Sunday, May 7, 2017

Rev3 Quassy Olympic Bike Course (2017)

Rev3 Quassy
Olympic Bike Course

I have raced the Rev3 Quassy Half five times and this year I've decided to give the Olympic a try.  While the two share a significant amount of the day's terrain, there are some slight differences.  I thought it might be helpful for other races to get a visual on what some of the turns and terrain look like.

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 Olympic Bike Course map.

The course is a lollipop.  Head out, make a single loop, and head back.  In total, there is 1693 ft (516 m) of elevation change and as is Quassy tradition, it is spread out throughout the entire course.  There are few places where you can tuck down into aero and ride out a flat section.  It's either up or down, which keeps us coming back for more every single year!

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
  • Left onto Sherman Hill Rd
  • Left onto Tranquility Rd
  • Continue on Old Watertown Rd
  • Continue on 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
  • Left onto Anderson Rd
  • Left onto Benton Rd
  • Bear Right onto Hard Hill Rd. N
  • Continue on Nonnewaug Rd
  • Left onto Bethlehem Rd
  • Straight onto Quassapaug Rd
** Done with loop **
  • Continue on Old Watertown Rd
  • Right onto Tranquility Rd
  • Right 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.  

Why?  Because Quassy is known for it's hills and the Olympic dishes it out right from the start.  You'll approach the park exit and take a left.  

Here is the park entrance/exit from the other side of the road.  As you take a left out of the park (right in the picture), you'll head up the first hill on Sherman Hill Rd. 

You'll head roughly half a mile down the road and then bear left.  

This will put you at your first stop sign with Tranquility Rd where you take a left.

Another note about Quassy...  The course is GORGEOUS!!  Today's pictures simply do not do the scenery justice, but I did my best.

Another stop sign half a mile later and you continue straight.  

In this segment (between the image above and below on Tranquility Rd), the pavement isn't great.  We are in New England and winter isn't kind to pavement.  However, it is certainly rideable, but not the best place to lay down your biggest power of the day and put in some early passes.  Just be mindful of the rough terrain.

Another stop sign and another straight on!

 You'll head down that road for a ways along some pretty nice pavement, passing nice houses, and some beautiful tree lined road.  Then another stop sign.

If you are familiar with the half course, this is where it meets up.  The half would be coming from the left and eventually heading back that way as well. 

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. 1

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. 2

When you see these arrows, be ready to 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!

Take a ride down Litchfield Rd. for a bit and you'll pass a yellow street sign.  This is for Anderson Rd.  That's the one you want!  

Left onto Anderson Rd and there is no surprise at this point - an incline comes to greet you.

At the top, you can see that another hill awaits on the other side.

You hit the other side fairly quickly where you'll take a left onto Benton Rd.

If you miss the stop sign, you'll notice the Anderson Farm sign!!

Benton Rd was very recently repaved and is much smoother than it has been in the past.  For those who have competed before, it offers a nice little perk!

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. 3

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. 4

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 Nonnnewaug 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!  We'll continue straight ahead until we hit Sherman Hill Rd a half mile from transition. 

Stop sign - and straight on ahead!

Stop sign and straight onward (the half bike course would turn right here).  

Another stop sign coming up.  And another "Keep going straight."  

We do bear right here on Tranquility Rd. 

Back over the bridge!

Take a right before the hut and head straight down Sherman Hill Rd.  

Finally, we take a right directly back into Quassy Amusement Park.

Down the hill and a right into Quassy. 

Down the entrance (keep to the right as runners will be coming out on the left) and hang a right into transition where we (thankfully or not) leave the bike for the run shoes. 

If you are the aquabike, then you have an easy rest of the day.  For those in the full race, we've got some more hills to contend with!!  But don't worry.  Quassy does give us one small break.  We get a downhill start to the run!

When you leave for the day, there are a few things that will always ring true for this course.   Hills, beautiful greens, and farms (cows, horses, and crops!).  It's a gorgeous place to live and train.

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!!


1.  Do you check out the race course before race day?
I drive the bike course at the very least.  If it's local (like Quassy), I'll get out and ride on it as much as possible pre-race day.  

2.  Which type of course do you prefer?  Hilly, flat, or rolling?
I used to argue for rolling - it gives you a break time to time without breaking you.  However, Quassy pulls me back EVERY YEAR and the last couple of years I've done quite well on flat courses.  I guess I've broadened my horizons.  


1 comment:

gomez4298 said...

I'm racing Quassy Oly!!! It's my first Olympic distance and only my second tri!! Thanks for this preview! It will help me I'm sure!