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MATES ON TOUR

words, photos and videos by Alistair Harding & Aggie Zhang

 

In February 2020, a group of eight, 50-year-old Kiwi cycle-fanatic mates got it in their heads that they’d like to ride the length of New Zealand. There was only one problem – that none of them could take a month off work to do it. Which is when one of them came up with the bright idea that they could do it in short stages instead. And then they went out and did it. And MitoQ was so inspired, we decided to sponsor them! We pick up the story on Leg 3…

If at the start of the MitoQ Tour of New Zealand the excitement was all about the beginning of an epic journey that would take a bunch of mates the entire length of New Zealand, the excitement at the beginning of Stage 3 was all about those mates getting back together.

 

Because the team members are mostly self-employed, getting time away from work is a little tough. Which has made the Tour of New Zealand a staggered affair, moving down the country in stages of 3-5 days at a time. 

 

And so on the morning of September 10, 2020 when the MitoQ film crew caught up with them at the small North Island town of Mangakino, the atmosphere at breakfast was that of a bunch of mates just loving being back on the road together.

 

“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 organiser. 

 

“And it’s like anything you do, it’s easier and better with mates,” adds 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.”

“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.”

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And so on to Stage 3 – from the farming scenery of the Waikato region, and into the foothills of the alpine region of the Central Plateau. 

 

And if the highlight of Leg 1 was cycling down the iconic 90-Mile Beach, and Leg 2 was all about battling wind, rain and punctures, Leg 3 of the MitoQ Tour of New Zealand was all about the stunning New Zealand bush, as 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, 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.”

 

But if it’s all about sweat, toil and laughs during the day, the demands on the body mean that great recovery is essential – especially for a bunch of guys on the wrong side of 50 who are trying to 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 3 as he talks about how MitoQ helps him back up 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. So with MitoQ, I reckon the way I’ve noticed it the most is probably coming back and training after work is hard. But I’ve found that I have a little bit more energy. That’s what I’ve noticed the most.”

 

“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? 

 

“And 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!”

And so after an epic ride through the bush, and the team emerges again back into farmland surroundings, the team is greeted by what’s to come…. 

 

Rising in the distance are the snow-capped mountains of the Central North Island – 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 4 in about a month’s time… Stay tuned!

“Just getting out into the bush, you can’t beat it. It’s another world. Get away from the city, all the worries. Forget about your phone ringing, your emails and all the rest of it and it’s just a total switch-off.”

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© MitoQ Limited 2021