Hopkins Vineyard Triathlon at Lake Waramaug COURSE DESCRIPTION and INFO:
Printable maps are on the right of each page, scroll down a bit to view. RACE START 8AM
This sprint tri may be on the short side, but it’s a tough little course. Couple of short and sharp climbs on the bike, run course will test you for sure. But you wouldn’t want it to be too easy, this is triathlon, this is supposed to be a challenge. And there will be wine available afterwards, to help ease the pain. :)
PARKING: We’ll need your cooperation on race morning, you will be directed by parking personnel to park up at the Hopkins Vineyard, so please follow along and park where directed, do not attempt to stop down below at transition for unloading. Pre race check in and post race activities/festivities will be up at the winery, on the hill overlooking the lake. Yes, this means you must walk (or ride) your bike and gear down to transition area after parking, and yes, it means you will have to walk back down the hill post race to bring your gear back up. I wish we could use that big field down below for parking, but we simply cannot. Using the Hopkins Vineyard parking is the only way we can have an event here, and although I may be cursed, silently or out loud, for the cruelty of that final walk down and back up that hill (Hopkins Rd) with your gear after a good effort on a tough course, I think in the end you will find it to be worthwhile.
TRANSITION AREA: Open racking (meaning no pre assigned spots), look for signs for Bike out/ Bike In and Run Out so you know the layout prior to race start.
WAVES: To be announced. 3 minutes between waves, 4 total. When they are set, they are set, no special requests please. If planning to wait for someone from a different wave to complete the course, doing so in transition area where the bike racks are is your best bet.
SWIM COURSE: Roughly diamond shaped, clockwise direction. The water is looking beautiful. The morning sun should not be directly in your eyes on the final return segment, some tree shading should help cut glare. Plenty of lifeguards will be on hand, additional boats on water for safety. No problem to stop, hang on a kayak for a moment if you really need to (just no forward progress if you are staying in the race)
BIKE COURSE: (please note, roads are NOT closed to traffic, ride to the right as much as road conditions allow, watch for cars and NEVER cross the center line) Attach bike# to frame or seatpost with twist ties provided.
You will be riding mostly on shore hugging roads around a true gem of a lake here in Litchfield County. Lake Waramaug is surrounded by lush farms, grand homes and Inns and is considered by many to be unrivaled in its picturesque setting. If you are racing hard, it may go by in a blur, so be sure to check it out beforehand in a more relaxed way. If you are taking the “compete to complete”- just having a fun day out there kind of an approach, please don’t get too carried away with sightseeing and start weaving about like you have already sampled some wine ;)
Flat and fast for the first 4.5 miles as you turn right down North Shore Road and a right onto Route 45. Get some rhythm going heading down Route 45 south to a right turn onto West Shore Rd (aka CT route 478) You are still on mostly flat terrain with just a few rollers, strong riders will power right through these.
Then you hit the left turn up Golf Links Rd. This is a short hill, but, Phew! It’s sharp! Please keep in mind that while in a competitive event you cannot zig-zag like the paperboy back and forth across the road because you will have people coming up behind you.
If you are ever reduced to walking your bike on a hill, don’t be embarrassed, just make the decision to bail out early and hop off in control and walk your bike to the far right. Whistle a tune just to prove you are still having fun. Now youre getting it; this is tough but it really is fun. Do what you need to to get through it, it’s a short course and nobody is going to mind waiting for you, so take your time if you wish. Just be mindful of the harder charging sorts coming up behind you and theyll return the favor by watching out for you. They’ll even save you some wine, I promise. :)
You will crest this Golf Course hill and take the backside with a vengeance, heading downhill to a right bend in the road where you will be slowed by a volunteer, after this right, the road is now Beardsley Rd. This is a beautiful section of smooth pavement and a long downhill, youll be in your aerobars if you have them. Ride to the right on this section if you are going along slowly, there is some good speed to be had here. Beardsley becomes Kent Hollow, just keep going straight.
Turn right up Anderson Acres Road, slow it down on this sharp turn too. This is where you will pay for the nice downhill. This is not a long climb overall, the road opens up to a steady straight climb which kicks cruelly at the end. When you see the upwards tilt of a twisting right hand bend and you think youre not going to make it, bear down, because the road flattens out *just* around that corner. Nice work.
Anderson Acres Road comes out on to North Shore Road at the State Park where you will turn left on North Shore Rd back towards the starting point. North Shore has a few small rollers, nothing dramatic except the views on this return leg. Dismount on the road, run or walk your bike to the right and back into the transition area.
RUN COURSE: In a perfect world, the run would be on the flats alongside the lake, but we cannot close roads so it is simply not do-able. So ok, brace yourself and pace yourself, this is the hard part.
You will be directed right on North Shore Rd on a nice flat section of road, which you should enjoy now because the left you will take onto Strawberry Ridge is going to be mostly uphill. Remember something: THERE IS NO SHAME IN WALKING. You will understand this when you get midway on Strawberry Ridge as a 20yard section tilts up mercilessly, I have found I make better progress walking for that brief stretch, but hey, Im not a true runner, so your results may vary. There is a bit of downhill in reward and a more mild grade to the top.
Left turn onto Curtiss Rd. Some “stepped” climbing here with brief reprieves. You will continue straight to the water stop which you will be able to catch going up Curtiss Rd and coming back down Curtiss on this out and back section. There is a huge reward awaiting at the top of this next section of climbing in the form of a stellar view of Lake Waramaug at the turnaround, which Im calling “Inspiration Point”. A little corny maybe, but then thats just me ;) It really is remarkable and this is where the more casual participant may want to stop and soak it in for moment, not to mention catching your breath, before heading back down the hill.
Oh sweet leg turnover on the downhill! You are heading down Curtiss Rd, past the water stop and a right onto Hopkins Rd.
A bit more downhill to go before turning right into the cross country section, around the vineyard field, just a touch over 1/2mile. This is the off road portion so you will be challenged to watch your footing here. There will be a combination of volunteers and orange xc flags and “Race Route” signage to mark your way, so your oxygen starved brain will have to keep watch. Should be plenty obvious which way to go, assessing directional signage and navigating your way is part of racing so be prepared to engage your mind, throughout the entire race route really. It is a counter-clockwise loop of the field. This is a beautiful section of the course and I felt it would be the perfect way to bring you closer to the natural environment from which your post race vino has come. Enjoy the sweet lake view from the uppermost corner J
Exit right after the vineyard field section and you are nearly done, a comfy downhill section to the finish chute which will be on the left side of the road at the Winery. Turn in your timing chip, celebrate a job well done. If at the finish you are tempted to say “never again, thats too hard” just hold off a bit…that mindset frequently changes once the pain subsides. ;)
POST RACE FINISH: We will get to awards by about 10am, its your choice whether to head right down and collect your bike from transition or wait until later. There will not be designated security much past 11am, it is a safe area, just sharing this so you can make your decision on when to make the hike down. Personally, I would recover a bit and get it over with, but thats me. If you would like to send someone down for you, give them your run bib for ID.
225 Years of History: This year, the Hopkins Family is celebrating 225 years at Lake Waramaug. You have noticed by now that this is fairly rugged terrain on which the Hopkins farm has been standing for centuries, which should go a ways towards feelings of respect for those who worked this land, the hard way. And now you have worked it too, in your own hard way. So enjoy the fruits of yours and the Hopkins family labor and share some wine, food and music post race. Its going to be a beaut!