The bike route is a 17km course on minor roads. On a Sunday morning it is expected to be very quiet, but the roads will be open to traffic and all competitors need to obey the highway code and any instructions from race marshals.
The course is "undulating" which means there are a few hills, notably on Nore Road on the outbound route and also going up Valley Road. The views over the Bristol Channel are awesome, and the busiest road you'll encounter is the relatively quiet B3124. It's a really nice bike ride, you'll love it.
The loop section of the course will be ridden in an anticlockwise direction. As you'll see from the course map, there are a few right turns and crossroads to deal with. At all of these, there will be marshals who will wave you on if the road is clear so you don't have to stop. If there is traffic approaching, you'll have to be prepared to stop and let it pass before carrying on. This is standard in open-road triathlons, so please put everyone's safety first by riding sensibly.
Any questions? I'm happy to answer any questions from first-timers or experienced athletes about this course so feel free to email me - [email protected].
A few notes re safety, rules & course layout (all this will be mentioned in info packs & briefings, but I include it here so you can familiarise yourself with it and ask questions if you need to):
ROAD CROSSING: As you exit transition, pushing your bike, you need to cross Esplanade Road in front of the Pool building then head up Lake Road where you will get on your bike and get pedalling. This road crossing is marshalled and you must obey instructions from the marshals here. The road is open to traffic, so if they tell you to stop to allow a car to pass you must stop. If the road is clear they will be waving you on so you can head straight across the road without having to stop. You still have to keep your eyes open though and be aware of other riders, runners etc. as well as traffic.
DRAFTING: As this is an event aimed at first-timers, I'd better outline the drafting rules that apply to almost all triathlons, including this one (the exceptions are the so-called "draft-legal" races that you see on TV with elite competitors). Drafting is riding in the slipstream of another cyclist so you use less energy to go at the same speed - just like they do in the Tour de France for example. As this is not permitted, you must leave a 10M gap between yourself and the rider in front, and you cannot ride alongside another rider either.
So, how do you overtake? Well, you are allowed to move into that no-drafting zone for 20 seconds to get past them. If you fail to pass them in that time, you have to drop back to 10M behind them and then try again. If you just make it past them, they will then have to drop back and leave a 10M gap between themselves and you. For more explanation, see the Rules of British Triathlon.
NO OVERTAKING ZONE: For safety reasons, there will be a short section of road where we advise cyclists not to try overtaking (it is narrow, down-hill and bendy). This will be signposted, but is basically the section where the words "Walton Street" appear on the above map - from the warning sign until the junction with the B3124 at Walton in Gordano, we advise you to refrain from overtaking. As soon as you have turned left on to the B road, overtaking is straightforward again, traffic permitting. Initially we were going to make this a "rule", but after consultation with BTF, it will just be an advisory. So you won't be penalised for overtaking on that section, we just advise against it. The bottom of that downhill section is a T-junction where you turn left on to the B road that runs from Clevedon to Portishead - the council have asked us to be VERY STRICT with cyclists at this junction because of complaints from local residents about dangerous riding. So, there will be extra marshals here watching to make sure you ride safely - please be careful and turn at a safe speed, looking out for traffic from all directions.
MOUNT/DISMOUNT LINES: Another thing that's common to all Tri events - you have to push your bike out of the transition area and keep on pushing it until you reach the Mount Line where one of our friendly marshals will tell you it's time to get on the bike and start riding. Likewise, on the way back you'll have to dismount at the Dismount Line, which will be marshalled, and push your bike back into transition.
NUMBERS: One of your race numbers must be clearly visible ON YOUR BACK during the ride. The easiest way is to get an elastic "number belt" and have your number pinned to it - that way if you put on or take off a layer of kit (eg. bike jacket) you can easily keep your number visible. Also, when you get to the run stage, you can simply pull the number round to your front.
Phones and music players are not permitted - personal video recording devices e.g. helmet cameras are also outlawed by the British Triathlon Rules.
HIGHWAY CODE: You must obey the highway code - we will be riding on a public road that has not been closed to ordinary traffic, so please remember that and keep safety in mind at all times.