Breakfast was a little different on this day. With anticipation of finishing I cooked up my last back country and some bake beans for breakfast. It was going to be a big day as I knew I had roughly a couple thousand metres of climbing during the day. The Nelson side of the Maungatapu trail is very steep. It was a gruelling hour and half push up. I was met by Owen and Mick on the summit, they were traveling light having sent a bunch of gear home from Nelson. The decent down into the Perlorus was amazing, fast and furious! I soon hit the seal and turned left towards Havelock. A piece of road I have cycle so many times on my roadie. I had the Havelock bakery firmly in my sights. I was soon enjoying a flat white with various treats from the bakery. I sent a text to my transport people telling them that I would be in Blenheim roughly between 5 and 6. I soon began riding around the very scenic ride around the Queen Charlotte drive. I cycled past my old home (Anakiwa) and worked out that I roughly had 70 km to go. How hard could it be, considering what I had already put my body through. I knew the Port Underwood road would be hard but I didn’t think I would grovel as much as I did. I really hit the wall around Robin Hood Bay. Cold pizza was the perfect remedy for what I would consider to be a cycling hangover. The hills around this road are super steep and when chuck the added bonus of having climbed the Mangatapu that morning it was no wonder I was hitting the wall. I finally rolled into Blenheim around 19.00.w I was greeted by my good friends Jim and Felicity with a beer. It didn’t touch the sides. Awesome! What an absolute feeling of elation! I had knocked a full day off my previous time completing the Kiwi Brevet in 6 and ½ days at a rough average of 173km a day by my speedo. Now I have writen up 7 days of brevet action. So brevet day goes from 9.00am through to the following day at 9.00am, so starting on Saturday at 9.00am and finishing Friday at 19.00 puts me at 6 days and 22 hours.
From a gear perspective I was really lucky. My previous Brevet had been hampered by flat tyres and my pannier rack falling apart. I was super impressed with my freeload racks which took severe punishment but handled so well. My Bike responded so well and as far as only one flat tyre, that just comes down to pure luck. I carried a tent, cooker and dehydrated meals(x4) which I would do again. This gave me the ability to camp anywhere. I was amazed that had my clothing down to about 15 items. On the food, I ate lots when I hit towns (cooked breakfasts, pies, chocolate milk and flat whites) and survived on nuts, bananas, carrots, muesli bars and the occasional gel plus dehydrated meals in between towns.The journey itself was amazing! I met so many inspiring liked minded bike nuts, who just love getting out and having an adventure. I was really happy how my body held up, as my knee had been giving me grief beforehand. Good on ya knee! One thing I did most nights was rub some of that natural anti-flam into my legs which helped with some of the stiffness. Even at some of my lowest moments it wasn’t hard draw motivation on the fact that I really love this sort of thing. I so love these sorts of adventures as they really feed my soul. Do it again. Hell yes! Will it be a challenge? Hell yes! You never know what curve balls the weather, trail conditions, bike, body, mind is going to throw at you. Well hopefully I will line up in 2014. Finally some thanks must be given to all my friends who texted during the event keeping me motivated to pedal on. To David for putting me onto this crazy as event and finally Simon Kennett for putting together such an amazing event!
Final Thought: I am an avergae cyclist, there is nothing elite about me! I just love having adventures in the outdoors. First time round I never thought I would complete the brevet. I know different now! If you are reading this thinking that you need some adventure, go out and find your own brevet to complete. Rock on Gilby