21 January 2017

Course routes etc.

This time in two weeks the riders will be about four hours into the 2017 edition of the Kiwi Brevet!

After much back and forth I can finally confirm the course for both the Brevet and Brevette.
Due to the uncertainty of the slip in the Awatere Valley we have decided to travel in the same direction as the 2015 edition which allows us to utilise the North Bank Rd. which travels on the north side of the Wairau River, thus avoiding the extremely busy SH 63 for as long as possible. This road passes through private forestry. Permission was granted on the proviso that everyone will be through in one day, there is no camping allowed and absolutely no lighting of fires, not even camp stoves. Please also note that the bridges in the forested area have all been removed so you will get wet feet early on in the event!
At the 89km point both courses join SH63, please please please be careful crossing this bust main road. You continue travelling west on SH63 for 14km before turning right to head down the Rainbow Rd towards Hanmer Springs.
There are NO services on the route for the first 243km, you need to plan accordingly, Water is accessible at numerous points along the way but you will need to carry enough food for 243km of tough riding. Please don't underestimate this. A good policy would be to start out easy, very easy, the first 163km are slowly climbing. There are no medals for going the furthest on day one then having to pull the pin.
I will provide some further descriptions of each course in the next fews day, but in the meantime I have added the links to the event courses in the sidebar to the right or you can check them out here:
Brevet - https://ridewithgps.com/routes/18363606
Brevette - https://ridewithgps.com/routes/18411429
These are for reference and planning only, they are NOT the final .gpx files and cue sheets, these will follow next week.

The link to the MAProgess tracking page is also in the sidebar or can be found here - https://kiwibrevet2017.maprogress.com

Any questions flick me an email at kiwibrevet@gmail.com


Cheers, Scott

11 January 2017

Happy New Year

Hello one and all,

I trust you have all enjoyed a relaxing silly season with much merriment and plenty of riding.

The event is definitely going ahead.

We have chopped and changed the course several times to try and ensure your safety where possible.
We thought we had the perfect course sorted before a game stopper was pointed out to us by the wonderful Dan van Asch, thanks Dan.
The November earthquake caused a massive slip in the Awatere Valley at the northern end of the Molesworth road. Initially we though this would be cleared in time for the event but it appears that it is a lot more complex than anticipated.
Check out these articles here on Stuff and here Stuff about the slip.

We are just awaiting a couple of final bits n bobs before we will release the courses. The courses will be heading in an clockwise direction again this year.
The Brevet will follow a similar route to 2015 with a few changes.
The Brevette course is a significantly different course, possibly a little more tough than earlier editions, but still achievable. The "crux" of the Brevette course comes in the first half, so will be tackled while you are still fresh!

We hope to send out the final entry process before the end of this week.
This will include a link to our givalittle page, donating to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter - Canterbury/West Coast along a link to the registration page for MAProgress, who are doing the tracking and the rental of the SPOT trackers for those that require them.

Thank you all for your continued patience and support.

Any questions flick us an email at kiwibrevet@gmail.com

Cheers, Scott and Jo

23 December 2016

Merry Christmas

Please note that Jo and I are not being deliberately quiet or avoiding contact but I don't want to give false information until I know what is happening.
I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place (pun absolutely intended).
It is Christmas for us too, I'm still at work as I type this, our other lives carry on while we TRY to organise the event. I am not looking for sympathy, we love bringing this event to you all BUT I am asking for understanding and patience. 
This is a huge undertaking, we are NOT prepared to put our name to an event that has the potential to put participants at any added risk. Please understand that this is a volunteer run event.
The Kiwi Brevet covers 1100km, it is predominately in the back blocks of our beautiful country. Being in the back blocks can mean that intel is harder to come by, and that sometimes the roads we want to use are not such a priority for the local administration.
Sitting here right now I am ready to throw my arms up in frustration and say damn it, let's just postpone it till later in the year. That's the easy option but I know that as soon as I do that the roads will be cleared and some people will grizzle.
To be fair to everyone we need to make a decision fairly soon.
Cheers, Scott and Jo

13 December 2016

Hello everybody, I hope this finds you fit and well.

Jo and I have spent a fair bit of time talking, thinking and looking at maps in the last month. We've asked a few people their thoughts and considered everybody's input.

Riding a brevet will always involve an element of risk, especially when you travel on public roads, but let's be honest, riding a bike in New Zealand on the road is a bit of a risk at any time. With the added volume of traffic travelling between Picton/Blenheim and Christchurch via the "inland route"  sitting at five times the normal level these roads are significantly more risky. With this in mind the Brevet is following a slightly revised route and the Brevette will follow an extremely revised route from past editions.

Note that these routes are NOT final - please do not use these as your final .gpx or cuesheets, we will send final confirmed route details closer to the event. I am providing this for planning purposes only.

