Friday, May 19, 2017

Rev3 Quassy Half Rev Bike Course [2017]


Rev3 Quassy
2017
Half Rev Bike Course


Here it is!!  The bike course for the 2017 Rev3 Quassy Half Rev in visual format!  If you are looking for the Olympic Course, HERE it is.  They share a good amount of road, but for obvious reasons the Half has a bit more distance to cover.

I have raced the half four times and since it is in my backyard (30 min away), I have ridden the course too many times to count.  It's a GREAT ride that never let's you get bored.  There is ALWAYS something to do; climb that hill, zoom down the backside, turn, turn, beautiful view, climb again, etc.

For those unfamiliar with the course, it centers around Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury, CT.

  • 30 min from Hartford, CT
  • <2 from="" hours="" li="" nyc="">
  • 2 hours from Boston, MA
It's the perfect venue for any triathlete!  If you want an Olympic race, we have it!  If you want a half, we have it!  Don't like to run?, we have an aquabike!  Do you like to race with your buddies?, we have relays!  If you want a place where your little ones can have fun while you race, we have an amusement park!  Do your little ones want to race too?!  We've got a kids race! 

First off, the Rev3 Quassy Half Rev Bike Course map.


Briefly, the course starts with an 8 mile stretch that you will back track along at the very end, then goes in a misshapen lollipop with one 6 mile O&B (3 miles each way).  In total, there is 3810 feet of elevation change which is spread out throughout the entire course.

Many athletes race the Half Rev at Rev3 Quassy as a tune up for IRONMAN Lake Placid.  Why?  Because it is at a perfect time in training (7 weeks before IMLP) and there is more elevation gain at Quassy than there is in one loop of Lake Placid.  Many will say that if you can handle Quassy, you're ready for IMLP.  I've done both.  I quite hardily agree!

A Note on Equipment
Whether you are from a flat or hilly area, I strongly recommend an 11-28 cassette for this course no matter what size chain rings you have or whether you're riding a triathlon or road bike.   The 28 (or larger if you'd like) will come in handy with some long climbs and punchy hills.  The 11 will come in handy for those who like to build up their speed on the downhills.  This course has it all!! 

If you do not consider yourself strong with climbing at a low cadence, I may suggest looking into a compact (or mid-compact) chain ring if you don't have one already.  While my race bike has a standard 53-39, today's ride was on a mid-compact (52-34) with an 11-28 cassette and left me with a desire for one more gear! 

Plan to put out some power if you decide to race on a smaller range cassette!


Below is a key for those riding the course.  I've split it up into the sections that you ride out and back on as well as the loop that you make.
  • Head out of Quassy Amusement Park
  • Right onto Sherman Hill Rd
  • Right onto Tuttle Rd
  • Left onto White Deer Rock Rd 
  • Immediate Right onto Cat Swamp Rd
  • Right onto Middle Road Turnpike
  • Left onto Quassapaug Rd
  • Right onto Main St. N
** Begin Loop **
  • Left onto Platt Rd
  • Left onto Guernseytown Rd
  • Right onto Judd Farm Rd
  • Left onto Litchfield Rd
  • Right onto Thomaston Rd
  • Continue on Branch Rd 
  • Left onto Route 109
  • Left onto S Main St (Route 254)
  • Left onto Center St
  • Left onto Northfield Rd
  • Left onto East St
  • Left onto Chestnut Hill Rd
  • Right onto Camp Dutton Rd
  • Left onto S Plains Rd. 
  • Right onto County Rd
  • Right onto Alain White Rd
  • U-Turn 3 miles ahead (just past bridge)
  • Left onto East St (Route 109)
  • Right onto Benton Rd
  • Right onto Benton Rd (yes, the road does a 90-degree turn at a stop sign)
  • Bear Right onto Hard Hill Rd. N
  • Continue on Nonnewaug Rd
  • Left onto Bethlehem Rd
  • Straight onto Quassapaug Rd
** Done with loop **
  • Right onto Middle Road Turnpike
  • Left onto Cat Swamp Rd
  • Left onto White Deer Rock Rd
  • Immediate Right onto Tuttle Rd
  • Left onto Sherman Hill Rd
  • Left into Quassy Amusement Park
Now for some visuals and things to be aware of (steep hills, fast descents, quick turns, and road conditions).

You will start your day with transition.  As of this ride, it is May 6th and Rev3 hasn't arrived quite yet, but imagine a large blue transition area blocking out the right side of this picture.  You will come FROM that area out along the wooden fence.  The mount line will be roughly where the back end of the silver SUV is, about 50 feet from Bike Out.  There is lots of room, so please run on past the line and keep the line itself clear for those coming behind you.



You'll make a gradual 90 degree turn...


...and head out the Quassy Amusement Park driveway.  Spectators will be fenced off on the right, so this is the ideal spot to clip in, slip on the shoes, and adjust the helmet/glasses.


