Now in its 43rd year, it's one of the biggest annual sporting events in New Zealand. The Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge held on Saturday didn't disappoint, with thousands taking part.

It began in 1977, with just 26 riders raising money for charity.

For some riders it's become an annual tradition, coming back year after year. Colin Anderson is one of those people - this time, riding his 100th lap.

"My first lap was in 1988," Anderson said. "I'm driving up in massive thunderstorms and I'm asking myself 'why did I ever go to Taupo?'. Anyway, it's my 32nd year coming here and love the place."


This year Anderson had a support crew along for the ride, wanting to help him celebrate his impressive achievement. And one of those supporters flew all the way from the US to support him, having met him in Paris during a cycling competition in 2007.

Perhaps as a reflection of the Cycle Challenge's first mission, the proceeds of his efforts were donated to the Heart Kids charity. He raised over $13,000.

"I've got massive support from the riders, heaps of us will be doing different laps and most of them are doing the two lapper," Anderson said.

"They maintain it will be their last, I remind them that when I did my first one, I said 'never again!' But I kept coming back."

The serious cyclists take to the course from the early hours of the morning, those wanting a more sedate ride wait 'til the sun is up.

"Not many events have the community engagement that this has," said event organiser Debbie Chambers. "This is a community-based event, a lot of people think our riders are local but about 98 per cent are actually from outside of town, travelling to Taupō for the event. And the community welcomes them, helping this event take place."

Despite the huge involvement in the race, it will be many years before anyone can beat Anderson's record.

"It's going to take a wee while before anyone overtakes my laps. It's the one record I can keep - one that still not age-related!" he said.


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