We've done a lap or two (or three, or four) of the Rock Road 50/50 course. We're going to give you the inside scoop, just because. The Rock Road 50/50 is really it's own deal. It's a gravel road race with some Vasa tacked onto either end. It's an endurance race that will still have riders' under pressure all the time. It's a relatively flat race, but you always seem to be climbing. As hard as it is to peg this race, riders are loving the course and the set-up. We've put together a few sections, climbs and conditions to watch for on race day, September 21.
Timber Ridge. The start and finish of the race include just under four miles of Vasa 25km trail. Think overgrown two-track; it's fast, it's open, and it's not an issue, even for cyclocross bikes. Almost all of it is a part of the world-famous Power Section, a big segment on the Speed of Light section. While a mountain bike has the advantage here, it's important to note that cyclocross bike should be able to hold their own. The second fast time over this segment is on a cyclocross bike.
Broomhead. Riders come off the 25km for a little over two miles on Sand Lakes Road before taking a left onto Broomhead. This is the fastest section of gravel on the course, and the widest. Racers will need to stay near the front as the road tilts back down from one of its highest points. At the bottom, the race chokes into a two track, and it'll be easy to lose positions, and even get gapped, by riding too far back in the bunch here.
The Bergs. De Broomenberg, De Mabelberg, De Kennenberg all barely register on the race's profile. The first two are short, steep climbs that hit over 10%. The Mabelberg is the only paved climbed of the race, while the Kennenberg, just a quarter mile later, is the roughest, steepest, and most selective. Like a true Classics race, you have to be near the front over each one to avoid be caught behind any crashes or anyone coming up short. The descent off the Kennenberg is sandy, and it's a narrow gap over to Townline Rd.
De Wesselberg. Each of the previous climbs are tough, but riders can get back on if dropped. On the Wesselberg, that probably isn't the case. The climb is a serious of pitches over roughly two miles and starts the second riders turn right onto Dockery Road. It's essential a staircase, with steeper grades punctuating a long ride to the highest point on the course. This will be the second act of the play; there will be a scythe through the field on the Kennenberg, and a blunt instrument wielded with great force on the Wesselberg. The selection will be made on the Kennenberg, and finalized on the Wesselberg.
River Road. Never flat, but the closest you'll get on this course. This is where the gaps will go out, especially if the likes of Jorden Wakeley, Mike Simonson or Ryan Kennedy flex their muscles and stay on the gas. The 50 mile race will hit all of these sections again, and this time, do so with a lot of fatigue in the legs.