You will take a right out of Quassy Amusement Park and head downhill down Sherman Hill Rd.  You will have plenty of time to adjust and get comfortable in the first couple of miles.

About 1.5 miles later, you come up on your first turn, a right onto Tuttle Rd.



The first half of Tuttle Rd is a slow up grade.  Then you star to ride downhill.

TIP No.1
Be cautious at the end of Tuttle Road

At the end of Tuttle Rd, you have a very quick S-turn.  As you approach the end of Tuttle Rd, you will see a left bend road sign.


This opens up into a very fast downhill ending in a quick S-turn.


Take a quick left onto White Deer Rock Rd and then you immediately see the right onto Cat Swamp Rd.  Make the quick turn and continue on.


There will be police, but PLEASE take care to not go too fast into either turn.  There have been wipe outs at this corner and it is way too early to end your day!

At the end of Cat Swamp Rd, you will have another quick downhill leading into a right turn onto Middle Road Turnpike.



About half a mile later, you'll hit a rather steep uphill, a quick down with a turn, and what I call the Quassy three little bears.  These are three quick uphills where people will bunch up quickly.


Get over the three bears, down a little hill, up a super quick steep hill, and you will hit a 4-way stop where we turn left onto Quassapaug Rd. 


Down a nice hill for some speed and back up a quick hill to another stop sign.  Straight on!  If you ride the course closer to race day or after, the farm just ahead on the left has a wooden stand out front where they sell corn.  I've always wanted to stop.  



Another great little downhill to pick up some speed and then we hit Main St N below.  This is where the lollipop begins.  Once we complete the loop, we will be coming back from the road straight across.  However, we have to go right here.


Down the road, and up a few hills, you'll see six eagle statues on your left. 


This marks Platt Rd where we take a left. 


Once all the trees fill in their leaves, that fence and the colors will pop to make even the most focused athlete smile!

...until you get here.  At the end of Platt Rd is a short but fairly steep climb.   This is the first climb where I am happy to have that lower end gear.


When you get to the top (like any other hill), it is tempting to build back up some speed.   

Tip No.2
Be cautious at the end of Platt Road

Once you're at the top of the hill (picture left), it is a short 0.2 miles to a hairy corner (picture right) if you are carrying too much speed.  Play it safe and build the speed back up after the turn onto Guernseytown Rd.


Follow that road for a while, up and down the hills, and then you'll end up here.   Take the right split.


Just around the corner is a stop sign.  Straight onward on Judd Farm Rd to a speed downhill followed by you guessed it!  More climbing!


You're not on this road long.  A few quick climbs which your momentum can carry you up and then you'll see three yellow arrows.

Tip No.3
When you see the yellow arrows, shift DOWN!


Just around that slight bend is the steepest climb of the day.  It's short, but man is it punchy.  You do NOT want to get caught on that hill in the wrong gear.  Been there!  Not fun!

The picture below does not do this hill justice.  I feel as though it should have hand holds for climbing up it.  Okay... maybe not that steep, but it certainly is the worst incline of the day.  


Make it up that hill and you can turn left onto Litchfield Rd to enjoy a nice downhill.  Up, down, up, down, up, down, up!


A few miles later, you'll come up on The Cardinal Grill on the right at a stop sign.  Take a right onto Thomaston Road. 



Now we get to have some real fun!  Who wants to go fast?!  Head down Thomaston and you'll start seeing turn signal road signs.


After a few left and right twists, the road starts to increase the grade and you can easily pick up some FAST speed.

Tip No.4
Right turn at bottom of hill

Below is the hill that can get you up to 50 mph, but be careful.  There is a right hand turn at the bottom which can come up quick. It is tempting to make a pass or make up lost time, but that is only if you make that turn at the bottom. 


Be aware that the views are very distracting! 


A couple miles down the road, you will pass Black Rock Lake on the right as you bend to the left.  Then you'll hit another great downhill heading into a small town.


At the bottom of the hill, you pass a school on the right hand side and quickly come up on a stop light where we turn left onto Route 109.  



Just about a mile down the road, we hit another stop light where we take a left onto S Main St (Route 254).  There are car sale locations on either side of the road.


Another short 0.5 mile and we make a left onto Center St.


The Thomaston Fire Department is on the right as you turn and they are quite welcoming to Rev3!!!


You won't even got a quarter mile on Center St before you hit a stop sign on Northfield Rd.  Go left and start climbing!


Northfield Rd goes on for seven miles.  That's right SEVEN MILES!!  Sprinkled among those miles are several decent hills.  I count them as seven, but you may count them differently.  Either way, this is one section where you will make use of your lower gears and rightly so.  Save the energy for the back half of the bike!  Let your cadence get you through.

Eventually, you will hit the final hill (below) and then you'll hang a left onto East St.

Final hill on Northfield Rd

Stop sign to take a left onto East St

Then not 0.1 mile later, you will  make a left onto Chestnut Hill Rd. 


