Route 66 Half Iron – Bike Course Improvements

The latest information from road authorities has confirmed that the infamous 2.6 miles on the Route 66 Half Iron Bike Course will have 4 foot aprons added to each side this summer for smooth riding. While this is good news, we are still trying to convince the engineers to not add “rumble strips” along the new aprons.
For those that have not endured the “oldest, longest remaining stretch of the Original Route 66 Road”, this is bittersweet. This road was built decades ago and connected Chicago to Los Angeles and helped open the west to many travelers via the automobile.
It also provided the name for the wildly popular Route 66 Half Iron and offered one of the most challenging sections of bike rides of any long course triathlon. Due to it’s historic status it cannot be paved over and while previous patch work smoothed the ride it still took technical skill and advanced bike handling to not shake your teeth out of your head. Hey if it was easy, everyone would do it.
Last year I saw one of the best signs ever on the Ironman Wisconsin course that has an infamous stretch of about 10 miles that you hit twice on your 112 mile trek and is worse than our 2.6 mile stretch. The sign said “Enjoy Wisconsin’s version of Paris to Roubaix Bike Course”. I laughed and cursed both times on that ride and made a mental note that if the aprons didn’t get added for next year, we were going to offer Illinois’ version of the famed road race know as the “Hell of the North”, “A Sunday in Hell” and the “Last Great Madness of Cycling”. Paris to Roubaix is one of the oldest professional road cycling events in the world and started in 1896 and only stopped twice for 2 world wars. Each year the course is re-arranged to include more cobblestones on it’s over 2,500 km course and many racers and spectators take a cobble home as a souvenir. There are 27 sections of cobblestones on the course.
While some racer’s last year saw our little bit of a rough patch as a turn off and reason to complain, the vast majority saw it as a challenge, a free spine adjustment and a novel chance to ride along a piece of Americana.
But don’t fret, even if the aprons are in place, you can still venture into history and live life on the edge by taking the bold move to ride in the original lanes and tour the “Springfield to Roubaix” course in 2014 and beyond. And we will have signage on the course in case you miss the bumps, and a dentist and chiropractor at the Beach House to get you back into shape. Regardless of what happens, remember; If it was easy, everyone would do it.