Firstly congrats to all who rode their chosen distance @ Taupo, and achieved their personal targets, the weather gods certainly shone down again this year.
I arrived @ Taupo with a day up my sleeve so I could mix my Hammer foods, freeze some and generally fine tune my hopeful lap splits- planning is about as important as the training etc, especially when riding unsupported. My only disappointment was when I read the Taupo Newspaper to hear of a rider doing the Extreme with a support crew of 18,- 3 – to ride with him each lap. Suffice to say I had a wee discussion with this *ironman* at the registration. What eventuated I’m not sure…
The start was fast, I stopped at the top of the first hill as I was sure I had a flat- NO, so was soon back in the group. The Americans and the winner took off super quick-too quick for 3 of the Americans who my group of 7 had reeled in by Kurutau on the first lap. At the base of Kurutau our bunch was starting to feel a bit unsteady to me, so I struck out and rode off alone, a position I was to keep-alone-for the most of the next 1000km. A lot of changing of actual ride placing occurred with riders stopping for sleep/ fuels what-ever, and although we had to sign in at each lap, one never knew if the other riders were on their way out or just then heading off for sleep. The early am’s were very cold out the Western bays, on the Thursday I stopped as the sun came through to warm up on the oppo road side, to have the Specialized picked up in the air by a passing truck trailer, prompting a quick remount and back on the move.
As I headed out for the start on a very warm arvo for the 5th lap, the heat really hit me, so I wandered off up to a farmhouse to bludge some more water, which was quite okay, but behold the Farmer then came out with a Lemonade ice block-some folk can be so kind!!
The Trading post out the back was another dual stopover for me , for ice to add to the Camelbak & Hammer fuel bottles & oh Yeah the coffee break was, I felt well earned. Lap 7 presented me with real tiredness at about 3.30am after Waihi hill, so I had to make a stop @ the 24hr Truckstop for coffee/snack, before arriving back at the Motel at around 7am. Christine was here now & ensured my 20 min planned sleep was extended (fortunately) by a bit, showered and refuelled I headed off for the start line hoping to bludge a lift with some relay riders for the early km’s, only to find they’d well and truly gone, so it was off alone again. But this time knowing full well I was the last rider on the road- apart hopefully for other Extreme riders. By the time I’d finally got around Kurutau area on this final lap, I was actually passing riders plus having *targets* ahead of me, all very motivating. The final 40 odd km from Motuopa was a blur as I ensured I was towing no-one, Hatepe by now was no real threat, and the finish came up, some 8 hours later than I,d planned- but the addition of the Hammer recoverite , plus fine foods & gentle massage @ the Massey Uni. Tent was a welcome ending to 75 + hours of cycling.
12 of the 20 starters completed this section of the Taupo *challenge*, and has now given me 55 laps of the *pond*, and avenged my dnf of last years 4 lapper.
Next Year ??-well that’s a year off.