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Middle-aged thrashers having a bunch of fun

Eddy Kuipers from Tararua Business racing became the first rider from a Wairarapa team to win the Trust House-North Island Teams Series. PHOTOS/ELI HILL

Historic win set up by teammates, says champion

CYCLING

ELI HILL
[email protected]

For Masteron man, Eddy Kuipers cycling is all about the team – even if they are a bunch of “middle-aged thrashers”.

Kuipers rode into the history books on December 2 when he became the first rider from a Wairarapa team to win a round of the Trust House North Island Cycling Series which has been running for five years.

The final race in the series, over 90km, ended in a sprint finish involving almost 40 riders and Kuipers was quick to give his teammates all the credit.

Eddy Kuipers riding his bike.

The stay-at-home-father of two young children, and budding cycling coach, said his teammates had “completely killed themselves” to get him into position for the finishing sprint from 250 metres out.

“I just had this instinct to go. I had half a second to react and I had to take it.

“We had riders flying off the front all day, basically sacrificing themselves and it was throwing the other teams right out.”

Kuipers, 47, rides for Tararua Builders Racing, who he said had the best team culture in the series.

“We’re a bunch of middle-aged thrashers who absolutely love cycling and unfortunately we do think we’re European pros and we’re not, but we know that and there’s a real fun element to it.

“It’s that serious fun. We’re serious when we want to be, when we want to get a result, but then there’s always that taking the mickey out of each other.”

Although he only got back into road racing last year, Kuipers comes from a strong fitness background.

He got into mountain biking in his late teens and spent more than a decade working on Mt Ruapehu as a ski patroller.

When he moved to Masterton, he became heavily involved in the fitness industry and started road racing in 2010.

After a break to start a family, he made his comeback in 2017.

Kuipers rides a minimum of 300km a week in training during the season.

Weighing in at 83kg, Kuipers is at the heavy end for a cyclist but the extra bulk means he’s a better performer on the flats than on the hills.

For Kuipers, cycling has an extra element to it that other sports do not have.

“It’s such a monumentally hard thing to win a race – that’s the biggest thing that people don’t realise is that with the training, the bike becomes a torture device.

“It is one of the hardest things that you will ever put yourself through.”

Despite this, Kuipers said he plans to cycle until the day he dies.

Eddy Kuipers with a photo of his grandfather Joannes Kuipers who raced cycles in the early 1900s.

“The pull is in my blood really. My grandfather won a few races back in Europe, and there were a few legends about him.

“One time he was winning a race and his bike broke down, so he ripped one out of the crowd and carried on to win the race.”

Kuipers’ coaching business, BikeWell, which has been in development since 2015 is something he wants to grow.

“You know that’s the dream, to be able to coach someone young to that top level. But right now, I’m more focused on the middle-aged thrasher.

“In a few years maybe we can reach that stage, who knows.”

With four-year-old Ben, eight-year-old Aimee and a fledgling training business to look after, Kuipers said cycling was something that gave him headspace to cope with his often-hectic life.

“It’s a very personal activity. I think that’s why I got such strong emotions when I crossed the finish line. I couldn’t believe it.

“Now we’ve set a bit of a precedent we’re going to have to try follow up on it next year.”

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