Texas Bike Course Debrief

Every year Endurance Nation hosts Triathlon Training Rallies at key race venues across the US. We added Texas for the 2011 camp calendar for two key reasons: first because there is such a massive and cool triathlon vibe in Texas; second because a new race means a brand new course.
If your schedule or the hefty $25 price of admission for three days of training and multiple presentations and support kept you away — don’t worry: you can still learn the nuances of the course to be ready on race day.

Overall: The Course Can Be Fast

Despite the conditions and terrain, everyone at our Tri Rally rode well within their expectations. In fact, most were able to back up their Friday 90-mile ride time with alomst the same time for another 90-miler on Saturday, despite tired legs. Yes the rollers are tough, but there’s no one “killer” part of the race that stands out. I fully expect the top contenders to fly through this course, and the sooner you can get off the bike the less time you have to bake in the sun for sure.
Here’s how it all breaks down.

The Conditions: Hot, Humid, and oh yeah — Windy!

The course is innocent enough from an elevation perspective, but you truly have to be here to appreciate exactly how the course unfolds. Guaranteed you might show up talking about the course, but you’ll leave talking about just how hot, humid, and windy the course was. Even though our camp was in the first weeked of April, temperatures still reached the low 90s with significant humidity — May will only raise this to another level.

Part One: T1 to Richards

The first part of the bike course, almost to the halfway point, is going to be pretty fast. There is usually a steady wind from the South, making this a slight tailwind. Add to that the fact there are minimal hills and good tree coverage and you’ll be out to Richards long before you think. A highlight of this part of your day is the short trip down Osborn road, a windy forest-filled adventure that’s pure joy.
Given the impending heat and potential disastrous effects on your ability to race, the early portion of your day should be solely focused on riding steady and starting your nutrition and hydration plans. If the humidity is high, as it will most likely be, then you’ll be sweating a ton and drinking will be second nature.

Part Two: Richards to Rte 105/Dobbin

Just before Richards you hit the first chip seal pavement of the day, and while not long it’s a precursor of what you’ll face on the other side of town until you pretty much exit Grimes County. The race adds a degree of difficulty by putting some pretty solid rollers and false flats in your way.
All that and only then do you turn South to begin the long trip home with a solid headwind. Without a doubt, the approximately 20 mile trip from Richards to Rte 105 in Dobbin will be the hardest of your whole day.

Part Three: Jackson Road to Dobbin Huffsmith

While you are heading out of Dobbin, you aren’t exactly out of the woods yet. A few more rolllers await you before you start truly dropping down en route to The Woodlands. The winds will be in full effect here, but are somewhat tempered by the elevation loss.
If you are fatigued here, you’ll suffer but your average speed should still be pretty good. As we learned during our Tri Rally weekend, the trip along Dobbin Huffsmith seems way longer than just short of six miles. While each mile seems more developed, it doesn’t seem to move any faster.
The remainder of your ride is admin time home…flat, shoulders of big highways, nothing special. If you aren’t totally cooked by the time you get here, you should be able to cruise in to T2 as well as start putting your mind to the marathon.
With little less than eight weeks to go to race day, it’s time for you to begin preparing for the heat and for staying as aero as possible for as long as possible — this course will reward both! Good luck with your training and be sure to stop by our Friday pre-race talk on race execution.

You can see some pictures here, you can find the photos and videos from the weekend here:

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Coach P

All stories by: Coach P
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