Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Pre-Brevet Shake Down

Three weeks until the Kiwi Brevet starts ... I joined some friends Scott, Jo, Mark and Hana for an overnight trip up past Lake Sumner in North Canterbury for a bit of a shake down!

It would be a good opportunity to make sure everything worked as it should and that the gear choices were appropriate. The only difference was that I carried a Jetboil stove, probably an extra pound or two, but otherwise it was as close to what I am planning to carry on the Brevet.

Travelling with Scott ... it is compulsory to stop for coffee! no complaints from me :-)

We left Waikari and headed in land, initially on sealed road then a gravel road, which in turn became a four wheel drive track eventually petering out into a sheep track ... it was getting on in the day at this point ... so a decision about a campsite was made ... now with this group it couldn't just be "the next nice grassy spot we ride past" oh no it had to be "a spot on the otherside of the valley ... 2 kilometres ... 4 river crossings away!"

The campsite was guarded by swarms of man eating sandflies, these natives have a fearsome reputation for attacking naked human flesh on mass! Many methods of tactical avoidance were taken, basically fully covering up and sitting in the wind worked.

Morning came ... with flesh intact! The head of the valley had disappeared under a brewing nor westerly, packing we were soon on our way ... with a strong tail wind. At one point I was pushed along for nearly two kms without peddling - wahooo!

We cruised along making good progress, unfortunately the wind was getting stronger and at times we were being pelted with fine gravel ... not very pleasant! As we headed up over Jacks Saddle things weren't going to get much better, the wind was funneling through here probably gusting 100 kms an hour!

Scott slinked through, Mark followed but started to slide towards the telegrapgh pole and fence (I thought he was stopping to take photos, but soon realised there wasn't much control going on) Hana then demonstrated the aireal dismount with a double somersult with a half twist scoring a solid 9.5! I jumped off my steed to grovel my way around the corner trying to hang on my bike. Scott went back to help Jo.

Mark had picked up Hana and taken her out of the wind to attend to her scrapes and bruises. I unwound her carbon baby from the barb wire fence. A bit of attention to both and we were back on the road, both tough cookies!

Just over an hour later we were back at the vehicles getting change and looking for a fresh coffee!

A great couple of days out 147 kms, 2900 metres of climbing 8 hours 45 minutes of riding.
Thanks for Scott, Jo and Hana for sharing their experiences of the last Kiwi Brevet, plenty of good lessons shared

Pretty pleased to find that just about everything worked as planned! I had a couple of questions going into this weekend ...
One, do I need to go to a larger diameter tyre on the back? No, the 1.95 will be fine! I have a 2.25 on the front.
Two, are the tyre pressures going to be right? Yep, 30 psi is too much will try 26 psi.
Three, will the tent be suitable? I have a ultralight terranova laser photon elite weighing just under 800 grams! It is pretty good we did have some wind, I would think that I will need to choose my campsites carefully, protected from the wind. I have upgraded the pegs probably adding a 100 grams.
Four, do I use a camel back or bottles? I had trained with bottles all summer but have used a camel back extensively over the years. The result ... bottles and after a discussion I will carry a litre foldable bottle for those legs where I need extra fluids.

Other items which need attention, longer merino socks for evening wear, rear brake needs adjusting.

My bike is heading into the day spa for some TLC this week. Otherwise I feel that I am pretty set for that start on the 1st!

 Just got the good news from the day spa ... need a new chain, cassette, chainrings, jockey wheels, brake pads, bottom bracket ... the joys of riding ... you ride things wear out!

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