The venues used by WATRC give us access to a variety of trails on public and private lands. Rides closer to Wellington City tend to be very hilly, often with significant climbs and descents. Those on the Kapiti Coast, Horowhenua and Manawhatu tend to be flatter and faster, although those nestled into the foothills of the Tararuas tend to follow the Wellington mould.
The trail profiles started as a pet project but lapsed following the Endurance New Zealand decision to prohibit the use of GPS by competitors. WATRC supported this decision at the time and continues to adhere to the prohibition.
More recently, however, the club purchased a GPS that can be used when planning and marking trails. At some rides the unit has also been sealed into opaque packaging and a rider asked if they would carry it on the course - they don't get to use the GPS as such, but the club captures a very representative trail, and that data feeds back into our trail improvement exercises. Our photographer also carries a GPS when out on the trail, but seldom has time to walk the entire route followed by the riders, as he doubles as support crew and is under starter's (and finisher's ;-) orders.
Trail profiles therefore are a composite based on the available GPS data, observation of riders' routes from afar, ride briefings, trail sketches, and riders' descriptions. And if all those fail to yield a complete trail, we look at a map of the area and try to fill in the gaps!
It's important to realise that the trails used at a given venue may vary from year to year depending on location of stock, crops, hazards, or the whim of the ride organiser. Our trail maps are therefore historic rather than predictive, and our primary purpose in making them availale is for you to assess the terrain and make informed decisions in relation to the venue.
Google Earth means anyone with a broadband connection now has access to a powerful mapping tool for the entire globe (and beyond) and if your internet connection doesn't quite live up to that speed, there's Google Maps. We provide map data in GPX and KML/KMZ formats. A feature of Google Earth is the Elevation Profile (right click a trail and select "Show Elevation Profile") that gives you an excellent tool for analysing the trail. If you don't have Google Earth, we also provide a PDF - not great quality because it's just a blown-up screen shot, but we hope it will be better than nothing.
Note: Do not rely on these maps. They are not a substitute for a) attending the ride briefing, or b) following trail markers. They are provided solely to give riders an indication of the location and terrain of past rides.