Swim Leg – 3.8km
The swim course is set for Roy’s Bay in Lake Wanaka and will start with pro athletes at 7:00am and individuals at 7:15am. Teams will start at 7:45am.
The two-lap swim is in the sheltered part of Roy’s Bay in Lake Wanaka within easy view of spectators watching from the shore. The course has a beach start swimming in an anti-clockwise direction with a total of four turn buoys. The average water depth for most of the course is 2.5m although the second leg does have depths of up to 13m.
Lake Wanaka is the warmest lake in the Southern Lakes and is a popular choice for a large range of water sports each summer. The swim course is in crystal clear water so clean you can drink it.
The following rules will apply to the swim :
- Wetsuit – compulsory
- Event swim cap – compulsory (provided at registration)
Please note that other swim equipment (eg. neoprene swim cap if water drops below 14C) may be made compulsory prior to the event.
In all likelihood, the swim course temperature in February will be in the region of 16C-18C, and that being the case, we will revise the compulsory requirements for the swim, but you must come prepared. Those not wearing compulsory gear as specified by the event team on race day will not be allowed to start.
Swim start | cut-off times
- Individuals 7:00am/7:15am | 9:20am
- Teams 7:45am | 10:00am
Transition 1 (T1)
Exiting the swim course at Pembroke Park, you will need to collect your T1 (swim to bike) bag and proceed to either the men’s or women’s changing tents. Once you have changed into your cycling gear, please place all of your swim gear in your T1 bag and leave it in the change tent. One of the volunteers will collect your T1 bag which will be placed by your bike rack after the race.
Bikes will be pre-racked (by you) the day before the race in numerical order. Your helmet must be clipped on before un-racking your bike, and you must proceed on foot to exit T1 and head out onto the bike course.
Pre-Race Practice Swims
There is an official Swim the Course practice session on Thursday 18 February at 7.00am. This is the only time that the course will be patrolled with safety boats. If you wish to swim in the lake at any other time, you MUST wear a brightly coloured swim cap and swim in groups. It is recommended that you also have a friend in a safety kayak. This is for your own safety and that of other lake users. Also, please keep out of the water ski lanes (marked by blue/yellow striped posts on shore) and the marina area.
We strongly recommend you attend the Swim the Course. It is an excellent way to acclimatise to open water swimming in a large group under the safe watch of qualified medical personnel. Lack of acclimatisation can lead to panic attacks in the water at race day and we want you to finish your race at the finish line, not the first turn buoy, after all your hard work preparing for the race!
Racers Edge Bike Leg – 180km
The 180km bike is over two laps and takes in two of the alpine lakes in the Southern Lakes region. See the interactive map and profile below.
The course heads out of town winding round the edge of Lake Wanaka towards Mt Aspiring National Park, reaching the Hospital Flat turnaround point at 18km and heading back to the township. After passing through the main race area and crowds of spectators the course turns left to Albert Town and an undulating ride to Lake Hawea. After a ride along the lakefront the course turns towards Hawea Flat, climbing to the terraces before dropping steeply back down to the Clutha River. Before reaching the Red Bridge, a sharp left hand turn takes you out towards Tarras for 8.1km where a U-turn takes you back to the Red Bridge, through Luggate and up to the Airport Hill and then a steady downhill back to town taking a short detour along Riverbank Road to the Cardrona Valley Road before a downhill into the centre of town to pick up special needs before heading out on the second lap. Please note the second lap does not include the Hospital Flat leg.
It is compulsory to have a special needs bag for the Bike Leg that contains a long sleeve thermal top, plus whatever else you may wish to include like gels, Sweet Cheeks, candy bars, Jelly Babies, salt tablets etc.
Because we are in an alpine environment, the weather may change overnight and conditions on race day could be colder than you expect. As we have said previously, in all likelihood it will be a beautiful hot day, but we want to be prepared for all conditions.
Aid stations on the bike will be approximately 20km apart. These will have bike bottles with Nuun electrolyte drink or water in them. CLIF Bars, CLIF Shots and bananas will also be available from aid stations at all times. Please note that Nuun is purely hydration and electrolytes and does not contain sugar/carbs. Coke is available on the final two aid stations. Please make sure you train on these products prior to the race so you know how they work for you – everyone is different. Please also be aware that Nuun is a hydration product designed to provide optimal hydration when used in conjunction with your energy source.
If you are caught drafting you will be penalised and/or disqualified as per the Triathlon NZ regulations. Please read the drafting rules in your Athlete’s Manual. Note the draft zone is 7m to 10m.
Transition 2 (T2)
Transition 2 is the same location as Transition 1. Once you come to the end of the bike, you must dismount before you enter T2 and walk your bike to your numbered rack.
You must once again collect your T2 bag (bike to run) and proceed back to same men’s or women’s change tents to prepare for the run. Once again, put all of your cycling gear in your T2 bag and leave it in the tent where a marshal will collect it and make it available at your bike rack after the race. You then exit T2 along Ardmore Street towards the Lake Wanaka outlet to begin the run.
Bike cut-off times
Individuals and teams 5.30pm
Run Leg – 42.2km
The run heads towards the Lake Wanaka Outlet Track along the lake edge and follows the Clutha River towards Albert Town.
Once at Dean’s Bank (12.5km) the course turns right into Gunn Rd (sharp uphill) right into Aubrey Rd (long gentle downhill), right onto Beacon Point Road down to the turnaround at Ridgecrest, back up Beacon Point Road and turn right into Waimana Place and then left back onto the lakeside track then onto Lakeside Road towards the town centre.
If completing the first of your two laps head along the lake foreshore to the turnaround point where your special needs bag will be (21.1km). Once you complete your second lap and the finish is in sight you will stay on Lakeside Road, then right on to Ardmore Street and down to the finish line. The run course is 25% sealed, 75% gravel and is two laps.
Aid stations on the run course will be positioned approximately every 2.5km. They will be offering CLIF Bars, CLIF Shots and bananas along with hydration from Nuun, water, Coke, bananas, salty crackers and Jet Planes. Other foods will be available, and will vary from station to station. Sponges will also be available.
For those athletes finishing in over 13 hours (individual) or 12 hours (team) there will be some important considerations. Some of the run course including the lakeside track has lighting in some parts, but we are also planning the following:
- in areas of poor lighting, small markers/glow sticks every 10 metres with a small piece of reflector tape fixed in the ground on the side of the track, so you can see your way (much like driving on a road at night)
- glow sticks may also be handed out depending on conditions
- we suggest you have something warmer in your special needs back for after dark as the temperature will drop as the night goes on
- all aid stations will have generator power lighting and toilets. If you need/want anything, please let them know
- all persons exiting onto Gunn Road in the dark will be escorted by a marshal/volunteer to the finish line
- competitors will be provided with a safety vest which is to be worn from the start of Gunn Road to the finish line (you can discard the vest to your personal marshal 700m from the finish line when on Lakeside Road)
At the finish
As you come up the finish chute, take a little time to reflect on what you have achieved, and relish the experience of finishing Challenge Wanaka.
Once under the finish gantry, each competitor will have their finish line photo taken, be assessed by the medical team and be guided through the recovery tent where a well-earned massage, food, drink and congratulations await you!
Individuals and teams 11.30pm