Taupo, where it seems everyone cycles

ANDY MACKAY
Last updated 15:09 29/11/2012

The Contact Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge isn't really like any other event in New Zealand.

First of all, it feels like the entire town is bursting at the seams with all the visitors. Second, it seems like everyone rides a bike.

This year, there were just more than 8000 people competing in the challenge.

For some who spent the better part of a day riding the 160km to the finish, they still managed a grin, a wave, or a sprint as they crossed the finish line.

For the elite riders, we started at 6.45am in the morning. I was up at 5am and registering by 6am.  By 6.30 the start line was packed with riders (I'm in the yellow, by the way).

Now, in my last blog I told you guys about the challenge laid down between the sports editor at the Upper Hutt Leader, Colin, and myself.

He wanted to finish the race in under 5 hours 50 and I wanted to beat 4 hours 10.
The person who didn't beat their goal had to buy the other a pie and a milkshake.

Colin was stoaked to beat his personal best, but didn't manage to sneak under six hours, a victim of searing heat, Hatepe hill and a lack of preparation, he says.
"Hatepe hill remains a beast.''

I finished with the third group on the road with a collective time that was just minutes behind the record, 3 hours 47 minutes, so that was pretty cool.

It was an up and down day.

A break escaped up the road early in the race and I remained in the main bunch.
I was in a group that escaped up Hatepe hill but I was caught by the main field.

Afterwards I was really dissapointed with my result, when you have good legs and put it out there it's more frustrating when you don't get a result than if you finish spent knowing you gave it everything.

Congrats to Tour of Southland winner Mike Northey who won the event after he took off very early in the race.

Also great ride by Reta Trotman who just got pipped in the final kilometre for the win in the woman's field by Rushlee Buchanan and Emily Collins, taking third.

- Upper Hutt Leader

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