For those of you deciding to take on this ‘Big Boy' you will be in for everything the Waikato River Trails has to offer! Starting at the majestic Little Waipa Domain, nestled on the banks of Lake Karapiro this 83km Mountain Bike sure does have a lot to offer! For those of you up for the challenge, this ride is amazing, but it is a long, tough day out there!
For the first 10km of your adventure you will be on some great single track which makes for some of the best riding of the whole day. As you gradually climb up to and past Arapuni Township you will be treated to some scenic views of both Lake Karapiro and Arapuni before popping out on Lake Arapuni Road.
The next 15km of your ride is a long gradual climb from 120 meters above sea level to 350 meters. The good news is that this 15km section is also all on quiet, but sealed (aka nice and fast) country roads. Essentially the only road section of any significance in your ride today, you will knock this 15km/230 meter with relative ease while you take in the traditionally rural Waikato country side.
After all the climbing there's got to be some to show for it right?...RIGHT. At the end of Waotu South Road you head back into the trails and straight into a long, and in parts steep, downhill. The first section of this downhill will test both the nerves and the brakes with a number of tight switch-backs, before opening up with some fast sweeping corners as you get back down next to the river.
As you make your way along the newly created gravel track you will be treated to some beautiful native bush while travelling next to the southern end of Lake Arapuni. This section also boasts the biggest swing bridge of the trail, its impressive! You also take in a short section of the forestry roads as the foliage turns to the pine variety for the last few kilometers before the Waipapa Dam.
Once across the Waipapa Dam (half way point!) you are now heading down the Western side of the mighty Waikato River. The track surface now changes to hard packed clay, the forest becomes more closed in, and the hills start to bite harder. In the 8km following the Dam you undulate your way through old pine forests, then head up a tough climb and away from the river. From here the going gets slightly easier before you pop out at the Maraetia Power Station. Your legs will love the next couple of km as you scream down the sealed road and into the historic river side town of Mangakino.
The next 12km from Mangakino to Whakamaru Dam is a highlight of the day. You will enjoy the rolling gravel track as you hammer it through pockets of bush with farm land and friendly cows to your right and constant views of Lake Maraetai to your left -stunning! Crossing your last dam of the day, Whakamaru Dam, you will be straight back into quality trail! Now following Lake Whakamaru you cling to the bank, as the track winds its way east through a beautiful strip of native bush wedged between Ongaroto Road and the lake. The bush opens and you cruise through some spectacular lake side reserves for the last couple of km's before you finish at the truly magic Whakamaru Christian Camp, situated on its own Island surrounded by the clear waters of Lake Whakamaru.
- Course - Map 1 (420k pdf)
- Course - Map 2 (393k pdf)
- Course - Map 3 (401k pdf)
- Course - Map 4 (406k pdf)
- Course - Map 5 (396k pdf)
- Course - Map 6 (406k pdf)
- Elevation Profile (6kb pdf)
- Start Point
22km, 38km, 50km, 60km, 70km, 78km (all aid stations will stock at least Loaded Isotonic Sports Drink and water and the aid station at 60km will have food).
Course cut-off time
9.5 hours - 5pm (To Mangakino in 6 1/2 hours (2pm)).
Highly Recommended Gear - NOT COMPULSORY
- Beanie - polypropylene or wool
- Spare long-sleeve thermal top
- Jacket - seam sealed
- Basic first aid kit (including; 2m x 50mm strapping tape, 1x 50mm crepe bandage, 4x gauze pads, 6x painkillers, 15cm self-adhesive bandage strip)
- Safety blanket
- Food and at least 1.5 litres of fluid