31 January 2012

2012 Start List

Here it - the start list for 2012. Fifty-seven riders, including 9 women, one tandem and a few guys who will still have crusty butts from last weeks Great Southern Brevet.

Jointly (along with a few hopefulls who have pulled out) they've donated a bit over $3,000 to Project K so that kids less fortunate than us have access to similar character-building experiences. Here's hoping that earns them all the good karma they need to enjoy a great brevet.

If you are wondering who these people are or what gear they are using, check out the profiles at

Alastair Brown & Martin Harry
Alex Revell
Andrew Carman
Andrew King
Andy Gilbert & Tony Little (tandem)
Andrew King
Andy Reid

Bill Fry
Brenda Clapp & Chris Burr

Charlotte Ireland & Tim Collinson
Christopher Gilbertson
Claude Dabaliz
Craig McGregor

Dan Roberts
Darren Tatom
Dave Sharpe
David Kleinjan
Dean Johansson

Geof Blance
Graeme Head

Hana Black

Jeff Lyall
Jimmy Finlayson
Jo Smith
Joel McFarlane-Roberts & Clair Graydon
John Lubbe
Jonty Ritchie
Julie Williams & Thomas Ekholm

Karin Pehrson

Lance Griffin

Matt Gerstenberger
Matthew Kemp & Kerrie Noonan
Michelle Cole & Joshua Kench
Mick Brown
Mike Revell

Nathan Mawkes

Ollie Whalley
Owen Hughes

Pat Hogan
Paul Becker
Peter Maindonald
Peter McKenzie
Peter Sullivan
Richard Davies

Scott Emmens
Stephen Butterworth

Thomas Lindup
Tor Madsen
Troy Szczurkowski

28 January 2012

Maps, etc

Navigation is a key skill of a brevet - a challenge not to be underestimated (particularly in the dark, at the end of a long day). The cue sheets that have just been posted are intended to be used with a selection of topomaps and guidebook directions. The altitude graphs are also handy for planning each day.

You can use a GPS, but don't rely on it 100% - take a couple of maps and the cue sheets, too. I recommend making some notes on the cue sheets, chopping them up into sections and then getting them laminated.

Here's what I recommend you take in the way of Topo maps:

1 - Topo250 map 19
2 - Topo50 map BV23 Virginia
3 - Topo50 map BW22 Oxford
4 - Topo250 map 23 (top third only)
5 - Topo250 map 17
6 -
Topo50 map BT21 Waiuta
7 -
Topo250 map 18
8 - Topo250 map 13 (bottom half only)

We've also suggested taking some directions from Classic NZ Mountain Bikes Rides (7th or 8th edition). These are all written for travel in the reverse direction of the 2012 Kiwi Brevet, but still contain some very useful information about level of difficulty, huts and directions to or from the trailhead.

Cue sheet for 2012 Kiwi Brevet (updated)

Here's the cue-sheet for the 2012 Kiwi Brevet in Excel format. (And here's the same file on a Google server.)

26 January 2012

Rules for 2012

What is the Kiwi Brevet? What defines it? How does it differ from a race? Can it be won?

The Kiwi Brevet is a cycle touring challenge. It is defined by the course and the event rules. You can complete the course without following the rules, but you will have completed something that is, to some degree, different from the 'Kiwi Brevet'.

In 2010, most riders followed the Kiwi Brevet rules perfectly, but many did not. Some missed parts of the course, some entered Molesworth Station early, some picked up gear that was waiting at private addresses, some rode as domestiques for others. This was disappointing and lead to a complete lack of enthusiasm for finalising finishing results.

After completing the Tawhio o Whanganui last February - a far more relaxed brevet style event - I concluded that results are not important. In fact they can be counter-productive, as they encourage a level of competitive riding which detracts from a truly fine cycle tour.

A really great dirt brevet has a challenging time component, but that is only one small element of what defines success in this event. If there were 'winners' in the inaugural Kiwi Brevet, I would say they were the riders who exceeded their expectations and shared their adventures with others (through photos, blogs, amusing call-ins and articles, etc). If you can meet some of the locals, enjoy some great food and scenery; and finish uninjured with a little bit left in the tank, then you have done very well indeed! And if you enjoy the company of fellow breveteers - deepening old friendships or developing new - you've really hit the jackpot.

The event culture is largely determined by its participants, but the rules lay the groundwork for how the riders tackle the course. With that in mind, here are the rules for 2012.

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

2. Riders must carry all their own gear (i.e. no domestiques, unless you are part of a team).

3. No outside support (deliveries only to public addresses, no support from friends along the way, no support vehicles of any kind meeting you along the way). Prior to the race you may only post supplies to post offices.

4. Follow 100% of the course.

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. Rider must not complete the course in less than 4 days (This event is not about finding the fastest rider).

