Preview: Contact Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge

The Contact Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge is set in the heart of the North Island of New Zealand and features some of the most spectacular scenery in New Zealand. Surrounded by mountain ranges and home to the largest freshwater lake in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s not hard to imagine why there is a growing number of overseas competitors each year.

The Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, beginning this year on November 27 this year, is going to see the most entries ever in the history of the event. The event includes a number of rides, there is a ride for every type of rider; experienced riders can challenge themselves by cycling the whole 160km route from start to finish. Recreational cyclists can form a group of two, three or four to participate in the team event.

The Avanti Men’s Classic will again attract some of New Zealand’s top male riders including Tour de France rider (and local boy) Thomas Dean.

The WorkoutZone Women’s Road Race has been extended this year to 100km, racing starts and finishes in Taupo. For this event, Australia are sending representatives across the water; The Prime Estate Women’s Road Cycling Team includes Jenny Macpherson who has a long list of other National, State and International results. The women’s team are hoping for a good result. We recently spoke with Jenny McPherson about the Womens Road Race.

Mountain bikers can enjoy riding New Zealand’s best trails in the Contact Huka MTB event. Mountain bikers will face ca. 80kms of New Zealand’s best single trails, either as solo riders or in teams of two.

In 2010 there are two new events; the 1280km Extreme Enduro where keen riders will race or 8 laps of Lake Taupo and; the Contact Huka Mountain Bike relay. The first leg of the Huka Mountain Bike relay (Kegresse) is 40kms and is quite a technical track but not too steep, while the second leg (Totara Gully) is slighter longer at 42km, it includes two Grade 4 tracks and is quite narrow with a couple of steep drop-offs towards the river

In total there are 12 different events aimed at all levels of ability and fitness. Every rider in each of the twelve events will receive a complementary hydration backpack as part of their entry fee.

I will be in Rotura for the week representing Bicycles Network Australia and taking in all the sights of the North Island as well as riding The Contact Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge. I am looking forward to competing in the 160km solo Cycle Challenge, my weight is down and fitness up – look forward to race reports after the event here.

Getting there and enjoying Lake Taupo and Rotorua

Getting to the race is easy, Air New Zealand is now operating twice-weekly direct flights from Sydney to Rotorua, just 50 minutes drive from the visitor mecca of Taupo. They also look after cyclists and make it easy to take your bike over.

You can travel through the historic and scenic countryside either on foot, bike or car. Explore one of the geothermal parks or experience the beautiful landscape during a bush walk through one of the National Parks or rainforests and enjoy life with a cycle winery tour. For the more adventurous, white water rafting, jet boating and bungee jumping will get the adrenaline flowing.

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About The Author

Christopher Jones is a recreational cyclist and runs a professional design business, Signale. As the driving force behind he has one of each 'types' of bicycles.

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