Pre-riding a Race Course is So Old School

Since I haven’t been posting much lately, I figured this would be the perfect time to get started, because I’m racing tomorrow! It’s been a while…

Anyway, the race I’m doing is the Star Spangled Bicycle Race in Brockway, PA. I’ve done it before, but they changed the course for this year.

If gas wasn’t $3 a gallon, I’d consider going over there for a pre-ride. If I had done enough endurance base training this year, I’d just ride over, pre-ride, then ride back. But I’m stuck with Plan C… Google Maps!

Thankfully the race promoter sent out a course map to all participants. The print job was pretty rough, but it was marked well enough that I could go to Google Maps and figure out which roads we’d be riding. Once I figured out the course, I zoomed in using the satellite view so I could see exactly what the road was like.

I could scroll along, almost like I was riding the course. It’s not as good as riding the course because you can’t pick out potholes or really gauge the hill climbs, but you can see where the road goes and what types of turns you’ll have.

To help out my faithful blog readers that might be doing this race, I plotted out the race course for you. Just click that link and let the site load the course. Then I recommend going to satellite view and zooming in all the way. Then slowly follow the course guideline.

After a few minutes, you should have a pretty good feel for all 15 miles! Don’t you just love the internet?

[September 2008 update: It seems Kristin Armstrong took a similar, but much more advanced, approach to using Google Maps as a training tool, to win Olympic gold in Beijing! Check it out.]

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