World’s Toughest Aquabike

Come swim and ride the same course as the World’s Toughest Half and call it a day!

The Aquabike is a great opportunity for those athletes who don’t like to run or cannot run an opportunity to challenge themselves in the other two disciplines. The Aquabike competitors will swim 1.2 miles and bike 56 miles racing side by side with those doing the World’s Toughest Half. Once the bike is completed the Aqua athletes can call it a day, sit back eat lunch, drink a beer and cheer for their fellow triathletes who continue on to run 13.1 miles.

Enjoy the incredible beauty and challenge of this one-of-a-kind course in a convenient & hospitable town. We offer something different than bland routes with overcrowded fields common in our booming sport. Here you will enjoy a no hassles, grass roots feel, a true adventure into the Sierra and a focus on the athlete.

1.2 Mile (2K) SWIM

The first leg of the Auburn Triathlon, the swim, lies in a secluded cove near the eastern edge of Folsom Lake at Rattlesnake Bar State Park. Rattlesnake Bar State Park is located 7 miles downhill from the American River Canyon Overlook (T2 and finish line), at the very rear extended ‘finger’ of Folsom Lake where the American River feeds into the lake, furthest away from the Dam and Folsom Lake proper. You will swim in a small bay surrounded by steep canyon walls and natural beauty. Swimming one big loop in clean water that began as snow in the high Sierra and flowed into the North Fork of the American River.

This intimate venue has narrow shorelines surrounded by high canyon walls and as a result always calm water which will hopefully lead to a wind sheltered early morning swim.

You will be only seconds from a shoreline at all times and attended to at all times by a team of kayakers, paddle boarders and rescue boats in the water. You must wear your brightly colored swim cap throughout the swim to assist with your safety. The water temperatures can be brisk, but the clear water most likely will be in the mid 60s. The last couple years the water temperature has been 64-72. Wetsuits may be mandatory depending on the temperature.

Please see the Auburn Triathlon Swim Page for important information on Swimmer’s safety, prevention of swim related issues and how to prepare for a cold water start.

swim courseBuoys 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-


56 Mile (90K) BIKE

Enjoy extremely quiet roads and a very tough, very beautiful course. This course has a bit of everything: sustained climbs into the Sierra at gentle grades, a couple short steep climbs, a couple short windy descents, flat/slight downhill sections to hammer and a fun roller coaster section – all on smooth, safe, very minimal traffic (only 4 signal intersections outbound and again home bound) roads. A view of the Sierra foothills from Auburn in the lush month of May. This photo gives you a good idea of the hilly terrain on the bike route.

Detailed Description

Exit transition area at Rattlesnake Bar boat launch parking lot onto windy park road heading to park exit gate. Begin a steady climb on Rattlesnake Rd. Stay RIGHT at traffic island (mile 1.7) to remain on Rattlesnake Rd, following Auburn arrow on sign.

Continue gentle climb and arrive at “Scott’s Corner” Feed Store and turn sharply RIGHT onto Shirland Tract Rd (mile 3.3). Busy Auburn-Folsom Rd is to your right at this 3-way corner. Quickly, you reach one mile of the steep “Shirland Switchbacks” and awesome views of Folsom Lake and Sacramento Valley before a brief roller coaster section and a final gradual push to the summit on Shirland Tract,   you will then descend a short fast little hill so go slow here as you will  be turning LEFT quickly onto Maidu Dr. at mile 6. ( crashes have occurred here with too much speed)

Turn RIGHT onto Auburn- Folsom Rd and STRAIGHT thru Sacramento Street staying on Auburn Folsom on to Pacific Ave. Turn RIGHT at Pacific Ave signal light and follow Pacific Ave to Gum Lane.  You will pass by American River Canyon Overlook-T2/Finish line at mile 7,  here the Mini riders will be turning in do not follow the rider in front of you if turning right.  Continue on Pacific and by the Overlook to the narrow Gum Lane (just before railroad tracks). Turn RIGHT onto the narrow Gum Lane. Proceed past Maki Heating and Air building banking hard RIGHT into the rear parking lot. Proceed through the rear parking lot (very rough pavement) and head up the paved lane/bike trail, then quickly down to Belmont St and turn LEFT.   LEFT on Belmont St, quickly RIGHT onto Gold St, then quickly LEFT onto Virginia St.

