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Ironman Boulder Course Review

 In June of 2013, we exclaimed…”It’s about time”! Back then, Coeur was just an idea (our birthday is August 15th) but we were thrilled at the announcement of Ironman Boulder.

In our opinion, Boulder is one of the coolest cities in the country and it is perhaps the Mecca of endurance sports. Triathletes, Runners and Cyclists have been migrating to Boulder for years and the Ironman announcement was long overdue.

No one on the Coeur team has traversed the entire Ironman Boulder course, so we have to put an asterisk next to this review. We did reach out to some of our friends in the area and can share some information about the town and the course.

The Town

We’re glad that some progressive thinker looked at the beautiful landscape and instead of trying to develop it, he or she decided to try and preserve it. Thousands of acres of land are protected by conservation easements or are designated as nature preserves, so over half of the open space around Boulder has public access. This along with the altitude has helped make Boulder the Triathlon, Cycling and Running equivalent of Disney Land.

The town is located at the base of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and sits at an elevation of about 5,400 feet. This is part of the allure for athletes. Live in that thin Colorado air and grow some big ole horse lungs! Ok…we do know that physiologically, you gain additional red blood cells but that just didn’t sound as funny as horse lungs.

The imposing Flatirons mountain range dominates the skyline and is a popular destination for climbers. The large number of athletes living in the town has had a very positive influence on the culture and there are numerous healthy places to eat and the city is bike friendly.

Boulder is beautiful

The Swim

The swim will have wave starts and it will be in the Boulder Reservoir. It’s one 2.4 mile loop and we’re glad to report that the health department has deemed the water clean and ready to be peed in by nervous racers! The reservoir water temperature can get down to wetsuit legal levels, so athletes should pack their Roka. Or whatever version of suit you use. The Coeur team is sponsored by Roka, so of course we’re going to give them a shout out.


 Boulder Reservoir. Free from Pee until race start.

The Bike

The weather or wind to be more precise could come into play on the 112 mile bike. Our Boulder athletes tell us that it could be a fast course in the beginning (fast all the way if you’re on an Argon18). After highway 36, the course seems to be more down than up so if there isn’t a big headwind going out, you could see some nice bike splits through mile 56’ish. But, what goes up must come down and things even out in the second half. We’re told it is a gradual climb the second half and again, the wind could add to or ease this.

The course does lend itself to time in the aero position, so we hope your back is nice and relaxed. We’ve often joked that we wished the bike was only 100 miles long. We know why they’ve got the extra 12 but seriously, do you get any credit for it from your friends? 100 is still triple digits and that is impressive enough. Why do we mention this? Well, it’s because at about mile 100, athletes will be treated to three climbs that are affectionately known as the “Three Bitches”. We couldn’t get the % grade or length on them but based on the name, we’re sure they are no Bueno! By the way, if you know the stats, shoot us a note at

The Run

Unlike the swim and the bike, the 26.2 mile run course is two loops. It is on Boulder Creek trail for most of the way and it meanders through city parks, so there should be several great spots for spectators to cheer. It starts off descending, so similar to the bike, we may do a double take at the splits. Did we use the “what goes down, must come up” line yet? We did? Well, shoot. Guess we’ll use it again. Eventually the course goes up. Not dramatic but steady and fairly long, so look for splits to start to slow.

We’ve been told it isn’t the hardest course on the Ironman circuit but it could be warming up and there is the issue of the altitude, so we’re not expecting any PR’s.

The run course, will be (of course) also beautiful

The Party

What can we say? We think the finish line party will be epic. People in Boulder should understand better than others, how hard it is to complete an Ironman and we expect they will reward you by cheering like crazy as you come down the finishing shoot.

So there it is. That’s our abbreviated race preview. We hope you have a great day and of course, if you see someone wearing Coeur, give them a shout out or a high five!

Your friends at Coeur!