The Rat Snake Course – A Reverse Triathlon or Trail Run
Do you want a true challenge of your athletic prowess as well as being rewarded accordingly for your efforts? Our course may be small, but the effort and appetite you will work up is not! Trust me, you will be thoroughly challenged over this course, but you will also be rewarded in kind. The price for this torture chamber and banquet fit for a King?
Run Course (18K 1,430ft of elevation gain)
This is where the challenge starts. We do things a bit differently at The Rat Snake, so you are going to start out with an 18k trail run (this is a double loop) through grass, mud, rocks, roots, dirt, and maybe even a little pavement.
Because it is a looped course, you will be able to store your nutritional needs at the midway point of the run. If you are struggling, you will also have the benefit of friends and family to cheer you on to get you motivated for your second lap.
*Course is well marked with surveyor’s tape, ground flags, and signs. Trail is closely monitored by State Park Police on ATVs.
Bike Course (29 Miles 2,580ft of elevation gain)
Once you get off the trail, it is time for the real suffering to begin. The bike is the second leg of our triathlon (this is literally the only part of our race that is normal) and by far the most challenging. The 29-mile course has brought many men to tears as well as making them dismount and walk up a few of the hills.
The road starts out easy enough with a slight descent just as you leave the park. I cannot stress enough that you need to resist the urge to go all out early and take advantage of this start. You are going to need your strength, so keep a steady tempo and save your energy for later in the race because just a few miles down the road, you will get a mere appetizer for your legs to warn them of what is on the horizon. If you are pedaling sideways here, you know you are in deep trouble up ahead. There is a brief period of relief with another quick descent and then a nice flat stretch. Soon you will make a turn onto 23 West for an extended but subtle 8-mile climb. Once you crest, you will have an extended descent and some time to recover. Heed my advice…refuel and take it easy because you are about to use my name in vain!
There will be a 4 mile jaunt on Route 51 where you will enjoy the LAST of the flatland. Once you turn right onto Route 12, the ride mimics the name of the race as the road snakes up what seems like a never-ending ascent. The pitch gets steeper and steeper until you suffer like you have never suffered before.
Seriously, this part of the climb is NOT for the tame of heart and IT WILL HURT YOU. More than one rider has dismounted here and decided that walking up this hill was much better than attempting to ride up it. In fact, many of our past riders have come home with a mileage reading of 29.5 to 30 miles simply because they had to go back and forth up this road to keep their momentum in order to prevent tipping.
If you have not cramped or quit by the time your crest, you are rewarded with a downhill coast back to the transition area.
*All major intersections at or near the park are manned by State Park Police while all major intersections out on the public roads are manned by NY State Police. Course is marked with signs at every turn.
View The Rat Snake Bike Route 29 miles in a larger map
The Swim Course (and we use this term loosely) (26 Yards)
The final portion of The Rat Snake is quick 26-yard dip in the lake. You will run/slog 13 yards out to the buoy, give it a smack, and return to the beach. Why only 26 yards? Well, all of the route distances have a very special meaning, but you are going to have to enter the race to find out!
If you manage to complete this test, you will be amply rewarded. You will eat like the Champion you now are as you feast on roasted pig and a cold grog (it means beer, but grog sounds tougher, and after all, now you are a Rat Snake). Last year’s race featured Heady Topper, but who knows what this year holds. Now, I challenge you to find a lower race fee
*NY State Park Lifeguards will be on duty.
Also, please note, this race is completely self-supported. There are no aid stations on the trail or on the bike route. However, as mentioned above, there will be a special needs area during the run, so you do not have to worry about bringing enough nutrition for the entire 18k