Kelly the Culinarian: What You Need to Know about the New Ironman Wisconsin Bike Course

Monday, August 8, 2016

What You Need to Know about the New Ironman Wisconsin Bike Course

Six word summary: This course sucks so much more.

I earned at least 10 times more froyo than this
After I don't know how long of keeping a standardized bike course, construction has required a new bike course for the 2016 iteration of the race. Since finishing the original course when I did Ironman Wisconsin 2014, I've probably rode the course another half dozen times for training and for fun. When they officially unveiled the new course last week (!), I knew I had to go out and tackle it for my own news. Who changes a bike course six weeks out from a race that typically takes six months to train for? Here are my thoughts on what's new and what to watch for.

But first: The 112-mile bike course used to be comprised of two loops around Verona, Mt. Horeb and Cross Plains, beginning and concluding with "the stick" to and from Madison. The cornerstone of this course was the three sisters/bitches, a series of challenging hills you tackle twice. These were in Mt. Horeb, on Timber Lane Road and at the very end of the course before returning to Verona.

Now, the course consists of two distinct loops. The new course completely removes the Timber Lane road hill. The first loop takes riders up an new challenge on Barlow Road and let me tell you, I am not pleased. There is one hill that you think is the Barlow hill people are complaining about, until you crest it and realize you haven't even begun climbing. I was out of the saddle, huffing and puffing and weaving before I resigned myself to walking up the top third. Worse, it is mosquito infested and completely obscured to spectators. One of my favorite parts of the previous course was the party going on on Timber Lane Road as you try to beat the elevation. The Barlow hill would require spectators to don their finest mosquito repellent apparel and make at least a one-mile trek with coolers and chairs in tow. Additionally, I didn't see a place for port-o-potties, so I doubt many race observers will make it to those confines. At least no one will be there to document me walking up a hill with my bike.

The course on my "I destroyed #TheLoop" shirt is now a relic
You still get the pleasure of Witte Road, but you miss the jostling of the poor pavement on Stagecoach, which also means you miss the tempting siren of Lake Katherine as well.

The second loop does not include the ridiculous hill on Barlow, but it does include some significantly challenging rolling hills. Here are the takeaways:

  • The new course removes Stagecoach road and all of Cross Plains
  • The new course is well-marked. Look for orange arrows as cues.
  • The new course includes Mt. Horeb and the last hill before Verona, but cuts out Timber Lane Road, which is where many spectators usually gather
  • I will be walking up the hill on Barlow, which you only ascend once. It's not worth the mental of physical assault of frying my legs 40 miles into my bike.
  • The new bike course is far less spectator friendly.
  • If this course remains into 2017, I'll be skipping IMWI until it reverts back to the old course.

1 comment:

Alyssa Kurt said...

You forgot about Bitch #1 Old Sauk Pass-which was my favorite. Long gradual climb through the winding trees! And not too steep! Timber Lane I will miss too!