The Brevet route can be found here:
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/15347858
You, as a participant in the Kiwi Brevet 2017 must be comfortable with travelling (for short sections) on much much busier roads than in pervious years.
These sections are as follows:
  • From Kawatiri Junction at kilometre 279 for approximately 9km along the St Arnaurd Kawatiri Highway to the right turn across SH63 to Howard Valley Rd on your way to the Porika Track
  • When you come out from the Mangles Valley Rd to join SH6 at kilometre 332 for approximately 5km through to Murchison
  • After the beautiful climb, and descent, of Maruia Saddle you'll join SH65 at kilometre 379 and follow this busy section for 18km when you turn right (so you are crossing SH65) onto West Bank Rd just after Maruia
  • You will rejoin SH65 (again crossing SH65) at kilometre 411 for 3.5km where you turn right at Springs Junction and head towards Reefton via the Rahu Saddle
  • The next time you join a busier section of road is a couple of days away, near the Hurunui Pub  (currently closed due to earthquake damage) where you turn left onto SH7 at kilometre 857. This section is the longest section on the busier roads, it's 43km on mostly wide and straight roads, however there are some narrower, windy sections as you get closer to the Hanmer turn off. At kilometre 900 you are turning right to cross SH7 towards Hanmer. This was a nasty intersection before the increased volume of traffic, be VERY careful.
You have approximately 79km on state highway roads that are a lot busier than in the past. YOU must decide that you are comfortable riding on these roads. We strongly suggest that you use flashing lights on both the front and back of you bikes, no matter what time of day, when you travel on these sections. Also, those riding with others on these sections should ride single file. Obviously we can't enforce this but we would really appreciate it if you respect our requests.

After Hanmer it's a LONG and tough 225km haul to Blenheim via Jacks Pass, Tophouse Road, Island Saddle, Alma Valley, the Molesworth Station Rd, Awatere Valley and Taylor's Pass. You need to prepare accordingly. Carry enough food and top up with water whenever you can.
Note that the Molesworth Station Road is only open for travel between the hours of 7am and 7pm. There is only 26km of travel on the actual Molesworth Station Rd, which includes Isolated Saddle and Wards Pass.
The last official camping is at the Sedgmere Sleepout just off the Hammer Springs Hydro Road at kilometre 967. The next official camping spot is at the Molesworth Cob Cottage at kilometre 1016 (so 49km) There is NO camping allowed along the actual Molesworth Station Rd.
Please also note that the Molesworth/Awatere Valley roads are likely to be a lot busier than normal with 4WD vehicles using this route as an alternative to the inland route.

Preparation for these events is not just about getting physically fit. You need to spend the time researching the route and planning accordingly. What services are available where? What are their opening hours? How far do you think you'll realistically get each day? Take the time now to plan.

The Brevette course can be found here:
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/17902072
As with the Brevet, travel on the (now much busier) state highways is unavoidable, but we have kept this to an absolute minimum however this has forced us to create a route that is a lot tougher and more remote than normal, requiring you to carry camping equipment.

This year the Brevette is approximately 663km, which is an average of 74 kilometres per day if you choose to use the full 8 1/2 days available to complete the route. This is fully achievable for anyone with a descent level of fitness.
Please note that the last 315km of the route are the toughest and involve two LONG sections without services, as in NO services.

  • There are three sections of particular note for the Brevette as follow:From Kawatiri Junction at kilometre 324 for approximately 34 km along the St Arnaurd Kawatiri Highway (SH63) to the turn off to Rainbow Rd. You will pass through St Arnaud on this section. 
  • From St Arnaurd it is 115 long and remote kilometres of back country riding along the Rainbow Rd, over Island saddle and along the corrugated Tophouse Rd to Hanmer Springs, be prepared
  • From Hanmer Springs there is another VERY long section without ANY services. You will complete 200 kilometres of remote riding before arriving at the finish in Blenheim, stock up in Hanmer as there are NO services between there and Blenheim. This is the crux section of the whole route.
 
Please note the Molesworth Station Road, between Archeron Accomodation and Molesworth Cob Cottage, approx. 59km is closed for ALL travel between 7pm and 7am, plan accordingly. DOC Rangers stationed at either end DO check the road after 7pm to ensure no one is on it. If you can't get through to Molesworth Cob Cottage before 7pm DO NOT start this section from Archeron Accomodation. There is NO camping allowed along the actual Molesworth Station Rd. (between Archeron Accomodation and Molesworth Cob Cottage)
Also note that the Molesworth/Awatere Valley roads are likely to be a lot busier than normal with 4WD vehicles using this route as an alternative to the inland route.

These final two sections will likely change the event for some people, it is now a serious undertaking, but if know your OWN abilities and plan accordingly it is a very achievable adventure. It might mean camping at the Archeron Accomodation after a big feed and restock in Hanmer, before making the final push to Blenheim or perhaps pushing through the Molesworth to camp at the historic Moleworth Cob Cottage before finishing the finial hilly miles into Blenheim early the next morning? Whatever you decide to do, be warned that this is a very tough 315km to ride a loaded bike, start preparing for that now.

