Friends of the Challenge

The Friends of the Challenge Award recognises and honours individuals who have made a major contribution to the event. Recipients are chosen by the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge Trust and there is a limit of 2 new recipients per year.

Do we need to say any more? Walter started the event in 1977 and he has been closely associated with the Cycle Challenge ever since.

Joe Mickelson was one of the original members of the Cycle Challenge Trust formed in 1994 when the Trust was granted organisational rights from Taupo Cycling Club. He has been a diligent and valuable contributor as both Course Director and Meeting Chair Person.

As a founding trustee in 1995, Gary not only served as our Financial Advisor and Accountant but was also instrumental in the introduction of the Relay and the Kids Heart Ride components as well as the high-value prize packages. These contributions assisted in the phenomenal event growth under our stewardship.

A long-term Taupo Cycling Club Member, administrator, organiser and latterly Classic Event Commissaire, he is now Bike New Zealand Technical Advisor. We appreciate his long-term association with the event.

A former Levin-based Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge enthusiast who proposed the Enduro components of the event and then followed this up with the 24-hour and Static Enduro components. Peter rode in all of them and now lives and rides in Alexandra.

As owners and then managers of Total Transport Co. Matt and Heather have supplied trucks, trailers and drivers for the relay bike carriers and also for our park needs. At one stage their whole fleet was employed at no cost for vehicles or drivers to the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge!

A former World Champion and Olympic and Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist, Sarah has regularly competed in the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge since her teenage years. Although she is an elite rider, Sarah has also taken part in both the Relay and Solo Challenge. She has willingly assisted at Prize Giving and has been a cheerful inspiration to us all.

Peter was a member of the organising team for 10 years. During his term of volunteer involvement the event moved to another level in terms of quality and entry numbers. He can take much credit for the development and reputation that the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge now enjoys.

Colin is surely our event’s most dedicated participant. He has completed 82 cycled circuits of the lake while participating in the Cycle Challenge. No other entrant comes close to this achievement! In addition, he completed our 24-hour Velodrome Record attempt and has raised thousands of dollars for our charity of choice, Heart Kids. He has been an inspiration and a consultant for many aspiring and achieving long-distance riders who have participated in the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge and in no small measure has been responsible for the growth of this component.

The late Don Lockwood was a loyal servant of the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge for 25 years. Don’s voluntary input began in the early 80’s, as a member of the Taupo Moana Rotary Club, and continued as Signage Manager with the responsibility of placing no less than 400 warning and information signs around the 160-km circuit. Don also served in a trustee’s role.

Jonathon, Simon and Paul Kennett. These three brothers are cycling historians, noted publishers and respected members of the wide cycling fraternity. They have been ever present at our event as speakers and participants on all manner of bikes. They are great ambassadors for the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, a source of any cycling information and willingly give of their advice and services.

Amy’s dedication to cycling and the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge is huge – she has ridden the event and as a coach and sports scientist has encouraged many cyclists to enter. Amy has coached World Champions and Paralympic and Commonwealth Games riders. She has also taught complete beginners how to ride a bike! Amy has written and regularly updates the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge guide book.

Keith gave 15 years of service to the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge as Event Director, followed by a further 5 years as Enduro Director, with the majority of that time as a volunteer. Keith’s passion ensured the event never stood still, and his guiding principle was always ensuring riders came first. Sadly Keith passed away in 2014.

Lynley is a behind-the-scenes person who has been involved with the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge for over 20 years. Lynley was instrumental in developing and managing the Enduro aspects of the event weekend and continues in this role.

Pat was a loyal member of Taupo Moana Rotary Club who arrived in Taupo in 1999. Pat soon became involved in the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, offering to position, install and remove over 200 signs around the Lake. Once he had finished this arduous task he then organised and managed the busy Tihoi Relay Interchange. The event coincided annually with his wedding anniversary but with his wife Trish’s blessing, he always fulfilled his Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge duties. Pat passed away 2011.

Barry was one of the longest-serving volunteers for the cycle event around Lake Taupo. He was involved from 1977, when Walter de Bont initiated the then-named Cyclathon, until his death in 2011. From 1977 to 1994, as a member of Taupo Moana Rotary Club, Barry set up and ran support/drink stations around the lake circuit. From 1995 to 2010 he managed the Motuoapa Relay Interchange for the re-named Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge. The interchange organisation ran like clockwork in 2 different locations. In 35 years he never missed one event, but the Cycle Challenge will certainly miss him.

The late Keith Manning was involved in the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge since Rotary became involved in 1995, he built and maintained the Relay Racks and managed the loading and unloading of bikes on the domain as well as all the logistics involved in that, eventually taking over as Relay Manager.

Alan is a local lawyer who served as a voluntary trustee on the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge Trust for 7 years from 2008 until 2014. Alan’s legal expertise and pragmatic perspective (alongside his cycling prowess) has provided valuable guidance to the governance of the event.