29 November 2013

Draft Course Map for 2014

Here's a draft map for the 2014 course. The long section in red is very much still to be determined - what is shown is simply the course from last year.

This will be updated/finalised in December.

Cue sheets, map and guide-book recommendations and other details to come in mid-January.


23 November 2013

New Sections of Course for 2014

It's been a while since we've posted any photos - thanks to Mondo Kopua for the photos below which he took during a recon' ride of the North bank section of the Wairau Valley. This is private property, so please wait until the Brevet before checking it out.

Below the photos there are some paragraphs outlining the new sections of course for 2014. Overall, there's potential for up to 330km of the route to be different from previous Kiwi Brevets.

As you ride round the course the first significant section of new track will be the Great Taste Trail between Nelson and Wakefield. Check out the details here.

For those doing the Brevette, Lewis Pass will be new territory. There are a few images and notes of the history of the pass here.

On the Brevet course there is a good chance of a singletrack option between Craigieburn and Castlehill. This will add at least a couple of hours (and be optional) but if alpine singletrack is your thing, you won't want to miss it. For a hint of what it will be like, check out this link (with video).

We're looking into changing the route between Lees Valley and Culverden. If successful, you'll be in forest skirting round the south side of Mt Grey.

North of Hanmer, the Rainbow Road is far more interesting than the Molesworth as it is half tussock land and half beech forest. This link classes it as a 'Dangerous Road'. Cool!

That also opens up the possibility of another optional section - the St James Cycle Trail - details here. Again, it's not compulsory, but if you have the legs for it I highly recommend it.

Once out of the Rainbow we'll stay on the Northbank of the Wairau (often through the private forest pictured above) all the way to Renwick (by which time you'll probably be gagging for an ice cream, some fresh fruit, or a cool beer).

16 November 2013

Rider List for 2014

Here is the starting list for the Kiwi Brevet/Brevette 2014 (103 as of the 31st Jan 2014).

If your name isn't here and you think it should be, please send me an email (see details in the How to Enter post below). Same deal for corrections. I'll endeavour to update this list each weekend.


Alan O’Neill (scratch)
Al Usher
Alastair Brown
Andre Galbraith
Andrew Scott
Andy Gilbert
Andy King
Arran Pearson (scratch)
Ash Brown (scratch)
Beau Stephen Lowrie
Brian Alder

Brett Whiteley
Bryce Lorcet
Calum Chamberlain
Charlotte Ireland & Tim Collison
Chris Bennett (scratch)
Claude Dabaliz
Cliff Clermont
Colin Dodge

Darren Tatom (scratch)
Dave Cooper
Dave Ryan
Dave Sharpe
David Drake
Dean Cameron
Dean Ford, Fleur Pawsey, Jon Yu & Paul Bird

Geof Blance
Graeme Head
Hamish Southcott
Hana Black
Iain Dephoff
Jason Flood
Jeff Lyall
Jeremy Rowe (scratch)
Jo Smith

John de Garnham
Julie Williams
Ken Scott (scratch)
Kirby Knowles & Micheal Norris
Mark Humphreys & Craig Madsen
Martin Harry
Martin Nichols & Murray Wilkinson
Matthew Peploe
Michael Hoogeveen

Mike Revell
Nathan Fa'avae
Nathan Mawkes
Niel Coventry-Brown
Pat Hogan
Paul Smith
Peter Maindonald
Phil Brownie
Richard Davison
Rob Davidson

Ross Cheesman
Russell Shanks
Sam Davidson
Simon Morton
Scott Emmens
Scotti Andrews
Stephen Butterworth (scratch)
Steve Halligan
Steve MacLeod
Thomas Lindup
Todd Foster
Tor Meulengracht-Madsen
Troy Szczurkowski
Vaughan Watson
Wayne Gedye

Alex & Diane Grigg
Bob Biker
Brenda Clapp
Brent Tangey
Brett Irving (scratch)
Bronwyn Morris
Chris Hodder
Craig Butler(scratch)
Craig Murphy
Evan McCarney
James Petterson

John Carmen
John Jacobs
Karl Yager
Kelly Leonard
Lou Gallagher
Malcolm Hughes
Marilyn Northcotte
Matt Roberts
Mckayla Halloway
Michael Dann

Mike O’Conner
Mondo Kopua (scratch)
Nigel Walls
Oliver du Bern
Patrick Morgan & Alan Whiting
Paul Horton
Paul Nicholls
Phaedra Upton
Richard Hiles-Smith
Richard Tait & Mark Wright

Rodney Hansen (scratch)
Sarah Drake & Jo McKenzie
Sarah Fairmaid
Simon Kennett
Tom Lynskey (scratch)

14 November 2013

Longest Day Ride and Cruisy Brevette Schedule

Just in case you haven't heard of this, thought I'd mention the Longest Day Ride. It's a virtual event in which riders all over New Zealand ride all day long on the longest day of the year. People link up and share their plans/experiences on the website linked above, and it's a bit of a fundraiser for Arthritis NZ. If you're looking for an excuse to get in one really long ride before Christmas, this is a good one. Doesn't matter where you are, just work out a really epic ride in your part of the country and go for it.

