-10°C weather, 200 km+ days & CanTeen – What Do These Three Things Have in Common?

Riding through NZ in winter

How will I cope with riding 2,400 kilometres in 12 days, covering the length of New Zealand, top to bottom?

To prepare myself mentally for my upcoming 12-day mission, I have been studying the physical sensations I am to expect as my body reacts to the extreme workload and harsh winter weather conditions. I know it will end up being a classic case of “mind over matter”, as I push through when it gets really tough.

Below you will learn more about my motivation for doing this Ride the Long White Cloud, see the complete itinerary including daily distances, and find ways to follow me, day by day, on social media.

How I found my motivation for riding the Long White Cloud

On the second last day of Ride the Long White Cloud I will wind my way along the South Island East Coast, climbing over 2,500m from Haast to Queenstown. There I will confront the coldest climate over the 12-day journey, with temperatures as low at -10°C.

I am sure there are cycling enthusiasts that shrug their shoulders at 200 kilometre+ days, even considering the solo nature of this 12-day attempt.

But are you aware of the physiology that goes hand in hand with battling the cold?

According to Live Science your body goes through a series of adaptations when it is exposed to cold temperatures. When the temperature around you drops your body will start to demand energy, consuming more carbohydrate to produce lactic acid. Capillaries constrict as blood pumps quickly to conserve your vital organs.

Ever wondered why your toes and hands get so cold on a chilly morning ride?

Your body is in overdrive, looking to protect the key players on the field, such as the heart and lungs. To worsen the blow, wind chill from the movement of your bike accelerates the freezing cold sensation in your fingers and toes.

It’s the double edged physiological sword of endurance riding and the cold, which makes this challenge so physically demanding.

So why would I do it?

When tackling something extreme – pushing the mind and body into unprecedented territory – you generate an opportunity to capture people’s attention.

Why do I want people’s attention? Let me fill you in.

I am half Kiwi, and as a consequence half of my family reside in New Zealand.  We’re a pretty close-knit bunch, with both sides of the family making the trip across the Tasman Sea on a regular basis.

In recent months, our family has gone through one of those experiences you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy. My young 13-year-old cousin, Lachy McIntosh, has recently been through chemotherapy treatment for a disease called Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – a blood cancer that affects the lymphatic system. As a resilient young man, he’s already back playing rugby and water polo at school after finishing his treatment, so things are looking positive for Lachy.

My cousin’s illness opened our eyes to the support that’s available for young people when cancer turns their lives upside down.

That’s how we found out about CanTeen.

$30,000 for kids with cancer

CanTeen is an organisation that provides support for teenagers dealing with unforeseen circumstances surrounding cancer, and they have been proactive in their support for Lachy in times of need.

Being touched by the wonderful work that CanTeen does for young cancer sufferers, I want to use Ride the Long White Cloud to raise funds and awareness for the organisation.

We have set the bold target of raising $30,000 for CanTeen over the 12-day ride. We have decided to split our fundraising activities 50/50 between CanTeen New Zealand and CanTeen Australia.

Please check out our Ride the Long White Cloud page for more information.

The plan that will get me from Cape Reinga to Bluff

I’m on a pretty tight schedule in order to make it from the top to the bottom of New Zealand in just 12 days. On average I’m covering 201 kilometres per day, with the longest ride being 252 kilometres and the shortest being 80 kilometres.

Below is the daily breakdown of the ride. Notice that I have a Plan A and a Plan B for a stretch of the journey. Some roads may be closed due to poor weather, in which case I have to find an alternative route.

Daily breakdown – North Island

Day 1 – 18th of July: Ride from Cape Reinga to Paihia, (213 km), 1,767 m of climbing

Day 2 – 19th of July: Ride from Paihia to Auckland (240 km), 2,375 m of climbing

Day 3 – 20th of July: Ride from Auckland to Rotorua (252 km), 1,220 m of climbing

Day 4 (plan A) – 21st of July: Ride from Rotorua to Taihape (222 km) 1,881 m of climbing

Day 5 (plan A) – 22nd of July: Ride from Taihape to Masterton (206 km) 1,550 m of climbing

Day 6 (plan A) – 23rd of July: Ride from Masterton to Upper Hut/Wellington (80 km) 632 m of climbing

Day 4 (pan B) – 21st of July: Ride from Rotorua to Napier (220 km) 2,350 m of climbing

Day 5 (plan B) – 22nd of July: Napier to Eketahuna (198 km) 988 m of climbing

Day 6 (pan B) – 23rd of July: Eketahuna to Upper Hut/Wellington (118 km) 803 m of climbing

Daily breakdown – South Island

Day 7 – 24th of July: Ferry, Wellington to Picton). Ride Picton to Nelson (120 km), 1,428 m of climbing

Day 8 – 25th of July: Ride Nelson to Westport (224 km), 2,322 m of climbing

Day 9 – 26th of July: Ride Westport to Whataroa (242 km), 1,855 m of climbing

Day 10 – 27th of July: Ride Whataroa to Haast (175 km), 1,642 m of climbing

Day 11 – 28th of July: Ride Haast to Queenstown (207 km), 2,552 m of climbing

Day 12 – 29th of July: Ride Queenstown to Bluff (214 km), 674 m of climbing

How to follow the ride, day by day

If you’re interested in following the journey day to day, make sure you follow our social pages. We’ll be sharing live stories on the Bike Chaser Instagram account and have daily Strava ride breakdowns with an image of the day on Facebook.

Also, head over to our donation page to see the fundraising tally and feel free to make a donation to a great cause.

Donate to the NZ bike ride here


  1. Very proud of you Cam. We will be with you the whole way mentally. Physically we will be minding your girls at home in Sandringham, Melbourne. We know you will do it. Love Mum and Dad. 🚴🔝🚵🔚🇳🇿🇦🇺

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