A Good Group
“Getting into a bunch you’re comfortable with is definitely the goal when you kick off, that’s a challenge in itself with a massive amount of riders on the start line,” says Tim. “However, if you don’t panic too much at the start and you assess the group of riders around you (which there’s plenty of time to do) you’ll probably find the people you want to ride with straight away. Ideally you need to stick around them.
“These days the organisers try to keep it down to around 60 riders per wave, but quite easily those 60 riders could split into three groups and you will find yourself in a group of 15-20. That’s more than enough to ride around Taupo in a good time.”
“Once you’re settled into a bunch it’s about managing your effort and knowing what you’ve got in you,” Tim continues. “This happens at all levels of riding – apart from the pro level where they have organised team structures – so every now and again if you feel you’re doing too much you have to be a little bit selfish and drop to the back.
“The easiest way around that is to use that time to have something to eat. If you drop to the back to do that most people won’t even think twice about it, they’ll be more than happy to let you sit there and eat, drink, refresh yourself ready to do a bit more work again.
Hand in hand with advising cyclists to pace themselves over the hills at the start of the ride, it’s equally important to keep the momentum of the bunch going when the road is easy, according to Tim. “It’s crazy to lose time when you’ve actually got an easy piece of road; Taupo has plenty of these long, false flat downhills – big long stretches when you come off a hill where people often sit up. It doesn’t take a lot to continue some momentum and pick up great time with minimal effort.”
Tim’s advice: “To me, the key to riding Taupo well for the average rider is being as efficient as possible in the first 120 km, which means you can get to the 40 km-to-go stage and if you’re having a great day you can go for your life and give it everything. But if you aren’t having a great day at least you got to the 120 km mark in the best possible condition and you’re going to get home.”
It’s now just over a week away from this year’s BDO Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge. Even if you haven’t squeezed in all the training you’d like to have, there’s still plenty of categories to choose from and it’s not too late to enter at www.cyclechallenge.com And make sure you’re there on Friday the 23rd from 5pm for the all new Cycle Mania bike parade. Bling your bike and bring it down for the parade, then enjoy some action packed racing with the NZ Defense Forces plus the Women’s and Men’s Criteriums.
Check it all out at www.cyclechallenge.com and download their app from the app store, just search for Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge
Words: Liam Friary, Chris Gaskell and Tim Gudsell
Images: Cameron Mackenzie
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