40th Anniversary Event Weekend Wrap Up
Congratulations to all who took part in and celebrated the milestone 40th anniversary of Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, it was another great event on New Zealand’s annual events calendar.
Kicking off back in 1977 with a vision by event patron Walter De Bont, (who sadly passed away just a month before this year’s event), he had the crazy idea of riding around Lake Taupo with a group of 25 others. Over its 40 year history, the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge has grown to be New Zealand’s largest cycling event.
This year’s conditions obviously suited many riders with multiple records achieved across a number of the events 14 categories on offer.
It wasn’t just the elites setting a sizzling pace. In the iconic 160km Round The Lake, Kate McIlroy from Wellington set a new record of 3:59:48 with Luke Verschaffelt taking out men’s honours in a time of 3:59:36, only 12 seconds between them both.
The ever popular Enduro category also saw incredible efforts from the likes of Chad Williams finishing his amazing 1280km, 8 lap ride in 68:54:58, with Jeremy Rowe from Ashurst taking out honours for the 640km, 4 lapper in 23:10. After 320km of riding the 2 lap Enduro event, which started at 1.30am on Saturday saw a sprint finish with only :03 seconds between the top three finishers, Roman Van Uden taking out the win in a time of 8:47:07 followed by Andrew Hogg in second in a time of 8:47:08 and Nik Eliadis finishing third in 8:47:10.
Milliseconds separated the fast-paced elite 100km Women’s Classic Road Race between Turangi and Taupo with all three podium finishers crossing the line at 2.41.03. Knocking seconds off her 2015 win, recent Olympian Racquel Sheath (2:41:03:56) defended her title against Palmerston North woman Michaela Drummond (2.41.03.57) second and Karen Fulton from Richmond third (2:41.03.83).
Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Aaron Gate took out the Holden Men’s Classic 160km race in 184.108.40.206, taking seconds off his 2015 second-place effort. Second and third places resulted in an exciting sprint finish with Regan Gough second (3:40.11.35) and Michael Torkler third (220.127.116.11).
Lower Hutt man Edwin Crossling took first place in the Huka XL 85km mountain bike race winning in a time of 3:49.08.02, with Henry Jaine from Nelson a very close second (3.49.09.07) with Rotorua man, Sam Shaw third (3.56.06.30). The winner in the women’s Huka XL 85km mountain bike race was Kim Hurst from Upper Hutt (4:29.51.90) with Australian Karen Hill second (4:35:43.82) and Reta Trotman from Christchurch third (4:55.06.82).
There was also the introduction of a new record with the events first ever female unicycle rider, Rebekka Wiedener from Germany completing the 160km Round The Lake in 11:22.
It was again a sensational event that sees Taupo’s population almost double with spectators and supporters creating a festive, family atmosphere throughout the day in the event village with cyclists displaying everything from elation to exhaustion following their rides.
“It was an amazing day and we’re thrilled to have seen thousands of happy, smiling (and tired) faces cross the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge finish line. With everyone in all event categories receiving their own special 40th anniversary event medal, it was a great reason to celebrate,” says Event Director Aaron Carter.
“I knew it was a big event, but in my first year as event director, to actually experience it has been amazing. We applaud and congratulate all the participants, supporters and especially the hundreds of volunteers for another fantastic event. We love the fact that we’ve helped raise money for Heart Kids, our official charity, with net proceeds going back to communities. We look forward to seeing you again on Saturday 25 November 2017”