Tristan Rawlence’s Loaded Santa Cruz Highball for the 2018 Tour Aotearoa Brevet

Tristan Rawlence’s Loaded Santa Cruz Highball for the 2018 Tour Aotearoa Brevet
Photos and Audio captured by Sven Martin, intro by John Watson

The preparation for ultra-endurance bikepacking events is of mind, body, and bicycle. The latter of which there is no shortage of interest in, both in terms of this website’s audience and my own curiosity. I’ve seen a lot of various gear setups over the years, from Trans America winners taking on 1000 mile road rides, Baja Divide rigs, Stagecoach hardtails, Tour Divide and everything in between. There’s something magical about a fully loaded bike, especially when the owner has put so much thought into every detail, specifically, gear selection.

Photographer and all-around badass Sven Martin caught up with Tristan Rawlence, prior to his departure for the 2018 Tour Aotearoa Brevet, a 3000km brevet which traverses from Cape Reinga at the Northern tip, to the Bluff at the Southern tip in New Zealand. Not only did Sven bring a camera to document Tristan’s setup, but some great audio equipment, which makes for an extremely interactive experience and quite frankly, something entirely new and exciting for the Radavist.


Part 01: Intro to the 2018 Tour Aotearoa Brevet


Part 02: Bike and Gear Introduction


Part 03: Gear Continued


Part 04: Why no food?

As photographed here, Tristan’s Santa Cruz Highball with Revelate Bags packed for 300km days, including water is 18 kg. You can follow Tristan’s progress via his Tracker.


Follow Sven on Instagram and Tristan on Instagram.

  • Tom Ford

    Yay for Sven and his audio interviews! Great bike nerd stuff!

  • Davey Struthers

    See you out there! Maybe… lol

  • Ben S

    I’ve been digging all the ultra racing content as of late!

    • I like the brevet format because they’re not races. Like the Sverigetempot coverage – although I suppose you’re racing the clock for the cut-offs – but racing events like this are really dangerous for the riders. They want to push themselves too much and ride on roads that might be too busy. It’s a complex issue and no one wants anyone to get injured, but with Mike Hall’s death, safety really resonates with this community now.

      • Ben S

        I guess I was lumping together brevets like this with all out ultra races like the Trans America Race. I agree that things have gotten out of hand on the sleep deprivation front to the point where it has created unsafe conditions. Hopefully we will be able to find ways to create safer races while still maintaining the raw spirit of self supported racing.

      • I think the 6 hour downtime is what makes it so “doable”. 20% of the riders are women, and the last time I looked only 11 people had pulled out, that’s with 4 waves started, and 2 to go. The Kiwi Brevet is also run under these rules. You can hammer during the day, and sleep at night. No need for drugs or sleep deprivation ! Keep an eye out on the GCN show, they were in touch the other day. Hopefully they do something.

      • multisportscott

        The compulsory six hour stop (initially it was four hours) has been in place since the inception of the Kiwi Brevet in 2010 (along with the minimum and maximum finish times). These events spends a fair bit of time on “highways” that are narrow and winding. New Zealand roads can be a little unfriendly for cycling on, hence the rule. By forcing a compulsory stop period it lessons the sleep deprivation element. Of course not everyone sticks to the rule, and it is impossible as a event organiser to truely monitor it. These events are undertaken on a gentleman/womans agreement. Tristan sums it up nicely when he says they are an inclusive event. You can smash the shit out of yourself if that’s your bag, or you can cruise along smelling the roses, it doesn’t matter to anyone.

  • macatarere

    The riders satellite trackers are here

    • Yep! I linked to the tracker’s site. Nice review of the 2016 review by Jeff. Thanks for sharing it!

      • macatarere

        It was a pleasure meeting many of the riders on 2016 including Jeff and an international contingent. The course runs right past Rhubarb Cafe at Arapuni, a favourite for food and riding, not far from my door.

  • C.Silver

    The audio format is cool (a first on this site I think?), almost like we got to meet Tristan in person. Coupled with the nice photography as visuals, it all adds up as a very nice experience.

    • I agree. I like it and hope to use that technology for special features.

  • Chris Andrews

    I was in Wave 1 and went for my old Cannondale CX bike running 1x setup (38 up front and 11-32 cassette) with a mix of clincher / SP dynamo / SineWave Beacon / Tubeless wheels/tyres… Managed to fry my electrics on day 1 down 90 mile beach thanks to the deadly combo of sand+torrential rain, eventually submitting to a DQ thanks to a broken derailleur too.

    However, I got a ride to Auckland to replace the derailleur and started day 3 as planned from my pre-booked hostel and began smashing out 200 – 300km days.

    Ended up finishing in 13 days 15.5 hours – a full 1.5 days quicker than last time, in considerably worse weather. We got hit by record rainfall in the Far North, and Cyclone Gita on the Wild and Wet West Coast…

    Hell of a trip – seriously great event!

    • Holy Hell! That sounds like the best type 02 fun.

  • Avuncular

    Oh no, hydraulic brakes and bar ends! What will the neighbours say?

  • Usuario

    I would like to be explaned why the mountain bike industry is so king to kill the bottle cage bolts. I have muy 2006 stumpjumper hardtail (XC oriented geometry) with three bottle mount bolts on its frame. And now you can hardly find a hardtail with more than one. Are those bolts that f****** heavy?

    • Because they assume people ride with backpacks. I get in discussions with people at MTB companies all the time. They usually live in cooler / wetter environments and I live in the desert. More bottle bosses, the better, IMO.

    • macatarere

      A centre punch, a drill, a rivnut, bottle cage mount!

  • asposium

    Interesting listen.
    A spreadsheet wasn’t mentioned
    Is a full kit list available anywhere?
    Always good to see what people have taken.

    • Tristan’s gear is pretty standard for any bikepacker set-up, I am not seeing any surprises in there. He has an ultra sensible gear range with the 2x. Probably very overgeared down-low, because I am guessing he was originally going to ride a High Tower which is a fully and probably plays better in 1x ? He has High Tower listed on his tracker as his bike, so that’s a guess.

      He rode past last week so I rushed out and gave him a cold popsicle and rode with him a while. He was cruising. I see he has less than 300 kms to go. He will go under the 10 day minimum and be DQed I guess. Or maybe he will rest up 200 metres down the road and just do enough to beat his wife’s time from 2016 ; )

  • Kevin Luong

    Could someone shed light on that 3D printed stuff? Perhaps electronics to switch between USB charging & lights with the dynamo hub?

    • Tristan is using Kerry Staite from K-lites gear. Kerry is a full-on techno-nerd and prints heaps of stuff on his 3-d printer so he can tweak his designs constantly. Most of the leading bike-packer/endurance guys are using his kit or have used his kit at one stage or another. His has a more modular approach rather than the combining everything in the one unit kind of deal like Exposure and Sinewave do. I believe he is soon launching some new stuff but I am not sure of the details. He’s a very interesting guy. Would make a great interview actually. I have one of Kerrys switching kits, it allows me to swap the power from lights, to off, to USB charging via the Sinwave USB converter. I run an Exposure Revolution lamp which has a built in standlite. I think the K-lite standlites are separate to the actual light.