Maybe half a mile later, you come upon the most dangerous section of the entire course.

Tip No.5
Watch your speed on Camp Dutton Rd.

You first take a right onto Camp Dutton Rd and the road begins to tilt down. 


Having ridden this course some 40 times maybe, I remember the first few times that I rode down Camp Dutton Road.  I had just rode up, up, and UP Northfield Road.  The opportunity of a downhill to provide some free speed is very tempting and I've let the speed increase a tad too far a couple of times. 


The road conditions are fine.  But as you head down, the road begins to bend left. 


And a slight left turn turns even tighter.  


Unless you keep your speed down before the turn, you will be pushed in the direction of the guard rail.  I have, on two occasions (one in practice and on in race), come too close for comfort to that guard rail. 


As you continue on, the road will bend right, left again, and end in a stop sign.  The rest of the road is open to speed.  Open it up there, not before.


At the end of Camp Dutton Rd, you hit a stop sign and turn left onto S Plains Rd.


And yet again, some beautiful views!!  Sorry, I only got two pictures. 


As you top the hill seen above, you will see your next right hand turn onto County Rd. 


Half of County Rd, much like Tuttle Rd at the start, is half slight incline and half downhill, all of which is a gorgeous strip of tree covered road. 


County Rd hits an end on Alain White Rd which is where the 6 mile out and back (O&B) begins.  Take a right onto Alain White Rd (as shown below) and ride for 3 miles.


Just before the 3 mile mark, there is a bridge.  Your U-turn comes less than 0.1 mile beyond.



Head back where you came from and head past the turn you made off of County Rd.  You'll come to a stop light at East St and you'll turn left. 


About 0.1 mile later, you turn right onto Benton Rd. 






You will continue down Benton Rd and hit a stop sign, at which point you will turn right onto... .still Benton Rd.


Down the road a ways and we hit a fork in the road (not literally unless someone plays a cruel joke on you).  You bear right onto Hard Hill Rd.




Yes, the road lives up to it's name.  These are likely the two steepest descents of the day.

Tip No.6
Speedy Hard Hill Rd Descents

Hard Hill Road has two very fast descents.   Personally, I have clocked over 50 mph during races at Quassy and every time it is on Hard Hill Road.  If you are uneasy about speed or descending, this would be a great time to get out of the saddle, stretch the back, get in some nutrition, and take it easier downhill.  They are not long, so you will not lose major time.


If you love descending, please be aware of others on the road and the twists and turns of the course.


Tip No.7
 Nonnewaug Rd has a quick right turn

Just beyond the second descent (the longer and faster of the two), there is a section of road that twists and turns.  This is where we turn onto Nonnewaug Road.  For those who build up their speed on the downhill, you will likely need some brakes here.  Classically, the corners here do have some loose dirt, dust, gravel.  Rev3 sweeps it, yes, but this is farm country.  It can reappear rather quickly!

After the longer of the two descents, you will see a stop ahead sign.  This is your cue to throttle the speed.


Just beyond that right bend, you hit Nonnewaug Rd.  It is a bear left turn that can throw you wide if you have enough speed. 


Not 0.1 mile later, you have a tight right bend (below) followed by an even tighter left bend (not pictured).  I've ridden this course somewhere near 50 times and this is the one place where I do not test my speed limits.  Safety first! 


Shortly after, you'll see the road begin to wind again, going slightly uphill.  A left turn is coming onto Bethlehem Rd.  




Bethlehem Rd runs right into Main St N (we turned onto that one earlier).  This is where the lollipop ends and it's time to head back to transition!   We continue straight over the road to get back onto Quassapaug Road.  From here, it is familiar territory! 


Stop sign - and straight on ahead!


Stop sign and we turn right onto Middle Road Turnpike. 



Down the three bears, twist, turn, downhill, and a left turn onto Cat Swamp Rd. 



At the end of Cat Swamp, we have another very quick S-turn onto Tuttle Rd, which puts you on a fun hill.  You'll want to be in your lower gear. 


Two turns to go!  Get to the end of Tuttle Rd and head left onto Sherman Hill Rd.  The photo below is where you'll be coming FROM (towards the camera).


Make it up the hills of Sherman Hill Rd and you can make your final turn (left) into Quassy Amusement Park. 






Get your feet out of your shoes (if you do that), slow down, and get ready to RUN!!

If you are racing Rev3 Quassy (whether it's still 2017 or well beyond), comment below and I'd love to meet up!  This race is my back yard, so I will be there whether I'm racing or not!!



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QUESTIONS
1.  What is your favorite bike course you've ridden?
If you can't tell, I am quite a fan of the Rev3 Quassy Half course.  

2.  Do you change your bike gear depending on the course you are riding?
I will change my rear cassette to fit the course. 


DREAM. BELIEVE. ACHIEVE. 

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