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Best middle distance triathlon bike courses – from the fastest courses to the most epic scenery

Happiest while on two wheels? We take a look at some of the best middle distance triathlon bike courses so you can make the most of your favourite triathlon discipline. Whether you’re a speed demon looking for a fast, flat bike leg to blaze through. Or a big fan of the climbs looking for some elevation to eat up.

Writer & Long Course Triathlete
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When it comes to choosing your next half distance triathlon event, it’s important to take the bike course into consideration. After all, that’s where you’re going to spend the greatest proportion of your race day!

Whether you’re looking for an ultra-fast bike split heading into T2, some incredible scenery to distract you from the effort. Or a course that will well and truly test your climbing legs. We’ve scoured the race calendar to bring you our pick of some of the best middle distance triathlon bike courses to help you make the most of the longest triathlon discipline on race day.

Best middle distance triathlon bike courses for epic scenery

Competing in a triathlon can be one of the best ways to explore a new place from a different perspective than your usual vacation. And there’s nothing like some incredible scenery to help take your mind off the tough effort ahead when you’re racing. With that in mind, here are our top 3 middle distance courses from around the world for awesome scenery while you tick off the miles on the bike.

Challenge St. Pölten

Austria has to be a go-to when it comes to beautiful scenery. And Challenge St. Pölten certainly won’t disappoint. Taking place in the Lower Austria region, the bike course takes you on a tour of the stunning UNESCO World Heritage listed Wachau Valley. Just the ticket to keep you smiling as you take on the challenging course’s three tough climbs.

RELATED: Challenge St Pölten race guide

Challenge St. Pölten 2023 - Photo Credit José Luis Hourcade
Challenge St. Pölten 2023 – Photo Credit José Luis Hourcade

IRONMAN 70.3 Mont Tremblant

A skiers’ haven it might be. But Mont Tremblant is just as beautiful in the summer as it is in the snow-covered months.

The bike course takes athletes away from the resort, with a stunning backdrop of mountains and forests to accompany them on the 1-lap out and back. And while you are going to have to tick off some climbing along the way, at 700m elevation gain it’s not so brutal that you can’t appreciate the scenery as you ride.

IRONMAN Mont-Tremblant
[Photo: IRONMAN]

Challenge Wānaka

New Zealand is synonymous with incredible landscapes – and Challenge Wānaka is a race that should most certainly be on your bucket list as an incredible race-cation. Taking place in New Zealand’s South Island, the race has the lakes and mountains of Mount Aspiring National Park as a backdrop.

The bike course will give you the opportunity to take in the town itself, before heading out to Lake Hāwea and Red Bridge. Typically taking place in February each year, having this on your race calendar has got to be the ultimate way to start your year and banish any sign of the January blues!

kyle smith challenge wanaka 2024
As far as bike course views go, Challenge Wānaka is almost unbeatable.

Best half distance triathlons for a fast bike split

We recently took a full deep dive into the data to bring you a comprehensive list of the fastest triathlon courses going across middle and long distance. But of course – some of those might be quick overall because of a fast swim or a flat run. So if you’re an uber-biker in the making and you want a seriously speedy split time heading into T2 – what race should you consider?

Challenge The Championship Šamorín

With both an open race and the qualification-only Championship event, Challenge Šamorín is a great middle distance triathlon to make the most of your aero gains on the bike. The 90km bike course is not only flat – it’s also predominantly straight, with very little in the way of technical turns or twists in the roads to disrupt your pace.

Get used to sitting in your aero position, and holding it, and you’ll be flying. With the race taking place in May, the average air temperature is typically around 22 degrees Celsius – ideal for being able to push the pace without overheating.

Fenella Langridge at Challenge The Championship
[Photo: Challenge Family]

IRONMAN 70.3 Eagleman

Taking place in Eagleman, Maryland this 70.3 has a rich history with over 25 years of racing. The bike course features on 330ft (100m) of elevation gain making it a prime target for those looking for a fast bike split.

As well as a blisteringly quick average speed, the bike course at Eagleman is also a strong contender on the scenery front – with athletes winding through the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.

IRONMAN 70.3 Bahrain

Usually happening in December, racing in Bahrain is a good opportunity to use a full season of training to your advantage. Bar a few rollers, the bike course if predominantly fast and flat, heading past iconic landmarks including the World Trade Centre and the Bahrain International Circuit.

Like The Championship and Eagleman, the course at Bahrain doesn’t have much in the way of technical turns to deal with which means you can focus on pushing power.

Kat Matthews Bahrain 703 2023 win photo credit IRONMAN
[Photo credit: IRONMAN]

Ultimate middle distance triathlons for tackling tough climbs

Climbers, assemble! If you’re super strong on the up hills and you eat elevation for breakfast. These tough, hilly races will suit you down to a T. Whether you want the classic hairpins of Alpe d’Huez or the punchy power climbs of Singapore T100, these are some of the best middle distance triathlon bike courses for taking on the climbs.

Alpe d’Huez Triathlon

While the long distance race at Alpe D’Huez falls slightly outside of your traditional middle distance parameters, featuring a 2.2km swim, 118km bike and a 20km run. Given that it takes in one of the world’s most iconic cycling climbs – it had to make the list for the best hilly triathlons.

With over 3000m of elevation on the bike, you’ll already have tackled some serious climbing before you even begin taking on the famous 21 bends of Alpe d’Huez. This is a bucket list race that’s a must-do for climbers.

IRONMAN 70.3 St. George

With the iconic orange-hued backdrop of Zion National Park, IRONMAN 70.3 St George has become a staple in the race calendar with many of the world’s top PROs taking to the start line to test themselves against this stunning – but challenging race.

The bike course features over 1000m of climbing, with rolling hills serving as a warm up before athletes take on the Snow Canyon climb.

Ben Kanute on the bike IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship 2022
Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images for IRONMAN

Singapore T100

First open to age-groupers in 2023, Singapore T100 is a deceptively hilly race – packing in around 700m of climbing into the 80km bike course. In fact, in its inaugural year it even took plenty of the PROs by surprise with many of them hurrying back to their hotel rooms to switch up their gear ratios after a pre-race course recce.

And while you might not think ‘hills’ when you think of downtown Singapore. The course takes you up and over the city’s iconic bridges multiple times per loop, which is where all that elevation comes from. If you’re someone who prefers short, sharp efforts over a long mountain pass sustained effort climb. Singapore T100 is a race that will definitely suit you.

Youri Keulen on floor finish line Singapore t100 2024 photo credit PTO
The heat and the hills are brutal. 2024 Singapore T100 winner Youri Keulen had to give it everything he had to take the win. [Photo credit: PTO]

Need a little more inspiration? Take a look at our ultimate bucket list races. Or head to our Let’s Race… section where you’ll find a comprehensive library of race guides to help you find your next triathlon event.

Jenny Lucas-Hill
Written by
Jenny Lucas-Hill
Jenny Lucas-Hill is a writer, content creator and communications professional. A long-distance triathlon enthusiast, she has three full Iron-distance finishes to date & also loves watching the sport.
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