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Lake Taupō Cycle Challenge: Pumped Up For Action

The 45th Lake Taupō Cycle Challenge sees about 5000 competitors descend on the district to take on New Zealand’s most prestigious cycling event.

Taupō District Council senior customer services officer Kevin Collins has borrowed a bike from library regular Robin Parfitt who cycled with Walter de Bont in the first ever Cycle Challenge in 1977, which featured just 26 competitors.

“I always believe a boring life should be feared more than death. Plunge boldly into the thick of life!” Mr Collins says.

Although he hasn’t cycled the lake before, he says his motivation is his children.

“It’s to show my children what’s possible when your heart’s involved.”

Paracyclist Nick Blincoe and former All Black Ian Jones are among those taking part on Saturday as casual riders and seasoned pros navigate some of the most epic and scenic beauty in the country - a verdict agreed upon by the Keep New Zealand Beautiful judges recently.

There is a diverse range of courses to choose from. Committed riders can take on the impressive 320km Enduro course which takes them twice around the lake and, after a Māori welcome and blessing, the Length of the Lake course takes riders from Tūrangi to Taupō.

Kids are catered for too, with the free Pedal Power Ride at the Event Village in Tongariro North Domain giving younger children the chance to race around a specially designed course. There is a purpose built start and finish gantry, with other kids’ activities available throughout the day.

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Taupō District Mayor David Trewavas extends a warm welcome to all participants, spectators, sponsors and volunteers.

“We hope you all get the chance to have a look around our beautiful district and wish you all the very best for this awesome event,” he says.

Organisers understand the event is about more than just cycling and are committed to becoming sustainable with recycling bins on-site and dedicated bins for collecting compostable products. The event also leaves a lasting impression on the community with more than $85,000 raised last year going to local community groups.

The event is a huge benefit to the district and Taupō District Council district events manager Sinead Vincent says it offers an excellent weekend for both locals and visitors, but it wouldn’t be possible without the assistance of so many people.

“A special thank you to all volunteers, who play a pivotal role in making these events possible. If you see them out on the course, give them a high-five, thumbs up or your personal thanks!” she says.

Spectators and visitors can watch this annual event on Saturday 25 November from many vantage points around the rohe.

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