This photo was taken by one of the several photographers posted around the course. It was on the infamous Hatepe Hill. Infamous because it’s the last thing you’d want to encounter after already cycling 130km. The hill is so steep that many riders had to push their bikes up it. It’s the last big uphill on the course, and a welcome relief when you finally get to the top!
At the end of last month I took part in my first Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge.
It’s hard to picture now, with the rain we’re having, but the weather was amazing. Clear skies and scorching hot by mid-morning. The annual race draws thousands of competitors from around the country each year to ride around Taupo’s beautiful lake and countryside.
I chose to use my race to raise funds for Sir Ray Avery’s organisation Medicine Mondiale, and to make my challenge that much harder I rode a track bicycle. For those unfamiliar with such bikes, they’re the kind ridden by the likes of Sarah Ulmer on a velodrome. Track bikes have only one gear and no freewheel. The rear wheel is connected directly to the pedals resulting in a fixed drivetrain. This means I had no choice but to pedal for the entire race – no coasting down the hills or changing down to an easier gear when I got tired or on the steep climbs. As far as I know, I was the only person to do the full 160km solo ride on a track bike.
The race was tough but went really well. I finished the 160km well within my target, coming in with an official time of 5.37.15.
I also managed to raise more than $1200 for Medicine Mondiale – more than double what I was hoping to raise.
My thanks go out to everyone who donated in recognition of the great work Ray Avery and Medicine Mondiale do for people less fortunate than ourselves.