• Martin Spierings

Morgan Hill Sprint Triathlon Course Preview



There’s several things this crotchety triathlon veteran likes about the Morgan Hill Triathlon. One of them is that there’s only one distance available. All three courses are a single loop so, although there are still waves, you more or less have an idea of who you’re racing. I did the race in 2010, 2018 and 2019 and the course was exactly the same for all three. Let’s dive into the detail.


SWIM:

Get there early. Parking is a bit of a mess every time and a bit of a walk through the sometimes mud to get to transition. The transition area itself is pretty nice and straight forward. I’d aim for getting your bike somewhere in the middle aisle so you don’t have to dick around past peoples bikes. The other big bonus about this course is it goes around an island so the swim marshalls can’t really mess up and short change you on the swim distance (as races these days seem want to do) which ends up being around the advertised ¾ mile (1250 yrds on my latest Strava in 2019). The lake is protected by mountains all around so there’s unlikely to be any chop. The only difficulty might be sighting against the sun at certain angles. I think the sun rises over the first buoy from memory. It’s a deep water start, about 50 yards from the shore. Never understood quite why, but it forces everyone to do some sort of warm up and there’s plenty of space laterality and plenty of distance before the first turn buoy so no rush to get out in front of the chaos. Then there’s just a bunch of left handers around the island until you take a straight shot for the shore.




T1:

Pretty straight forward. You run up a ramp, which gives you just enough time to get your wetsuit down to your hips and there’s one central aisle with bike racks on either side and the bike exit is directly out the other side.


BIKE:


Well worth seeing beforehand! Road surface is not perfect, it’s undulating, there’s one hairy right hander (which volunteers will yell at you about) which is worth perfecting. There is also one genuine hill about 3/4ers of the way through which you’ll need to get out of your saddle for so it’s worth doing some hills on your TT bike to practice in the weeks leading up to the race. But best just go ride the course. Traffic is not nothing so use necessary caution during the race but tends to be light.




T2:

The run exit is kind of in a weird spot so make sure you know where it is before the race. Other than that nothing much to say about T2.


RUN:


Five miles is a weird distance for a triathlon run. In fact, this whole race is a weird distance between a sprint and olympic. Anyways, it always seems kind of easy going out and then very long and hard coming back. So don’t burn all your matches right away as there’s plenty of time for good runners to make their mark in this race. The course itself is very straight forward, slightly undulating but relatively straight out and back. Makes for good visibility on all your competitors! Left hand turn into the finish chute which is about 50 yards long.






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