First up, the course page for the race is here, on the Ironman website. The bike course map and turn by turn directions on the map are correct as of today(8/28). The bike course is the same as last year, 2014. Further down the course page is another link for just turn by turn directions for the bike course, as of today these are wrong. They show the turn-by-turn for the 2013 Bike Course and are incorrect. We've notified Ironman to either update or remove them. Please note, the 2014 elevation map provided by Ironman was incorrect. It used the 2013 bike course. This has been corrected.
Since the 2015 bike course is the same as 2014, the stop motion video I made last year still applies. It's here on Youtube, and can be seen through the embedded link below. It has both the road names, as well a few comments about the course.
The bike course is significantly different from 2013 and earlier in a couple of ways, to avoid a couple of problem areas. The 2013 course went around the back of the lake, turned right onto Blue Bluff up the short, sharp hill, continued around the back of the lake. In the early waves, this sharp turn, with a steep uphill was problematical to faster athletes.
The 2014 and 2015 course takes Lindell at the back of the lake and then turns left on Blue Bluff, go up to Manor and then rejoin the 2013, and earlier courses on Littig road. There are major differences toward the end of the course as well, as we tried to minimize the time on FM969 aka MLK East, including removing the dangerous downhill right turn onto FM969. Instead, we've used one of my favorite sections of FM1704 from the original Longhorn Triathlon course instead, when the race was owned and put on by Endurofun.
The current bike course isn't perfect, but its a good compromise between a challenge, athlete safety, and road restrictions. From my perspective, there are 3 hard sections,
- when you turn left onto Blue Bluff, it's less that 6-miles into the bike, it's chip seal and net uphill, there will be lots of bunching;
- the left turn onto Balch, same, technical, chip seal and a couple of short sharp uphills.
- The whole last 10-miles of the bike course after the last aid station isn't easy for first timers and those not strong on the bike. It's net uphill, the first section after the last aid station has nowhere to rest until you get back to the toll road, where you can coast downhill for a few minutes before the biggest climb on the course; once out on FM969 there is again nowhere to rest, and when you turn onto Decker Lake you've got a short rest before the last 1.5-miles of technical, small roads, couple of short climbs and then into the Expo center for dismount.
There are numerous route rides on mapmyride, and other GPS tracking sites. Please make sure you use the right one. I had a quick look at this one and it seems correct http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/568719350 . Here is a zip file with a GPX, TCX and an easy to print B&W Map of the course. http://www.atxdmultisport.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Austin_ironman_703_bike_course.zip
If you want to join me for a ride on September 5th. Let's meet outside the park entrance. Park on the grass verge, please keep the noise down and there are people living in the back of the small fihing shop. We will leave promptly at 7:00 a.m. - I'll bring some black and white maps and sandwich bags, I'll do the ride as a regroup. That is we'll regroup and major intersections. It's will neither be no-drop, nor will be be a fast ride. So figure about 3hrs elapsed, maybe slightly longer. It's a 70.3, thats 56-miles of bike course with no loops/laps. Enjoy.
FINALLY, PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT YOU OR YOUR FRIENDS DO NOT MARK THE COURSE WITH CHALK OR CHALK SPRAYS BEFORE THE RACE.