Kiwi Brevet – In The Beginning

Greetings blog followers old and new, as you have gathered there have been some changes. TVF and Jan (my original bicycles) use to write this blog in their voice. However Bluey my new bicycle has yet to develop his voice so it is I, who you have known as Our Rider writing for now.

Bluey

Bluey

I am a pretty ordinary girl (well woman actually), who loves to ride my bike. In fact I will ride any bike. As much as I hate to admit it I am not that young, although I feel young and compared to my Dad who is 93, I am.  I have a husband and cat, elderly parents to care for and a full time job.

I guess I set bodacious goals, although others have goals even more bold. These days you are more likely to see me at the rear of the field than the front (although that could change if I wanted it to perhaps).

A few years back I had issues with fatigue, if I did an event I would be sick for months afterwards and it reached a stage that if I rode my bike for an hour I would need to spend the rest of the day on the couch. Still all that is in the past. I am fully recovered and now take on multiday adventures.

Bluey’s wheels bear the words “Bold Adventure” and “Daring Fun”. That’s pretty much my philosophy for riding and perhaps life itself.

Bluey Front    Bluey Rear

I’m coached by Silas Cullen and have been for a number of years (we took a break while I got well). Like all relationship it has developed over the years, he gets me and what is important to me. It may seem crazy to have a coach when you aren’t an elite athlete. “Balderdash,” I say. Only the most sensible smartest people will get a coach as it is only the smartest people who want to achieve the very best for themselves.

In 2010 I was riding (OK walking) up the Maungatapu track with my brother and neighbour where I met the inaugural Kiwi Brevet riders coming the other way. I actually wrote an article for Endurance magazine titled “Not the Kiwi Brevet”. Clearly a seed was sown as five years later I became a Brevetter!

Rather than repeat all the details of the Kiwi Brevet or Kiwi Brevette (the shorter option) – yes we bastardise the French language and make no apology for that -you can find out all about it on its own blog. Suffice to say it is an self supported ride throughout the Upper South Island. While there are set routes, variations are made by the brevetters as they go along. Everyone starts together and then proceeds at their own pace with eight days to complete. There is a compulsory six hours non riding period within each 24 hours.

Some Brevetters bivvy at the side of the road and live on meat pies and chocolate milk. Others stay in accommodation and eat gourmet meals (or whatever the local pub provides). There is always a mad rush to get to the 4Square (convenience store) before it closes, which is often early in rural New Zealand.

Whether you do the Brevet or the Brevette, sleep rough or in comfort, it’s hard, it’s bloody hard and yet the rewards are phenomenal. We ride the road less travelled, see sights that can only be appreciated from a bicycle, we slow down and reconnect with nature. We are truly blessed.

Read the next post for Day 1.

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