Entries have slowed to a trickle and we need to make some hard decisions about where we get the SPOT trackers from, so we'll put a stake in the ground and say - Entries will close on the 6th January 2010.
The NZ source for SPOT trackers is only able to supply 10 and the original US source can't supply any. Australian options seem to be limited to a maximum of 25, so we're getting a quote from a big US supplier. It may be a little more expensive then we had hoped. We'll let you all know asap (and then be asking for people to stump up with the hireage fee, asap as well). If you want to know more about these beasties (for packing purposes it will need to be near the top of one of your bags so it can see satellites) check out this site
The course really is now 99% finalised. Check out the map here
In particular, have a look at the west Coast section. In order to avoid some private land we've changed the route to the east side of the Lake Brunner/Moana area. Also, we've added in a scenic detour south of Richmond. The only small section I can see that we're likely to change is the Springfield to Sheffield stretch (to get off the main highway earlier).
I'm slowly putting together a spreadsheet of directions which we'll pass around in the New Year. This isn't essential. You could navigate your way with a mix of 1:250,000 and 1:50,000 maps, Classic NZ MTB Ride directions and the 'Directions' feature off GoogleMaps. The trick is knowing where you need what - if you take the lot you'll need an extra pannier! I'll put together a list of recommended maps and send that out with the spreadsheet. Luckily the new series of topomaps just released are much cheaper than the old ones.