478’s another descender, but the elevation profile shows it to be a lumpier run than 477. Having said that, with less than two hundred feet of climbing and only slightly more of descending, it’s really more of a flat roller coaster that finishes a hundred feet lower than it starts.
The rollout from Cambridge heads north on Route 18 (Victoria Road) having left Route 1 (Waikato Expressway) at the end of the previous stage. The road climbs out of town (it’s going away from water!) before doing a left/right/left/right shimmy around the eastern side of Hautapu before resuming the journey north. From Hautapu, it’s downhill to just after two miles where Route 18 turns left onto Church Road. It then meanders left and right past Matangi at seven miles before joining Route 26 then immediately leaving it on a sharp right hand junction half a mile later at nine miles.
A mile after that the road turns left and it resumes a north westerly run for about four miles north of the Waikato River. The town of Hamilton sits either side of the river at that point but the highway bypasses it: Highway 1, which the route left at the end of stage 476, runs much closer to Hamilton along its northern edge.
There’s a gentle rise from twelve to fourteen miles, but all of that acquired elevation is lost in an instant on a rapid descent past the junctions of Puketaha (left) and Sneddon Road (right) at fifteen miles.
The end of the stage is midway between Gordonton and Komakorau on a lumpy but gently descending road that weaves its way between irrigation streams on the way out of Gordonton. The finish itself is on a curving left hander just past the junction of Ballard Road which serves the streams.
Distance: 21 miles / 34 kilometres
Ascent: 213 feet / 65 metres
RGT Magic Road: mPOdbbSJDvx8
Max elevation: 327 ft
Min elevation: 211 ft
Total climbing: 213 ft
Total descent: -299 ft
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