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Ready Set Tour Te Waipounamu

09 February 2021

Words: Ollie Whalley
Photo: Heidi Whalley

After a long summer of tweaking, I'm ready (as I'll ever be) to start the Tour Te Waipounamu, the inaugural running of what is reputed to be NZ's toughest bikepacking race. Owing to the high elevations and remote locations traversed, I've erred on the warm side with my gear, with a few extra layers ready to don when things get icy. I'm packing full waterproofs for the inevitable downpour too.

Other than that, it is my go-to assembly of gear with multiple back-ups in the event of things going wrong. Technology has advanced significantly with USB charging and lighting and I'm using the latest K-Lite setup which allows me to charge GPS, helmet light and phone on the go, while throwing out 1300 lumens to startle even the South Island panther.

Still with plenty of room for the long multiple days without resupply, with every nook and cranny of my bags crammed with high calorie treats!

Tour Te Waipounamu starts Sunday 14 February 2021 with 50 hard-nuts backpackers on the start line. It is a 1319 km and 22,810 vertical metre backcountry traverse of Aotearoa's South Island from Cape Farewell to Slope Point. More background information at Maprogress including the course map.

Long distance masochist and previous ‘winner' of the Tour Aotearoa, Kiwi Brevet and 4000km Great Divide Race. Ollie has a healthy obsession with design and innovation to make his bike go faster for longer, on road and off.

Packed and ready to go