Cape Palliser Epic ride report

Kiwi Randonneurs gravel events are always popular. The Cape Palliser Epic took in a fantastic route through a section of coast that is wild and spectacular as it makes its way around the south Wairarapa coastline, past the sleepy fishing village of Ngawi and its bulldozers onto a rough coastal track through to White Rock where the formed roads began again.

It was a grey windy morning when twelve randonneurs assembled in the Martinborough town square keen to grab a coffee, chat and then test themselves and their machines against the course.

Drinking coffee before the start

There was a range of bicycles from the now popular 'all-road' drop bar bikes, to traditional steel touring bikes to mountain bikes.

On paper the course is reasonably flat if it was all  sealed road. Half of the course is not sealed (and arguably 10 km is not even a road), and cruelly the unsealed half contained the biggest hills without the benefit of a tail wind.

See - its flat!

After an unceremonious start, most of the group rushed off leaving their newly minted president behind (I wonder if there is a message there?).

Despite the promise of a tail-wind, the ride down to the Cape Palliser turn-off was tough going, so much so, most stopped at the ‘Land Girl’ in Piniroa for their first coffee and second breakfast before even 30km had past.

In true anti-social fashion, I elected to keep riding.  I would not see the riders, who stopped at the cafe for the rest of the ride, ahead of me, the usual suspects had broken free with Jeremy on his plastic fantastic mountain bike at a pace that would put most roadies to shame.

Turning onto Cape Palliser road saw a change in fortunes with the wind from foe to friend. The earlier clouds that threatened rain cleared and the strong cross wind that had impeded our progress was now squarely at our backs, making the 30 km charge down to Ngawi fast and enjoyable. I enjoyed the company of another rider riding a mountain bike for a while until the strong winds and the taller gears of my setup allowed me to ride away. I knew that the same wind pushing me along at 40 km/hr  would come back to haunt us and so it did.

Making good progress with a tail wind (photo credit Tim O'Brien)

Ngawi is a town of bulldozers, a few batches and a pie cart, but not much more. It was also the end paved roads for the next 50 km. There would be no barista coffee or danishes to be had there, so I pressed on.

Tim resting his bike on a bulldozer as others steam past (photo credit Tim O'Brien)

The road from Ngawi was corrugated and dusty, but spectacular as it made its way to the lighthouse at times clinging to precipitous pieces of road carved into the cliff. The ride was living up to the 'Epic' moniker in its name.

Roads a bit narrow in places

The sea is slowly eating the road

The prize for riding such a narrow and disintegrating road finally came into sight as the lighthouse came into view. The first photo control. Some riders even had the energy to climb the steps up to the lighthouse.

David Blake captured the best snap. (hopefully it was the camera on its side and not him)

Cape Palliser Lighthouse (photo credit David Blake)

The fun began. About 10 km's of coastal track lay between the Lighthouse and White Rock road, and as the route followed the coastline, the wind that had been at our backs increasingly sought to frustrate forward progress as we turned into it.

The coastal track is a public access way four wheel drive track, that was rough, stony and unkempt, but for the most part a bicycle could be ridden over it, albeit slowly, at-least at first for as we approached the river flans, the landscape transformed into a dessert of stone sand and scree, that even the fattest tired bikes could not ride over.

Loose scree makes riding treacherous

A dessert of scree begins for the next kilometer - the dots on the horizon was as close as I got to Jeremy's group

Fortunately as the track approached Ngapotiki Station (we had sought and were granted permission to ride through), the scree was replaced with a nasty climb up and over a headland to be met by gates that were almost impossible to lift your bike over if your riding by yourself.

Janet Chilton coaxing her Surly Long-Haul Trucker over the hill (photo credit Tim O'Brien)

Mercifully the roads within Ngapotiki station were great and well kept and once navigating another of their impossible gates we were o  White Rock road with 'only' 70 hilly km to run

I discovered the latched gate in the style after manhandling the bike over it solo

The bike packing rig proved the perfect machine for this brevet

White Rock road is beautiful. It makes its way up from the coast following the Opouawe River watershed. The windy metal road gained its altitude gently and steadily to nearly 200 meters before dropping down into the Tuturumuri valley where the local school provided the opportunity to restock rapidly depleting water supplies in preparation for the main climb of the day, the 320 meter crossing of the Taumanuka saddle to drop down into the valley on the other side. The road from the school had been paved and would remain so until Ruakokoputuna road, the wind was now a block headwind and increasing as the day wore on.

Metal road bliss - the descent into Tuturumuri

Hau Nui wind farm at the top of our biggest climb of the day

With that climb done followed by a spectacular descent into the adjoining valley, the last challenge of the day and the last photo control loomed with the climb up Blue Rock road. Blue Rock road is one of those difficult climbs. It seems flat (despite the GPS telling me otherwise) and as if your riding with a dragging brake or a flat tire. This time round this was compounded by the effect of the wind that at times, the gusts would almost stop you.

