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Cyclists dig in for endurance event

Wednesday 12 July 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Cycling, Sports


Cyclists dig in for endurance event
It was a big weekend of cycling on Rarotonga. SUPPLIED / 23071115

The nation’s strongest and quickest cyclists took to the roads on Friday’s public holiday to participate in one of the Cook Island Triathlon Association’s flagship events, the BSP 100K cycle challenge.

The event last took place in 2021, having had a break last year to make space in the calendar for the Cook Islands Games.

Friday morning’s heavy rain and squally winds had the participants worried, but true to the forecast the sun fought through the clouds, and whilst the wind stayed relatively strong the roads dried out and the event was on. 

This year eight hardy cyclists took to the start line to tackle this difficult challenge.  

Roland Neururer, fresh off the back of a charity cycle event in June which saw him riding through the hills of Rarotonga for 13 hours over 2 days, was keen to break the previous 100k record set in 2021.  The previous record was 2:45:49 and Neururer gave the team a goal of finishing in any time under this.

The course ran from Social Centre to the end of the hot mix road in Avana and back and was completed 3 times, and then a final shorter leg turning in Matevera to complete the 100km.  The start was hard and fast, with Neururer setting a quick speed of circa 36km/h into the headwind.  Cycling as a group each of the riders took turns at the front of the pack before dropping behind their team-mates for a period of recovery before hitting the front and taking the pace again.  The headwind was brutal at times, and the riders soon experienced fatigue driving forward incessantly trying not to let their pace drop. 

The course was designed to make the most of the new smooth tar seal, but that also meant that the riders had to change direction and turn in the road 7 times which added precious seconds to their ticking time.  As the afternoon wore on the initial field of 8 split and a front pack emerged with a group of chasers behind.  Ever conscious of the goal which Neururer had set the cyclists had to keep a careful eye on their pace and if they slowed a faster rider was instructed to take the lead. 

After a long afternoon in the saddle Roland Neururer and Lucy McDonald were the 2 remaining cyclists together at the front, and they crossed the 100K mark in a time of 2:43:47 setting a new Cook Islands record for this distance with an average speed on 36.6km/h over the 100K.  They were followed by Mike Carr, Adrian Hopwood and Andrew Whittaker who also completed the 100k challenge.  Jacob Pynenburg, Jason Moorfield and Tarina Moorfield also worked with the group and chose to complete a shorter distance.  Congratulations to all the cyclists who took part and Neururer and McDonald who hold a new record.

Cook Islands Triathlon Association would like to extend their thanks to BSP Bank for their generous sponsorship.  The event is huge for all involved and is a true endurance challenge.  Grateful thanks is also given to Alan Dodd and Thomas McDonald for marshalling the course and the turns.

Cook Islands Triathlon Association now turns it’s focus to the Adventure Series, with The Uncle Tom and PTS Adventure Race on 5th August followed by the longer Arki Challenge in September.  Training has now commenced for these events.  Please email Roland Neururer for more details and information on all the training.  The next session which is a mountain bike will take place at Enua Manea Hall on Thursday at 5pm followed by a SUP or Mountain Bike on Saturday at 2pm.

Lucy McDonald