On paper this stage doesn’t look too bad as it makes its way back out to the coast, just over halfway up the western side of South Island. But alas, in reality it’s a pig of a stage and it throws up over a thousand feet of ascent as it winds its way over a couple of descent sized climbs. The good news however, is that the stage descends another two hundred feet on top of that.
The rollout is initially downhill but that soon changes when the Harihari highway comes up against the ridge that runs along the eastern shore of Lake Ianthe. The road skirts alongside the lake briefly between miles four and five before exploding upwards, gaining over two hundred feet in a mile on its way up to Duffers Creek at six miles. Over the top of the creek, the road descends on a lumpy stretch of road to Pukekura at nine miles. Pukekura sits beneath Aliens Hill a mile to the east.
As the road continues to meander its way north, it crosses Waitaha River at eleven miles then Kakapotahi River two miles later. Now heading east, the road bends again, this time to the left, approaching Fergusons at fourteen miles at the top of a lumpy three mile climb. Over the top of that, the highway continues to hug the ridge that sits on its eastern flank but the descent down to the coast undulates wildly as it throws fifty foot and one hundred foot obstacles in the way of your progress.
By the time you get back down to the coast at nineteen miles, having crossed the Mikonui River, the road hangs a final right before entering a two mile lumpy flat straight to the finish line on the outskirts of Ross.
Distance: 21 miles / 34 kilometres
Ascent: 1115 feet / 340 metres
RGT Magic Road: 3tKPA4WWg1bS
Max elevation: 354 ft
Min elevation: 13 ft
Total climbing: 1116 ft
Total descent: -1288 ft
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