Training days

The day has arrived (and passed) and it’s clear I’ve still not learnt my lesson.

It’s three months out before beginning the next big tour so the training now begins in ernest. After a few months of near constant rain and a winter spread, I’m expecting a yet more months of constant rain with a liberal dose of self inflicted pain. I’m not sure how oxygen efficient it will be, but I’m seriously considering buying a snorkel!

As I’ve noted in past posts, this time I have company – ‘Horse’ (Dean Ogilvie) from the League of Clevedon Wheelmen is joining me, so we are on a training programme to get our kneeses ship shape for the ride ahead. The route is plotted (the South Island traverse) with another big wiggle of about 1,700km over a three week timespan.

Today was a short 76km rolling ride west into world. Clevedon to Clarks beach return. Not to taxing, but I’ll still be applying a liberal dose of X-Zone tonight (this stuff was a god send on the last tour).

Be prepared for more mayhem, machinery and man bits in follow up posts in the months ahead!

No cold feet

Remarkable. Two back to back sun filled days. This was mid-year, months since I pack-muled the Surly and I wanted a challenge, plus I really needed to winter test my kit. So fully loaded and anxious I headed south.

From Highridge through the Hunua, eastward to Miranda, then onto the flat lands of the Hauraki. Destination Thames. Ninety six clicks later I arrived at camp north of town. It was time to set up and hunker down for the evening. A good days ride on good ground.

Steaming nostrils

As the sun slipped away back towards the west, the draft from the rearward ranges flowed down in an endless bitter current. It was going to be a cold night.

It was! It ended up being the coldest night of the year. Cold cold!

FullSizeRender 2I lay in whatever I carried; sleeping bag, layers of merino, leggings and with cold feet, it also meant shoes. Leaving only a set of nostrils exposed to the elements, snorting steam into the tent like an old leaking fell engine. It was little use, the ground cold meant for an endless rotisserie to retain what little warmth I had. It was an endless broken sleep.

Winter test over, I’d learned my lesson and now know what kit I’d need next. I packed early, hit the road and headed towards town to find somewhere warm for my toes (let alone my belly).

Waihi return

‘The Dean’ (of Clevedon Wheelmen fame) arrived for second breakfast a little later.  We latte’d and got on the road. The plan for the day was trail riding Thames to Waihi return.

Stage one to Paeroa was a gravel double track through dairy country direct to Te Aroha Maunga. Rest, photo op’, loo then onward up the rail trail through the Karangahake Gorge to Waihi.

We completed our customary pie stop at 2pm just in time for a freshly invigorated shady wind to follow us back to where we began. A few aches aside, we made good time on the downhill trail.

Then onward to Paeroa and the double track, a setting sun in front of us, elongated shadows at rear. All the while bemused heifers nodded at us, humming their line to another old Glen Campbell favourite: ‘that keeps you ever gentle on my mind’.

I was relieved and thankful to have reached that last bridge and completed those two days. A shade over 200 clicks, a few sore muscles and a few frozen memories.

Good ground and a good day for the Wheelmen.

Today’s top track: Glen Campbell – Gentle on my mind


And the league of Clevedon Wheelmen

Was it mud or was that a cow pat? It was neither, it was ‘the Dean’.

We were out west, Puhinui reserve to be exact, tracking down trails and backroads. Not training so much as escaping the consistent rain that was sheeting in from the east. The trek was a mix of gravel and grim. At my 5 o’clock he crashed through the knee high reed and pug like an 18 year old, taking the point at pace and showering me in a brown-green streak of something indescribable.

Onward, he whipped up the bridge between paddocks, lost his footing and ended up on his back in a shambles of man bits and machinery.

The Dean was done for the day. I smirked and sympathised. We moved on, feeling our age.


Introducing the wheelmen

LOCWDean Ogilvie is the chief perpetrator of the League of Clevedon Wheelmen, a small collection of eccentric old fellas with big cycle touring dreams. This is the precursor blog of the pain to come. Yes there is another tour in the planning and ‘the Dean’ being the dean of the League of Wheelmen will be in attendance (acting his age).

Mama will be pleased.


Hihi to Orongo Bay

Day three

img_0470-1It blew from the west all night long, roaring through the trees above my tiny tent. Me plus everything else I’m carrying stuffed into this tiny chamber and I had beans for dinner. Now I know what your thinking, but no… it’s all about diet.