Follow the 90 degree turn then climb a short steep hill to the T-junction at Brook St. LEFT on Brook (only choice) and immediately stay LEFT at the traffic island. Caution: Yield cars at traffic island. Follow the double yellow line of the most prominent Brook St through a few cross streets and a soft bank to the left, where name of road changes to Marvin Way. Proceed on Marvin to the 4- way intersection and turn RIGHT onto Borland St. Proceed on Borland St past businesses and through the Auburn PD-controlled intersection of Highway 49.

Name changes to Lincoln Way as you begin a substantial 2-mile climb to the east end of Auburn and the busy intersection of Foresthill Rd. Proceed STRAIGHT through CHP-controlled intersection, past Raley’s shopping center and other businesses.

Continue on Lincoln Way as it parallels  I-80. Turn LEFT at the Bowman Undercrossing Rd , crossing under I-80, then immediately RIGHT on Bowman Rd. Follow Bowman Rd freeway frontage, descend briefly and approach the signal intersection of Bell Rd. Proceed STRAIGHT through CHP-controlled intersection at Bell Rd as you follow the I-80 closely. Soon you will encounter a brief climb to AID Station #1 at mile 12.7. Next is a fast, steep descent down “LeMond Walked Hill”. Turn RIGHT at the stop sign at the bottom onto Dry Creek Rd. Follow Dry Creek as the road changes name to Lake Arthur Rd, continuing along I-80 frontage. Pass the tiny Lake Arthur and then turn RIGHT at Placer Hills Rd, crossing over I-80. Turn LEFT onto Applegate Rd and follow this freeway frontage road along the South side of I-80. Climb gently and continue passed the turnaround point for the International on Applegate Rd near Cheryl Lane at mile 15.7.

I-80 will dip into and out of view as you climb steadily east into the Sierra on this very minimally traveled road. There are brief sections where the climbing is more significant, followed by flat or even minimal downhills, followed by more climbing in a staircase fashion.

Pass through town of Applegate at 2,000′ elevation and continue as the frontage road crosses over to the North side of 80 at mile 20 and changes name to Geisendorfer Rd. Climb a short, steep hill on Geisendorfer and approach a forced LEFT turn onto W Paoli Lane. Enjoy AID Station #2 at mile 20.5, where you turn RIGHTto stay on Paoli Lane as it crosses back over I-80 (do not go straight into Weimar Institute).

Once across I-80, turn LEFT onto Paoli Lane and begin a short, steep descent with Railroad Crossing at bottom – Caution. Just after RR Crossing, turn Left onto Ponderosa Rd and proceed along I-80 frontage towards Colfax. Road changes name to Canyon Way at Weimar Cross Rd in Weimar. Continue on this nice, quiet, mostly straight and gentle climb until you reach Placer Hills Rd. Turn LEFT to cross I-80 and then LEFT again to remain on Placer Hills Rd. Leave I-80 corridor and tackle windy, steep .9 mile climb. At top, pass under train tunnel and turn RIGHTt at Placer Hills Rd/Tokoyana Rd.

Climb sharply for .3 and enter the Tokoyana Roller Coaster section of twisty turny short climbs and descents for 2.4 miles (1.2 miles uphill and 1.2 miles are downhill). Reach the high point of the race at 2,453′ on Tokoyana Rd and proceed to the LEFT turn on Milk Ranch Rd (caution, oncoming traffic), heading down to the Bear River. CAUTION STEEP DESCENT.  GO SLOW down this one and only potentially dangerous descent on the entire course!

Milk Ranch descends for 1.6 miles to the Bear River Campground on the banks of the Bear River. Road changes to Campground Rd for .6 miles along the river. Please be aware of clueless people in cars backing out of parking areas along the river.  There are bathrooms available at the campground. Then, climb away from the river on Plum Tree Rd (no turns, just follow the only road). Climb steeply for 1.3 miles on this windy, tree-shaded road up to Placer Hills Rd. Turn LEFT on Placer Hills Rd (caution, busy road, downhill oncoming traffic), descend briefly and then climb back up to the 3-way intersection where you began this 5.8-mile Bear River Campground loop.

Turn RIGHT onto Placer Hills Rd at stop sign, pass under train tunnel again and enjoy more of the descending Roller Coaster – another .9 miles until you reach the I-80 bridge. Turn RIGHT on Placer Hills Rd and cross I-80, then immediately RIGHT onto Canyon Way and South I- 80 frontage. Bomb down the fast, straight gentle downhill section for a couple miles, then climb for mile up to Weimar Cross Rd and continue Straight. There the road changes name from Canyon Way to Ponderosa Rd.

