Rev3 Maine Olympic Bike Course

Last evening I had a 90 minute endurance zone ride on my training schedule so I figured I would ride from work and check out the Rev3 Maine Olympic Bike Course. I’m very impressed and excited about the HIM bike course so I had a feeling this course would be equally enjoyable. I was a bit surprised to find that the Olympic course is more challenging than the HIM course, at least in my opinion.

Source – From Rev3 Site

I didn’t ride the first 3 miles of the course since I rode from Rt 1 in Scarborough (which is quite the adventure to ride in rush hour traffic). However, I have ridden those miles a couple of times before and they are relatively flat or a false flats with a wide shoulder. The rode is a little beat up in areas so you have to be aware of that when riding, but no gaping craters like some roads in Maine. Once you cross over Route One to Flag Pond Road, things get nice. There is not a wide shoulder or really any shoulder on the road, but conditions are nice (minus the trash I saw on the side of the road for the first time! Grr… I hate when people throw their trash out their window!). Both the HIM and Olympic follow this route. You must climb the bridge over the Turnpike, which is a quick but annoying little bugger! Once over the bridge and back down the HIM people will make a left turn onto Jenkins Rd, but the Olympic people will continue a little further up to take a right hand turn onto Hearn Rd. The very beginning of Hearn Rd is a slight uphill so you might consider gearing into a slightly easier gear to get up over the slight increase before settling in for the long haul.

The Olympic course is an out and back route that also follows some of the same roads that the HIM people will ride at the end. I’ve ridden Ash Swamp Rd (which I now affectionately refer to as Swamp Ass Rd because of my very wet ride of the HIM course last weekend) and Hearn Rd, but only from the HIM direction. The Olympic course rides those roads in the opposite direction heading out into Scarborough/Hollis and then you return on the same roads. Having ridden Ash Swamp Rd and Hearn Rd before I assumed they were flat and fast. Well, in the opposite direction, it is actually a false flat. I was cruising along in my endurance zone when I looked down and realized that my speed had slowed and I was pushing way too many watts. Definitely a false flat! The roads are in good condition, but surprising a lot of false flats. Don’t get discourage here. The out portion of the course will probably be slower than the back portion when your going in the opposite direction.

Once you reach the 4-way stop sign at the end of Ash Swamp Rd you go straight across to Waston Mill Rd. This road is the hardest road of the course in my opinion. It has a decent hill. You will descend down a small hill, cross over a bridge with a slight turn, and then ascend a rather short, but fairly steep hill. It’s enough of a grade that you might even want to consider hopping out of the saddle to climb. As you approach the crest of the hill you will see an orange sign for ice cold lemonade! Not sure if Rev3 will be serving any of race day, but you could try!

After the hill you will hit a nice little stretch of new pavement with pretty views of farmland and flowers in hay fields. Even a tractor for sale if your so incline to buy one. Not sure if it works though. There was a significant headwind on this stretch and actually for most of the course. Perhaps it was just last night that I was riding, but it’s possible that on race day to have a good headwind in this area and other parts of the course.

Pretty flowers and flat section

At the end of Watson Mill Rd you take a right onto Burnham Rd for a mile or so. This road was not in the best riding condition and actually parts of Watson Mill Rd were pretty bad too. Burnham Rd has some false flats too, but overall pretty fast.

Next is a left onto Tapley Rd, which again is fairly flat and fast road. It’s really shaded in this area, which will be nice if it is a hot and sunny race day. I was riding it around 6:30pm so it was rather dark in areas. The road conditions again weren’t that great. Very little shoulder and some pavement cracks.

Watch out for stuff like this!

At the end of Tapley you take a left onto Deer Run Drive and ride through the little neighborhood. This was completely flat and fast and kind of a nice little break from the course. The right hand turn back onto to Tapley is a little sharp so beware of that. Once you make the turn back onto Tapley you have reached the half way point!

The rest of the course just follows the same route back. You’ll hit the hill again on Watson Mill Rd. To ride this hill (which I actually did three times for kicks and giggles!), I would suggest to gear down to your hardest gear and push yourself down the hill (go as fast as you feel comfortable or until you gear out and coast) until you reach the bottom of the hill to begin climbing. Ride as much as that speed as possible up the hill where you either want to jump out of the saddle to finish the climb or gear up to an easier gear and spin up the remaining back of the hill. Personally, since it’s an Olympic distance race and the hill has a decent pitch, I would choose climbing out of the saddle.

