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Supporting Otago: Cycling professors finish their ride

Wednesday 16 December 2020 11:49am

cycling professors image
An early group of Phantom riders on arrival in Nelson: Professor David Lont, Chris Latta, Richard Fogarty, Neil O’Fee, Steve Rate and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Professor Richard Blaikie.

Made it! With those two words Otago's cycling professors celebrated the completion of their 1400km fundraising cycle tour for Pūtea Tautoko, the student relief fund.

After slogging over the Lewis Pass on the penultimate day, the final day was a shorter final run to Nelson (a mere 120km!) for some well-deserved toasted sandwiches and coffee.

“We’re pleased to be here. Everyone’s a bit tired and there’s a few injuries and niggles picked up along the way,” Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Professor Richard Blaikie says.

“Hopefully this gets into people’s psyches that giving and fundraising are good. If it’s around an event or an achievement, you can also use the goals you set to help someone else.”

In November he and his fellow professors Gerry Closs (Zoology) and David Lont (Accountancy and Finance) spent nine days on the road cycling from Dunedin to Nelson via the West Coast as part of a larger team of riders and support crew from the Phantoms cycling group.

They posted regular updates on their Givealittle page detailing their adventures in the saddle as they cycled ‘coast to coast to coast’, twice, through some of the South Island’s most spectacular scenery.

The route tracked the spine of the Southern Alps, crossing five passes along the way.

“Arthur’s Pass was the really hard day where we had a blustery headwind going up some very steep climbs. But, apart from that, we were blessed with the weather. There was no persistent rain or horrendous conditions to deal with, which was great.”

The sense of shared purpose helped them push through the tougher sections, he says.

“There was that camaraderie of a group setting out to achieve something and getting it done.”

Professor Blaikie enjoyed the flight home as he had window seat and was able to pick out some of the sections of the route.

“Hopefully this gets into people’s psyches that giving and fundraising are good. If it’s around an event or an achievement, you can also use the goals you set to help someone else.”

 

Ride stats

  • Total Distance = 1419 km
  • Total Time (in saddle) = 50h 22min
  • Av Speed = 28.2 km/h
  • Total Climbing = 14,886 m