I can confirm that the date for this years Le Petit Brevet is the 19-20 November.
After much deliberation I have decided on a course that takes riders on a rough figure 8 of the Peninsula, taking in the Mt. Fitzgerald traverse twice (in both directions). The half way mark (in distance and altitude gain) is Akaroa. This makes the two day option overnighting at Akaroa or one of the northern bays a good option, with plenty of accommodation for all budgets available. The route will also go via the ferry from Diamond Harbour to Lyttleton near the end of the ride. The first ferry is at 7.05am on Sunday so those riding through the night may want to take this into consideration.
The stats? The route is approximately 240 km (considerably shorter than last year due to the omission of the Lake Ellesmere grovel). Altitude gain? Well, last year I estimated climbing was 5600 m, actual was more like 7500 m. This year, estimated is 6200 m, so actual is, I'll let you do the maths / guestimations. I doubt that includes the additional 0.5 m the Port hills are supposed to have risen in the shaking over the last 6 months either... every metre counts on the day!
Easier / hardier than last year? Don't be fooled by the 60-70 km less in distance. Many people got lost / abandoned on Mt. Fitzgerald in the fog last year (possibly the slowest part of last years course). This year, the route will take in this part of the course twice. Add in a bit more climbing and hack out the long flat road section, I think it will be just as challenging.
Final course. I will release the actual course in early November. There are still some undecided portions, mainly relating to the start / finish location. This of course will depend on what Port Hill access tracks have been re-opened by the end of winter.
Money. Again, in the spirit of the Brevet, there is no entry fee. Like last year, we will be asking for donations that will be given to the Hinewai Reserve (nestled in the hills above Akaroa). Last year we raised $500 which was greatly received. This year I am aiming to double that amount.
And... the other big news... Le Petit Brevet is going high tech this year. Wait for it... its got its very own email address. Please send all correspondence, including your commitment to turn up on the day to : LePetitBrevet@gmail.com. At this rate, we will have electronic timing by the turn of the millenia!
Hope everyone's winter is plodding along, and for those that are in Christchurch, that things are finally calming down, with a return to some form of normality taking place in your life's.