After finishing my first 70.3, I am more motivated than ever to become stronger on the bike. Even though it is my strongest one of the three disciplines, I remain amazed at how fast the top triathletes are riding.
The average bike time across Half Ironman races is 3h02 min which translates to a speed of 18.5 mph or 29.7 km/h. The women cover the 56 mi in 3h15 min (or 17.2 mph or 27.7 km/h) and the men in 2h58 min (or 18.9 mph or 30.3 km/h).
I found out that those times depend significantly on the Age Group and the specific course. So let’s check that in more detail.
- I checked all Half Ironman races that happened in 2021 in North America, Europe and Oceania.
- I excluded the ones which were shortened. The final database consists of 74,871 times from age-groupers and 807 from pros.
A special thanks to obstri.com, which is gathering results of all Ironman and Half Ironman events. It made my life easier!
AVERAGE HALF IRONMAN BIKE SPEED PER AGE GROUP
As you can see in the graph below, the average bike speed for the men is around the 19 mph mark for the youngest age groups (or around 2h55min). The highest average bike speed is reached in the age groups 35-39 and 40-44 (19.1 mph).
If you want to contend for first place in those age groups, you need to bike 5 mph faster.
It is a pretty similar situation for the women. They ride at an average speed of 17.5 mph for the youngest age groups (or around 3h12min), and the winners are roughly 4 mph faster.
AVERAGE HALF IRONMAN BIKE SPEED PER RACE
I find it really interesting how much a course can influence those times. In the graph below, you can see all those races sorted by the fastest bike speed. 70.3 Warsaw was the fastest course with an average speed of 21.6 mph for the age groupers and 27 mph for the pros.
Due to their well-known bike course difficulty, Andorra, Nice, and Lanzarote are, without any surprise, the ones with the slowest bike speed. If you want to ride one of those, be ready to spend more than 3h20min in the saddle on average.
Graz and Warsaw were the fastest 70.3 courses in the women’s races, with an average bike speed of 20 mph and 19.8 mph, respectively (roughly 2h50min).
If you enjoyed this analysis, have a look at those two articles which cover the swim and run legs of Half Ironman races: