Thats Alex 2nd from the left; what is interesting about this "Team Voodoo Lounge" photo from the 2012 Kiwi Brevet is that Andy King took it, and as Ollie Whalley was standing around BS'ing with us at the time he lined up with us in the photo, unfortunately I had to tell Ollie that he wasn't a Team Voodoo Lounge member and he couldn't participate in the official shot! Hah hah.I'm a meanie!
Ollie went on to smash the 4400km Tour Divide record last week and go down in Tour Divide history. For a bit of background, Kiwi Mountain Biking pioneer Simon Kennett did the Tour Divide in 2008 (actually the Great Divide - pretty much the same thing) and he brought the concept back to NZ where he launched the Kiwi Brevet.
Ollie has won the Kiwi Brevet both times and used this years Great Southern Brevet and Kiwi Brevet to hone his form and gear selection for the 2012 Tour Divide. It was an epic battle as Ollie and a Canadian called Craig Stapler broke away fairly early on and rode together for a long time. Then one day Craig got the bonk, badly. He took a diversion and did some elite carbo-loading while Ollie hit the road by himself, only to be thwarted by a fatal traffic accident that cost him so much time that he ended up reuniting with Craig!
If you haven't noticed, bike-packers who are competitive at this level leave nothing to chance and compile lists of kit to geek out on. Craigs bike had been on the bikepacking.net site for a while, and if you look at it you can see what a sweet rig it is. Ollies bike also sported some state of the art kit, including a belt drive and internally geared Rohloff hub, but his "gear-list" so impressed one fan that he spent some time adding photos and descriptions. A great resource.
I think it was 14 hours later that he finally got moving, but Ollie had his head down, and while Craig waited on parts, the guys in 3rd and 4th positions had caught him.
When Craig got going again he put on the hurt and pulled away but he was never going to catch Ollie.
Its a great event to follow, and thanks to the spot trackers you always know where people are, but that doesn't cut down on the speculation on the forum that follows it. It's made up of mostly friends, family and Bikepackers who one day dream of doing such an event. Ollie and Craig have been finished for quite a few days now, but there are still heaps of people out there on course, including Kiwi Nathan Mawkes. Check their positions on the Leaderboard, find out the goss on the forum or listen to their call-ins where they talk about their brushes with wildlife and niggling injuries. There are no podium girls in the Tour Divide!
Ollies interview from National Radio