I suggest you follow that up with at least one overnight bike trip over the Christmas holidays. If you can test your gear and have some fun, you'll be that much more relaxed coming into the Brevet or Brevette. And if something doesn't quite work, you'll still have time to test something different.

There have been a couple of enquiries about what a cruisy Brevette schedule might look like. It depends a bit on your particular riding strengths and weaknesses, and if you will be camping for booking cabins/motel rooms. Here's a rough plan that is fairly easy on the legs and has a spare half day at the end:

Sat - Blenheim to Picton (approx 70k)
Sun - Picton to Nelson (approx 85k)
Mon - Nelson to St Arnaud (87k)
Tues - St Arnaud to Murchison (approx 70k)
Wed - Murchison to Springs Junction (approx 80k)
Thurs - Springs Junction to Hanmer (92k)
Fri - Hanmer to St Arnaud (112k, or 105k if camping near Tophouse)
Sat - St Arnaud to Blenheim (approx 110k, or 103'ish if camping near Tophouse)
Sun - Spare

09 November 2013

How to Enter for 2014

Well, the 2014 Kiwi Brevet and Brevette are now about 12 weeks away...it's time to get a start list going.

If you want to enter, send an email with your name, contact details and category (solo or 2-4 person team) to simon at kennett dot co dot nz and make a donation (typically $50) to one of the following two charities:

Canterbury West Coast Air rescue Trust
Bank Account - Westpac, Westfield Riccarton, 03 0823 0216240 00


Project Rameka  
Project Rameka Inc.  KiwiBank 38 9007 0752396 00

Please include a reference of 'KB2014' with your payment so that they know to let us know you've made a donation.

If you are coming from overseas, it may be easier to make a donation when you get her (that's OK, but please don't ask to have your name added to the starting list until you are positive you're coming).

To keep the event at a reasonable size, we'll limit entries to the first 100.

Once you're entered we'll make contact about your SPOT tracker or rescue beacon (you need one per team or solo. Team members must stay within shouting distance of each other out on the course).

If you are having difficulty deciding which event to do - the 700km Brevette or 1100km Brevet - ask yourself the following questions:

1 - Have I ever ridden 100 km days with touring gear, two days in a row?

2 - Could I ride 150 km in a day comfortably, next weekend?

3 - Do I have any navigation, cycle touring and/or off-road riding experience?

If you answered 'No' to all three questions, I suggest you try the Brevette. But don't let me stop you from stretching yourself well beyond your previous (or current) limits - it's been done before, and it was inspiring to watch.

That said, despite answering 'yes' to all three questions, I'm going to try the Brevette next year, so I get more time to 'smell the roses' (and finish with some reserves in the tank for events later in February).

Going full-on heroic or cruise mode, it's all the same to us so long as you finish the course 100% under your own steam with no outside support, within 8 days.

There will be no problems with people wanting to switch from one option to the other at the last minute (or even when you get to Springs Junction) so long as you let us know. We'd like to know which side of the Alps to go looking for you if you disappear off the radar! 

30 October 2013

Late October Update...

Planning for the 2014 Kiwi Brevet is proceeding slowly but surely. There have been a few enquiries about how to enter.

There is no entry fee for the Kiwi Brevet, but we expect riders to contribute to an event charity in order to secure some good ride kharma, and confirm that they really, really want to enter. We suggest people consider a typical event entry fee when deciding how much to donate. Last year the event charity was Project K and we were to see the Kiwi Brevet riders contribute, collectively, a few thousand dollars to their good work.

For 2014 you'll have a choice of two charities:
- The Canterbury West Coast Rescue Helicopter (who paid one of our riders a visit in 2010 when he accidentally pressed the 'Help' button on his SPOT tracker)
- Project Rameka Inc. who are a charity that build tracks and plant native trees on a block of land halfway between Abel Tasman National Park and Takaka. It's a covenanted block of land set up to provide for public recreation (primarily mountain biking) and be a carbon sink.

