The Story Behind Ironman Texas’ 94-Mile Bike Course

The Houston Chronicle provides a great recap of the drama and extreme weather that has led to Saturday's Ironman Texas bike course.

Photo: Nick Morales

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The Houston Chronicle provides a great recap of the drama and extreme weather that has led to the 94-mile bike course that athletes will compete on this Saturday at the 2016 Ironman North American Championships in Woodlands, Texas. 

It was the last day of February, 75 days from the biggest triathlon in Texas, when organizers learned their proposed course was going nowhere.

A Montgomery County commissioner had sent an email saying he wouldn’t allow the cycling portion of the annual race to pass through his precinct, as it had in previous years. “Please find a route outside of Pct. 2,” Commissioner Charlie Riley wrote.

The startling rejection set off a mad scramble to save the Ironman North American Championship Texas, an event that draws an international field of competitors and pumps an estimated $15 million into the local economy. The triathlon will start in The Woodlands next Saturday, as scheduled.

But staging it turned out to be a feat as daunting as the competition itself – a grueling test involving 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of cycling and 26.2 miles of running. All told, organizers encountered political potholes, bad timing, extreme weather and frustrated athletes, according to interviews and emails obtained by the Houston Chronicle.

“In my own mind, we already had passed the point” of being able to host the race, said John Powers, assistant general manager of community services for The Woodlands.

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