As ever, I'm doing everything at the last minute, but I think it's all coming together nicely. I am packed for my flight to Blenheim this evening, too late for my liking, but I did book the flight myself. I arrive into Blenheim at 2045, then need to bike into town, that should take about 30 minutes.
I have to admit to having been anxious these past few days. I can't quite work out what's wrong, I know I'm not in the best of shape, having spent the first five days in NZ with a cold or mild flu, something I should have expected on such a long winter time flight. I also feel like my preparation for navigating the brevet isn't optimal. Too late last week, I realised I needed some maps, something I thought would be obtainable at the local DOC office, however they only stock the local maps. I'm going to see if I can copy some maps at the briefing tomorrow and also be cautious on any sections I'm not sure on. I have my Garmin Edge 705 loaded with the maps and the route, as well as brevet style cue cards to use in combination with a cycle computer, so I'm not totally unprepared, however I think navigation could throw the proverbial curve ball. I've traced the entire map with turns and it doesn't look too bad, however I'm not quite tall enough to get the satellite perspective offered by google maps.
Other than that, I am really excited, so maybe it's just nerves of excitement. I've also just made the decision to take a sleeping mat, I have no idea what kind of ground I will find to camp on, but considering the dry summer to date, I expect the ground to be hard and devoid of any lush cushioning grass. My camping setup is simple, and I hope effective, a Rab Neutrino 200 down sleeping bag, a Rab Survival Zone bivi bag, and a closed cell foam mat, trimmed to head-bottom length x shoulder width. Should this prove uncomfortable or to rob me of the sleep I'll need, I am prepared to bunk up in a motel.
Another thing I hadn't considered fully, was the amount of water I'd need to carry on the "dry" sections. This includes the first day, hopefully the 200km from Blenheim to Hanmer Springs, the route containing only one water source, likely requiring treatment. As a result, I will take 4.5l on day one, and have the capacity to increase that with an extra 3l platypus. Last week highlighted my unpreparedness in this department with a rushed order on a Salsa Fargo fork with two extra bottle cage mounts, affording me an extra 1.5l. It's something I'd considered but thought unnecessary. I hope it works well. In any case, the bottles will have an extra velcro strap around the neck of the bottle to reduce the stress on the cage and prevent them being ejected on rougher terrain.
To sum up, I am traveling as light as I can do while carrying all emergency supplies, extra rations, a decent first aid kit, weather protection, communication devices, and a 3kw electric generator, just in case. I'll leave you with some photos, you can follow the brevet progress on:
the kiwibrevet site: http://kiwibrevet.blogspot.co.nz/
on twitter @kiwibrevet
and on track leaders: http://trackleaders.com/kiwibrevet
A big thanks goes out to Sam from Singular Cycles, this bike is so much fun, the Gryphon has served me well for the past year and I look forward to more adventures aboard this bike. To Andy from One Industries EU, thanks for the fresh Maxxis rubber, an Ikon front, a Crossmark rear.
Most of my stuff out and about
Not my setup, but just a photo of some bits strapped to my bike :-)
My old bike, ah the good old days of small wheels, gears and suspension.
New Salsa Fargo fork, cages will be added after flight.
The tail end, the seat bag is under utilised, so it might fill out.