The orange “ice cold lemonade” sign that begins the returning descend of the hill

Riding back on Ash Swamp Rd and Hearn Rd is a little easier because you have the slight grade down. However, in parts there is still a slight false flat. Once again you’ll have to ride over the Turnpike overpass back to Route One. The ride down Cascade Rd will be a bit better this time because it has a slight down grade to the finish.

Overall, I think the Olympic course is slightly more challenging than the HIM. It has more false flats and a decent little technical climb on Watson Mill Rd. The road conditions in areas were pretty bad and a majority of the roads had little to no shoulder. However, almost all the roads are rural side roads so traffic shouldn’t be an issue. The headwind was quite bad when I rode the course last night. I’m not sure if it is the norm or I was just riding on a windy evening. Just be aware that there is a potential headwind that will slow you down slightly. The course will be fast. Just don’t get discouraged by the false flats and ride smart. The out portion will probably be slower than the return portion. I’ll be interested to see what people’s opinion of the Olympic course will be.

The Rev3 website does not give elevation charts for the bike courses so I mapped them out on to get an idea of what the elevation actually looks like. I can also look at my Garmin data too (remember to use elevation correction when uploading data because if you don’t Garmin will lie to you…)

Olympic Course Elevation
HIM Course Elevation

As you can see from the above charts, there really is no climbing compared to courses such as Mooseman, Quassy, or Lake Placid. The hills on the HIM course are slightly longer and more gradual. But there are only a few. Most of the course is flat and fast with wide shoulders. The Olympic course is mostly flat with several stretches of false flats, one decent hill you’ll hit from both sides and all on rural side roads. Either way, it’s a good course. Here’s to good weather on race day!

~ Happy Training!

Weekend Rap-Up: Lake Placid Training Camp Edition

This past weekend I was able to go to Lake Placid Ironman Training Camp with TriMoxie Coaching (my coach) and Personal Best Multisport in beautiful Lake Placid, New York where I got to pretend I was training for an Ironman. There were about 20 or so of us there to train for the long weekend. I was one of two who were not actually doing IMLP in a few short weeks. I was there mainly for fun (yes, I think training for an Ironman is fun… perhaps I should check my sanity?) and also to determine if I really do want to commit to doing the race next year.


Thursday began with a lovely six hour drive from Maine to New York through rural New Hampshire and Vermont. The drive was uneventful and long with some lovely road construction stops in Vermont. I decided to take the ferry across Lake Champlain to New York because it was a beautiful summer day and I want to get out of the car to stretch!

From the Ferry

I was chatting with a gentleman on the ferry who asked me where I was going. I told him I was heading to Lake Placid to train for the Ironman and he told me he thought I looked like I was going to be doing something crazy. He also thought I was Canadian.

I finally reached our house for the weekend around 4pm only to unload my car and jet off to Mirror Lake for an hour swim on the course! My wetsuit is too big for me so Mary was nice enough to let me borrow her old suit. Luckily I was able to squeeze myself into it! Mirror Lake is much smaller than I thought it was and had canoe racing lanes set up in the middle of the lake. The swim was kind of fun because all you had to do was follow the underwater cables across the lake almost like a swim lane! Now, the real race day course doesn’t exactly follow the cables, but it’s nice to spot off of those instead of trees, houses, etc. I definitely thought I was cheating at times though… The water was super warm too. IMLP is definitely not going to be wetsuit legal unless it it miraculously snows 10 feet in July to cool the lake down. I highly doubt it will happen, but who knows… the USA did win the gold medal in hockey there in 1980! 😉