Final control - only 19km to go. How hard can it be?

The descent back into Marlborough was fantastic making the memory of the climb fade into the bliss of metal and then a fast sealed road.

Nearly 8 hours later I found myself back in Martinborough enjoying a well earned cold beer with Chris Little who had finished with the speedy group an hour earlier. Other riders arrived back at Marlborough over the next couple of hours, dusty and tired but all very happy that they had been able to complete such an epic ride.

That's the thing about Kiwi Randonneurs brevets. Whether your first or last doesn't matter. Its participation and testing the resolve of the person to complete and when you do, its awesome. Type two fun at its best.

We'll definitely run this again next year.

Phil Hendry



PBP 2019 Registration

No details on the ACP site yet but Audax UK have published this:


The date at which you will be able to pre-register for PBP will depend on the distance of your longest 2018 'pre-qualifier':

 Longest 2018
Pre-registration will open
(provisional dates)
 1200km or 1000km 14 January 2019
  600km 28 January 2019
  400km 11 February 2019
  300km 25 February 2019
  200km 11 March 2019


'Pre-qualifiers' are not the same as qualifiers. 
Whatever you've ridden in 2018 you still need to qualify for PBP by riding a Super Randonneur series of BRM rides (one each at a minimum of 200km, 300km, 400km, 600km) before the end of June 2019 (dates may vary from country to country).


Registration is not the same as pre-registration
Registration will open on 1 June 2019.
If you pre-registered you need start the registration process before 18 June 2019 or the benefit of your pre-registration will be lost.
You can start the registration process before having completed the qualifying rides but you will need to provide any missing homologation numbers before Registration closes on 3 July 2019.


Start times
from 16:00 Sunday 18 August 2019 for an 80 hour time limit
from 18:00 Sunday 18 August 2019 for an 90 hour time limit
from 05:00 Monday 19 August 2019 for an 84 hour time limit

ALPI 4000 Brevet

Grand Tour of the Alps and Northern Italy

July 22nd 2018 will take place a 1400 km "randonnée", the "ALPI 4000 Brevet - Grand Tour of the Alps and Northern Italy" with BRM approval. 

ALPI 4000 is part of IGT (Italia del Grand Tour), a four over 1200km randonnées brevet, each taking place every 4 years. 

You will find all the information on  

Thank you, good work and best regards. 

Luca Bonechi
(President Audax Randonneur Italy) 

Enrico Peretti
(organizational secretariat Audax Randonneur Italy) 


Micky in Queenstown, 2017

We are all devastated and deeply saddened from the loss of Micky Inagaki in a serious crash with a truck on the Tekapo-Twizel road during our "Tiki Tour" ride.

Micky  at Rakaia Gorge 2017

Micky at St Arnaud 2015


This was Micky's second visit to New Zealand and I had ridden with him in Australia. It was always pleasure to host him with his jovial persona. On this occasion, his wife Tomomi was also able to join us as part of our volunteer team for the Tiki Tour. Micky was the President of Audax Japan, a role in which he was always striving to improve the sport in Japan, to encourage Japanese riders them to participate in events abroad and foreigners to come to events in Japan. Micky was and a prolific randonneur, completing 18 1200km or longer randonneuring events around the world (8 in Europe, 6 in North America, 3 in Asia and 1 in Australia). Along the way, Micky touched the lives of many international randonneurs with his cheerful a smile, friendly waves, encouraging words and generous assistance to all of those around him.

Micky on the Crown Range, 2017

Micky on the Port Hills, 2015

Chris Wilby was injured in this incident and following some time recovering from the accident at Christchurch Hospital he now back home in continuing his recovery. We wish Chris a speedy recovery.

Chris Wilby

The cause of the collision is subject to an investigation by the Serious Crash Unit. Kiwi Randonneurs will provide any assistance required in support of the investigation(s) into this tragic incident.

We believe rider safety is paramount and will review any findings from this accident closely.

We would like to thank the support we have received from those in the International Randonneuring and New Zealand cycling Communities.

Controls and Services en-route


Due to the front loading of the hills on this route, Les Randonneurs Mondiaux have authorised us to use revised cutoff times based on a 13.333km/h average speed.

Please remember the revised time-limits are set to ensure riders can get adequate rest. I recommend aiming to get the overnight controls by the regular "ACP90" closing time and leaving prior to the "Cutoff Time" that has been calculated based on 13.333km average over the whole route, from Day 2 onward.

