This Sunday at 8.00am over 150 bike riders will gather at Lower Hutt Town Hall with a 7 day journey of close to 900km journey stretching out before them, one that will take them through stunning countryside on some of the less travelled roads of the North Island.
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown will officially start the 2014 BDO Challenge with a drop of the starter’s flag while both sides of Parliament will be represented in the first stage. Brett Hudson (National Electorate Chair) and Trevor Mallard (Labour MP for Hutt South and former Sports Minister) will ride to the summit of the Rimutaka’s alongside other participants.
Parliamentary representation will not stop there though, with the following MP’s signing up to do their bit for the ride and the official charity Multiple Sclerosis New Zealand as each rides one stage on the BDO Challenge (stage start times at the end of this release).
Wed 12th Feb, Wanganui to Kakatahi: Andrew Little Labour MP for New Plymouth
Sat 15th Feb, Hamilton to Glen Murray: Tim MacIndoe National MP Hamilton West and David Bennett National MP for Hamilton East
Sat 15th Feb, Glen Murray to Pukekohe: Simon O’Connor National MP for East Tamaki
The brainchild for former Olympic and Commonwealth cyclist Stephen Cox and his Dynamo Events team, the BDO Wellington to Auckland Cycle Challenge is not an elite event; it is an opportunity for people from all backgrounds and all walks of life to share their passion of bike riding.
Pharmacists, retirees, company owners, school teachers, broadcasters, goat farmers, construction workers – you name it and they will be there rubbing shoulders and sharing stories on the road as they follow a path once taken by the very best in the world in the days of the famous Dulux Tour.
And they will do so with a shared cause in mind, raising money and awareness for Multiple Sclerosis New Zealand (MSNZ), the official charity of the BDO Wellington to Auckland Challenge. Many riders have set up fund raising pages and enlisted the support of family, friends and work colleagues with donations.
MSNZ National Coordinator Amanda Keefe says participants in the 2014 BDO Challenge will be directly helping the more than 3000 New Zealanders diagnosed with the condition, as well as their families and carers.
“While scientists continue to search for a cure funds received through the generosity of this year’s participants and supporters will go a long way to help us provide the best support education and information to help those touched by the condition.”
Each stage will be officially started by a representative of the local council with the following confirmed:
The 150 plus field will feature amongst others:
Fiona Southorn – Whangarei. A New Zealand paralympic star, the Whangarei cyclist has won medals at Para World Championships and medalled at the 2012 London Paralympic Games. Southorn will ride in the colours of event sponsor BDO, taking on the BDO Challenge for the second year running after enjoying it so much last year.
Lyn and Shane Brown – Eketahuna. Shane first rode the BDO in 2011 with his brother and another group of friends and thoroughly enjoyed it. Wife Lyn has been thinking about doing the ride and last year she started to say she wouldn’t mind to give it a go. Shane and Lyn picked up cycling about 6 or 7 years ago. Lyn’s goal is to complete the ride. The couple have trained together and have been training solidly since mid September.
Doug Haines – Wellington. Doug is a Director of BDO and a keen cyclist. One of the instigators in BDO’s sponsorship of the event, Doug has another good reason for riding this year – his mother passed away at a young age from MS. Doug is proud to be riding with the BDO logo on and walking the walk as far as the sponsor is concerned but is also doing this one for the memory of his mum.
Phil Clapham – Timaru. Phil is typical of the participants on the BDO Wellington to Auckland Challenge, he is nothing special, just an ordinary Kiwi doing an extraordinary thing in riding up the North Island. And what’s more, Phil is from Timaru! A dairy goat farmer by day and sometimes cyclist, 64 year old Phil was one of the great characters on the BDO last year and is back for another go.
Ray Hyndman – Lower Hutt. Ray is a 79 year old retiree from Lower Hutt so might do it tougher than most, with each push of the pedals riding further away from home throughout the week! Ray loves cycling and has ridden in organised and solo tours in Spain, China, Australia, Vietnam and various tours in New Zealand.
Andrew Dewhurst – Auckland. Broadcaster and company director Andrew Dewhurst will ride his second BDO Challenge, returning after describing last year as a ‘life changing’ experience. Andrew will post daily blogs from the BDO and on Friday make the drive to Auckland after stage 11 into Te Awamutu to act as game night MC at the SKYCITY Breakers before driving back to Hamilton to complete the BDO the next morning.
BDO Corporate Challenge with $100,000 Prize!
This year will also feature for the first time the BDO Corporate Challenge. Corporate teams are racing for a total prize valued at $100,000 but the prize does not go to them, the winning team will donate the prize package to a charity of their choice.
Inspired by BDO and event owner Dynamo Events, the BDO Corporate Challenge prize includes:
· Accountancy services
· The use of a Ford car for a year
· Advertising and legal services
The BDO Wellington to Auckland
Sunday 9 Feb
Stage 1 8.30am Lower Hutt to the summit of the Rimutaka Hill
Stage 2 Midday Ride through the Wairarapa from Featherston to Masterton
Monday 10 Feb
Stage 3 8.30am Masterton to Paihiatua
Stage 4 1.00pm Paihiatua to Palmerston North
Tuesday 11 Feb
Stage 5 8.00am Palmerston North to Hunterville
Stage 6 12.45pm Hunterville to Wanganui
Wednesday 12 Feb
Stage 7 8.30am Wanganui to Kakatahi
Stage 8 12.15pm Kakatahi to Ohakune, via famous Fields Track
Thursday 13 Feb
Stage 9 8.00am Ohakune to Turangi
Stage 10 1.00pm Turangi to Taupo
Friday 14 Feb
Stage 11 8.00am Taupo to Te Awamutu
Saturday 15 Feb
Stage 12 8.00am Hamilton to Glen Murray
Stage 13 12.45pm Glen Murray to Pukekohe