You did know there was an around the world bicycle race on at the moment, didn’t you? No, I thought not, unless you happen to be one of those strange people who like long distance endurance events, and even then you probably stick to multisport events that finish in approximately the same week as they started. However, cycling around the world – and doing it as a competition with others – must stand as unique in the slightly sweaty annals of willing self torture.
My dears, lets not get started on what the chafing must be like. Have I piqued your curiosity? You can read all about it and follow the riders on www.worldcyclerace.com, where the remaining riders struggle through deserts and across the tundra, pursued by bears, no doubt. And mosquitos the size of bears.
And the reward for all this effort? Well, there isn’t one, apart from an impressive rash, really big mosquito bites and some blisters in places you wouldn’t want to show your mother. There were 4 starters this year, as compared to 11 last year; 1 has already been disqualified for using a taxi, leaving the rest to battle it out between themselves. The disqualified entrant is still out there cycling, determined to finish the event anyway.
Fancy having a go yourself? Well, there must be worse ways to shake off your midlife crisis. Ok, maybe not. This race is an annual event, so the 2015 race still has vacancies, and you can start from Auckland if you like. Browse our books on cycling training and explore Kiwi Radonneurs – Long distance cycling in New Zealand.
Appetite whetted? Well, that’s great, because if you can’t make it for the next around the world race, how about the upcoming TransAmerica event in June (you just have to cycle across North America for that one, but it’s a different event from the RAAM – Race Across America- which also entails cycling across the USA, and also in June, but using a different route). If you would like a bit of Euroculture with your chafing, there’s also the Transcontinental race across Europe, starting from London and ending in Istanbul in August. This one adds another level of challenge in that the cyclists have to be entirely unsupported, which means if they can’t carry it on the bike, it doesn’t go.
New Zealand isn’t entirely out of the loop with endurance cycle races – some time ago (2001) there was an end to end event, the Mizone Endurazone Bluff to Cape Reinga 2001 Challenge, chronicled by Christchurch’s own John Hellemans in his book The Misery of Staying Upright. Alas we don’t have such an event here any more, but there are opportunities for long distance rides at the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, which offers 320km, 640km and 1280km distances, should the ‘standard’ distance of 160km not be enough for you.
My dears, think of the chafing!