The training begins... countdown to Tour Aotearoa

by Scott Emmens

Count-down mode to this summer’s Tour Aotearoa. A brevet on steroids with 3,000km riding in around 12 to 14 days. Here’s the first installment from Ground Effect Scott's recent coast to coast to coast training ride…

A long weekend was chosen so I could have a day doing chores around the house on Sunday while recovering from the two and a half big days in the saddle.

Leaving straight from work on a Thursday night ensures a wee head-start on the route and riding quiet country roads in the dark is more pleasurable. The problem with leaving straight from work is getting prepared the night before. The usual final frantic grab of clothes ensued on Thursday morning as I checked and double checked my gear for a cold and potentially wet two days of riding across the Southern Alps.

5pm rolled around after a fun filled day at Ground Effect, time to slip into my kit and ride off into a setting winter sun with Andy my riding buddy. As I pulled on my Ringleaders I realised that in my rush that morning I’d grabbed the wrong shorts. I had a prototype pair of mesh liner bibs, totally inappropriate for being worn in public without a pair of baggies. Luckily I had ordered a pair of Exocets to gradually wear in. They were sitting on my desk upstairs. So straight out of the packaging and straight onto me - not the recommended method of trying a new pair of shorts (desperate times and all that).

Fast forward three cold hours and we arrived at our accommodation. As we pulled up I realised I hadn’t thought about or even noticed my brand new shorts, so far so good.

The next day was a biggie, 285km of alpine riding - a real test for machine and bottom. A freezing 15 1/2 hour day ended at a nice motel near Springs Junction. Having suffered terrible saddle sores in past endurance rides while wearing the ‘wrong’ shorts, I was seriously anxious about riding brand new shorts. We never ever recommend that. A classic case of "do as I say, not as I do.” Peeling off shorts after a long day in the saddle is always a relief, I was pleasantly surprised to find I only had some slight rubbing but nothing like what I have experienced in the past. Win.

The second day is always the worst. Your body is in shock and you bottom is never keen to slip back into chamois. My day old shorts felt like an old friend. At the end of the final 10 hour day I am happy to report no chaffing of note, no pressure points, just a warm glow of satisfaction having achieved a big weekend of riding, bliss…