Imagine sitting in the saddle for more than five days, riding through remote areas, occasionally having to use busy roads, filling water bottles and your stomach whenever you get a chance, and stealing a few moments of shuteye under a tree when the body just says NO! Invariably, there will be times when your legs or mind just don’t want to keep going. And you could slow down. You could even decide to rest a whole day by a river, or in a hotel… but that’s not the spirit of the Kiwi Brevet. Remember.. you’re meant to HTFU (Harden the F*** Up!).
Honestly, there’s not a chance in hell I’d ever do it. But there are at least 169 people who thought it was a good idea, and gave it a go.
How far: 1149km. But how much climbing?!
Self supported: (Can you fix a broken suspension? How many petrol station pies can you eat?)
Rain or shine: (Think wet, very wet! Or hot, very hot!)
Most recurrent complaint: sore bum!
The faster ones did it in 4 days. Others in 8.
Matt Quirk (Good Rotations) and Bruno Geldermans from Wanaka did it in 5 and half days. And they are already talking about what to do next year.
This being said, whoever I spoke to in Blenheim, at the end of their race, they ALL said “why on earth did I do this… never again!”. One of them agreed however that it was a bit like having kids: “you only remember the good bits, which is why you do it again!”. Of course, once the saddle sores abate and the circulation returns to the hands, everyone is sure to be planning the next one!
If you want to hear more about the race itself, you’ll have to come to the shop and chat with Matt. He’ll also be full of good advice for anyone wanting to kit their bike up for adventure riding.
And for you gear-obsessed geeks, here’s what Matt’s bike setup included:
- On-One Inbred Steel framed 29er with rigid carbon fork – bombproof while the carbon fork does a nice job of lightening up the ride and providing some much needed trail buzz damping!
- Stans Arch EX Tubeless wheelset, running on Maxxis Ikon tyres – light and tough. They took a hammering on some of the rough sections and suffered zero punctures throughout the race
- SP Dynamo Hub – the most efficient!
- Supernova dynamo headlight – no batteries to worry about and plenty of light at low speeds
- Supernova ‘The Plug III’ USB charging from dynamo
- Plox USB cache battery – buffer for charging devices such as phone, headtorch and running GPS when riding slow or pushing up heinous inclines
- Jones Loop H-Bar with bolt on aero bars – lots of hand positions and the ability to take a slump/rest on the aeros. Still didn’t save my ulna nerves being crushed by the end of the race though
- Sweet Cheeks Butt Butter – essential, say no more!
- Revelate Designs Viscacha, Tangle, Sweetroll, Feedbag, and Gas Tank frame bags – room for everything: bivi gear, clothing, food, stove, tools without needing to even use a backpack. Great stuff!
- Garmin Etrex 20 GPS – light and simple and cheap! Perfect for rides like this
- Black Diamond USB rechargeable headlight – charged from dynamo it provided extra ‘fill-in’ light for technical/slow sections and setting camp at night
- Primus Crux mini gas stove and MSR Titanium pot – light is right!
- Sea to Summit Traveller Sleeping Bag – a simple 1 season down bag, but uber light and with a full zip so can be used as a blanket when too warm – perfect
- Mountain Equipment ION Bivi – basic but ample and very light – if the forecast had looked more grim I would have taken an Outdoor Research bivi with a hoop