Wait for it.... I managed to get Niel free entry into the 'Round Lake Taupo' - New Zealand's most popular cycle race event. That largest cycle event in the southern hemisphere. It is limited to 10,000 people. Is that awesome or what!?!
Hopefully they will advertise Niels epic global challenge, and hopefully someone will see the opportunity for sponsorship, but if not, whatever way you look at it - it's great exposure and promotion.
|10,000 cyclists waiting to start.|
Niel wanted to ride the 600 kms up to 'the Taupo' [ in the middle of the north island], at the end of November, alter his bike for racing, do the 160 km race over 33 demanding hills around the lake, adapt his bike back to touring again and ride the 600 kms back home. Excellent training, but pricey. the price of the event, as you can imagine, is a hefty $100 just to enter.
I wrote to the organisers and told them what Niel was doing, saying that as we had no main sponsor, that we were trying to fund this ourselves, and would it be possible to waive the entry fee. They get to hear all about his global challenge. I didn't expect anything positive, so imagine my surprise when we got an email with : "I am pleased to inform you..". Someone donated an entry to someone worthy and Niel got it. 10,000 people get to hear his story. That sort of publicity is worth it's weight in gold.
For those that have never done 'the Taupo' - it's an awesome event. They cater for everyone. Elite road cyclists are given a head start, so that they don't get caught up in the masses. All the solo riders [around the lake once and not as a team], are the biggest group and broken down into sub groups of expected finish times. Everyone has a transponder, so your time is taken as you cross the start line, and then cross the finish line, so the up to 1 hour it takes to shuffle to the start line once it's begun isn't counted as cycling time.
|Loading some of the teams bikes on trucks.|
There are teams of up to 4 people and they, and their bikes, are transported to selected places around the lake. And they even have a race for children. They also cater for long distance cyclists with 2 times around the lake [ Niel did this last year], 3 times around, and 5 times around. These are qualifying events for races like the Paris - Brest - Paris, and the race across America [ RAAM]. There is a huge carnival like atmosphere at the finish and prize giving with prizes like cars and trips to Europe. So you can see it's a big deal getting a free entry. I'd love to do it too, but I have to be totally selfless in the next year.
Six months ago my carbon fibre road bike needed new bottom bracket bearings, and they were not a priority to get repaired. This week I finally got my road bike back. I felt like I was fighting with it the whole way on our 105 km ride this week. The handlebars are so twitchy that I fought the steering, the gearing was so high, [even with a triple chain ring] that I had to ride off the saddle more than I'm comfortable doing, just to get 'on top of the gear'. I'm sure I'll get used to it again.
|Me on my road bike.|
Niel is trying to use up old tyres and tubes to save money. He was using some old tyres of mine and kept getting punctures. I told him they were past it, and now he finally agrees. I couldn't believe he was still persisting with a tube that had 12 patches on it. There's being thrifty and there's being silly - I think he's being silly - 12 patches!!
|Fixing yet another puncture in a bus stop.|
|Can you count the 12 patches?|