Well we ventured up to Ballarat last Saturday to swim ride and run a lap of the new Ballarat 70.3 course. The weather was cool in the morning, and the wind was blowing S/SW at 24-31km/hr, so we were to get a true indication of how the course is affected by the wind.
The Swim Course
This is the same swim course as last year. The lake is only a small inland lake, and it will likely be around 20degrees for race day, so definitely a wetsuit swim for competitors. The wind was up for the Recce but this had little effect on the water surface so there will be no need to worry about any real choppy conditions for race day.
|Swim start area|
We got in the water for practise and the first thing you will notice is reeds under the surface in the warm-up area. Don’t let this bother you though, as you move to the start line and all the way along the course the water is deeper, clean and surprisingly clear.
There is not a lot of sighting opportunities from landmarks on the shoreline at Ballarat, but due to the flat conditions you will have no problem sighting the well- marked guide and turning buoys put out by Ironman.
It’s not like a salt water beach swim but as close to pool conditions as you will see. The rowing lane guide ropes about a meter under the surface also will help competitors swim straight, doesn’t get more pool like than that!
The NEW Bike Course
The new course is fairly sheltered for the first 8-9kms of each lap with the out and back section along Sturt St, and then around the Victoria Park Circuit. Competitors will need to be conservative in their riding style with a few of the corners on the circuit and to stay left unless overtaking.
The real bones of the course is on Remembrance Drive along a 17km section out to the far turn around under the Western Hwy. It is pretty flat and exposed with farmland on either side and is generally slightly downhill on the way out and the reverse on the return.
If any, historically the wind will be coming from the South / South east. It will provide a cross tail assistance on the way out and cross head wind on the return
|Victoria Park Circuit|
I think the more novice riders should consider their wheel choice for the race, especially the front wheel. Don’t have too deep a front wheel if you are light and less experienced on the bike.
I would be moderating my intensity early in the ride and build gradually to a sustainable race pace to ensure you have good legs for the final parts of the ride.
With 34kms of mostly flat road for the final part of each lap, it will be important to periodically get out of the saddle along this section to change position and give relief to the back and hamstrings.
As the event will have a full road closure, ride within the left car tyre marks on the road unless overtaking for the smoothest ride, and avoid the shoulder on the left hand side of the white line. The shoulder has a rougher surface with loose stones in sections.
All in all a power course, so include some long sustained aero riding to prepare the body for race day.
The NEW Run Course
As I mentioned in the last blog, the run improvements have been a real plus. Three full laps of the lake gives this course a flow; it’s one the competitors will love. Here are a few things we noted from the recce day.
|The Moneghetti Track|
There are some bitumen sections on both sides of the lake, and a section on the far side that has a bit of both. Make sure you run on the black stuff along here, it will help with traction and run speed. The hard packed gravel sections also provide some shock absorption relief for tired legs with minimal loss of traction on your foot fall.
There are a few little undulations, short and minimal but if you are on the bit, you will notice them and on the far side of the lake you can cop some headwind if the day is windy.
All in all it’s a picturesque run around the lake, nice and cool being next to the water and a lot to keep you occupied with.
Can’t wait for Ballarat 70.3