A Sunday in Well

Paul and Rigid lay down the V on Sector 8 in last year's Hell

It’s on like Donkey Kong!  Welli-Roubaix: Hell of the North (Island) is recon’ed, the seal of approval has been licked and stamped and the gravé awaits.  Oh, yes, it is on!

It looks like there may be a touch of dampness around on Sunday, which only adds to the fun (read: no fun).  We’ve added in a nice little ‘Muur’ at the end, just to finish you off if you haven’t had enough already.  It’s a 20% grunt up the ‘wall’ (well, even it’s it’s only 10%, we’ll call it 20 for prosperity).

Remember, it’s a RIDE, not a race.  Stop at lights.  Don’t be a dick.  Take your turns. Have a chat.  Look after each other (if someone flats near you, help em out.)  Have a laugh.

Here’s the rundown on the day of awesomeness:

Get to Hataitai Velodrome around 9.30 with your bike, a change of clothes, and an Esky filled with beer.  You’re gonna thank us for that at the end.  At 10, there’ll be some loose directions/guidelines yelled at you.  Make a donation of $V for the earthquake victims of Christchurch cycling clubs Papanui and Pegasus .  Leuven is matching every $V with $1, which is awesome.  So not only do you get to suffer, you get to help, too.

At precisely V past 10, we roll.

The way out is the same as the way back in.  Remember where that is.

We’ll keep it in a bunch through Hataitai, Roseneath, Oriental Bay, through town and left into Bunny St at the railway station.  All the way out to Petone, then along the water to Eastbourne.  Then you’ll come to this:

Not sure how far out to the lighthouse it is (V-meter only here), but it’s a fair way.  Turn around at the cattle grid near the lighthouse.  This is NOT MARKED.  (It’s not even know if there is a cattle grid, but we’ve been told there is so we’ll go with that.) We’re now heading back the way we came.

Just after re-joining the seal road, swing left here onto ‘The Promenade’.  Follow this along the beach until it ends;

Head across the road to the left, through the gate into the recreation ground.  (I forgot to mark this, but it’s easy to find.)

At the other end you’ll take a left here, and out onto the road.  Stay left and follow Marine Drive to the end:

After we pop back out onto the main road again, just follow the water.  It’s narrow around here, don’t hold up traffic and stay on the shoulders where possible (they are rough as guts and covered in glass, so they add to the authenticity.)

Just before the last right hand bend at the end of the main road, swing left into this car park, and around to the right where the blue pole is (above).

Then it’s onto the bike path which runs parallel to the road:  Wasn’t sure whether to put this in or not, but it brings us onto some more rough stuff so it can’t be all bad.

At the end of the bike path, swing left/right/left across this car park and along to the exit, onto Seaview Rd.

Follow it alongside the river to the end, then swing left and up onto the little (unclassified) gravé sector which leads under the Petone bridge.

You are now on the Hutt River Trail, it’s kinda a little Flemish or Dutch, perched up high like that on the levee.  We’ll light a scented candle in our minds in homage to Frank, and give thanks he’s not here to hurt us further.

Go left under the rail bridge, then just past it we swing left again and hit Gravé Sector 7.

Follow the gravé, there’s a nasty loose pit at the end of it, then stay left and along the bike path.  There’s a bit of respite for a couple of km’s, through a little gate, then this:

Sector 6.  Wide and fast.  Potholes.  Mud.

After 6, we cross the road and up onto the Kennedy Goode Bridge, on Fairway Drive.

Be careful crossing the road here, it can be busy.

Over the bridge, then immediately left and left again around the back of the school.  We are now heading back south.

Along the main path for a little bit. Here, you can add some ditch riding to the left of the bollards if you’re keen (or stupid, or both).

Left onto Sector 5, the V Sector.  Fairly long gravé section, with a grassé passing lane built right in off to the side.  It pops you out near Melling bridge here:

Slightly uphill, dive left onto the singlegrav, Sector 4.  Then up this rise onto 4B;

Under that bridge and left;

Onto Sector 3, which is rough dirt and grassé.  Probably the roughest sector, this is where light wheels go to die.

This turns into Sector 2, and the last real gravé stretch.

Take a sharp right under the rail bridge, and hope to Merckx there’s no junior rugby being played. If there is, pray to Merckx we don’t get beaten to a pulp by sideline parents pissed off because little Tommy’s team isn’t getting a fair go from the bloody ref.

At the top of the bank it’s time to tee off.  Sector 1, grassé, through the golf course.  Stay off the fairways and on top of the causeway and you’ll be sweet.

And so ends the gravé.  Now we’re back at the Petone bridge.  Hang a left under it, and follow the narrow boardwalk up to the other side of the road.  We may regroup here if everyone is still fairly close together.  Or just hammer it back into town. The reverse of the way we came out. Oriental Pde, then KOM points up Carlton Gore, Grafton, Haitaitai Road…

Over the footbridge and up the Muur.  If you’re not royally fucked after that, do your penance on the lap and a half of the hallowed velodrome.  Never so good will your beer taste.

