World’s Toughest Half

2015 Auburn Triathlon Bike Course Ascent

It makes sense that in Auburn, CA, the place that proclaims itself as the Endurance Capital of the World, you would name your triathlon, The World’s Toughest Half. At least that is what Brad Kearns, a former world-class professional triathlete and resident of Auburn, thought when he started the Auburn Triathlon in 2002 years ago in the town famous for being the finish of the Tevis Cup 100 mile horse race and one of the toughest long distance running races in America, the Western States 100, both of which travel from Squaw Valley to Auburn. The World’s Toughest Half is a half-Ironman distance event (1.2 – 56 – 13.1). The competitors swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles and run 13.1 miles. With the Sierra foothills steep hills and rugged trails it has been billed as one of the toughest courses in the world.

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. Come to Auburn and discover what IRONMAN age-group world record holder Jeri Howland calls, “The best race I’ve ever done. An awe-inspiring experience.”

Visit The Courses page for GPS files, video, maps, and more.

1.2 Mile (2K) SWIM

Rocklin Edurance Sports - Rocklin, CA
Rocklin Endurance Sports is our proud sponsor of the Auburn Triathlon Swim Course!

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 lifeguards, 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 63-72. Wetsuits may be mandatory depending on the temperature.

swim course

Buoys 1-2-4-5-6-7-8-

Rocklin Endurance Sports is our proud sponsor of the Auburn Triathlon Swim Course!

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

56 Mile (90K) BIKE

Bicycle Emporium
Bicycle Emporium is the proud sponsor of our Auburn Triathlon Bike Course!

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.

Bicycle Emporium is the proud sponsor of our Auburn Triathlon Bike Course!

Detailed Description of World’s Toughest Half Bike Course

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 transition for your run.

13.1 Mile (21K) RUN

NEW SPONSOR OF THE AUBURN TRIATHLON RUN COURSE!

Altra has joined the Auburn Triathlon Family and will be the new sponsor for the Auburn Triathlon Run Course!!!!

Altra has partnered with both Rocklin Endurance Sports and Alpenglow Sports of Tahoe City to sponsor our run course.

The 13.1 mile course consists of 2 loops. The first being 10.5 miles and the second lap 2.6.

The 13.1-mile run takes you down a trail into the spectacular American River Canyon, offering a scenic and challenging route Rocklin Endurance Sports

through the Auburn State Park with awesome views and vistas. Enjoy the tranquility of a course primarily closed to auto

Alpenglow Sports
Altra, Rocklin Endurance Sports and Alpenglow Sports of Tahoe City have partnered up to be our proud sponsors for the Auburn Triathlon Run Course!

traffic and affording stunning canyon views at seemingly every turn.

This first loop will take you on parts of the the well known Western States Trail looping back to T2 and finish area passing through a spectator-lined chute offering the spectators the opportunity to cheer you on before continuing onto your second loop.

The second loop is Auburn Triathlete’s favorite part of the run, the welcomed shady canal trail that runs along Auburn’s canyon-edge and along a canal.

Detailed World’s Toughest Half Run Description

The course starts at T-2 (Finish Line) located at The American River Canyon Overlook.

Athletes will depart on the famous Western States Trail just off T2 heading downhill. Within the first 300 yards you will come to a trail junction where the Mini and International run course take a right and the WTH continues straight on the WS Trail.

Mile 1.3 is your second aid station and trail junction, (first aid station is in T2). You will proceed left on the Robie Point trail for 1.5 miles to a third aid station. You will want to stay on the left side of this out and back 1.5 mile section that is a double track rolling trail (car width) to avoid crossing over into on coming runners heading back.

At the turnaround point of this section there will be another aid station (hwy 49 mile 2.8). You will then proceed back the 1.5 miles to Aid station 4 at Mile 4.3 (which is the same aid station as 2).

You will then turn left onto China Bar trail, down a steep but short double track for approximately 100 yards. This is where the River View trail bisects the China Bar trail. You will take a right and proceed along the River View trail with spectacular views of the American River and Canyon. This section is mainly flat before dropping down onto what is called Dale Drive and consists of pavement. This is where you will find aid station #5 Mile 5.3.

