40th Anniversary Celebrations Start With a Blast from the Past

It was a blast from the past as retro clad cyclists helped launch festivities for the 40th Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge in true retro 1970s style.  There was not much lycra, few flash bikes and loads of enthusiasm in the build up to the main event, which starts early tomorrow morning (Saturday 26 November) when around 7000 cyclists will take up a range of challenges around the Lake Taupo district, on and off the road.

Judges, Rosie Harvey (Deputy Mayor of Taupo) and Aaron Carter (Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge Event Director) awarded prizes for the best 70s costume, best retro bike and first across the line, giving the crowds of spectators plenty to cheer about, which led nicely into the more serious Criterium, with the annual NZ Defence Force race which has the Air Force and Navy taking on NZ Army to cycle it out for bragging rights.  

Next up were the elite female and male riders, racing the streets for prize money.

The women’s Criterium was won by Jaimie Nelson, with Racquel Shealth second and Michaela Drummond third.  

NZ Olympic mountain biker Sam Gaze was first across the line in the men’s Criterium with Aaron Gate second, and Regan Gough third.

 “It’s thrilling to see Taupo bulging with bikes and buzzing with energy in preparation to participate in our 40th annual event,” says Aaron Carter, event director.

Around 16,000 cyclists and their supporters are in Taupo over event weekend creating a fabulous festive atmosphere and almost doubling the population of the boutique central North Island town. 

While cyclists are participating in the many levels of road and mountain bike challenges, supporters are well looked after at the Event Village with live music, activities for children, New Zealand’s largest cycling expo and village stalls, as well as Taupo’s many other range of boutique retail, scenic and adventure tourist attractions.

There’s an outstanding list of major and minor spot prizes with an all-new Holden Trax, as well as a seven-night trip for two to Niue up for grabs.

“The Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge is a celebration. It’s an incredible, unique opportunity for thousands of like-minded people to spend time together to connect and share what they love, which seems to be getting off the couch and onto their bikes in one of NZ’s truly great regions, Lake Taupo,” says Carter.