7. Riders must finish in under 8 days.

8. Between 9am one day and 9am the next, every rider must spend at least one block of at least six hours not travelling. That is, the maximum time any rider may spend travelling along the course will be 18 hours (between each 9am-to-9am period)."

9. When on public roads, follow the NZ Road Code.

10. Text-ins are to be made from designated towns along the route until you either finish or abandon the brevet.

11. Riders must observe all rules laid down by land mangers along the route (such as the Department of Conservation). Riders must not camp or light fires in the McDonald Downs Station section of the course.

In the event of Molesworth Station being closed to cyclists due to fire risk, riders are to proceed through the Rainbow Station. Note that riders must not be on Molesworth Road between Old Molesworth Homestead and Acheron Accommodation House between 7pm and 7am.

25 January 2012

Spot Tracker Batteries & water carrying capacity

Just a wee note to let you all know that you'll need a couple of lithium AA or AAA batteries for the SPOT trackers. Anything less than a lithium battery will run flat before half-way (and possibly let you down when you need it most). We know from experience that a fresh pair of lithium batteries (like Energiser Lithiums) will last the full 8 days (if you turn the tracker off at night).

If you're not careful, lithium batteries can be bloody expensive. You still have time for a little shopping around. Your local hardware store or Warehouse might have a pair of Energiser Lithium AAs for $10-$20. See Pat's comment below for an indication of which type of battery you'll need.

Another query you might want to consider now is 'How much water will I need to carry?'. I think 4-5 litres is a good minimum. You'll need to drink a lot more before Hanmer if you plan to camp out on day one - purification tablets or a billy & cooker are required. There is some reasonably nice looking water at just one location that I'm aware of between Blenheim and Hanmer - here.

On day one there is a curfew between 7pm and 7am on the road between Molesworth Homestead (at about 130km) and the Acheron Cobb Cottage (about 185km). In order to observe this curfew, you'll need to get beyond Molesworth Homestead (130km) by at least 5pm. If you get there at 5:01pm, you'll need to wait there untill 7am - not the worst thing in the world (if you are prepared for a night out) because you'll start the next day with good legs and a lot of altitude on your side, ready to enjoy a late breakfast in Hanmer.

Good luck with the planning. If you have any questions, post a comment here or on the Vorb Kiwi Brevet thread.

Also, time is running out to get your profile information sent. Please send ASAP to jeff.lyall (at) gmail..com . See the existing profiles here. There is some very useful info in some of these. The original post regarding the details you need to send is here.

21 January 2012

Great Southern Brevet underway

The Great Southern Brevet riders enjoyed picture postcard weather at the start in Tekapo. The riders have SPOT trackers, so you can follow them here

Good luck!

19 January 2012

New Altitude Graphs

Thanks to Nathan for slapping together some fresh altitude graphs. In order to do these, he reversed the course direction (which is, of course, clockwise) so that it looked like this:


Looking at this in Map View reminds me of what I love about cycle touring in New Zealand - the variety of landscapes is amazing! There are few places in the world where you can take in the following variety in a week on the bike:

Vineyards outside of Blenheim
Wide open, hill country farmland
Small-town farm country
Oxford Forest (Beech forest)
Korowai Tussockland Park
Craigieburn Forest Park
Arthurs Pass National Park (Alpine scenery)
West Coast farmland and small towns
Victoria Forest Park (dense broadleaf forest and mining relics)
Nelson Lakes National Park
Tasman towns and Nelson city
Richmond Forest Park
Marlborough Sounds

Take a camera and keep it handy!

18 January 2012

Google Map of Course Updated

We've updated the course map a bit (mainly around Wakefield to Nelson) - it is now finalised. In about a week I should have the directions notes sorted and ready to email out. Anybody out there like to do an altitude graph to share?

Have also tweaked the call-in locations (changed Arthurs Pass to Jacksons). We'll try a twitter-in system this time. It's a mystery to me, but Paul reckons it's the way to go. If you don't have a cell phone, we hope you'll be with somebody who does.

Don't forget to check out our new rider profiles. Please send yours in ASAP. to jeff.lyall (at) gmail.com . More details here.

17 January 2012

Briefing, Start List and Rider Survey

The morning of the Kiwi Brevet start we'll meet at Top Town Cinemas, 4 Kinross St, Blenheim for a rider briefing in one of the theatres (thanks again to Duncan for this great venue). Arrive at 7am to meet some of your fellow riders and sign the event waivers. The SPOT tracker allocation and briefing will be at 7:30. After the briefing you'll have about 45 minutes to sort out your final preparations and meet at the start (Seymour Square) for the 9am kick-off.

If you need somewhere to leave a bag during the brevet, head for Cycle World, 58 Charles St, Blenheim (just a block from Seymour Square). If you are hiring a SPOT tracker from Pat, you'll be able to drop it off there after your ride. They'll kindly be opening early on the 4th Feb, so you can get any last minute bike supplies at the same time as you drop off gear.

