In January 2016 Tim Riddell entered a competition run by the Christchurch City Council to win entry into the Coast to Coast. In his entry he wrote that :”BVT’s company motto is “Go hard or go home” and we would like to showcase the same energy and enthusiasm we apply to our work at theCoast to Coast. Our young and agile team is certainly up to the challenge, just visit our web page to see. https://www.bvt.co.nz/who-we-are/ . We are a small but effective company, recently taking out the Professional Service category at the Champion Canterbury Business awards in the Small Enterprise field and feel confident we can achieve the same result in the highly competitive Coast to Coast.” Mark Smith the Marketing Adviser from the CCC wrote ‘Thank you very much for your entry. We are happy to say that BVT have won one of the Coast To Coast Corporate Challenge entries. It looks to be a very good fit with the companies vision and we would hate to deprive you guys of a chance to add to the Professional Service Business award.
On the 11th of February, Daniel Bulbring, Aidan Davey and Tim Riddell travelled to Kumara for the start of the iconic Coast to Coast race. The next two days would see them cycle run and paddle 243 km of road, rock and river, traversing the southern alps and canterbury plains to finish at New Brighton beach in a total time of 14:09.
The race started at Kumara beach at dusk with participants trying their best to warm themselves and touch the west coast ocean to signify the absolute start-point of the race. A 2km run commenced and wound its way along a dirt road and a stretch of tar. Already people were making their moves trying to get into a decent position for the 55km ride ahead. The transition to the bike was relatively smooth, albeit frantic. After my slow run, I managed to stick with two guys who were hell-bent on making a few places on the ride with the oldest dragging us two youngins along wilfully. After passing many small groups along the way, we finally settled in a big group until the transition at Aickens. I distinctly remember a battle-hardened gran next to me remarking “Is this group dead?”. I certainly remember feeling that way! I knew that I had to make good time because Aidan had a plane to catch to Melbourne that evening and I didn’t want to be responsible for holding him up! Anyway, I made it timely enough to give him a fighting chance.
(Written from Dan’s perspective)
The next stop was at Klondyke corner where we set up camp for the night and waited to see if Aidan would catch his flight. There was many a vested interest in his time, and he arrived with plenty of room to spare. A quick ice-bath was even taken to ease the tired legs for the flight ahead. Tim and a mate arrived later that evening and were happy to sleep under the stars, ready for the kayak the following day.
The next morning started with a 15km ride. After a solid first day, we managed a place in the third group. The group I was with were certainly on a mission. It eventually became a bit rich for my blood and I got left behind on one of the hills. I passed the transponder over to Tim for his kayak leg. Apparently, it was hard going as the Waimakariri was a bit on the low side.
After a beautiful and refreshing night under the stars, I was ready to make a fast time on the river. Unfortunately, the river flow was a third of what I wanted, and according to some competitors, significantly lower than previous years. Signing in at 5.30am, we awaited Dan on the bike, who was lighting fast and got me off to a good start.
Figure (1): The beginning
Unfortunately, the low river levels meant that many people passed me early on. However, some of these losses were recuperated in the rapids, where a number of other competitors evacuated their boats.
Figure (2): An evacuee
40 km in, I hit the threshold and the next 27 km of kayaking turned from race boating into survival boating. Not the best day out.
As the kayakers were coming in, a list was written of those who passed a checkpoint some half an hour ahead, to give the riders a heads up to get ready. Somewhere along the line, our number was missed, which meant that we weren’t ready for Tim’s arrival. After a frantic scramble up the hill to get the helmet, gloves and transponder on, the final 69km ride was underway. Initially, I was on my own until I caught up another rider. Later on some other riders caught us up, and so the group snowballed and our own peloton was formed. This group pretty much stayed together until the end, until an all-out sprint down Marine Drive ensued where it was every rider for him/herself. The final sprint was along fake turf where I discovered that riding shoes give as much grip as a dog on an ice-patch. After all the hard work, a beer was definitely in order, and well-earned.
Overall, a positive experience.
The team would like to thank Christchurch City Council for funding the entry fee as part of the Coast To Coast Corporate Challenge competition and BVT for allowing the time off to travel to and compete in the event.
Contributing writers and photographers:
Dan Bulbring, Aidan Davey, Tim Riddell