So how hilly is the HIM bike for Black Bear? I've read race reports saying that it's super hilly, but the race website link shows 1066 feet elevation gain over 27 miles, so that'll be somewhere like 2200 ft over the HIM distance. That doesn't sound very hilly (.....famous last words.....).
A 2009 race report says it was 1200 meters (3900 ft). Did the bike course change since 2009?
The ride is nowhere near SavageMan hilly, but it is definitely more hilly than Kinetic. The course has gone through some iterations over the years, but I think the link you posted is the current course and probably closest to accurate. And yes, the course has changed since 2009. The total climb for each loop should be about 1100 feet. So it's not a lot in total.
Having said that though, the course has some short steep climbs and then some fast descents. While the average grades for the major climbs don't amount to much, short sections of those climbs will be steep (topping out at 10-12% grade).
If you have time, you can watch the GoPro film of the Oly course that a guy took from the 2012 race (course is still the same). You can see he goes from 5mph on some climbs to 45mph on some descents. While the climbs will be challenging, also watch the downhills. They can be technical and windy.
The guy who typically wins the Black Bear Half (Josh Beck) is about 20 minutes slower on this course than his other Half IM times. So you can expect to be slower than other races of the same distance in comparison given the challenges on the bike course.
Thanks Bryan! You're the bestest!
Umm..yea, I should have read the updated version of the Athlete's Guide before the race. Turns out they changed back to their old HIM route with 2000 ft climb per loop due to a bridge closing. Those hills were no joke. Next up, Savageman!
Elevation Gain: 5,146 ft
Elevation Loss: 5,083 ft
Min Elevation: 620 ft
Max Elevation: 1,069 ft
If you are logged in to Garmin Connect, you can see the file at the link below:
The times were very slow because the road was in very bad shape. Huge potholes throughout, especially on the extended part for the half-only portion. It was covered by shade, so you could not see the potholes and had to go slowly.
really effing hilly!
I'm so happy that I drove the course the day before...that hard left turn up the hill towards the end was crazy. The downhills made up for it though.
Hey TriMontana, you seem to be doing a hilly IM every year. Do I see IM Placid or Tahoe in the horizon? I love Montana btw. Garmin link doesn't work for me, but it may just be my work computer. Anyway, I didn't know about the potholes until I was flying down the hill at 33mph, and it was too late to hit the brakes safely. My bike and tires performed like a champ, but I definitely slowed down there on my second loop.
And mattj, I hit the brakes hard on that left turn! Sheesh.
5K seems right. Seemed hillier than the Reston Century, which is about 4k total I think, but not as hilly as the SMan Half course, which is c. 6K I think, with much bigger inclines. Savage enough tho, especially as the hills are concentrated in spots, ntm the potholed minefield of Penn Forest Rd.
That course makes Eagleman seem flat!
From my Garmin for the bike course:
Elevation Gain: 4,823 ft
Elevation Loss: 4,764 ft
Min Elevation: 721 ft
Max Elevation: 1,160 ft
Interestingly enough, looking at my Garmin for Savageman 70.0 bike course, I have that listed as ~4.2k feet of climbing. Not sure I believe that it's less than Black Bear, but I also know that Savageman has longer climbs and descents. 10 miles of descending, 6 miles of climbing, etc. Black Bear just has lots of steep ups and downs that are not very long at all. So it's very possible that it added up to more climbing overall.