“Unfinished business” is what I would tell people who asked me if I had done the Tour Aotearoa (TofA), a 3,013 km brevet which runs the length of New Zealand from Cape Reinga in the far north, to Bluff in the deep south. In 2016 I was going to ride the inaugural TofA with my riding buddy Rickie Cotter but the legacy of a prostate infection meant it was not a good idea. I came back in 2018 and was doing really well when just after km 750 I woke up in a ditch in the Pureora Forest having somehow crashed my bike. It was a bad crash and I ended up with a helicopter ride to Waikato Hospital, 4 h of facial reconstruction surgery, and a traumatic brain injury (TBI) which has led to post-concussion syndrome. Could have been worse… I could have been killed or drooling in a wheel chair!
With my brain injury having settled in to something that I can generally manage, it was time to get this done. So I trained hard to get my fitness up and was well prepared physically and mentally for this race. Promising my wife Lis that I would not overdo it, I looked forward to an adventure!