Thursday, 27 March 2014

Elitism of our National Parks

This may challenge a few friends but I hope it creates discussion, which is healthy!

What has raised my heckles recently has been all the talk around the light rail into the eastern Fiordland area and further prompted by a Trekking Company owner complaining that the Heaphy Track now has a permanent mountain biking season. More lately extending the Hollyford Road through to Haast

In New Zealand we are very lucky that approximately 25% of our land mass is National Parks and Reserves. When you talk with people about why we have National Parks, their general answer is along the lines of "preserving an area of wilderness for future generations", which I don't disagree with.

I have had the pleasure of guiding people in our Parks and taken that opportunity to not only show them the sights but also to educate them. I have also had the pleasure of visiting other National Parks in other parts of the world.

One observation I would make, is that most people stand on the edge of our National Parks and look in ...

I have often thought why don't people venture further ... some can't maybe they have a disability ... maybe it is a fitness issue or the lack of technical skills. Why should they be disadvantaged in viewing/experiencing something special

When we look at areas and tracks which have large numbers go through i.e. The Abel Tasman Walking Track and Sea Kayaking, the Tongariro Crossing, they don't require huge degrees of fitness or technical skills ... are there ways of improving these experiences and the number of them so more people can experience our unique wilderness.

Could a monorail be a clean and viable option to allow more people to access the internal parts of parks, could a road through the Hollyford Valley or Karamea to Golden Bay.

What if they were only one way?
What if the numbers were limited each day?
What if they could only travel on supplied transport?

When I visited Denali National Park in Alaska which has one road accessing the centre, you purchased a bus ticket, the buses left every twenty minutes and you could get on and off them when ever you wanted, my experience was brilliant!

On the Grand Canyon, even this narrow corridor where every one travels in the same direction, this enhanced the experience as most people/groups are moving at the same speed. That you don't pass people opposite direction helps ... you seem to be travelling in your own space.

I hope that those who have the fitness, the specialist skills, the time to visit these unique places take the time to consider how they can share these with everyone. As they are being held on behalf of everyone thus all should be able to access.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Recovery ... yeah right!

Recovery ...Yeah right ! It has been three weeks since I have finished the brevet and during the first week all I wanted to do was eat and sleep, boy did I do a lot of that!

Monday back at work I only managed to survive until 11 am, Tuesday I manage to last all day but the last couple of hours were not productive, Wednesday was only marginally better! By Friday work was productive again ... I am sure the boss was pleased about that!

The physical recovery has not been too bad  ... my hands still tingle a bit, the knuckles joints feel like they are swollen ... their not. My legs were tired the first week, but I wasn't keen for a long hill ride!
The worst thing has been my chest, I have been breathless and the muscles have been tired, really tired. The first few days I would have to stop mid sentence and catch my breath.

I have manage a couple of kayak trips of an hour long each, without too much effort and some short rides on the flat, but by the end of the third day of effort, I have just crashed the next day feeling breathless and a tired chest and often needing to have a wee nanna nap.

Looking forward to actually being able to go for a decent ride! Just need to be patient.

Brevet Gear

So I don't forget for next time and for those who has had the seed planted and need it watering ... here is my gear list.

Specialized hard tail carbon Stumpjumper 29" with Chisel rigid Carbon fork
Rolf Prima Ralos 29 wheels with Specialized Control Renegades (Rear 1.95" Front 2.2" Tubeless with double the amount of Stans in them)
Adamo Attack Saddle
Profile areo bars
2 x 10 SRAM drive train a mix of X9 XO
XTR brakes
XTR Pedals
XLAB sidekick carbon bottle cages (2)
High 5 drink bottles (2)
Lyzene Superdrive XL front light and spare battery (USB chargable about 5 hours use on full)
Topeak Rear light (Lithium AAA)
Garmin etrex GPS (Lithium AA plus spare set which I used)
Spot Tracker (Lithium AAA plus spare set which I didn't need)
Salt stick

Revelate Tangle Medium
Revelate Visacha
Revelate Sweetroll 8"

Clothing - Riding
Bib shorts - two pair alternated them allowing to wash and dry one pair while wearing the other (Santini and Tineli the different pad shapes minimised rub points)
Short sleeve cycle top (Santini)
Cycle vest (Santini Gore)
Arm Warmers (Santini)
Orca Merino crew neck long sleeve top
Tineli Rain jacket (Probably be the only item I would change for next time, would go with something slightly heavier with a built in hood)
Endura short finger gloves (Note to self - buy a new pair before the start)
defeet socks
Shimano Mtb Shoes
Orca cycle fleece
Specialized helmet
Road ID
Spy + sunnies

Clothing - Other
Macpac merino socks
CWX compression tights
Adidas running short (the freedom to swing free and let air circulate!)
Kathmandu merino hoody
Merino beanie
Polypro gloves

Sleeping Gear
Macpac Sleeping Bag Express 600
Macpac Sleeping Mat Insulated Aircore Short
One Planet Goretex Bivy Bag

Bike spares
Inner tube x 2
Tyre boot (6 cm x 3 cm section of plastic milk bottle)
one cleat and bolts
one brake pads
one gear cable
chain link
Lyzene multitool
Gerber multitool
zip ties 1/2 dozen
Hand pump
CO2 canisters (2) and adapter

Personal Items
Aussie Butt cream (chamios cream)
Dettol alcohol handwash
Army can opener
1 litre foldable water bottle (for the longer legs where water supply would be an issue)
Canon camera
Samsung xcover 2 phone (USB chargeable like the lights I had a wall socket adapter so stole the power from cafes)
Sea to Summit waterproof dry bag (8 x12 cm clear - for phone cash and cards)
Cash, eftpos and visa card, drivers licence.
Imodium tablets
Ibuprofen tablets

High 5 Zero electrolyte tabs (3 tubes)
High 5 gels (1/2 dozen)
Clif Shots Bloks (8)
Salt Sticks tabs
All other food was purchased along the way

Course Information
route on the GPS
paper route directions
copy on file in the phone
Two maps of the Big River/Waiuta section and the MacDonalds Downs section

Bike weighed 10.3 kgs, gear carried weighed 8.4 kgs plus water

Would I change anything?
The rain coat is the first thing, it was too light and on the day I got hypothermic, I could have been better protected  with a hood and longer tail on it. A new pair of gloves with fresh padding would help the nerves in my hands.

Would I take anything else?
I would take some gear to start a fire with

That I think for all your gear junkies that would be it ...