You can mark this one down as the third climbing stage in a row, but in all honesty it’s possibly the easiest of the three, if only in the sense that the pain doesn’t really kick in until well into the second half. The stage also has the railway line for company for its entirety, except where the road crosses a lake on a causeway at twelve miles while the railway skirts round the right hand side.
The rollout heads north for three miles on a lumpy flat stretch of road before deviating north west at a small lake on the eastern (right hand) side of the road: then for the remainder of the stage, the direction is north west, which doesn’t quite feel right because the route needs to be heading east.
The Coolgardie Esperance Highway passes by the Red Lake Townsite Nature Reserve at six miles before deviating gently right/left at seven miles between two further small lakes. That sets up a five mile straight to the larger lake where the road crosses on the causeway just after Circle Valley. After the lake, the road remains straight as it begins a lumpy but gentle ascent to Salmon Gums, and its expansive golf course out to the west of the highway.
It’s at Salmon Gums that the climbing starts in earnest. Yes the gradient has been marginally upwards for the previous five miles, but after Salmon Gums, there’s a much steeper climb up to nearly nine hundred feet above sea level at the twenty one mile mark. Remember it was only three stages ago that you were virtually at sea level approaching Esperance. Off the top of the steepest part of the climb, the gradient flattens out dramatically but the road continues to rise until the red kite which signals a small descent to the finish.
Distance: 23 miles / 37 kilometres
Ascent: 554 feet / 169 metres
RGT Magic Road: xi0rTAEtrwyT
Max elevation: 880 ft
Min elevation: 607 ft
Total climbing: 549 ft
Total descent: -288 ft
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