Ok, goal was to see what in the hell the elevation gain was for this course. I’ve seen 5200, 4800, 4200 and 3600 feet of gain. Those are some pretty big differences. Maggs and I decided that we should drive up and figure this out.
Well, it’s more like 5000 feet of gain.
The course heads out on River Road and it looks deceptively easy, flat and fast. At first I was like “pfft, we live in Asheville, where in the hell are these people getting 5000+ from”. It’s deceptive people. Very deceptive. I’ll keep reiterating that.
About 10 or so miles (we didn’t ride, just drove) there is the out and back section of the course. We parked at the church and headed out. The road is in pretty bad shape. It’s gonna be carnage. It’s early enough in the race for it to be packed with people trying to descend fast, climb past people by cutting it close and then there are all the pot holes. It’s not bad in the sense of any heart-break climbs in the section, it just takes you buy surprise after essentially riding on the flats AND the pot holes. This section is about 700 feet of gain.
Once out on 42, you go right about 3-4 miles and get on 393. This has nice rollers on it. Again, nothing heart breaking about it, just up, down, up down. It’s recently been paved so the road is great. Then you go left on 146 for a few miles and it’s relatively flat… There are some false flats on it and we had a head wind so it kinda sucked. You weave back over to 42 and again, just a bit of up and down. Once back on 42, you head left and there are long, but low rollers until you get to 393 and have to repeat. We got 1700 feet of gain on 1 loop.
After the second loop, you just head back to Louisville. Guess what? You’ve got rollers until you get back to the church, where the out and back is and then it’s relatively flat. Not Florida flat, but pretty flat.
So, with the 2 loops being 3400 feet, and the out and back being 700 feet, you end up with 4100. Basically, the course is somewhere between 4800-5200. We didn’t ride about 30 miles of the course but from the above numbers, it wouldn’t be a big jump for there to be an additional 1000 for the out and back from transition.
It’s a legit course that I can easily see causing a lot of people to over bike and blow up on the run.
The roads are in pretty good shape and some have been repaved. The only one that is beyond and actually dangerous is the out and back.