As mentioned in a previous newsletter, a group of Manawatu cyclists were taking part in the Enduro event at the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge in memory of our dear friend and Bike Manawatu member, Glenn Thorby who sadly passed away on March 17, 2018. The group consisted of Rob Ryan, Allen Harris, Fraser Kitt, Heath Reynolds, Tim Mackey, Michelle Turner, Derek Harris, Aaron Kearns Huw Jones and Janette Flipp with Jeremy Rowe also taking part, but going it solo for line honours. We also had Derek McNabb and Wayne Fage as much needed and appreciated team support – we couldn’t have done it without you guys.
Glenn was a good friend and cycling buddy to us, and another reason for attempting the enduro was that this years event fell on Glenn’s birthday (24 November), and he was really looking forward to riding in this years event for that reason as he was unable to compete last year. Glenn had an amazing ride at Taupo in 2016 finishing in a personal best time of 4 hours, 14 minutes and 15 seconds, a few months prior to his melanoma diagnosis.
A week or so out from Taupo, when the long range forecast for nothing but rain from Friday night through until well after we would be finished was issued, were all hoping that as it was 10 days out things would improve, and this was surely a worst case scenario. Over the week leading up to Taupo, the day and time the rain was due changed – but the fact that there would be rain at some time during the event didn’t. Luckily enough, we are from the Manawatu, so we have ridden in all conditions – especially for the 2 laps that we did of Tour de Manawatu, so we were well prepared for it.
We arrived in Taupo on Friday to sunny skies and temperatures in the 20’s, finding it hard to believe that there was rain on the horizon.
After an attempt to get a few hours sleep before our 1.30am start, we rose at midnight to a relatively warm temperature and slight breeze, still hopeful that the rain may not eventuate. We lined at 1am for our race brief with around 60 or so others.
Luckily, our first lap was dry with no rain, and we finished in a time of around 5 hours and 50 minutes. We rode the majority of the first lap with a group of 10 or so others including Manawatu cyclists Dave Fryer and Stu Doidge. We stopped in at a team members house to remove our lights, warm night riding gear, and refuel with a much needed breakfast provided by Michaela, Jocelyn and Tracy Harris who got up at 5am to prepare it for us, as well as drive out to Hatepe to cheer us on.
While we had our break, the rain that had been promised arrived – and by the time we were ready to leave for lap 2, the rain had well and truly set in.
We set off for lap 2 expecting the worst, however approximately 30 kms in, the weather began to clear and a little further in we even had some blue sky and sun.
During the 2nd half of lap 2 we were joined by local cycling legend Colin Anderson, with whom it was both a pleasure and a privilege to accompany to the finish line. During this time we also had tired bodies, 2 punctures and 1km out from the finish line a major mechanical event – making our 2nd lap slower at just over 6 hours – with a riding time of 11 hours 56 minutes and an official time of 13 hours and 13 minutes.
During lap 2 it was a great feeling to get the shout outs and encouragement from the 1 lap riders it really spurred us on we needed it. And a major boost to us was at the top of Hatepe Hill, we were cheered on by Glenn’s wife Viv, and his 2 oldest daughters Lauren and Sarah who had made the trip up to give us their support – by this time we were pretty tired and cold, so this meant the world to us and spurred us on to the finish. Glenn’s youngest daughter Kate joined us via FaceTime from Colorado at the finish line.
Jeremy Rowe (also riding in Glenn’s memory), won the 2 lap enduro event in a time of 9 hours, 48 minutes and 24 seconds – well done Jeremy – we think that Glenn would be pretty rapt with that as well as our efforts.
This was really a team event, and those of us that ride couldn’t have done it without everyone’s input – Wayne, Derek and our breakfast ladies mentioned above, but also to our husbands/wives/partners who have endured our long training rides and time away from home as well as our fellow cyclists who have kept us motivated and focused towards achieving our goal
RIP Glenn (Fizz) Thorby 24.11.1964-17.03.2018