Tour Aotearoa 2016 (Tour website)
Continuing our series of ordinary folk doing extra-ordinary things; Justin Dempsey is taking on the mighty Tour Aotearoa. A mere (!) 100km a day on a mountain bike for a full 30 days: New Zealand tip-to-toe. Here’s his latest update:
Well, since my last post, the touring bike spent a week in the shop with both the bottom bracket and the free hub having been ground to a paste from riding on sand. With day one of the Tour Aotearoa taking in Ninety Mile Beach, I’ll have to be careful about washing the bike after that particular stretch… With the touring bike out of action, it meant riding my road bike more, and I became slightly hooked on road racing in the interim.
The setup over here is fantastic, with Saturday as race day, visitors welcome, and categories for just about everyone. I even managed my first win! The pensioners and kids had no idea what hit them… Riding the road bike has actually been great for variety and a more social way of covering the miles.
To help feed my newfound road racing addiction, I have entered the Hub Tour – a 3 day stage race starting January 15th as part of the Hawkes Bay carnival of cycling. So today’s training is a 2 hour sprint set. Not necessarily what I had envisaged when I signed up to a marathon mountain bike event, but I’m enjoying it all the same! Back on the touring bike, and the training rides are getting longer with just over six weeks to go until the start.
I headed up into the Ruahine Forest park on my last ride. Normally the logging trucks would make the narrow gravel roads a little spicy, but as it’s the Christmas holidays, I had the place to myself and had a wonderful forest ride including a river crossing. It was a hot day, and the cold water was very refreshing for tired feet. The chaps at Satmap very kindly made me a custom map card which has been ideal. I now have the 1:50000 topomap (for terrain, road surfaces, fences and tracks), and the 1:25000 adventure map (for streets, cycleways, cafes, bike shops, garages, accommodation) on the one card. It takes slightly longer to load up at the start, but once loaded it toggles easily at the press of a button. It’s pretty remote up there – I didn’t see a soul for around 70km’s, no phone signal, and I was quite glad to be carrying a SPOT tracker. Carrying one is mandatory for the tour and will provide live tracking once the event begins, but on training rides it also reassures my wife that I’m still moving, and she can see roughly when I’ll be back. She is much happier now she knows where I am, and every little helps when trying to fit training around family time – especially with two young kids at Christmas!
Happy New Year to all, may 2016 be an adventurous one,