Walking Te Araroa was my goal for almost a year, a grand odyssey walking and soaking up the length of my homeland. Those following know my right ankle had other ideas, cutting me down at Paihia, only 250km into the 3000km journey. I made the hard decision to return to Wellington to heal, and I have for many long weeks. But the ankle is weak, and every day the sun sets lower on the dream – I’ll never complete Te Araroa before the snow arrives.
My season of opportunity was so hard-won, I will not squander it.
It was the long hard roads that crushed my Te Araroa underfoot, one impacted-gravel bone-shuddering step at a time. Wanting to hold on to my New Zealand traverse idea, what can I do? Knowing bikes are good with roads, I discover Tour Aotearoa.
Travelling by bike 3000km from Cape Reinga to Bluff, Tour Aotearoa is an organised brevet to be completed in 10-30 days. Brevet is cycling lingo for ‘long race where no-one cares who wins, except they’re cyclists so they obviously fucking do’. They do the brevet every two years and knocked off 2018 in March. Many choose to do it whenever, as fast as they feel like – this now includes me. Most take 4-8 weeks to bike it, but I rarely bike and haven’t owned one my entire adult life – I figure I’ll be 10-12 weeks.
My Te Araroa is dead – long live the Tour Aotearoa!
For now I’ll be buying a bike and associated kit and training my soft ass off along the Hutt river, aiming for a January start.
Though I may seem flippant, this decision has been anything but. Te Araroa was a big deal, I loved and got so much from it, barely started and can’t continue; of course it matters. I’m just happy to have found a new adventure which can tick some of the boxes and be fully enjoyed in the time I still have available.
I’ll post more biking stuff later, but here’s a breakdown Tour Aotearoa have done of the surfaces to ride, and time spent on them. (75% road, much like my Te Araroa experience!)
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