Racing to cycle around the lake

Piles of mountain bikes resting at the finish area

Piles of mountain bikes resting at the finish area.

The day finally arrived. The day I, and many thousands of people, set off on a quests to cycle around Lake Taupo. Having ridden around the lake in August with Hot Cycles the terrain was familiar. So as we lined up and I began shivering on the start line waiting to get the green light I couldn’t help but think of what I was in for.

The goal was to come home in under five hours. This is a reasonable effort but thankfully it is that much easier on a race like this as groups are large and you can hide from the wind at times.

The law of averages

The thing about riding to an average speed is that you can’t let your guard down. When the speeds drop you have to go that much faster when you can to get back to where you need to be. This is especially true as the course starts off with a series of climbs that see your averages falling faster than the Fonterra milk payout.

But as the distances markers ticked on by, the group gathered overall pace. At a couple of points a few of us tried to make a break from the peloton, sadly we always got reeled in.

In hindsight, trying to breakaway simply cooked way to much energy and cost me on the final climb. With nothing left I had to watch as the group slowly got further away until it was that the final 15km would be lonely.

Take away learnings

One of the stranger bikes to ride around Taupo - a penny farthing.

There are some peculiar rides out there ont he Taupo ride.

If you want to ride a good time at Taupo some thoughts I have:

  • Get a good start position within your group.
  • Stay out of trouble early while the group jostles before settling in
  • Don’t lead breakaways – save it for the end
  • Be prepared for the unexpected, this year it hailed on riders
  • Get used to riding in the wind. Taupo always has wind.

Final thoughts

Taupo is a great ride as it is well organised, the scenery is amazing and the number of riders will help you achieve a way better time than without the group.

Check out the event organisers website Cyclechallenge.com.

Author: Christopher Baylis

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