What else do you need to know?

I think ‘don’t be a dick’ covers it best.  Did we mention it’s not a race?

Road bikes only.  ‘Cross bikes are ok, but only with road tyres on.  No Mimos. Or Captains.  Or Captain Nemos.

Be responsible for yourself.  Bring tubes. Food. Water.

A camera.  We’ll put the best pics up here.  Gav will be snapping a few off, so let him know if you’ve got some special Roubaix mods to reveal.

And V.  Lots of The V.


We’ll throw a barbie afterwards if you want to bring a dead animal to chuck on it, and some people to help you eat it.

No-one seems to want to give beer away though, so it’s BYO Belgian brews.

On Monday morning our good friends Leuven are opening their doors to us at 7am for a cheap breakfast and brews with entertainment provided by bicycle racing: Paris Roubaix.

If you turn up and yell out the result, you will be beaten.  If you didn’t pony up a fiver on Sunday, do it now, or do it again.

9am should see you either off to work, or off to bed, or hanging around until 11.30 – 1.30 for another taste of the last 2 hours.  It could get weird.

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40 Replies to “A Sunday in Well”

  1. Looks and sounds freakin’ awesome Brett. Cool photo’s BTW. Best of luck to all of the starters

  2. Awesome parcours! The River Trail Secteurs are a great idea. I wish I could join you/slow you down on the ride, but I’ll do my best to make it to Leuven in time to yell out the result…Good stuff, Bretto.

  3. That is the best Parcours I have ever seen! if only our club races and group rides were this honest. Looks like a great Roubaix fashioned ride – enjoy! here’s hoping for copious amounts of rain to add to your carnage

  4. Can I channel Contador and wear a wooly scarf around my fragile, dainty neck?

  5. This is freaking awesome. Shame I’m not in Welly! Love the. “you’ll be sweet” bits in the instructions. Well done mate.

  6. Very impressive Рespecially the grass̩.
    I think there’s one mistake where you refer to a beach but there’s only a choosy black rock shoreline visible. Please clarify.

  7. @harminator
    Rule V. Need we say more?

    Brett – outstanding effort. Am kinda hoping for foul weather, so our island boat trip is cancelled and I can front up. See you at Leuven, though. Well done, Mate – and Best of French to all the participants.

  8. I love how you tagged the paths. We should make a V-stencil tagging kit for shit like this. If the weather is anything like it is in some of those pics you all will be in for a suitable Hellish experience. I’d give my lefty to join you all, what a blast. I can’t wait to see pics, especially from inside the velodrome.

  9. @Marko

    A V-Stencil – interesting.


    It must be nice to live in a country that is small enough that you can get everybody that owns a bike together for festivities. I live on the wrong side of the equator.

  10. @Brett, @Marko, @Cyclops

    I really wish I’d have known that you were marking the road. @Cyclops made me these and some are being shipped out to Maui for accompanying the elevation markers. (A Velominatus happens to be responsible for the Cycle to the Sun road markings.)

  11. Damn, this is making me miss NZed like crazy. Enjoy the ride, wish I could join in. Esky…it’s been too long since I’ve heard this word.

    Can’t wait until Sunday!

  12. its like a walk down memory lane of childhood outings, go the hutt! even topped off with netball memories at the end! hehehehe good work. Have fun, more gutted I cnt do it after reading your report!!! DAMMIT!!T

  13. @tracy
    You spent your childhood outings in Hell? (The Hutt, yeah I see now…). Was your dad Roger de Vlaeminck?

    I feel a bit guilty about tagging the roads actually, I tried to do it on the gravé as much as possible, but got a bit carried away!

  14. Here in Seattle we do our recon on two wheels, not four.

    Nice Volvo, though! I have one in a similar year and color.

  15. @G’rilla
    I did two recons on 2 wheels, and it was easier than on four! Um, that Volvo isn’t mine (I swear, officer, I didn’t paint nuthin on no roads!)

  16. This is inspiring and I was contemplating hitting an extended gravé secteur this weekend but I busted a spoke on my rear Open Pro a couple of weeks ago and my mate who was fixing it has left town. Dare I venture out on the low spoke count wheels?

  17. @Nate

    I lost seven spokes out of my rear Fulcrum Racing 3 about six weeks ago. Only noticed after I’d come off a descent of the twisty Pahiatua Saddle – . Was amazed that the wheel stayed true enough to ride back up the hill and (very gently) down the other side. But have now had enough of the Fulcrums (and their spokes) so am awaiting some new Open Pros with Ultegra hubs (I am not good enough to justify DA). Hopefully they will not be so prone to spoke loss as the Fulcrums, but will be equally capable of dealing with it when it occurs. However, I’d be grateful if you could let me know if they’re not.

