Scientist wary of riding Race across America


For a woman who'd just ridden 1280km and had less than seven hours sleep in three days, Christine Couldrey looked remarkably fresh.

The Raglan scientist says after spending 72 hours and 21 minutes making eight laps of Lake Taupo as an extreme enduro cyclist in this year's Contact Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge last Saturday, she felt "knackered" but the epic ride was "a whole lot better" than she had expected.

"I enjoyed it a whole lot; most of it anyway. There were a few not-so-good bits," said Dr Couldrey, only moments after a rapturous welcome from the crowd as she crossed the finish line.

The doctor set off on her eight laps last Wednesday at noon and finished just after midday Saturday, having had very little sleep.

"I slept for 45 minutes on Thursday morning and I had time to give myself the luxury of three hours sleep Friday morning and three hours last night."

Dr Couldrey finished well inside the 76 hours required to qualify for the Race Across America, which had been her goal, but said she was unsure whether she would be able to go to America next year because money would be a limiting factor.

She said next year she hoped to be back at the cycle challenge, although perhaps not for quite as long.

"Four laps is looking pretty appealing now."

Dr Couldrey, the only woman among five extreme enduro cyclists this year, was one of 8214 cyclists who flocked to Taupo for this year's challenge, including 600 mountain bikers and about 2500 relay riders.

In the elite sections of the event, the 160km men's classic race was won by recent Tour of Southland winner Mike Northey in 3:45,15 while Rushlee Buchanan lowered the record for the 100km OPI women's road race by 10 minutes, finishing in 2:44.50.

- Hamilton News

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