Oakland Triathlon Festival – Bike Preview

I like knowing what I’m getting myself into. Is that obvious yet?

Today OTC previewed the Oakland Triathlon Festival Bike Course!

We love getting up early.
We love getting up early.

Basic course overview:

  1. Don’t plan on getting up to speed until you get to the port
  2. Don’t underestimate the size or number of potholes
  3. Do expect to see a bunch of awesome Oakland locals

First and foremost – the course has changed since last year. Here’s my Strava record. The Oakland Triathlon Festival website is now up to date. So that means that Oakland Triathlon Club’s video from last year (it’s the full course – I’d suggest jumping through to important parts unless you want to watch while you’re on a trainer!) is unfortunately out of date. But, it’s probably 85% the same.

To make up for a missing out and back, we all of a sudden have a lot more turns.
To make up for a missing out and back, we all of a sudden have a lot more turns.

Today was very helpful, and revealing how nice it will be to have traffic controlled for the race! I would still like to highlight a few important parts.

Hill 1 of 3 – Broadway and 30th

This hill is a quick and fast 5% grade (or so). It’s only 2 blocks worth of climb, but a significant gear shift is necessary. You go right into a steep descent, sharp left, and sharp right turn. If you take this too fast, you WILL wipe out, I will NOT feel that bad, and I WILL pass you. And so will everyone else who lives and trains here.

Hill 2 of 3 – West Grand Flyover

This hill is not as steep as number one, but a little longer. It looks like you’re getting on the freeway, and you head into a long, straight, and relatively clean descent!

Hill 3 of 3 – Port Exit

You’ll come up to this at the end of the Oakland Port. Consider this the ‘almost there’ point (because uh… you’re almost there). Short, quick, and another sharp right turn at the bottom.


This is a city. We have roads that see a lot of traffic, and a lot of truck traffic. Oakland certainly is not known for its velvety roads, so be prepared. Fortunately, there are not so many potholes that the course is un-rideable, but do pay attention! You shouldn’t be drafting anyway, but don’t follow anyone too closely (unless maybe if they’re rocking OTC gear – we know what we’re doing). There are a few MASSIVE potholes. Those should be avoided at all costs, lest you like road rash. The smaller ones are pretty manageable.

Train Tracks

Fewer than expected. Only one is tricky. One looks like its gonna be bad, but since you’re turning right, you wind up far more perpendicular than it may have looked from far away.

Love our kits. This is the top of the hill on 30th.
Love our kits. This is the top of the hill on 30th.

My main take away? Don’t ride too cautious, but don’t ride dumb.

Are you racing? I’ll see you in the sprint!!

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