TDP Brevet Adventure: 16th December 2018
Flahute Presents have been orgainising the annual TDP for the last 5 years. I have had my eye on this for the last couple of years and was keen to give it a shot. This year the timing worked and it would count as a decent GZ training mission so I signed up to see how things would pan out.
At 7am Saturday morning we set off from Motukarara for our adventures. There is a suggested course to follow as shown below. Brevets are very social with lots of friendly banter enroute, you often too & fro with several riders as you make your way around the circuit, common meeting places are cafes where in between inhaling food & coffee, tales of adventures are swapped! Saturday started off well as we motored around Ahuiri Rd & then along the rail trail to Little River before taking on the first of MANY ascents up Westerrn Valley Rd where the temperature started to gradually rise but there was a lovely cool descent to Port Levy so all was good.
Next was an ascent around to Pigeon Bay & here the temperature rose higher again and the first signs of legs with bike shoes sticking out of shady patches at the side of the road started appearing! Our minds were taken off the heat as we flew down into the beautiful Pigeon bay and made a quick visit to the churches outside tap for some well needed fluid! I don’t think it was holy water!
We psyched ourselves up for the ride out of Pigeon bay to the Summit road. A few shady patchs at the start were very welcome but then it became a furnace & I’m sure the tarmac was melting! However “I want to Ride My Bicycle” was ringing through my head so onwards & upwards to a stunning view at Summit Rd over to Akaroa. From here it undulated around to a welcome descent to Little Akaloa, another beautiful bay & a chance to replace more fluid at the school. A pleasant climb out of Little Akaloa had me fooled that I would soon be at Okains. It got me good! I had missed Stony Bay & there was a “surprise” descent of 300m followed by another ascent of almost 200m before dropping down into Okains. I spotted a few more hot looking riders in various poses! Thankfully the store was open for some cooling nutrition i.e icecream. I was torn between eating it & using it was a cooling iceblock! I didnt think the owner would be happy if I jumped in with the icecreams for 5min. After a wee break it was time to get my butt back on my bike & the” I want to ride my bicycle” was taunting me again. Looking at the map I decided to shorten the course & head up Okains to Summit Rd rather than carry on around to Le Bons. Frustrating but I was mindful of how my body was feeling & that I had a couple of big training weeks coming up, so up Okains it was & the Bicycle Song was now wearing thin! The last part of the climb seemed to get steeper & steeper. The foo foo valves were starting to leek & stern words/threats were had with myself each time I considered getting off. Eventually the bends stopped and there was much relief to see the summit road. I almost kissed it in my delirious excitement & flaked out at the side of the road that had the tiniest of breezes to revel in. I must have looked a sight as a motorist stopped & enquired if I was OK. I bumbled back that I was on a mission & enjoying the view ;)
Next priority was fluid so it was down to Duvauchelle to raid the café & inhale a strawberry milk. Here I met a couple more riders who were still on full course – most impressive! After the experience up Okains & my knowledge of the last loop from Wainui to Bossu I decided to take the shorter route home & steamed my way up to Hill top, perhaps I was steaming as another motorist pulled out of their driveway & asked me if I wanted a lift! The ascent down to Cooptown was a blast & I was feeling better after refueling. After quick chat at Little River with some best buddies who had yet more tales of adventures on the course I set off along the Rail trail again back towards Motukarara. Wahoo, a tail wind most of the way until the last 6km just past Kaituna but by then I was beyond caring & could see the finish in sight.
So some unfinished business for another year. It was good mental toughness training & still a decent 153km with 3600m of ascent so not bad for a GZ training ride.
· More lube is required in hot conditions, bike & body!
· More electrolytes
· Look at the map carefully so there are fewer surprises!
· Don’t sing bicycle songs!
A huge shout out to everybody who completed the course – some nutters were even doing it on road bikes! Also a huge shout out to those who did the best they could on the day – you were out there giving it your best shot! & Thanks to Flahute Presents for coming up with such a brutal challenge!