Spruce Run Reservoir is usually wet-suit legal under USAT rules (typically high 60’s to low 70’s), and is out and back 1/2 mile. The Reservoir is clear, cool with a wide sand beach and has a mean depth of about 40 feet.
An award is presented to the first athlete (male and female) out of the water.
13.6 MILES (22 KM)
The Skylands bike course is challenging, well marked and manned course. Volunteers direct/cheer for bikers and the NJ State Police directs traffic. Rolling terrain with a significant lung and leg burner can be found about mid-way through. There’s also a fast downhill with S curves through the roundabout back towards the park.
- Left out of the park onto Van Syckles Rd (very slight uphill…then a fast downhill)
- Right (sharp) onto Charlestown Rd.
- Left (only after 100 meters) onto Van Syckles Rd. (flat)
- Right onto Route 173 (false flat…slight uphill)
- Right onto Stotz Rd. (initial downhill, then start of significant uphill)
- Right onto Norton Church Rd.
- Left onto Mountain View Rd. (start of a very significant uphill…some will walk the bike)
- Left onto Mine Rd. (rolling terrain)
- Left onto Route 173 (downside of Jugtown Mountain…significant downhill…45mph+ possible. Caution S curves at the bottom)
- Left onto Van Syckles (back toward the Park…flat)
- Right onto Charlestown
- Left onto Van Syckles (considerable upgrade initially, then slight downhill)
- Right into Spruce Run Park and transition area
- Water Station at exit of Transition
Note: Every year, we receive many comments about The Hill. Many experienced folks say they hardly notice it, while others consider it an annual challenge. We welcome you to bike through our beautiful course at your leisure during the year, and see for yourself.
A quote from Chris Fotache, sums up one person’s perspective of the course:
“Everybody was talking about THE hill. I was like… well, it’s only 14 miles, how bad or long can a hill be? It was all rollers in the beginning, then it started going slowly uphill. Not steep, but relentless, had to give up and go in the small ring. Going higher and higher, then THE HILL. Maybe half a mile, and getting steeper and steeper. I was the only one riding here, at least 10-15 people I passed were walking. I thought it was not that bad as people talked. Right turn and… another maybe quarter mile stretch, steeper than before. I thought I was gonna die, I kept zig-zagging across the road repeating to myself “I’m not getting off the bike”. Got on top again, with fried quads. Waiting for the descent. Not so fast, though. Another half a mile climb, not as steep as the first ones, but at this point it was a killer. Again, passed a lot of walkers. Overall, the course gained 800 feet in 3 miles, but it was that 3-stage hill that did most of the damage. In this portion I passed most of the maybe 50-60 riders I passed in the bike race.
The descent – What goes up must come down. And at Skylands, it comes down in style: four lanes highway (5, counting the left turn lane), smoothly paved and completely straight. Not very steep, but long. 3 miles went over in maybe 5 minutes. Then back to the rollers to the park. The bike average is not looking good, but considering the course, I’m satisfied, I ranked 158 out of 366, so well in the top half.”
The 5k run course is contained entirely within the confines of the Spruce Run Recreation area. It has separate out and back portions, with three opportunities for water. Most of the course is on a paved road with some grass and gravel paths. The 5k is best described as flat (minor rolls or changes in grade).
Note that there is a different OUT (Red) and IN (Yellow) run maps.
One Water station is located near transition and two other Water stations are located on the run course. A bathroom is available at the turnaround Water station in the boat-launch area.