Graded Handicap - a primer
The Round the Mountain is - and always has been - a graded handicap. In a graded handicap, everyone rides the same race. Slower grades head off first, chased down by the quicker. The goal of the handicapper is to try to give everyone a chance to arrive at the finish at the same time. Whether you do or not is down to hard hide you ride and how well your group co-operates - everyone's in with a chance of getting their hands on the silver!
The 2023 Round the Mountain starts outside Spotswood college on South Road. From there, the race heads south-west on SH45 to Okato, where we turn onto Oxford Road and head up towards the mountain. We skirt the base of the mountain on the tope road - Wiremu and Opunake Roads, then at Cardiff we swing north onto Cardiff Road, then head onto Monmouth Road before joining the State Highway just north of Stratford.
Just south of Inglewood, the race swings towards the mountain on Dudley Road, the first in a sapping group of climbs before the finish. There's a brief relief as we cut across onto Lepper Road, then another drag up towards the mountain before turning north on Egmont Road and beginning the run to the finish. We join the State Highway again at Egmont village, then run down to the final couple of lumps into New Plymouth, including Burgess Hill, where many a challenge has fallen apart.
We roll past the racecourse and turn left towards Pukekura Park, finishing outside the racecourse.
A mapmyride of the route is available here - RTM-2023-route