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Stage 480 – Rangiriri to Bombay

Just when you thought it was safe to pack away your climbing legs ahead of the flight to Alaska, along comes stage 480: Boom! It has the small matter of a seven hundred foot climb waiting in the fifteen mile mark which is guaranteed to leave your legs splattered all over the final mountain if you give it too much welly early doors.

Fortunately, in terms of looking after yourself, the rollout is uphill for three miles to the bit on Route 1 where Wangamarino Road shoots off to the right instead of taking the coming descent head on. The road then descends slightly to four miles where an irrigation stream runs close to the highway. The stream then runs past the western side of Hampton Downs Motorsport Park while the road runs along its eastern side. Further irrigation streams then flow on the left hand side of the road after the park before the road catches up with the Waikato River again at Meremere after nine miles.

After Meremere, the road hugs the river bank as it curves left past Motutawa Island before finally waving goodby to the river at Mercer two miles later. This stretch of the journey as the road runs alongside the water is of course virtually flat. However all of that changes as soon as the river curves left after Mercer while the road piles on north west. What happens when the road heads away from water? It climbs, and in this case the climb is particularly severe. It all feels very innocuous at first, and there’s even a wee dip at fifteen miles, but no sooner does the highway reach Pokeno at fifteen miles than the gradient stiffens significantly.

The climb really starts to bite at the intersection where Route 1 and Route 2 meet north of Pokeno. The mile between sixteen and seventeen rises by four hundred feet alone and that’s not even the summit: for that you have to wait until the district border between Waikato and Auckland at eighteen miles.

Once over the border, things settle down again and the last three miles to the finish are largely downhill, managing to shed around three hundred feet of the elevation gained on the slog climb up the other side. On approach to Bombay, Mark Beaumont’s route leaves State Highway 1 and rejoins Great South Road, a feature of the journey a few stages ago further south. Great South Road crosses over Route 1 at Saint Stephens Overbridge north of Bombay and the finish line is just north of the bridge.

Distance: 21 miles / 34 kilometres

Ascent: 1148 feet / 350 metres

RGT Magic Road: EtAmzkf0t7ki

Total distance: 20.42 mi
Max elevation: 610 ft
Min elevation: -113 ft
Total climbing: 1147 ft
Total descent: -751 ft

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