Very shortly we'll post the account details for those charities on this site and you will then be able to enter by making a donation and emailling us your choice of course and category.

The courses will be the 700km Kiwi Brevette and 1100km Kiwi Brevet, as outlined in previous posts. More details on the course will be issued soon.

The categories and simply solo or team. Every solo rider or team must have a SPOT tracker or some other sort of recognized emergency locator beacon. We'll be hiring a bulk load of SPOT trackers from overseas so that riders can hire one at a cheap rate. If you have your own, that's fine.

In the meantime...if you are looking for an event to test your fitness or gear, check out Le Petit Brevet lepetitebrevet.blogspot.co.nz  or 'Brevet's Little Brother' - http://www.vorb.org.nz/brevet-little-brother-t124818.html#p2556825  Both offer a similar mix of sealed & gravel road, 4WD track and some singletrack. Le Petit Brevet is possibly the hilliest ride in New Zealand!

If you have any questions, please feel free to fire them through.

09 July 2013

700 km Kiwi Brevette Option

Curious fact of the week - most of the visits to this blog last month came from the USA, followed by NZ, then Lebanon. Lebanon?! 43 visits from Lebanon?!

Anyway...that's not what this post is about. It's about a new option for the 2014 Kiwi Brevet - the 700 km Kiwi Brevette. With this option you can shave 400 km off the ride's length by turning left at Springs Junction and heading east over Lewis Pass. I've ridden that was with a mixed group before and it was really rather good. Lewis Pass is a surprisingly easy and beautiful climb across the north end of the Southern Alps. The run in to Hanmer is still quite tiring, but nothing like the long haul from Arthurs Pass to Springfield. It includes the highlights of Queen Charlotte Drive, Great Taste Trail, Braeburn Track, Maruia Saddle, Rainbow Valley and lots of groovy towns in between.

Timing-wise, it'll start at the same time and place as the Kiwi Brevet, and there will be the same 4-8 day time challenge. But fewer km/day means fewer saddle sores and more time to enjoy the journey - lets face it, cafe stops, picnics, swims (maybe in hotpools), a bit of shopping (god forbid) and general goofing around can take up a good chunk of the day, especially when you only have 90 km to ride between dawn and dusk (about 14 hours in first week of Feb).

What else is different from the bigger loop? Spot Trackers will be optional for the Brevette. And the gruelling Porika Track will also be optional (we want to keep the hike-a-bike to a minimum). That leaves the Maungatapu as the only spot where Brevetteers will likely have to walk for 15-30 minutes. Here's a Google Map that very roughly shows the Kiwi Brevette route (although it will include a chunk of the Nelson Great Taste Trail and also the sublime Braeburn Track, and hopefully the Northbank route alongside the Wairau River). While I'd recommend a MTB with chubby slicks, this ride will be totally do'able on a touring or cyclocross bike.


03 June 2013

Kiwi Brevet 2014 on Facebook

Here's an easier way of discussing the Kiwi Brevet and connecting with others planning on doing the 2014 version - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kiwi-Brevet-2014/199284063554889?fref=ts
As I've commented:
"This will be the third time organising the Kiwi Brevet for me...and probably the last time on this great course. Significant changes for 2014 are likely to be swapping the Molesworth for the Rainbow valley; swapping Wairoa Gorge for some of the Great Taste Trail; and including a scenic detour option through the new trails between Craigieburn and Castle Hill. I hope to be riding again in 2014 (at a more cruisy pace, taking lots of photos, maybe from the back of a tandem)." 
The event will start at noon on Saturday the 1st of February (and run until Sunday the 8th Feb). Waitangi Day will be a public holiday during that week, so this epic tour need only use up 4 days of precious annual leave.
My brother Jonathan is keen to organise a 3000 km, length-of-New Zealand brevet - that would most likely be in summer 2016. If you're curious about the route, check out page 267 of Classic NZ Cycle Trails and you'll get the general idea. By 2015 there'll be a few more cycle trails completed and a new map will be produced. Something to dream about!

16 January 2013

Te Tawhio o Whanganui

Happy New Year folks. Hope you have some big adventures planned for 2013. If not, you should do yourself a favour and check out the Tawhio

This a cycle touring challenge where riders choose their own route between set locations and then share the overnight stops in the same towns along the way. It completes a loop around the Whanganui catchment - quiet roads (and some tracks) and awesome scenery are guaranteed.

It's on the 2-5th Feb and starts/finishes in Whanganui. No entry fee.