Overcoming Cycle Challenge

Well, November is the month of the bicycle in Taupo, with New Zealand’s biggest sporting event the Contact Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge. This was the event's 33rd year and saw nearly 10,000 riders take up the challenge, along with a number of new challenges.

The newest and most demanding was the Extreme Enduro, a massive 1280 kilometers, and if you can believe it 18 hearty souls took on this challenge.

This year was the first time I have ridden the full 160kms, last year I rode the first 80kms of the relay, so knowing that, I knew what I had to be training wise to get around the lake comfortably.

The day dawned brilliantly and with hardly a breath of wind and I knew it would be a great ride, and did rather wisely coat my arms and back of my neck with sunscreen, along with a bandana to give extra protection.

I seeded myself in the five hours 30 group, and at about 8.45 I crossed the start line. For the first 80kms I rode with three other guys, (whom I had never meet) we worked well together, but unfortunately broke up over the Waihaha hill, this is quite a challenging hill, and it proceeds the Kuratau hill.

By the time I arrived above Turangi, my back pack and two water bottles were drained, so a quick stop to refill the bottles and a stretch the legs was well appreciated.

Once on the flats, I got into a train of about 35 riders, and we all took turns out the front, there was a small head wind, and I think it knocked about 5km/h of our speed. Just before the Hatepe hill I gobbled down a Mars bar and half a bottle of water.

That hill is a test of your resolve, and the heat really hit me about two-thirds the way up. Once conquered it was a relief to ride down to Taupo.

Once again a well organized ride, with lots of volunteers who without this day would never happen.    

So my time, 5.43 which was about the average, next year look for 30 minutes less.

So the challenge is, if you haven’t done this ride, it is amazing, but it isn’t a simple little pedal around the lake, you will need to do some training and there are some good training guides on the Cycle Challenge website

And for the record, I didn’t win the car…next year.

Contact Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge


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