On the road again!
At the start of the MitoQ NZ Tour there was much excitement about the beginning of an epic journey that would see a bunch of middle-aged mates cycling the entire length of New Zealand. Now at the part-way point, the thrill is in reuniting after a break and helping each other through this third stage.
Watch the video to see the team take on the challenge
On the morning of September 10, 2020, the MitoQ film crew caught up with the Glendowie Cycling Crew in the small North Island town of Mangakino. The atmosphere at breakfast was excitement at being back together and eagerness to hit the road for the next adventure. Most of the team members are self-employed, making getting time away from work a little tough. To ensure everyone can complete as many stages of the Tour as possible, they have broken it up into a staggered affair, moving down the country in stages of 3-5 days at a time.
For this, their third stage of the series, the Crew’s goal was to cover 290kms (or 161 miles) and 2000m of incline from Mangakino to Whakahoro over three days. Exploring beautiful native New Zealand bush on the Timber Trail, involving mud, wobbly foot bridges and coming out the other end in one piece.
“One of the great things about this is that we’re doing it as a bunch of mates, and with the support of MitoQ which is really allowing us to get on and do it,” says Paul Millet, the Tour’s chief organizer.
“It’s like anything you do, it’s easier and better with mates,” adds participant Shane Hughes. “Some of us ride a little bit quicker up hills but we always wait at the top because at the end of the day, you want to enjoy it together.”
The Timber Trail
From the rolling green pasture-filled farming fields of the previous stage, the Crew now took on the foothills of the alpine region of New Zealand’s Central Plateau.
If the highlight of stage one was cycling down the iconic 90-Mile Beach, and stage two was all about battling wind, rain and numerous punctures, stage three of the MitoQ Tour of New Zealand was all about the stunning New Zealand bush. The team entered one of the country’s most iconic mountain bike routes – the Timber Trail – which follows the old logging tracks from New Zealand’s pioneering days, through some of the most pristine native bush in the country.
“Just getting out into the bush, you can’t beat it,” says Ian Todd, who’s been on the tour since the very beginning. “It’s another world. Get away from the city and all the worries, forget about your phone ringing, your emails and all the rest of it and it’s just a total switch-off.”
“Every stage is unique,” adds Hughes. “The last stage was a bit flatter and then this one – it’s scenic, it’s hilly, it’s a struggle, but it’s just amazing scenery. The swing bridges, the New Zealand bush, the ruggedness of it all. It’s just awesome.”
Recovery is key
If it’s all about sweat, toil and laughs during the day, the demands on the body of this Tour mean that great recovery is essential – especially for a bunch of guys approaching or on the other side of 50 who are trying to do things 30-year-olds would be proud of.
“Yesterday we did 100 kilometres and 2000 metres of climbing, which is quite a lot,” reveals Hughes on the morning of day three as he explains how MitoQ helps him take on one long day after another on the bike.
“I’m a roofer, so I’ve got quite a physical job which tires me out and then we do all this biking on the side. With MitoQ, what I’ve noticed the most is probably coming back and training after work isn’t as hard. I’ve found that I have a little bit more energy. ”
“I just think MitoQ resonates with what we’re about,” adds Todd. “We’re a bunch of 50-year-old guys who are not ready to lie down yet, and that’s exactly the point, you know? MitoQ’s helped me out – I know, typically I get to the afternoons, I get a bit weary and a bit slow and now I’m good through to the end of the day and happy days, I’m still going!”
After an epic ride through the bush, the team emerges again back into farmland surroundings and are greeted by what’s to come. Rising in the distance are the snow-capped mountains of the Central North Island – featuring volcanoes including Mt Ngarahoe, which is famous for starring as Mt Doom in the Lord of the Rings films.
But that’s going to have to wait for now as the team heads back home to prepare for stage four in about a month’s time… Stay tuned!