Control #LocationDistanceOpenACP90CutoffDetailed Location
1Queenstown012/03 06:0012/03 07:0012/03 07:00
-Crown Range36Water Stop at Summit before descent.
2Makarora West14412/03 10:1412/03 15:3612/03 15:36Makarora Country Café
3Haast22712/03 12:4412/03 21:0812/03 21:08The Hard Antler
4Bruce Bay30312/03 15:0613/03 02:1213/03 02:12
5Fox Glacier34812/03 16:3013/03 05:1213/03 05:12Ivory Towers Lodge
6Harihari43312/03 19:1413/03 10:5213/03 14:29Pukeko Café
7Hokitika50812/03 21:4413/03 15:5213/03 20:06
8Otira59013/03 00:2813/03 21:2014/03 02:15Stagecoach Hotel
9Flock Hill64113/03 02:1614/03 01:3514/03 06:05Flock Hill Station Lodge
10Geraldine84613/03 09:3514/03 19:3214/03 21:27
11Tekapo93413/03 12:4415/03 03:1415/03 04:03Near Church of the Lost Sheperd
12Lake Ruataniwha99713/03 14:5915/03 08:4415/03 08:47Holiday Park
13Tarras110713/03 19:1215/03 17:0215/03 17:02Tarras Country Coffee Shop
14Queenstown120513/03 22:5816/03 00:0016/03 00:00111 Frankton Rd

The following services are available on the Tiki Tour route

Cardrona (51km) Cardrona Hotel (open from 9am)
Wanaka (76km) Four Square (open from 7am), Various other cafes and subway restaurant
Lake Hawea (99km) Sailz Lake Hawea Store (open from 7:30am)
Makarora West (144km) Makarora Country Café (open from 8:30am), Makarora Tourist Centre (149km, open from 8am)
Haast (227km) The Hard Antler Bar and Restaurant (Open from 11am)
Bruce Bay (302km) Water Stop; Manned Control
Fox Glacier (347km) OVERNIGHT: Ivory Lodge Backpackers
Franz Josef (371 km) Full of Beans cafe (Opens 7am), Four Square (opens 8am)
Whataroa (402 km) Whataroa Service station (opens ?)
Harihari (433km) Pukeko store and Café (opens 7:30am), GAS Harihari (opens ?)
Ross (480 km) Ross store (open 8am to 8pm)
Kaniere (503km) Gas service station, Pub
Hokitika (507km) Subway restaurant, several cafes, BP service station, Four Square
Otira (590 km) Otira Stagecoach Hotel (open ?)
Arthurs Pass Village (603 km) ARTHUR'S PASS STORE & CAFÉ (Open 8am to 5pm), WOBBLY KEA CAFE & BAR (Open 10am to 8pm), Bealey Hotel (1km past village- food open till 9pm)
Flock Hill Station (641 km) OVERNIGHT: Flock Hill Lodge
Springfield (686 km) Springfield service station (open 7:30am to 7pm), Yellowshack Café (open 8am to 5pm), Springfield store (open ?)
Sheffield (695 km) The Famous Sheffield Pie Shop (open 6:30am to 4pm)
Darfield (712 km) Bakery, Cafes, Supermarket
Hororata (736 km) Cafe closes 4pm
Mayfield (812 km) Caltex Mayfield (open 24hours but NEED TO CHECK IF JUST PUMPS OPEN!)
Geraldine (846km) Z service station (open till 10pm), Various cafes (most with closing times of 8-9pm), Excellent Indian Restaurant
Fairlie (892km) BP service station (open till 10pm), Caltex (open till ?), Four Square (open till 7pm)
Tekapo (935km) Challenge service station (open 7am till 6pm), Four Square (open till 8pm), Reflections Café (open till 8:30pm), Lake Tekapo Tavern (open late)
Twizel (992km) Supermarket, various cafes and restaurants. Not much after 10pm
Lake Ruataniwha (997km) OVERNIGHT: Lake Ruataniwha Holiday Park
Omarama (1028km) Oasis Cafe from 7:30am
Tarras (1107km) Country Coffee Shop until 4pm
Cromwell (1137km) Subway until 9pm; Various cafes and bars

Finalised Tiki Tour Route

Following our vollies ride, I've made some tweaks to the route. These reduce the gravel on route to just 1.8km while still avoiding what we perceive as the worst traffic spots in the area, and also eliminating a couple of unnecessary 18% pinches on the way back to Queenstown.

The first two days are quite demanding. We have spaced out the first control on the third day to be time-limit friendly.

If you would like to use a phone as backup to GPS, I recommend joining our RideWithGPS club where you will be able to get offline maps and other "premium" features when riding on routes organised by Kiwi Randonneurs.
Kiwi Randonneurs RideWithGPS Club with join code

Following final tweaks to the route, there is now just 1.8km of hardpack, which is in better condition than some of the sealed roads. The rest is sealed, but much on the eastern side of the route is large stones in the chipseal, so I still recommend 28-32mm tyres.

Days 1 & 2 are tough. Day 3 has some of the fastest parts of the route.
Day 4 is the taper off.

Whole route:

Tiki Tour 1200K (Whole Route)

Day One:

Tiki Tour 1200K (Day One)

Day Two:

Tiki Tour 1200K (Day Two)

Day Three:

Tiki Tour 1200K (Day Three)

Day Four:

Tiki Tour 1200K (Day Four)