The Tour Aotearoa – Week One

Geoff Gabites’s Diary

The Night Before

The half hour drive from Kaitaia brings home the size of this ride. Just over there is 90 mile beach – tomorrows start of the 1st challenge. Getting off the beach will take 7 hours of continuous riding at 15km/hr. So add in stops for the view, the need for readjusting my anatomy and for eating – and suddenly there is a reality kicker. Mild panic attacks are not infrequent because this is an unknown.

My fellow riders are largely of similar demographic – 40-60+, 80-85kg, grey haired males. Ahead of us are approximately 300-400 others and behind are further waves of riders. Camping at the beach is a delight. The organisation is pretty good and the food offerings appreciated. However, from tomorrow that all changes and self sufficiency is required.

Day 1

All journeys start with the first step and the equivalent on the Tour Aotearoa is the 345km from Cape Reinga to Helensville. The body has to adapt to deprivation and continuous activity. The 90 mile beach was a drag, no sensory excitement, but at least a tail breeze and hard packed sand.

Day 2 & 3

Onwards through the Kauri Coast and suddenly body issues appear for younger brother Mark. Knee issues meant he needed an out for specialist medical attention. So suddenly there was only I.

Day  4 & 5

The ride down to Pouto Point was lovely and then the 3 hour boat trip across the mighty Kaipara Harbour. A midnight arrival made accommodation hard but now it’s all set for the ride into Auckland and perhaps reuniting with Mark.

Geoff reunited with Mark in Auckland and they are now on Day 8 currently cycling the Timber Trail approaching the 800km mark.

Stayed tuned for more updates from Geoff soon. 🙂