I have heard many things about this course from teammates, etc. who have ridden it. It also has changed several times over the past few months. Regardless, I wanted to see it for myself.
Anyways, I met up with Ultra Adam at his house (Ultra Adam lives in Syracuse) in the morning because he was going to ride it with me. We threw our bikes in his car and drove over to Jamesville Beach Park. It was overcast, in the mid 70s, and felt stormy out. We headed out on our ride. I would say that within the first mile or 2, there is a fairly steep hill that I did not like. Then the course levels out until about mile 4, where you take a right hand turn onto "Sweet Road" which is not very accurately named. Once on Sweet Rd., you climb until mile 10. It's a small ring climb but I was able to spin up the entire hill without much of a problem, it's just long. And it was windy as shit out - the wind was way more annoying than the hill.
Then I would say that mile 10 to about mile 35 are rolling hills, not much fun, with 2 relatively steep climbs thrown in there. Somewhere in here is where you ride past the giant elephant statue which I did take a photo of but cannot currently get it to upload! Still random though.. seeing an elephant statue in the middle of a field.
It's not until after mile 35-ish that I felt like I could really move on the course. There were a couple back roads that were downhill and twisty that were pretty fun to ride!
Anyways, the Garmin doesn't lie. It took us about 3 hrs 18 mins to ride the course and my average was 16.8 mph. YUCK.
So I was not riding very fast. It took me an hour to ride the first 15 miles. And it turns out that I cannot keep up with Adam AT ALL. This doesn't really bother me (ok it might bother me a little) but since he was leading the way, as long as I could see
One observation of the course - instead of having a balloon as the logo (apparently there is a big hot air balloon festival there) it should be a cow. Or a giant pile of cow shit. Or maybe a large genetically modified ear of corn. There are all things that were plentiful along the course, however I did not see a SINGLE hot air balloon!
I tried to run off the bike after we got back to Adam's. Try being the operative word. We rode right through lunch and I felt like crap so I walked a bunch during my run. Not cool. Then I laid down in the grass in Adam's front yard for 5-10 minutes until I realized there were probably bugs crawling ALL OVER ME. He did make me a smoothie in his Magic Bullet (the blender, not the vibrator) which was super nice of him, and it made me feel less like death.
So my summary of this course is that it does NOT ride fast, however it is pretty. It's not the hardest thing I've ever ridden, but I don't think that Syracuse 70.3 will be a PR day for me. I hate to go in with a negative mindset but I really don't think it's that likely. I am not running well and the bike course just starts out so slowly, and there really isn't a big downhill to negate the 6 miles of uphill in the beginning. However, this is just my personal P.O.V.