Stand on the edge of serene Lake Taupo and you’d never imagine that this was once the site of one of the most violent volcanic eruptions of all time. Around 25,000 years ago, vast quantities of rock, lava and pumice were blasted high into the air, creating the huge basin now filled by Lake Taupo, and coating the whole of the North Island in a thick, toxic ash.
In the years following this massive explosion, the region was regularly rocked by further eruptions, and the area remains volcanically active even today (although the last eruption occurred about 1800 years ago).
Come November and an explosion of a different kind descends upon this little town in the centre of the North Island. Thousands of cyclists flock to Taupo each year for New Zealand’s biggest cycle event: the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge. Famous for its diverse range of entry categories, spectacular scenery and supportive atmosphere, this is a great way to test your cycle fitness and earn some bragging rights at the office, club or dinner table.
Since our Auckland branch manager Logan has ridden the 160km ‘Round the Lake’ category three times now, we thought we’d get him to share some of his experiences.
What‘s the most enjoyable aspect of riding the 160km challenge?
Finishing it! I found it really is a challenging ride and it’s a great feeling of achievement to cross the finish line. Also the atmosphere, most people are pretty friendly and supportive of others on the road.
And the least enjoyable?
The wind! The one thing organisers can’t control is the weather. The first year I did it the wind was so bad they nearly cancelled the event due to safety concerns. The weather can be changeable but it’s all part of the experience. Just be prepared with the right clothing for cold or wet or hot weather.
How have you trained for the event in the past?
Poorly. Haha. I usually seem to leave it kind of late to start training, usually sometime in October. Once I got into it I would ride to work three to four days a week, which is 21km each way for me. This is an easy way to build up base fitness. I would also do a longer road ride on weekends, starting at about 50km and building up from there. The longest training ride I did was 90km. If you’re not experienced riding in bunches, it is a good idea to find a local cycling club or shop group ride, and join a few of their rides to get used to it.
What can riders expect on the course?
There is some really scenic countryside and some great views of the lake. The first half of the ride is quite rolling with a lot of up and down. There are a few good hill climbs and the descent to Waihi is quite steep and fast. Hatepe Hill is notorious as being a hard climb, mostly because you reach the bottom of it after about 130km. A lot of overseas riders find the chip road surface to be quite rough. A carbon bike definitely helps smooth it out.
Anything else you think people should know about the event.
It is a well organised event and an iconic ride in New Zealand. Don’t underestimate your ability when choosing your starting group. I learned that it is better to choose a slightly faster group, then if you can’t keep up with the pace you will get picked up by the next wave. If you start too far back you could end up riding most of the way on your own, without the benefit of being in a bunch, which is what happened to me the first time I entered. It’s not too late to enter and start training!
It’s also not too late to grab a special deal on bike hire for the event (which takes place on 26 November). If you’re coming from overseas, or want to rent a high-performance bike, we’re offering discounted hire for early bird bookings plus the chance to win free bike hire.
Lake Taupo Challenge Early Bird Special
Book before 30 September 2016 and enjoy these great prices:
Alloy road bike: $110 + relocation $75 = $185 (usual price $313.33)
Carbon road bike: $150 + relocation $75 = $225 (usual price $355.33)
Sirrus flat bar: $85 + relocation $75 = $160 (usual price $283.33)
Rockhopper Expert 29 hardtail MTB: $110 + relocation $75 = $185 (usual price $313.33)
Camber 29er full suspension MTB: $150 + relocation $75 = $225 (usual price $355.33)
These prices are for a two-day hire. You’ll be able to pick up your bike in Taupo on Friday 25 November (we’ll be on hand to adjust your bike for a perfect fit and answer any questions you might have about the event) and return on Saturday 26 November after the event.
Even better, everyone who books a bike for the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge before 30 September 2016 will go in the draw to win their bike hire for free*! Drop us an email to reserve your bike today.
Have a great week,
P.S. The Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge offers rides to suit every level of ability and riding style, from on road to off, short to ultra-long. For full details of all the categories and to register, head to the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge website.
*The winner will have their deposit refunded. If the winner has a booking for multiple bikes, only one bike (the highest value bike) will be free. The winner will still need to sign our normal bike hire terms and conditions and can choose to pay our optional insurance.