07 August 2013

Bike Course Hua Hin Triathlon 2013

Advice and observations on the bike course of the Hua Hin Tiathlon 2013. Novice athletes be aware.

Racing flats.  On the Hua Hin Triathlon course.
Last Sunday a perfect day for cycling down in Prachuap Khirikhan. I had the privilege of riding the entire bike section of the Hua Hin Triathlon 2013. Link to course, at the bottom of this post.

The first approximately 20 km are quite technical, many corners, downhills and climbs, main road crossings etc. Extreme caution is advised especially during this first half of the course. I suppose the organizers will put competent marshals and police officers at the most critical spots. Nevertheless, as a cyclist on public roads you are always responsible for your own safety.

Road condition: all types of roads, from small country lanes passing through villages to major thoroughfares, and a right turn cutting through Hua Hin city traffic. Road surfaces vary from perfectly smooth to rough and pothole-strewn. I found sand in many of the corners. At places there was weed on the road. Dogs can pose as unpredictable obstacles suddenly crossing over. Beware of motorcyclist and cars shooting out of exit roads. Always be prepared.

Climbs, downhills, flat roads: the beginning of the course is mainly down hill on easy declines. The bottom is reached in the city of Hua Hin where you will have to cross through city traffic. After which the major climb starts, a 500 meter long hors cat├ęgorie segment reaching an incline of around 22% in my Garmin (known on Strava as Hin Lek Fai). This is immediately followed by an even steeper decline on a winding stretch of narrow concrete road. Be extremely careful here, especially if the road is wet. Concrete when wet can be as slippery as ice. Also be prepared for encountering crashed competitors (decline) or athletes falling over with their bike (climb). The decline ends with a speed bump.

Once down again, there is a sharp right turn followed by a gentle climb and then gently downhills to about half way point. From there on there is a lot of easy and possibly fast riding on flat straight roads. The last approximately 10 km, varying road conditions, gently sloping up again to the transition area. This last section of the course can be sunny and hot.

I did not experience any significant wind conditions. Neither head, tail nor crosswinds when I was on the course.

My advice: to all participating athletes, especially less experienced riders, take the time and familiarize yourself with the course, especially with the first 20 km or so. This little effort will pay major dividends during your race as you will know what to expect and how to handle certain situations.

Bike of Choice: considering the givens discussed above, my bike of choice would be a road bike with stuck-on aero-bars. Choose gearing to facilitate the major climb (casset: 28 or 30). No expensive carbon wheels, rather a bit heavier metal wheels and something like 25 mm  Gatorskins tires. This set-up would facilitate the major climb and make it easy to go over rough surfaces, most potholes and even sand on the flats. All excellent opportunities to pass or drop your most serious competitors.

Have a great and safe race!

Takeaway message

Take the time and familiarize yourself with the course, especially with the first 20 km or so. This little effort will pay major dividends during your race as you will know what to expect and how to handle certain situations.

Great photos of the course on my Facebook page:
www.facebook.com/gregor.rasp

Downloadable course and map can be found here:
connect.garmin.com/course/4214823

Official website of the Hua Hin Triathlon 2013:
www.huahintriathlon2013.com