So the average bloke needs about 2,500 calories per day to fuel himself without further expansion of the waistline. If I add that to what I’m burning on the bike per day (or about 3,000 calories) then I guess I’m pretty much doubling my intake.

Oh but it’s not just a case of me now eating two steak and cheese pies when I used to have just one! The diet and wellness politburo won’t let me get away with it quite that easily comrades. There are proteins, carb’s, minerals, electrolytes and other pesky things I as yet have no idea about. So where does that leave me… confused.

As a result I have put together a very simple rule for the road: ‘eat heaps, but carry a small load’. As a result I have a lot of dried, powdered and completely indescribable and unimaginable things stored away, like ‘porridge’.

Yip, porridge, and whey powder, green powdered stuff, red powdered stuff, MSM, effervescent thingies to balance my electrolytes, plus freeze dried whatsits where the packaging looks more appetizing than the meal.

So as I churn through this goodness and positively enjoy the benefits and energy it provides me (which I really do), I must also confess to still stopping for the odd pie. Like I did today at Kaio. Yip the Kaio steak and cheese Pieo. It was delicious.

So back to the beginning of my day… 

The early ride consisted of climbing, climbing and then a testosterone fueled fully laden downhill to Whangaroa harbour. Clocking 61.35km/h with an accompanying ‘yipee’ put me in good spirits for the short dash to Kaio.

The shopkeeper selling the Kaio pieo quipped as he fumbled for the change; ‘fueling up are ya?’ I smiled’ said yes and squawfed down my purchase, not really appreciating what he was getting at. Five minutes later I was hauling my butt up a very nasty incline. I definitely needed that little pastry cased battery for the road ahead.
Maybe the earlier idea of doubling my pie intake was right all along.

A few hours later I’m at Pahia and on the ferry to Russell. Not far to camp now. It’s feeling more like summer again.


There’s been a big shake up in more ways than one. The ground moved in November and the damage at the top of the south was severe. It’s closed the coast and inland roads including the Molesworth muster trail.

This was my kick off route for the South Island leg, riding from Blenheim inland to Hanmer Springs. But rather than look for an alternate route I’m cutting the southern leg altogether.

This was my kick off route for the South Island leg, riding from Blenheim inland to Hanmer Springs. But rather than look for an alternate route I’m cutting the southern leg altogether.


There is an earthquake of another kind on the work front. I have a landslide of community development commitments early in the new year. So the long and short of it is I’ve cut the ride in half and will complete the north island as planned and pick up on the south at a later date (watch this space!)

It’s not ideal and pushes back on my big stretch goal of riding the country in six weeks, but three still qualifies as ‘madness’ in the eyes of most.

Pain in the arse

Trying to find comfort in a world of pain

The saddle is not doing it for me. After wiggling the saddle and my butt around I just couldn’t find any comfort in the brooks after an hour into a ride. I’ve thrown the towel in and purchased a leather saddle, a Selle-Anatomica T Series. I’ve used a Brooks leather on my old Kona so I know what I’m in for.


Instant relief. Jumped on rode over a 100km without the pain. It will stretch over time but at least I can comfortably do the distance.

The beginning of the beginning

Three months out

I made the call sometime back that I needed to beginning training in earnest three months out. That rolled around yesterday so this means time to make some changes. Here’s my to do list:

  1. First up, No smoking. I can’t do this crazy thing and smoke at the same time.
  2. Stretching. Something I’ve never really done, but now I’ve crossed that half century threshold I had better take my body seriously. So that means getting rid of a few old crinks and making sure I’m up for this. More on stretching later.
  3. Fluids. Again something I’ve never paid a lot of attention to… well not those non heady types of fluids anyway. So I’ve got to rehydrate now, daily, just not on the bike.
  4. Food. I know my calorie intake is going to be way higher on the road, but I’ve got to start thinking about diet now and getting the balance right. I have a few plan in that department. More on food later.
  5. Riding. I’ve got to get a ride in 6 days out of 7, mostly short one hour rides and one of those my tour average daily distance of 85 km.
  6. Hills. No cheating, the more I look at potential routes, the more I realise hills are endless, so best get angry with them now.
  7. Cross training. This means some form of light body weight-training and definitely swimming. I’ve got to work on a number of things: legs, core work, neck and shoulders (to reduce the load).  Basically everything! More on cross training later.

So todays the 11th of September and I’ve started.

I got a 90km mixed trail ride in yesterday including hill work, wind, rain and a good helping of mud. Today was an hour (more or less) and a good shop to make sure I’m starting to look after my fluids and food.

So far so good.