The Lake Taupō Cycle Challenge first set off back in 1977 with just 26 cyclists at the start line. Forty-five years later, and Event Director Hayden Dickason was very pleased with the more than 3000 riders who pulled up to the start line on the 25th November this year.
From the new gravel grind route to more traditional circuits, there’s something for everyone in the Lake Taupō Cycle Challenge. Centred around Lake Taupō, many of the courses offer breathtaking views of Aotearoa’s natural beauty. You could circumnavigate the lake in the ride of a lifetime with the flagship Round the Lake 160 km circuit. If once won’t cut it, there’s the 320 km Enduro that takes on a double lap of Lake Taupō, or for those of us who like to take it a little easier, why not look to try your hand at the predominantly flat 17 km Lakesider.
More than 10,000 people visit the Taupo region over the weekend of Cycle Challenge spending more than $3.7 million, and providing a significant boost to the local economy.
Hayden leads a dedicated team of staff and volunteers. On event day, his team swelled to 400+ people, most of whom were volunteers from 30 different community groups from around the region. Lake Taupō Cycle Challenge Trust, the charitable organisation behind the event, donated to every one of these community groups, with the surpluses from the event directly benefiting Taupō communities. Riders and supporters got to enjoy an exhilarating experience and contributed to the communities they ride in.
2023 is the second year Suzuki New Zealand has partnered with the Lake Taupō Cycle Challenge. Suzuki’s decision to offer the major prize of a 19 month lease on a Vitara Hybrid JLX 2WD Auto was an easy one as the Vitara Hybrid is the ideal companion for adventure seeking cyclists.
Hayden and his team have been getting hands on with the new Vitara Hybrid since June. The versatility and smart features of Suzuki’s latest SUV have been the perfect support for planning this major event.
Hayden says, “It’s fit for purpose, perfect for transporting bikes and colleagues and gear, and the fuel economy is outstanding. We’re grateful for this support, the Suzuki team are amazing to work with. Not only are their vehicles fantastic, their people are enthusiastic and get really involved on event day”.
The Lake Taupō Cycle Challenge was also supported by an incredible line-up of ambassadors, who each embody the spirit of cycling and help inspire others to push their boundaries.
Former All Black and keen cyclist Ian Jones joined the event for the second year. Bryony Botha, member of the NZ Track Cycling Team, has been in two Commonwealth and one Olympic Games. Taupō local, Sammie Maxwell is a remarkable mountain biker and a three-time defending XCO National Champion. Karl Woolcott is one of the driving forces behind Ride Holidays, where he gets to share his passion for cycling with other riders keen to explore the globe on two wheels.
If you love getting outside to ride, no matter how long or short, there's plenty of time to get your crew together and start training for the 2024 event.
Entries are open and to find out more, visit cyclechallenge.com