You will proceed right on the paved road climbing to mile 6.8 where you will turn left onto an overgrown paved road and proceed approximately .3 of a mile to another junction where you will turn left onto another paved road. This is where you will merge onto the International run course and head downhill. This section is an out and back utilizing aid station #6 & 7 (same aid station) at Mile 7.5 outbound and approximately mile 8.5 inbound. In the outbound direction you will proceed past the aid station 6 to a green gate which you will then turn around and return up the paved road that you just came down. Please stay on the left side as you proceed back up to Aid Station 7. ~8.5 miles.

Continuing past aid station #7 and back up to the previous junction where you will bear left proceeding approximately .5 mile where you will come to aid station #8. Here you will continue past another green gate and turn right onto Maidu. In about 100 yards the route turns right onto the famous canal trail. This section is flat and provides great shade.

At approximately mile 9.3 the course takes a right down a short hill and crosses a paved road. This intersection will be coned and you’ll be directed up a short dirt road and onto Pacific Ave turning right and proceeding back to T2 at the American River Canyon Overlook where you will run by the finish line and an Aid Station and continue on for your final 2.6 mile loop which is the Mini run course.

Again, you will proceed down the Western States trail (300 yards) but this time you will turn right at the intersection where the Mini and International courses turn. This trail contours below T2 and takes you back onto Pleasant Ave where you will turn left heading down a slight hill.

Mile 1.3 is your second aid station and trail junction, (first aid station is in T2). You will proceed left on the Robie Point trail for 1.5 miles to a third aid station. You will want to stay on the left side of this out and back 1.5 mile section that is a double track rolling trail (car width) to avoid crossing over into on coming runners heading back.

At the turnaround point of this section there will be another aid station (hwy 49 mile 2.8). You will then proceed back the 1.5 miles to Aid station 4 at Mile 4.3 (which is the same aid station as 2).

You will then turn left onto China Bar trail, down a steep but short double track for approximately 100 yards. This is where the River View trail bisects the China Bar trail. You will take a right and proceed along the River View trail with spectacular views of the American River and Canyon. This section is mainly flat before dropping down onto what is called Dale Drive and consists of pavement. This is where you will find aid station #5 Mile 5.3.

You will proceed right on the paved road climbing to mile 6.8 where you will turn left onto an overgrown paved road and proceed approximately .3 of a mile to another junction where you will turn left onto another paved road. This is where you will merge onto the International run course and head downhill. This section is an out and back utilizing aid station #6 & 7 (same aid station) at Mile 7.5 outbound and approximately mile 8.5 inbound. In the outbound direction you will proceed past the aid station 6 to a green gate which you will then turn around and return up the paved road that you just came down. Please stay on the left side as you proceed back up to Aid Station 7. ~8.5 miles.

Continuing past aid station #7 and back up to the previous junction where you will bear left proceeding approximately .5 mile where you will come to aid station #8. Here you will continue past another green gate and turn right onto Maidu. In about 100 yards the route turns right onto the famous canal trail. This section is flat and provides great shade.

At approximately mile 9.3 the course takes a right down a short hill and crosses a paved road. This intersection will be coned and you’ll be directed up a short dirt road and onto Pacific Ave turning right and proceeding back to T2 at the American River Canyon Overlook where you will run by the finish line and an Aid Station and continue on for your final 2.6 mile loop which is the Mini run course.

Again, you will proceed down the Western States trail (300 yards) but this time you will turn right at the intersection where the Mini and International courses turn. This trail contours below T2 and takes you back onto Pleasant Ave where you will turn left heading down a slight hill.

At approximately mile 11 you will encounter an intersection that will be familiar as you came through this point on your first lap. Bypass this intersection continuing up towards Maidu Dr. You will come to aid station #10, pass through the green gate and turn right onto Maidu up the 75 yards and back onto the canal trail, retracing your steps of the first lap back to the finish line.

The total vertical climb in elevation is 1270 ft in 12.7 miles. (clocked via GPS).