Guest post by CJ Dungan
Derek Plate and I also checked out the bike and run courses for the Ironman Texas at The Woodlands. We only rode 40 miles of the bike course but we drove the whole thing and got to see first hand what we’ll face in May. We also put in two laps around the marathon course (14-15 miles). Parts of the run loop were inaccessible or unclear, but we were able to get a good idea of the marathon course.
First off, we drove the entire 112 mile bike course. The first 10 miles are more or less flat and should be a good warm-up after swimming. Ease into the bike as the rolling hills will be showing up soon. The road quality is good but as you leave town the roads narrow to 2 lanes so we might be sharing a lane with cars so be careful. The majority of the course is lined by tall trees, which provide wonderful shade, but depending on the wind direction, portions of the bike loop will become a wind tunnel. So check the wind the day of the race and manage your energy accordingly.
The rolling hills we’ll be facing at the Ironman are much easier than our 30-mile bike loop through Southlake/Roanoke/Trophy Club. Use the downhills to prepare yourself for the steady uphills. Be careful when crossing Highway 105 as you’ll have a downhill right before crossing the highway. As you cross the halfway point and begin to head back to town, you’ll see more hills than the first half of the race. There’s also a sharp left hand turn as you get close to 100 miles so be careful there.
Overall the bike course is nice and smooth with plenty of sweeping turns and scenery to look at. Take it easy and ride conservatively and it shouldn’t be a problem
On to the run loop… the course is mostly flat with a few small 1% grades. The first three miles of the loop are shaded and wonderful. As you come off the wooded trail and run through neighborhoods you have Lake Woodlands to look at until you get to the canals. Around the canals it’s totally flat and you’ll have plenty of folks around to cheer you on.
The entire run course is on concrete/pavement so a fresh pair of shoes would be a definite plus. Also you’re going to be in the sun for a majority of the run so lather on the sunscreen.