After a week filled with emails of people signing up last minute, Saturday dawned bright, cool but not cold. Riding my way to Hansen Park for the start of the Brevet was a special ride, cyclists were showing up from everywhere, pulling out of driveways, riding their way to the start.
Familiar faces were spotted and many new riders milled around waiting for this highly informal ride to begin. Including some very last minute entries.
Briefing time - another meeting that could have been an email - S. Waterhouse
After a quick reshuffle of starting directions, (200km out that gate, 300km out the other gate) and some health banter with the two attempting the 420km course, we were underway.
Lots of hills were had for breakfast and people rode off into the warming day. The cloud stuck around for a while, but the day was warm. Most quickly discovered how steep the Peninsula can get, Middle Rd took no prisoners.
Double Fence Line was appreciated by the mountain bike equipped riders, less so the gravel crew.
Txt's started to arrive on the GKG cell phone letting me know people had arrived in Akaroa. Being the half way point for both the 200 and 300km courses it was great to hear people getting resupplied, ripping into lunch or calling it a day.
As the sunshine part of the day drew to a close the txts increased as more people stopped for the day. An Instagram story from Myles Gibson in Diamond Harbour signaling his intent to be finished well before Sunday.
Mean while some were still getting to their camping spots for the night. Scott and Debbie arriving after a big day into Duvauchelle were my last txt for the evening.
Myles arrived at the finish at 11:08pm to a mediocre welcome and the satisfaction of setting a new course record. The weather helped him a lot.
While all this was going on, the 200km was providing a challenge for some and it was great to see so many enjoying their first bikepacking event/non-event.
The phone was buzzing all night with a trio of riders arriving around 3am, after one had battled the limitations of single speed for the final 100km.
Sunday dawned calm in Akaroa with the feeling of change in the air. As riders arose and set off on day two of their adventure, some chose to get a ride home after talking a big game. (Will Reon be back in 2022?)
While many hills still remained, the txts rolled in as people shared their adventure. Instagram and strava uploads proved a great way to see who had finished or where they were at.
The Eastern Bays were not enjoyed by all
Bossu Rd proved a treat as always
The Peninsular was looking very green for late November
With final txts arriving around dinner on Sunday, we were pleased to know everyone was off the course. Not everyone had a good weekend though, there was head winds, lost maps, and for some too many hills. But one person broke a chain and while looking at their bike received a hit and run from a car. Details on this are light, but we really hope the rider and their bike are ok.
So, some poorly complied statistics from the weekend.
420km Course: 2 Started, 2 DNF, 2 DNS
298km Course: 40 Started, 16 Finished, 24 DNF, 2 DNS
200km Course: 52 Started, 42 Finished, 10 DNF, 4 DNS
After three years with the same classic course, it is time to design something fresh for 2022. Watch this space.
Thanks again for all coming along, taking on the challenge and being a part of the Great Kiwi Gravel community.
Photos borrowed from Instagram / Strava