This last weekend I made the 4 1/2 hour drive up to Boise to preview the Boise 1/2 Ironman race course before I do the race on June 8th. I knew a little bit about the course from what my coach had told me, but there’s only so much you can tell from an elevation map on the internet, so I made the trek up there.
At first I had no one to go with me. But, at the last minute, my dad was able to make the trip with me. This is a VERY good thing. We left Friday around Noon and pulled in to Boise at 4:30 p.m. As soon as we ate dinner, me and my dad went and attempted to drive the bike course. Unfortunately the notes on the website aren’t the best & I ended up heading back to our hotel and mapping out the course on MapQuest.
When we drove the race course on Friday night, panic set in. There were some MASSIVE hills that I wasn’t expecting. I sent my coach an email saying “Lord help me!!!” and I sent Rob a text saying “what the hell have I got myself in to?”. Thanksfully, both of them were able to talk me down off of this proverbial ledge. Rob being the awesome one that he is told me “Look at how worried you were about your 1/2 marathon the other week and look at how good you did? You’re going to do fine.” Coach told me that the hills aren’t too bad, but all I could think was “yeah, but you’re a helluva lot better athlete than I am”.
Saturday morning, my dad and I got up at 7:00 a.m. and had breakfast and then headed out to Lucky Peak Reservoir (the starting line). It was pretty windy out there & that just added to my nerves. I knew once I got on the bike & started riding I’d be ok, but it was just getting on the bike.
As soon as you come out of transition, you’ve got an ok hill to climb & then you ride up and over the dam. If your legs are rubber from the swim (like mine will be), this hill could pose a challenge. But once you get up & over the dam, you have about 5 miles of downhill.
I wish I was more confident riding downhill, but I’ve crashed 1 too many times on my bike going too fast, so I tend to be careful.
After all of this downhill, you hit your first uphill. Surprisingly, it isn’t as bad as it looks. Granted, I was still going slow, but I didn’t have to get down in to my easiest gear to climb the hill. This did give me confidence. After you go up this hill, there’s a little flat and then one more hill. I was able to climb them fairly easily. I wasn’t going fast, but I got up the hills.
The rest of the course is pretty flat. There’s plenty of opportunity to get down in to the TT position and ride like the wind. Alot of the time I was able to average 18-20 mph unless I was on a hill, and then that slowed me down quite a bit. It didn’t help that I had NO clue where the hell I was going either.
Then…watch out! At almost the 1/2 way point you have a rude awakening! There is one HELLUVA hill you have to climb. As I was approaching the hill I kept thinking to myself “I hope the turn off is just before this hill. It would be fantastic if I didn’t have to climb this hill.” Then I was at the base of the hill and was climbing it. This hill is the hardest of all of the hills. It’s at least 1 mile long and it is STEEP!!! You get down in to your easiest gear. Your legs are pedaling 1,000 miles an hour, but you feel like you’re going nowhere. The only thing that got me up this hill was knowing that when we turned around there was a nice downhill where hopefully I could make up time. Lol.
Once you hit the turn around, you basically back track almost to the mouth of the canyon you came flying down from the reservoir and you head back in to town. It’s all still pretty flat and the rest of the ride is fairly easy.
When I rode the course 2 weekends ago, my average speed was 15.6 mph. Hopefully come race day it’ll be a little faster.