Another regular topic in talking about my Tour Aotearoa experience is the food that I ate and needed. So it gets a little page of its own. Needless to say, three thousand kilometres on a loaded mountain-bike in sixteen days is far beyond my normal energy expenditure and meant I needed to eat significantly more than I normally do – and despite my size, or perhaps because of it to some degree, I already have a large appetite day-to-day.
After the first couple of days in the heat and the crippling nausea, I sorted out my diet and really increased my salt intake. Gone were the heavy protein rich bars – I just couldn’t chew, swallow and digest them easily. Instead it was back to good old Flemings chewy muesli bars, or similar – probably not that much fuel, but easily eaten on the bike and I expect with a lot of sugar. By far my largest volume snack was potato crisps/chips – I must have eaten kilograms of them in two weeks. Salt and vinegar has always been my favourite – so that was handy for getting plenty of salt back in my system as I sweated it out. Haribo sweets also found a place in my feed bag – a nice little reminder of the UK & riding trips there. A bottle with electrolyte sachets from the chemist in Rawene weakly diluted in water also helped – I kept using this until I got to the West Coast and I wasn’t sweating so much anymore.
First breakfast was usually whatever I could stomach early in the morning and just enough to get me to somewhere serving breakfast – a muesli bar was sufficient with snacking on the bike. Second breakfast was usually the highlight of the food-day. I can’t remember how many cooked breakfasts I had, but it was many. For twenty dollars I could usually find what would almost pass for a Full English Breakfast. Eggs benedict and other cooked breakfasts weren’t quite as filling as those in the photos below, but would do in a pinch.
First and second lunches were usually a bit more modest compared to second breakfast. I thought I would eat far more pies, but it was too hot up north for hot pies. One day I think I managed three pies as bacon and egg pies were good for stashing on the bike for later consumption. The best pie I had was from the fabulous bakery in Wakefield (apparently there were better out there, I just didn’t have one) – but this bakery is more noteworthy for there eccles cakes, which were better than any I ever had in England. Filled rolls and fruit also made an appearance for lunch – and even a huge burger and hot chips were downed when I was recovering from the nausea early on. Really it was whatever was available wherever I happened to be. Lime milkshakes made an unexpected appearance in my diet – I consumed a fair few of these.
I did have some pretty big burgers from fish and chip shops for dinner. Light dinners if I was in the wilderness were usually a can of tuna with crackers – just enough to satiate my hunger before heading further on into the night. Most memorable and possibly best dinner was, strangely, a kebab from Jabies in Whanganui – it was, as claimed by the friendly proprietor, the best kebab I’d had in my life. Pasta meals were a welcome change from fried food for dinner; in a similar vein I even had a curry in Te Aroha just so I could have some rice, this wasn’t a great idea as it took an age to cook and then an age to eat beside the old railway station. A full roast meal from Mike-the-Scout in Richmond provided some more normal food.
That’s basically it – I ate an awful lot as I don’t have many reserves and only now, four weeks later has my diet somewhat returned to normal.