Fancy a 2,000km ride in 48 hours with checkpoints along the way? The TT2000 is an annual ride where around 100 entrants aim to ride a minimum of 2000km and rack up a number of points by visiting certain locations. Making the distance isn't usually a problem but combined with the points requirement this becomes a ride which isn't easy to accomplish. Here's how our ride went in 2017.
The TT isn't a race, simply to finish on time with sufficient points and at least the minimum distance recorded is the aim. Checkpoints are spread all over NZ so each entrant can choose his own route depending on the type of terrain they prefer. This years ride had 'clusters' of checkpoint north, south, east and west with an additional four 'Mystery' checkpoints thrown in for good measure somewhere along the route.
Here's the route we chose to take:
This years ride started on a Friday from Yaldhurst Hotel, Christchurch, with an 11.30 am briefing and a midday departure. After collection our Tshirts around 100 bikes left the carpark before heading off on their chosen routes. Trev and I headed east to Banks Peninsular and our first checkpoint in Akaroa before doubling back around Lake Ellsmere, picking up checkpoints as we went. At each checkpoint you are required to take a photo showing your bike with your ride Tshirt collected at the briefing. This means the checkpoints need not be manned but the organisers know you've been there. Clever eh?
By 5.00pm we were heading over Arthurs Pass towards the West Coast. The weather was warm and sunny, the scenery fantastic and the bikes purred along. Trev was really enjoying the luxury of his new STS1300, a big step up in the comfort stakes from his old 650 Gladius. We detoured around Lake Brunner to collect a few of the more obscure checkpoints before fuelling in Greymouth around 9.00pm then heading south towards Hokitika. There were a number of checkpoints down the coast, some quite a way off the main drag and difficult to find. Our plan was to stay in a friends house in Okarito, we arrived there about 2.30am Saturday morning after around 850km and 14 hours riding, both pretty tired. Our average speed had been quite low be we know that would be the case due to the location of the checkpoints and the roads involved.
The next morning we were up at 6.00 for a 6.30 departure. Then came my favourite part of the ride, straight down the West Coast , over the Haast Pass and into Wanaka for lunch. Fantastic roads, sweeping bends, hardly and traffic and beautiful views, it doesn't get much better. Unfortunately Trev picked up a puncture just outside Wanaka which meant removal of the rear wheel and a 3 hour delay getting it fixed. Bugger, the pressure was now on as time was tight even without the unplanned delay. That afternoon we pushed on to Queenstown then down past Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau and the next section of checkpoints. The weather had packed a sad by then with rain squalls and low temps so it was on with the wet weather gear as we headed further south to Tuatapere. We rolled in at 11.30pm and decided enough was enough, we needed to sleep. The only place available was under the old disused railway station awning so we rolled out our sleeping bags and crept in for a couple of hours kip. Another 850k on the clock but still a way to go.
So we headed off at 6.30am, first heading west towards Papatotara checkpoint, pretty difficult to get to but worth 6,000 points which we really needed. Then it was back east along the coast towards Invercargill and what a ride! Empty roads all the way so we maintained a safe and steady 99.9 km/hr all the way. The checkpoints took us into some really nice places, a few of which I've never visited before - Cosy Nook is one to go back to for sure. Next it was north to the Bottle House at Waikaia, where we threw down a breakfast, then east again to our finish point in Dunedin.
We arrived at the finish about 2hrs over the 48hrs but still inside the 52hr allowance to be counted as 'finishers' - not bad considering the 3 hours we'd lost in Wanaka. Our final tally was 2,235km and 60,000 points with some great riding along the way. We spent a hour or so talking to other finishers, downloading our checkpoint photos and dipping into the bbq. After that it was back in the saddle for the 400k ride home... A great weekend.
This was my fifth TT2000. If you fancy giving it a go you can find out more about it at the official TT2000 Web Site It's not an easy ride, you do need to spend time planning your route and must be used to riding long distances with minimal sleep. We have hire bikes available if you'd like to give it a go but please talk to us first as special arrangements regarding insurance need to be put into place.
Next years ride will be announced shortly so keep checking the TT2000 site. Happy riding.