We can all relax now that we have completed our lap of the lake for another year. Many will have been on the website today trying to figure out which training partners they beat and how to be more strategic next year in the group they start with. Whether happy with your time or not, the class of the organisation of Taupo cannot be overlooked.
Taupo has a unique vibe to it that no other event provides. It caters to one and all, from the super competitive to those who just want to finish. This year Taupo saw 12,000 cyclists start the event in overcast and windy conditions. The course was dotted with supporters, many on the gruelling Kuratau and Hatepe hills, some trying to emulate the devil from the mountains of the Tour, dressing up in all types of costumes and yelling loud words of encouragement to the grovelling cyclists riding past. Bunches on the larger side of 200 rode out the first 80km with stray drink bottles and oncoming traffic the greatest worry. And then the dreaded Kuratau that marks half way.
Kuratau hill split many of the ginormous bunches. From then on splintered groups flew through the tail wind to Hatepe - this hill always serves as a true test of grit and determination. Arriving at the bottom of Hatepe everything hurts: your neck, your feet, your shoulders and most of all your legs. Nearly out of water and energy when the sign "Remember you paid to do this" greets you at the bottom of what seems to many like Alpe d'huez. From the top of Hatepe it is pure adrenalin that drives you home, past the sign saying "Sign up early for next year" and to the finish line.
The event relies on a huge number of volunteers and the support of the Taupo community who really do embrace the event and give it that carnival atmosphere that your average bike race cannot. For many Taupo is just another day's training but for the majority it is an achievement to finish and congratulations to those of you who did. It is a sure bet that you'll be signing up for next year because you know you can go faster! Right?