Please remember that this is supposed to be an adventure. It should test you, not break you. Know your limits and experience. Learn new skills if required. YOU are responsible for yourself. This is a self supported adventure.
We welcome any feedback, please contact us at kiwibrevet@gmail.com







30 November 2016

Update

Hi Breveteers,

Thank you for your interest in the 2017 Kiwi Brevet/Brevette.

I hope this finds you fit and well, chomping at the bit in anticipation of the Kiwi Brevet?

Jo and I were hoping to have the course finalised, with cue sheets and .gpx files available by the end of November but with the recent earthquake in Marlborough we have had to revise this date.
Although none of the roads/trails we are proposing travelling on were directly affected by the earthquake, the additional traffic now travelling via Murcheson and Lewis Pass had given us pause.
After several iterations we now feel that we have come up with a great course for both events. We do still need to check a few bits n bobs before we can release the courses.

The full Brevet course will pass through MacDonalds Downs Station from Okuku Pass Road and MacDonalds Downs Road. This is a working station and as a requirement of allowing us to pass through, the land owners have requested that all participants (or teams riding together) carry a SPOT tracker so they can track people on their land at all times. They have also requested that nobody camp on their land, everybody must follow the prescribed route, leave all gates as found and please do not disturb stock. Please respect these few simple requests and remember that this is a working station, there are numerous hazards. You, as a participant of this event are responsible for your OWN safety.

Tracking for the 2017 Kiwi Brevet is being provided by Shane Davidson at MAProgress, a link to the tracking page will follow at a later date.
Every rider (or team) doing the Brevet MUST carry a Spot Tracker, as mentioned, this is a requirement by the land owners of MacDonalds Downs. 
Spot Trackers are not required for the Brevette, but tracking is be available if you have your own Spot Tracker and Spot units are available for hire. 
Priority of the allocation of Spot Trackers will go to Brevet riders, however if we have any left we will happily hire them out to Brevette riders. Please note that this will not be an issue at this stage (November 2016).
We are more than happy for "teams" to enter either the Brevet or Brevette, a team will be regarded as one "place" on the start line. Note that if a team is entering the Brevet you must have at least one Spot Tracker. At this stage we will only hire one tracker per team. You must stay within shouting distance of each other at all times throughout the event.
The rental cost for Spots is $90 for the event, this includes the Spot unit rental with a new set of Energizer Lithium batteries and tracking.
If you have your own Spot Tracker, the tracking service will cost $29 for the event.
Booking and payment for these services will be through the MAProgress website. We will provide a link at a later date.

Please note that the organisation of the Kiwi Brevet is done in our own time, we both work full-time and also like to ride our bikes occasionally, this is not a commercial venture in any way, therefore any costs need to be passed on. 
We (as do the owners of MacDonalds Downs, as another requirement of passing through their land) ask that you make a minimum $50 donation per person (please note teams) to our chosen charity to be nominated at a later date.

We hope to have the course maps available within the next couple of weeks and intend to have the cues sheets and .gpx files complete before Christmas.

We will also put up some event guidelines in the next few days but remember this is a Gentleman's (or Gentlewoman's) challenge, with few rules. Please only enter the event if you are prepared to take part in the spirit of the event. This is a fully self supported event, please no organising food caches, only commercially available accommodation to be used, no visits from loved ones to give you food etc.

Cheers, Scott and Jo

21 November 2016

Shake rattle and roll

Hi one and all,

Firstly I would like to send out our heartfelt best wishes to those affected by the earthquake last week. Jo and I know what it's like to be affected in this way by Mother Nature. Stay strong and patient :-)

Our course(s) for the 2017 Kiwi Brevet and Brevette are a little up in the air in the wake of the recent earthquake(s) in South Marlborough.
Although at this stage I do not think that any of the roads we travel on are actually affected directly by earthquake damage, the additional traffic now travelling between Picton/Blenheim and Christchurch on some of the same roads the KB travels on is causing us reflection on route choice. More-so for the Brevette course, than the full Brevet, due to it following the road through Lewis Pass. Post 2015 KB I received various bits of feedback about this road, mostly bad, and that was before it was the main trucking route up and down the island!

At this stage our intention is to still run the KB2017. I want to contribute to the economy of a region that will be suffering BUT I do not want to put any unnecessary strain on an already overloaded infrastructure or community. Please be patient while we work through options.

Any questions pop them through to kiwibrevet@gmail.com

Thanks Scott and Jo

01 November 2016

Registration of interest requested....

Hi one and all,

Jo and I would like to invite you to register your intent to "toe the line" in Seymour Square for the 2017 edition of the Kiwi Brevet. This is not the actual entry, we are just looking for an indication of interest at this stage.

Entry "proper" will open at the end of November, when we hope to have the course completely finalised along with maps and cues.
Please email your Name, Event intention (Brevet or Brevette), and if you have your own Spot Tracker or require the hire of a unit (you MUST carry a Spot for the full Brevet, one per team required) to kiwibrevet@gmail.com

Any other questions please send them to the same email address

Cheers, Scott and Jo