Every year Dave Cade (aka Didymo Dave) helps the Iron Men on the tough up hill section of the bike race by banging his pot and yelling support until he is hoarse. Just as every year ever Iron Men help support Dave stopping the spread of freshwater pests into Lake Taupo by cleaning their wet suits of freshwater plant pests before entering Lake Taupo.
Since 2008 the Iron Man event has supported Department of Conservation’s aquatic weed busting ‘Didymo Dave’ in making it compulsory for the competitors to have had their wetsuits cleaned of any potential freshwater plant pests in order to register in the event. This involves ‘wetsuit dipping’, where the wetsuits are thoroughly submerged in water containing 5% dishwashing detergent. Dishwashing detergent is all it takes to kill Didymo cells, or other freshwater plant pests that are of concern, such as Hornwort and Lagarosiphon.
Dave is very appreciative of the patience of the competitors to help support keep Lake Taupo free of freshwater pests. He explains, “The best thing about the wetsuit dip is that these people will go back to their own countries and other areas of New Zealand and now know how easy it is to stop the spread of freshwater pests in their home towns.”
After four years of Iron Man competitors meeting Didymo Dave to dip their wetsuits, they also have come to expect and welcome his support on the course, and to request the infamous battered pot. Tired of this year’s non-stop rain, one competitor made a clever pun on the Didymo campaigns “Check. Clean. Dry.” message, when he told Dave when passing him on the course “I checked, and cleaned, but I’m definitely not dry!”