The swim at Bandits is in one of the cleanest lakes on the NC race circuit, participants always rave about the swim course. Every year, the lake seems to be like a sheet of glass on event morning, because the swim takes place in the part of the lake against the dam, wind is rarely a problem.
At the very beginning of the bike, you realize what Bandits is all about. Coming out of transition, you immediately have to climb up to the top of the dam in order to exit the park, one nasty, very steep climb. Its a good idea to make sure that when you rack your bike, you have it in your smallest gear. Just when youve caught your breath, you encounter the biggest climb on the course around about the 2 mile mark. The climb isnt very steep, but you climb for over a mile. The remainder of the bike course is a continuous series of rollers and moderate hills. Traffic is always very light on race day and the bulk of the course is comprised of nice smooth surfaces.
The run course at Bandits is what makes this race famous. There are three VERY steep climbs, fortunately theyre not very long. You will tackle the same climb out of the transition area up to the top of the dam at the start of the bike. BUT, its the climb on the other side of the dam that you have to do twice on this two-loop run course that people talk about the most. Words just dont do it justice. We estimate that over 90% of all participants walk this hill during the race. Ironically, if you eliminated the three short steep climbs, the remainder of the run course is basically flat