quickly to custard. First it was the Roxburgh Gorge Cycleway and now the Roaring Meg and Cardrona-Cromwell Pack Track.

Lease holders approaching tenure review have adopted an adversarial approach to land negotiation by blocking access in order to leverage their demands. One reason for the Great Southern Brevet using the Roxburgh Gorge Track this time round is to highlight the plight of access. Landowners rights are to be respected however the removal of access as a bargaining chip punishes the public.

Holding the public to ransom?

From DOC: 

1 current alert for the Pisa Conservation Area tramping tracks:

Cardrona-Cromwell and Roaring Meg Pack Track partial closures
The landowner has closed the following sections of track:
  • Cardrona–Cromwell Pack Track: from Deep Creek Hut to the Lowburn car park (Swann Road)
  • Roaring Meg Pack Track from Pisa Conservation Boundary to Roaring Meg Power Station
There is no exit via these tracks.
Reviewed: 23 December 2015

Hopping down off the soap box for a moment this means some more changes to the course have to be made. And no it doesn't mean you miss out on the pleasure of the grind up the Pisa Range! On the bright side the views are still there to enjoy.

Some changes a foot (or 'a pedal' if you prefer)

It's been a few years since I had spent any time riding in the Ahuriri Conservation Area so it required some checking out to see if was a sensible option for the Great Southern Brevet.

It's not steep yet!
Hard to show the steepness of the inclines when everything is on such a big scale like the hills in the Conservation Area.

Looks easy from this distance doesn't it?
The bike pushes are epic, 1000 vertical metres and on loose shale. With a lightly loaded bike it is still a healthy couple of hours pushing and with two 1000+ metre ascents it would make for a brutal day. Character building, but not really brevet riding. So there will be changes to the course in the next day to bring things back down to earth (or a more measurable climb!). It won't avoid the hills altogether but they should be a bit more manageable (or at least Great Southern Brevet manageable).

Monday, 21 December 2015

Registration is open

The registration form is now up (see tab above for the link). The map has hit a few technical snags but should be up in the next few days for those eagerly waiting to see how many hills they have to climb! To prove it is not all uphill the following is a sample of the ride 'sans' incline [that's French for without ;-)]

Something to look forward to?

Friday, 4 December 2015

The 2016 Edition of the Great Southern Brevet

The 2016 Edition of the Great Southern Brevet kicks off on the 16th of January 2016 in Lake Tekapo, New Zealand.

Will be gradually getting more information up over the next couple of weeks but to answer the basic questions:

Start/Finish  - the start and finish location is unchanged. It is in Lake Tekapo township at the Church of the Good Shepherd on the shores of Lake Tekapo.

The Course - does change a bit to keep things interesting but if you are looking for a substantial change to an on-road brevet then that is not probably going to happen. The Great Southern Brevet is an off-road brevet which explores the rich and varied countryside of the central South Island of New Zealand.

Will it be Easier - probably not, all that beauty comes at a price. You have to climb some magnificent hills to get those views! There are plenty of long distance rides now (almost monthly) which cater to the less adventurous or those seeking mostly road rides. The Great Southern Brevet remains a little challenge for those wanting to get off the beaten track. It is achievable by most riders if you approach it with the right attitude, you have to keep moving but there is always time to stop and admire the view.

The Map - The 2014 map is currently on the link to the right. If you look at the 2014 course and think you are not really that inclined, then the 2016 map won't probably help a whole lot. It could be easier (or not) and it most likely will not be shorter.  The 2016 map will be indicative till I have had the chance to explore some of the remote sections to see how they have shaped up over the winter. A overview map should be available soon.

Fees - There are none! The Great Southern Brevet is not donation-ware or mandatory pay this, or pay that, to someone. I trust most of you support those charities that mean something to you and contribute what you can or feel is appropriate. You will not be required to prove it to go for a bike ride. Having said that you do have to feed yourself and keep your bike going for the 8 days so cost is a relative thing. Carrying a SPOT Tracker is mandatory for safety and a requirement to cross private land. It is a small cost to protect your life.

Will look to have a registration form up soon as well.