The New Zealand bike ride that breaks all the records – and now the book!
It started in 1977 with a bunch of friends trying to raise money for charity. Thirty-one years on, the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge is not only New Zealand’s most popular bike ride but recognised by the UCI (International Cycling Union) as one of the top eight road-cycling events in the world.
On November 29, around 12,000 people – from family relay teams to élite cyclists – will don helmets, leap on their bikes, and set out to conquer the nearly 160-kilometre course.
According to a new guide being released to mark this year’s event, they should have been in training for months. The new Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge Guide by Amy Taylor (Awa Press, $30), the first-ever guide to the event, is being released to coincide with this year’s race.
Taylor says if you want to really enjoy the ride and haven’t done it before, you need to start training about March. She should know. Cycling New Zealand Federation’s 2008 Coach of the Year, and two-time winner of the SPARC Prime Minister's Scholarship for Coaching, Taylor has coached cyclists for national and international races, and has her own Auckland-based training business.
Her book, endorsed by the event’s organisers, runs the gamut from what to look for when you’re buying a bike to what to eat for breakfast the morning of the event.
It includes detailed training schedules for everyone, from out-of-condition beginners to super-fit athletes. And in case you get the bug, there’s a schedule of other road-cycling events you can tackle in New Zealand and overseas.
Meanwhile, back at Taupo there are lots of records to be broken. You could try beating the record of Colin Anderson, who has completed a total of 44 laps of the lake over the last 18 years.
You could aim to be the oldest rider – the record is held by an 84-year-old. Or you could try to beat the record time for the fastest Unicycle ride, at 7 hours and 43 minutes.
Or you could just have the time of your life. Says Taylor: ‘It is a superb ride, with those stunning views and the amazing sense of achievement as you cross the finish line.'