The Start List post has been updated, with the list being split into confirmed and unconfirmed starters. We're still getting the odd person wanting to sign up, so we need people to confirm (or step back) sooner rather than later, please. It's now only 18 days to the start of the 2012 Kiwi Brevet! If you aren't confirmed by the end of the month, we'll assume you have decided to give it a miss this year.

Kiwi Brevet veteran, Jeff Lyall, has volunteered to carry out this years rider's survey (Thanks Jeff). Some of this information is essential in case of an emergency.

Also, we all put a lot of effort into preparing for this event and it would be great if you were able to share some information about yourself and your set-up. We are looking at making a page on the Kiwi Brevet website for rider profiles.

If you are happy for us to share your answers then please let us know, otherwise we will just keep your info unpublished.

It would be great to have the details from you before the event starts, along with some contact information for during the race. At the end of the event, we'll ask you for a quick summary of how things went, what you wish you'd had, and what you wish you hadn't!

If you could reply to the questions below, via email to jeff.lyall (at) gmail.com that would be much appreciated. A photo of you and/or more importantly, your bike would be really good !

Happy for us to publish your details ( yes or no )

Rider name:



Cycling experience (endurance event or touring history):

Bike (make, model and colour):

Bike Age:

Bike setup (racks, modifications, wheel size, tyre size):

Basic Gear list (e.g. camping):

Photo attached: ( yes or no )

Your cell phone during event:

Emergency contact person name and phone number:

16 January 2012

Wellington Pre-Brevet Meet - 2nd Feb

Want to have a chat with some fellow Breveteers before the event? If you're in Wellington, pop into Revolution Bicycles (at the Northland Shops) at 6pm on Thursday the 2nd Feb.

We'll take the opportunity to issue SPOT trackers, cue sheets and liability waivers to whoever turns up, and go over some maps of the course. If you can get these formalities out of the way on the Thursday the 2nd, it'll make the morning of the 4th a bit less stressful. Given this years 9am start (preceeded by the briefing) it will be all go in the 2 hours prior to the start.

There are three pizza shops within skidding distance of Revolution Bicycles - bring an appetite and something to quench your thirst. The veterans from 2010 will bring some tall tales.

15 January 2012

Revelate Designs

Nice to see the long-distance MTB riding scene in NZ has grown large enough to justify an importer bringing in Revelate bags. Their stuff is very highly regarded in the States.

If you're interested, check out http://www.cycletech.co.nz/products/346-revelate_designs.aspx

Sometimes it pays to have a little extra carrying capacity. As I was flying home from Wanaka today, I thought the Great Southern Brevet riders might like to take an extra thermal layer - there's fresh snow down to 1000m! We're highly unlikely to see snow on the Kiwi Brevet, but the southerly that blew through the Molesworth in 2010 saw me donning my balaclava. If you're not taking a sleeping bag, a survival blanket is a wise insurance policy.

Here's the sort of gear I like to take on a long, fast ride like this:
That plus a spot tracker and cell phone. These days I'd consider using a Freeload rack at the back (my home-made contraption was lighter...and more fragile). If I wasn't taking a bunch of sleeping gear, I'd probably use a big under-seat bag like the Revelate one. But next time, some camping under starry skies is on my agenda.

06 January 2012

SPOT Tracker Hire

The organisation of the Kiwi Brevet is a fairly relaxed affair, but we do have standards! Believe it or not we even have a Health and Safety Plan. That plan requires just one bit of compulsory gear - an emergency locator beacon. You must have something capable of calling for a rescue even when you're out of cell phone range.

Like last time, we are getting a bunch of SPOT trackers in from overseas that you can hire. These trackers send a signal to a sattelite every 10 or 15 minutes, which gets forwarded to the SPOT HQ and then displayed on a web site. This is great fun (and peace of mind) for friends and family back home, who can see where you are at throughout the event. With this device you can send an 'OK' signal or a 'Help' signal. The 'OK' signal goes to the website. The 'Help' signal gets forwarded to '111' here in NZ. One rider activated the 'Help' signal at the inaugural Kiwi Brevet and a rescue helicopter arrived at the top of the Big River track quite promptly.

If you prefer to use a traditional emergency locator beacon, you may. If you are registered as a team (which requires you to ride within ear-shot of your partner at all times) you may share a SPOT or emergency locator beacon.

We're getting 50 SPOT trackers. If you want one, please email Pat Hogan
(patjhogan [at] me.com). Pat's a Kiwi Brevet veteran and has kindly agreed to manage the SPOTs this year. They will cost $80 to hire for the duration of the event (and Pat will hand them out immediately before the event briefing, about 2 hours before the start).

If you are using your own SPOT or emergency locator beacon, you'll need to produce it for inspection before the start. If you supply us with the details of your SPOT beforehand, we'll try to get it included on the tracking page for the event.