    BTW, if any Welliminati are interested in some Fulcrum 3’s, Brett has my contact details …

  18. Geof, Geof, Geof. You have a dilemna. Or as I see it, you don’t.

    There’s a set of 3x 32h Open Pros on Ultegra waiting for you. All 25’d up and lookin for some action. The dirtier and rougher the better for these puppys.

    Now, you’ve been a habitual Velominatus Violatus for as long as I’ve known you, and for the most part I’ve been easy on you and let things slide. Hell, some may even (mistakenly and callously) say I abetted some of your violations. But this time there’s no recourse.

    Here’s what you know you must do. Come and get the wheels. Put them on your bike. Ruminate on the awesomeness of the box sections. Tell your Family the boat trip to the island is off. Too windy.

    Rule #11.

    See you in Hell.

  19. Woo hoo! That’s Flemish for “I appreciate the spirit is which this event has been conceived”. My Denti is finely tuned and ready for many enthusiastic but ultimately doomed attacks. See you on Sunday, chaps!

  20. @G’phant
    Gnarly. Pretty amazing you could ride it at all.

    My rear Open Pro (on Ultegra, 32h) got me home fine with spoke loss. It was actually the nipple that failed, not the spoke. This knocked the wheel out of true. I just tucked the busted spoke in next to its neighbor, opened up the brake to prevent rub, and continued home. I took it a bit easy, but would hardly say I had to ride gingerly.

  21. @Nate, @G’phant
    Uh, guys? Modern racing wheels can do with very few spokes because their cross section is a deep V. We all know that the V fosters (nay, is the origin of) hardness in people, so it is also the strength in cross section of any material.

    Deep rim wheels are very strong, and also very in-compliant vertically. You can lose lots of spokes and still have a strong wheel. I’m 80kg and ride Zipps with something like 4 spokes. 3 of them are superfluous.

    Box section rims are very compliant, but are bad laterally, which is why wheels had 28, 32, or 36 spokes. If you lose one of those puppies and hit anything at all from the side, your wheel is in for a whirly-gig and you should bring them by Oli for a true-up.

    Lets remember what is good for what, shall we? Box sections: comfy wheels, great for head-on collisions with cobblestones. Aero wheels, fast and can do with relatively few spokes. Call your chiropractor after riding over even the mostly slightly ribbed pavement.

  22. frank :
    Lets remember what is good for what, shall we? Box sections: comfy wheels, great for head-on collisions with cobblestones. Aero wheels, fast and can do with relatively few spokes. Call your chiropractor after riding over even the mostly slightly ribbed pavement.

    Am I missing something? I don’t think so. Box sections are out of commission, so I am sticking to the pavement. As for the other wheels, they are unfortunatley not Zipps, but alas the ususal type of semi deep cheesy OEM wheels. Punishing on rough road? Yes. Strong enough to get me off the long gravé secteur I was going to ride in the event of equipment failure? I don’t aim to find out.

  23. @Nate

    I had a nipple shear off last year as well, I actually didn’t notice any change in ride quality, except this “ping ping ping” that would increase in frequency as I rode faster and decrease as a slowed down. Finally I figured out it was a lose spoke slapping against the seat stay each revolution. The wheel didn’t even go out of true enough for me to need to open my caliper up more.

  24. frank:
    @Brett, @Marko, @Cyclops
    I really wish I’d have known that you were marking the road. @Cyclops made me these and some are being shipped out to Maui for accompanying the elevation markers. (A Velominatus happens to be responsible for the Cycle to the Sun road markings.)

    Me likee!!!

    If somebody will get me a V-Stencil or two I will be happy to do up the ToC TT course in Solvang… Maybe these should be added to The Gear…

  25. @sgt
    I’m sending one to Hawaii, but I’ll send one your way as well.

    How many of these can you make? I’m down to one.

  26. @Brett
    I regret to inform that it remains my intention to break Rule #11 tomorrow.. So I paid a little homage to W-R this afternoon by taking Bike #2 (once Brett had given me my new Open Pros with 25mm Gatorskins – thanks, Mate) for a ride on some grave, some grasse and some dirte on Mt Vic, climbing the Muur de Hai and doing a lap of the ‘drome in the V-kit. Weather was disturbingly nice, so not very appropriate – but I wore leg and arm warmers to make it feel more real (or, perhaps, so that people would think ‘Look, it’s George Hincapie’ rather than ‘Look, it’s a sad middle-aged man wearing tight lycra to hide his pot’ – though they probably thought both). All the best to the Welliminati who have the decency to observe Rule #11 tomorrow. You’ll have a blast.

  27. While we are on the topic of ambitious rides, what news of the lot of assorted antipodeans who set off to cross Victoria last weekend?

  28. What a fantastic day! The parcours, the riders, the pain, the bonk… Anyway, it’s destined to go down as a classic. Apparently there was some racing at the climax, but I couldn’t see it from where I was sitting. Chapeau to le patron Brett.

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