Friday was the long bike ride day. People will say that Lake Placid is one of the harder Ironman courses because it’s hilly. So I expected there to be some giant hills like Mooseman style! There are three notorious hills on the courses commonly referred to as the Three Bears (Mama Bear, Baby Bear, and Papa Bear). I’ve heard people say they are hard so I was picturing them to be steep and hard. IMLP bike course is a two loop course. You start from in town and then begin a long climb out of town followed by a crazy fast 6 mile descend into the town of Keene. Once into Keene you take a left and follow a long flat-ish section into the town of Jay that is relatively fast. In Jay there is a 11 mile out and back then a sharp right to begin climbing into Wilmington. Personally, I thought this was the hardest section of the course. It’s a long gradual hill and you just had to be patient while climbing. If you pound the hill then you will definitely be in trouble on the second loop of the course and then for the marathon after the bike. Once into the town of Wilmington you take a left onto Route 86. This section is the slow section. It’s only about 12 miles back into Lake Placid, but you are constantly climbing whether you realize it or not. The climb is more of a stage climb. It’s never steep. Just long and gradual. Sometimes it flattens out, but it’s more or a false flat. The road conditions also suck. It’s very scenic however with the river and views of Whiteface Mountain. The Three Bears come at the end. They are not super steep like I thought they would be. I was pleasantly surprised! You just have to spin up the hills. Slow but steady. Be patient and don’t blow all your matches!

I had a good ride. I rode with three other girls who were riding at my similar pace so it worked out nicely. My coach had given me my power zones previously before beginning to ride so I knew what I should target power-wise. I did my best to keep a low VI, but that didn’t really happen. I got a bit sloppy on the end of the second loop, but I was hurting. Riding 101 miles in one day without many stops does a wonder to one’s crotch! Ouch! The weather was also perfect for riding. It was partly cloudy and in the 70s. I was pretty happy with my ride. It was slow, but I didn’t kill myself either. I learned that I need to be PATIENT on this course. You can’t go out and hammer the course because you will kill your run afterwards. The worse part of the ride was the ride back to the house. It involved a massive hill climb al la Mooseman style! It sucked. At this point we were all about 100 miles into the ride and just wanted to be done, but he had to climb this half mile hill that probably averaged at least a 6% grade. Not fun, but I made it up the hill without falling over! Nutritionally I felt pretty good on the bike. Except around the 12:30-1pm mark when my stomach decided it wanted food. Like real food, not gels or sports drink. It made me realized that I should start incorporating a bar of some sorts into my bike nutrition. I will start experimenting with that on my rides. After the ride was a 20 minute transition run off the bike in the hot sun. I got attacked by horseflies. It was great. It never felt so good to be done with a workout!


Saturday began with an early morning 2 mile swim TT in Mirror Lake. The course wasn’t quite the full 4000 yards, but we were pretty darn close. I had a great swim! I was able to draft off one of the other camper’s feet for a majority of the swim. We finished in 58 minutes! It makes me a little bummed to see my time and realized that I won’t be doing Peaks to Portland this year. My goal for that race was to swim a sub-hour. I definitely think it was doable with the ocean currents and my current swim fitness. But such is life!

Saturday afternoon was a recovery ride. We planned to do one loop of the course without the out and back section, so about 45-50 miles including the few extra miles to get home. However, Mother Nature decided to have some fun with us. We got rained on and some others got hailed on! The thunderstorms were chasing us the whole ride, which was not fun. We climbed the big hill into Wilmington in the pouring rain! Luckily, the fast guys that started before came around and picked all of us up before the lighting struck. Although, our chance of getting struck was probably slim to none. But I willingly took a ride in Kurt’s man van. I finished the ride with 40 miles. The first five miles from the house were very painful. My crotch was hurting from the previously day, even in super nice bike shorts. As it started to rain I forgot about the pain and started focusing on finishing the damn ride. I was actually having a super good and strong ride on Route 86 before Kurt saved the day. I was pretty happy with the ride overall!

We are completely soaked from the several rain “showers” we rode through! Whiteface Mountain is in the background.


Sunday was the long run day. Most of the athletes were running between 16-20 miles. Since I was not training for a marathon I only did 7 miles. I got to see some of the run course and also get a good run in. I was worried all weekend that I would not be able to run after all the riding and swimming from previous days, but my legs actually felt pretty fresh. I was quite surprised and relieved to be able to put one foot in front of the other without falling over or hobbling 7 miles! The miles were rather uneventful for me; however, our cooler we left water and gels in on River Road was stolen by some rude people leaving a few of the other athletes without water and nutrition! So not cool!

Before Saturday’s dinner. I was still freezing from the wet ride and thus wearing about 10 layers on clothes!

After the run I packed my stuff and headed home. I had a very good weekend. I met some amazing athletes whom I can’t wait to watch cross the finish line in few short weeks! And, I definitely plan on signing up for 2013! 🙂

~Happy Training!