Continue gentle climb for .6 mile, then RIGHT onto Paoli Lane and Cross Railroad tracks (pay attention to train horns as we can not hold train traffic) and climb steep .2 mile hill to W Paoli Lane. Turn RIGHT on W Paoli, cross I-80, enjoy AID Station #3 at mile 36.1. turn.   Descend quickly to a forced RIGHT onto Geisendorfer Rd at the I-80 onramp/offramp.  After one mile, descend a short steep grade and then take a hard LEFT at the Applegate Rd at the bottom of the hill, crossing over I-80 to the South side.

Proceed along relatively flat section of Applegate Rd, then staircase-style descents mixed with flatter terrain, for a total of 4.2 miles of high speed riding to reach Placer Hills Rd. Turn RIGHT across I-80 bridge then you will immediately turn RIGHT at the signal light onto Lake Arthur Rd and proceed east again opposite direction to T2 or Auburn or the International bike route,  be aware that International riders will be turning left here do not follow them.   You will follow this frontage road for this out and back section on a straight, deserted and gentle uphill section, right alongside I-80, for 2.7 miles to the Log Cabin building where you will turnaround.  Someone will be there.  Head west (home) again back downhill for 2.7 miles and proceed through the high speed, CHP-controlled intersection of Placer Hills Rd with extreme caution.

Proceed past Lake Arthur along Lake Arthur Rd. Continue straight as the road changes name at Neils Rd to Dry Creek Rd, then quickly turn LEFT at the stop sign and proceed on Bowman Rd. Here you will begin a punishing climb of .4-mile at 12% grade. Greg LeMond once walked this climb in one of his many training sessions in the area. This is a fact because it was spray painted on the road at the base of the climb.

Reach the top of the climb and encounter AID Station #4 at mile 49.2. Descend quickly to the signal intersection at Bell Rd (CHP control) and proceed STRAIGHT through with extreme caution. Continue along Bowman Rd freeway frontage, and Turn LEFT at Bowman Under crossing, under I-80 and then quickly RIGHT on Lincoln Way.

Proceed with caution for as you enter the business district of Auburn. After .4-mile, proceed through the crowded intersection at Foresthill Rd (CHP control – mile 53). As you leave the fast food cluster and get a little breathing room, you will commence a fast descent along the Lincoln Way freeway frontage. Proceed straight on Lincoln Way up one last short climb. At the top you will proceed on flat road briefly before facing a steep descent approaching the signal intersection of Highway 49. Proceed STRAIGHT through the Auburn PD-controlled Hwy 49 intersection and continue as the road changes to Borland St. Please use extreme caution on this steep descent approaching a busy intersection. Use common sense and watch for cars that may not be obeying police commands.

At the next 4-way stop sign, turn softly LEFT onto Marvin Way. This is a tricky intersection with three roads branching off of it. You are following the choice furthest to the left – look for the double yellow line and follow that as well as the Auburn Bicycle Trail Signs. Follow Marvin Way as it quickly banks right and turns into Brook St. When in doubt follow the yellow line or the most prominent road. There are a couple curves where another road branches off and its not always well signed. Stay RIGHT at the Y island intersection of Brook St and Robie, climbing a steep 50 meter bump to a forced 90-degree bank at end of Brook onto Virginia St.

Descend steeply on Virginia St (caution), then follow another 90-degree bank. Then proceed to Gold St stop sign and turn RIGHT. Proceed on Gold for 300 meters to Belmont and turn Left (before train tracks). Proceed 100 meters uphill on Belmont to narrow, unmarked Gum Lane and turn RIGHT on Gum Lane. There is NO PASSING on Gum Lane from Belmont to Pacific Ave – just take it easy and proceed with care. Using Gum Lane allows us to use quiet back neighborhood streets, avoid all major Auburn intersections and avoid a possible train crossing ruining your bike split. Thanks to Maki Heating and Air for letting us use this private road where their business is located!

Turn LEFT on Pacific Ave and proceed for 200 meters uphill and turn LEFT into the transition area at the American River Canyon Overlook/T2/ and your finish!!!

IMPORTANT Here you will deviate from the Half Bike course that leads into the transition and you will ride towards the finish line dismounting at a designated spot and walk your bike across the finish line, YAY!