Congratulations to Joanna Sharpe for setting this new WUCA Record for the W-E crossing of the North Island of New Zealand
Riders Narrative Summery
Cape to Cape New Zealand
At 6.15am on 18.3.22 I, Joanna Sharpe, departed from the end of the tar seal road, on the ocean, past the light house that is Cape Egmont the most Westerly part of New Zealand. It was dark and there was a very strong 35knott wind blowing. As the morning progressed the wind dropped into a beautiful clear morning.
I decided to take on a world record attempt to become the 1st person to cycle Cape to Cape 9most westerly to easterly points of New Zealand) to raise awareness for bowel Cancer New Zealand. In 2020 I lost a dear friend and fellow cyclist Britt Mill, to bowel cancer. At a similar time, I received early intervention and thanks to ongoing observation am clear. Britt eventually received a terminal bowel cancer diagnosis due to 6years of mis diagnosis, Drs thinking that at 32 she was too young to have this disease. It struck me as such a tragic loss that such a lack of awareness of the signs and symptoms had caused us to have such opposite outcomes. I want to make a difference to those statistics that result in bowel cancer being the 2nd largest cancer killer whilst in most cases being treatable and not terminal.
In 2021 I became the 1st woman to cycle North to South New Zealand non stop in 6 days 9hours and therefore cycling west to east would make a logical, next step and would be a super way to maximise the exposure for Bowel Cancer New Zealand. This record would provide a very different challenge. New Zealand is very remote in parts with very exposed roads. It is very hilly, forestry work is dense in the east and there is possibility for extreme weather.
I was fortunate to have two bikes for this challenge. Both are top end Chapter 2 Bikes. These amazing bikes are raced around the world and designed in New Zealand. I had the Huru model and the Rere model. The Rere was set up with a large gear selection for the hills as well as aero bars. The Huru was a standard 11 speed 28 set up. Sadly a mechanical failure on the drive down to the start at Cape Egmont meant the Rere was not able to be ridden. This proved a challenge with gearing and lack of aeros however the Huru performed impeccably with not one puncture or drop chain during the entire challenge. This was in spite of the many road works, hot newly laid tar seal, loose chip, road slips, torrential rain and our rugged roads with little time for mechanical attendance due to being ridden the whole time.
I used Hammer Perpetuim as my main fuel source the entire ride and supplemented this with a selectin of bars and snacks. I used Isagenix bars and plant based smoothies as I am celiac and dairy intolerant. I used Isagenix Refresh sachets and Hammer Endurolye extreme as my hydration with some cold peppermint tea to fight the nausea I experienced. I also used Isagenix Eshots for caffeine as I do not like coffee.
The best part of the challenge was the amazing camaraderie of the crew, they were all incredible. We are not a professional organisation like some ultra cycling crews we are just a group of adventurers and some of the crew had done nothing like this before. We all gelled so well and they were kind, caring and attentive to me at all times. 3 of the crew had accompanied me on the Long White Ride (North to south New Zealand 2021 so had some experience of what may be encountered. The other 3 crew members had no specific experience at all other than a love of adventure and a deep desire to make a difference to Bowel Cancer New Zealand so honestly they were just so brave for taking this on.
The unbelievable beauty of the country was a highlight to us all, it is spectacular to cycle through our rugged island, see dormant volcanos, rock formations, rugged coast line and views from the top of epic climbs.
Many local schools came roadside to cheer us on and used the adventure as a learning experience in school to teach about bowel cancer signs and also the chance to dream big and take on goals, believe in yourself and trust I others. I was so proud to be able to use the adventure to take this message to schools, especially in covid times. We had incredible exposure on national media with slots on our prime time breakfast television on 3 days as well as evening news. This was another highlight to know we were reaching into peoples homes and maybe save one family from experiencing a terminal diagnosis through learning more about this cancer.
The hardest part was probably the conditions at times. This did in fact prevent us completing the second world record I was hoping to set by cycling both ways non stop. A major weather event came in, resulting in loss of life, so the decision to pull the pin just after setting the cape to cape record was a good one by the crew. I was not able to hold the bike safely on the road with tiredness and conditions. When the weather event passed and I learnt of the tragic loss of life I am forever grateful to the crew for putting the safety of myself and other road users first, we will go back in December to try the double record again in hopefully safer conditions. This challenging remote terrain is also where the beauty lies in these adventures. Watching the moon rise over Mount Messenger as I climbed was something I will never forget. All the trucks and cars were so supportive, many having seen us on TV and cheered us on. I felt the adventure brought so many people together and gave people such joy and excitement to follow and dot watch as we cycled the country, much like it did in 2021 when we cycled The Long White Ride.
I learnt so many lessons on my Cape to Cape record, which ended at 1.06pm 19.3.22 at the end of the tar seal road in Te Araroa East Cape. We turned around after a short break to attempt the second record making the return journey but as we were not able to complete this I aim to return in December 2022 to try again for the 1260km cape to cape to cape recrd attempt using all I have learnt and hoping for supportive weather. Ultra cycling for me is about adventure. Sometimes not all things work out and in this beautiful rugged remote island of ours we must always sail close to the wind, hope for all things to align to make challenges happen. I am so proud of my crew. Together they have helped me to become the first person to complete this cape to cape non stop solo. And to do so in 30hrs 51mins is something I will forever be proud of. I look forward to your hopeful recognition and planning our next adventure in December with you. Thanks for your support
Joanna Sharpe with the support crew of
(Jude Billows, Benny Devicich, Rich Wyatt, Mathew James, Vanessa Bridge ,Andy Reid)