Sunday, November 06, 2005

Clements arrives in Melbourne and reviews course

Paul Clements arrived in Melbourne on Saturday 29 October and sent back this report on the race course

The Swim

In the bay by St Kilda pier. The pier is not sold it is similar to the jetty at Havres des Pas swimming pool so swell and wind can pass right through. Yesterday the sea was rough, there were people kite surfing in the bay and jumping over 3-4 ft swell! So it could be a choppy swim. Today it's like a pond. It's a deep water start so we'll be paraded along the pier before
entering the water. If it's windy this could be cold so we should have some clothing to discard at the start if we are hanging around.

The swim course is self explanatory. The swim exit is via a small beach and slip, then you run over a single lane road and into a park where T1 will be. This is about 400m of running on sand, road, gravel path (which I am told will be carpeted) and grass. It is very similar to imagining running from Bel Royal beach opposite Millbrook Park, across Victoria avenue and through
Millbrook Park, then exiting out onto the inner road.

The Bike

Bike starts on a 3 lane carriage and heads West, this road is just like Victoria avenue at home so lots of space but there are raised cats eyes in the middle of each carriageway so care is needed. After about 1K along Beaconsfield Parade you reach the first dead turn, but actually it's really wide and is more like 2x90 degree bends round the centre reservation. The bike then heads back the way you came past transition and follows the coast. It is wide and flat. You then turn left at Elwood which is flat but only single lane going past Luna Park but then you turn left again onto the Esplande and climb a small hill. This is similar to cycling up the slope by the underpass toward Aquasplash from the tunnel but about 4 times longer. This could be tricky as the Esplanade is single lane with tram lines in the middle between the lane coming the other way. There is a low curb that separates the cars from the tram lines and this could take you off if you hit it! The Esplanade curves around a load of hotels and guest houses so you can't see too far ahead.

You then turn right onto Fitzroy Street, crossing tram lines as you do so but these are perpendicular to you so shouldn't cause any problems. Fitzroy Street is flat for approach 500m then it climbs, similar to the first part of St Aubins hill, then if you imagine at the shell house you turn right and climb the next part of the hill that will be similar to turning into Grey Street. Tram lines run in the middle of the street seperating the dual carriageway traffic. You have to cross tram lines again as you turn into Grey Street and as they are travelling up and down Fitzroy Street this could be tricky, especially if wet! Grey Street flattens out at the top and then you turn (dead turn) and fly back down. Turning left back onto Fitzroy Street, but we will need to be careful not to run wide or you'll be in those tram lines! Then straight back down Fitzroy street dual carriageway, which
is going to be fast. At the bottom is a sweeping left turn but again this goes back into single lane and if you drift to far out into the centre of the road you'll hit those tram lines. Then it's along Esplanade which is flat until the end approaching Luna park, small down hill section, the one you came up, and turn right, across more tram lines which run up and down Esplanade so care will be needed. Follow flat straight road, single lane past Luna Park and turn right onto Beaconsfied Parade (similar to turning on the Vic Avenue from First Tower junction, lots of space, and back to Transition - 5 laps so it's going to be tough towards the end and the stronger bikers will pull away up Fitzroy Street and Grey Street.

The road surfaces are fantastic, very smooth but this could mean slippery if it rains. It's also very exposed so if it gets windy, like yesterday the bike and run could be hard. The prevailing wind is Easterly so you'll have it in your face heading toward Elwood and Luna Park and also up Grey Street...nice climbing hill into wind..!

The run
Is flat apart from the slight climb as you run past Luna Park and start along the Esplanade. Fitzroy street is full of cafe's and restaurants with El-Fresco dining so it's going to be a buzz biking and running past there, a bit like going up and down King Street at home.

I hope that helps. I am really excited as it's going to be a great course. I've taken photos of the course but as I don't have my computer with me I'll have to go to a photo shop and get them down loaded, before emailing them to you.

I went to the MCG today, it's been re-built for the games so it's a bit messed up right now but still very impressive. It can hold 140,000 people so the opening and closing ceremonies are going to be awesome! The athletics field had to be lengthened in the middle so spectators won't be speared by flying javelins!

Anyway happy training and speak to you guys soon.

For more information on the race course follow this link


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