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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Huka XL

The Huka Xl is one of the many races that make up the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge. It is a huge event and its great that Mountain biking is now an integral part of the big day. Although I have raced on the road around the lake several times over the years it was my first time competing in the ‘Huka’ and I was keen to have a good race. The large amount of prize money up for grabs ensures that it is always very competitive with every one chasing the cash that comes with the win. At just over 80km it makes for a long race but it’s a great course packed full of Taupo’s finest single track. There isn’t a lot of long climbing but the twisty trails really wear you down and by the time you start heading back along the river to Taupo several small but pinchy climbs ensure that you make it to the finish well and truly buggered.

The 7.00am start time meant that it was going to be a very early Saturday morning. Just after 4:00 I was up and getting in some breakfast and then into the Ute for the drive down to Taupo. After sorting out rego etc there wasn’t much time for a warm up but the start was taken at a nice pace and I sorted myself out slotting in at around 5th wheel for the first few minutes and then moved up into 3rd once we got into the main Craters of the Moon trails. And thats where I stayed for the majority of the race. A small crash had me chasing to get back to the front for a wee while but I was riding well and as the kms ticked over things were looking good.
Unfortunately the distance was a bit much for me and with only about 15km left I ran out of gas losing contact with the leaders. As I neared the finish my legs were pretty much shot and going up a cruel little climb I slipped from 3rd to 4th. I was a bit gutted to drop off the podium but I was very glad when I finally made it to the finish and relieved to hang onto 4th place.

It is amazing how smoothly the event runs. With so many riders to keep under control the organisers and many volunteers did a great job and the Taupo weather came to the party as well, it was maybe even too hot. And despite not winning the major spot prize of a new car I had a great day and am already planning for next year.

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