Can you say ... tough course?
A drive through the course today was an eye-opening experience - this is going to be a tough course! Starting at about 3,000 feet at the swim in Sand Hollow Reservoir (which, by the way, is rather cold - below 60 degrees F, last we heard), the course eventually reaches an altitude of just under 4,700 feet.
The course features a lot of long, steady climbs, along with a few really steep ones, too. At one point there's a steady stretch that features a grade that varies between 13 and 17 percent. And, just to add to the fun, the athletes get to do all of that climbing twice.
There are a few upsides to this challenging course: first, the athletes get to enjoy a simply spectacular course that offers some of the most incredible vistas you'll find in triathlon; then there's the payback after all the all that climbing which ends in a screaming descent back into town.
If the bike is tough, the run course here in St. George is every bit as much of a challenge. The long, steady climb to the turnaround features an eight percent grade at one point - and that's not for just a few seconds. No less a runner than Lisa Bentley took more than three minutes to get up that part of the climb when she was checking out the course the other day.
Like the ride, though, there's a definite upside to all this - both the incredible beauty of the countryside here, and all the downhill parts of this course, too.
So, as tough as this course might be, it's also likely to be lots of fun. Besides, it's an Ironman - it's not supposed to be easy.