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Yes. It is mandatory to use a GPS. The route is not marked, indicated or signaled on the terrain. The only way you can know the route is from the track of the TransPortugal route the organizers will provide for you to install on your GPS. Also the Race Rules specify that you must hand your GPS in to the organization after crossing the finishing line each day. If you haven’t got one, then your stage will not be validated and for the general classification you will be attributed a void stage and the maximum allowed time for that stage.
There is nothing simpler. You don’t need to know anything about orienteering, nor you need to be an expert on GPSs. The only thing you do need to know is that when you look at the screen you are the arrow and the race course is a fat line. As long as you keep the arrow on the line, then you are on course.
We even tested a GPS with a 4 year old and within a minute he was able to follow the right track.
Using a GPS there is no chance that you will get lost, and the additional information that appears on the screen means you don’t even hesitate when you come to an intersection or crossroads. Your performance on the trails will be exactly the same as if you were following course markers, with the added benefit that you are unlikely to ever take a wrong turn, and you will never get lost, unlike when you are following a marked course.
There are countless brands on the market, but the organization recommends Garmin or Wahoo ones. Indeed we will only test the tracks provided on these two brands and cannot vouch for any other working with the tracks provided.
Also we will be needing the racers GPS at the end of each stage to make sure you followed the route with no detours and to control STOP signs and compulsory stop time. The organization will only be able to control this on Garmin and Wahoo devices, so that only these two brands will be allowed in the race as primary device.
The GPS must have a screen and be capable of reading, displaying and navigating GPS tracks in GPX format with at least 10.000 track-points. It must also be able to display track waypoints indicating places of special interest, like STOP signs, Check Points, dangerous passages, etc.
It must have a minimum recording and saving capability of 10,000 track-log points per track. An USB interface is also a basic requirement.
It’s battery should be able to last at least a complete stage, taking into account unforeseeable events like mechanical failures. It should be waterproof and robust.
We do recommend you also make sure to update the device software to the latest stable version and that you learn to use it while navigate tracks.
Make sure your device has enough free space to save the tracks for all days of the race, because this is the only way to have them validated!
No, there will not be facilities to do this on the race grounds. The organization will send the race tracks to the racers with enough time for all to be able to load them on their own devices before traveling to the race.
Yes, each racer is responsible for providing his own GPS.
You can buy some Garmin devices from the organization, please contact us with enough time prior to the race to arrange this.
Yes, we will send it to your home address. In this case you will have to pay postage and packing.
Garmin and Wahoo makes brackets for each of their GPS models. For their new models line of products the bracket is quite adequate and sufficiently sturdy to withstand and hold the GPS in place even if you ride on the jerkiest of the trails.
Nevertheless it is always advisable to implement some form of preventing the accidental loss of the GPS in case this is to come off the bracket during the race. In most cases a loose piece of string tied tight around the handlebar does the job.
If your Garmin or Wahoo GPS device is capable of navigating a track it can do so even if it does not have a detailed map of the region. You will be presented with a blank screen with only the race line to navigate. Although you could navigate all the race like this, it would not be our recommendation as it makes choosing the right path or road to take somewhat less obvious in crossing and turns.
We do recommend having a detailed map of Portugal installed in your GPS unit. Some of the recent Garmin and Wahoo cycling and outdoor devices come with pre-installed European maps or it can be downloaded and installed. Some of them are free, other are paid. Make sure to confirm the options before choosing the GPS and make sure to install and test them before coming to the race.
As long users of GPS devices, we Organizers, who are also experienced riders, have the opportunity to test several models of GPS and extensively use them in the race route throughout the year. In the most varied and adverse situations we have evaluated all variables and concluded that the Garmin Edge 1030/830 series of GPS are, at this moment, the best GPS for this race. The Garmin Edge 1030/830 are the most adequate and the ones that better ensure that the racer’s performance is not affected by using a GPS as the race track guidance method.
There are other models that may well do, however they won’t be as efficient and may therefore negatively impact the racer’s overall performance in the race. In TransPortugal ROADS the GPS is the fundamental piece of equipment, above any bike component, even above the bike itself, therefore neglecting to consider its quality and adequacy to this race by choosing a lower grade device, is not the best way to approach the preparation for the race. Considering our knowledge of the race and the data we prepared to download to the athletes’ GPS, we hereafter forward a list of GPS sorted by their race suitability:
- 1st – Garmin Edge 1030 or 830
- 2nd – Garmin Oregon 700/750 (or the older Oregon 600/650)
- 3rd – Garmin Etrex Touch 35t
- 4th – Garmin Edge 530
- 5th – Wahoo Elemnt Roam
Above all, you must be sure that your GPS is recording the track at the moment you start each stage of the race and that at the end of the stage you save it. Only with a complete record will the stage be validated.