Bike Course Review
What’s in a name? The Half Full road course is more than half full of hills. This course is nothing less than challenging. It’s not going to kill you but it will put a hurting on you, especially in race mode.
108 to Homewood Road a slight, uphill, 2 mile stretch with rollers will be the best spot to get the blood flowing to your legs before the real hills take their toll. This is a stretch of what I call bubblegum rollers. Sometimes it just feels as if you rear wheel is riding on bubblegum due to the swim. Just spin these rollers to warmHup your bike legs. Your first hill will be Homewood after a nice but early descent.
Homewood road, fast easy downhill then a pretty good grind back up the other side. You’ll be able to carry some speed across a small bridge at the bottom into the uphill side. You can drop into your small front chain ring just prior to the bridge and then work through the rear gears as you start your climb. Make sure you’re in the small front ring prior to starting the climb. The climb is somewhere around a %4.4 average grade according to Mr. Garmin. Get into your race pace rhythm hit this hill with a good effort. It may seem like a grind but it’s not quite a mile long before you crest. There are quite a few hills coming so it’s a good idea to be efficient by staying seated and spinning a light gear.
Up and over the first hill and again you get a super fast descent down Homewood to the first traffic circle. Depending on the weather/wind this descent can be tricky because it opens up at the bottom to an corn field. If the winds are blowing you can definitely get hit by a crosswind that will blowing from right to left, be careful if you’re in the aero bars. For a bit more control perhaps the drops are necessary. You’ll make a right at the traffic circle.
One of the easy parts of this course is from that first traffic circle all the way to the bottom of Mt. Albert. Absolutely stay aero and burn this part of the course up. Enjoy the speed. That speed will be sapped once you hit Mt. Albert. Mt. Albert can make you feel like Fat Albert. It’s short but with a max pitch of %10+ it’s not so easy. Once again at the bottom of this hill make sure you’re in the small front chain ring and an easy gear in the rear. Spinning easy up this beast will be your best bet to conserve energy…remember you’ll be doing this again on your second loop.
After Mt. Albert you’ll eventually work your way out of that neighborhood and make a right on to Folly Quarter Road which has been freshly paved (Woooooohooooo ) what a relief.
From Folly Quarter to the next traffic circle is about 2 miles. With the new pavement it is a nice rolling stretch with a good grind up to the traffic circle. You’ll be able to make good time on this section. The mashers will have a good time on this section, but a good spin will save you energy in the long run. Make a good solid effort. Stay in the drops or aero on you’ll eat this section of the course up. After you make the right onto Ten Oaks the course take you through another nice stretch where if you can stay aero you’ll make more good time. This section makes a loop around on Burntwoods Road to Shady Lane. There is a slight pitch on Shady but nothing to write home about. Shady Lane will eventually intersect Triadelphia Road.
This of Triadelphia section is just over 4 miles. It has its ups and downs but mostly down. This section is open to wind and has a nice “S” turn as you descend to the Triadelphia Reservoir. Stay aero again your back should still be okay at this point. ;H) After you come to the reservoir you’ll get smacked with a very short but hefty pitch of %13+ percent. When you see the reservoir this should be your trigger to get out of the big front chain ring and start spinning again. After that steep pitch it’s a nice grind uphill for about a mile. This is probably a good point to drink and refuel a bit. After nice descent you’ll make a right at the T to stay on Triadelphia.
This is where it gets interesting. You now have a very tough stretch of hills (not rollers) all the way to the next traffic circle at Highland Road. These hills have max grades of %12+. This section is just over 1 and 1/2 miles. Highland Road will intersect Ten Oaks and you’ll be starting your way back. You’ll encounter some gentle rollers all the way back to Linthicum Road. Linthicum Road is a bowl with a pretty good uphill. You’ll definitely be able to carry a lot of speed up the other side and can probably stay in the big front chain ring and grind it out all the way to Triadelphia Road. Here is where you’ll make a right on Triadelphia Road and start making your way back to do it all over again. If the weather and wind are cooperating on race day there is generally a nice tail wind and since it’s mostly downhill this will most likely be the fastest, longest stretch of the course. Triadelphia Road leads in to Folly Quarter Road. 4 Miles after you started this stretch you’ll come to that very familiar first traffic circle. At that point you’ll start your second loop of the course. Don’t worry the hills seem easier the second time around. ;)
Completed that second loop? Good you’re not done yet. You still need to get back to Centennial Park Once you’re back again, 3rdtime’s a charm, at the Homewood Folly Quarter traffic circle you have to grind up a two more hills to get back to Route 108. You’re legs will be sufficiently tenderized by now. If you have anything left use it or lose it on these last 2 hills. You’ll have a nice easy bike back to the park once you hit Route 108. Use that time to spin out that lactate acid build up and then get ready to enjoy a nice run.
- Bill Wheeler