Around the Bay is one of my favourite races. Lots of history, a challenging 30k distance, nice shirts, and best of all, ATB means SPRING. Last year's race, however, had a bit of a snag for some of us:
|The new section of the route. It rejoins the old route at the 10k mark.|
The race still starts on York, but now turns onto James Street. Initially James is lined with stores and is fairly narrow, and I suspect there may be parked cars to avoid. This is likely to be crowded as people settle into their paces. This felt slightly downhill while driving, but I'm not making any promises on that. At around the 1k mark it turns into a more residential neighbourhood. A couple of interesting landmarks along here, like a very imposing looking CN Rail building. Those of us who were delayed by the train last year can shake our fists at it as we pass.
|Bit of the commercial strip from Google Maps. The trees won't look like that on race day...|
|Approaching the turn off James.|
|For anyone planning to test run the course, I've highlighted what I think is the one bathroom along this stretch.|
|from Google maps|
If you are planning to test run the course, you cannot run on the overpass. It has no shoulder, and would be sort of like trying to go for a run on the Gardiner Expressway. You can run on the lower ground level, however, there is a sidewalk there. You won't be able to test out the elevation change, but you can at least look at it! This first overpass goes up and then almost immediately back down again.
Just before Kenilworth St. is the second overpass. This one goes up and then the road stays elevated for quite a while - at least 2 km if I'm remembering right, which means if it's a windy day it could be pretty unpleasant up there. Again, you cannot run on the overpass. There's no shoulder or sidewalk up there. The sidewalk at ground level on the left of the below picture does continue.
|Google maps: approaching the second overpass - the road stays elevated for a while at this point.|
Back to the race route. Eventually the road dips back down again, and then I think there's a third climb. But looking at Google Streetview I can't figure out exactly where that was. And now I'm not entirely certain about the existence of that 3rd hill (I couldn't exactly take notes while driving on a busy road!). So there's possibly a third hill along here.
The section immediately after Parkdale is also not possible to test run. Burlington St essentially turns into a highway at this point, there is no sidewalk, and running there would be like trying to run on the side of a 400 series road, only without a shoulder. I suspect attempting it would also be a good way to draw attention from local law enforcement. I've mapped out a way around that section here, where you essentially detour over to Woodward and pick up the old Around the Bay route:
After you exit Burlington St, it's around the off ramp and back onto the route we know and love.
|From Google maps, off ramp from Burlington St and onto Woodward.|
1. The new section of the ATB course features 3 climbs, none of which are big hills but they will require effort (bearing in mind that's from the perspective of driving over them - if they turn out to suck rocks, rest assured I'll be cursing up a storm too).
2. Test running the course will be a pain in the ass because parts of it aren't pedestrian accessible. If you do test run it, make sure someone in your group has a smartphone so you can look up alternate routes or figure out where the hell you are if you get lost.
3. Cross your fingers race day isn't windy.
Anyone out there familiar with Burlington St. and want to confirm/correct anything? Does that third hill exist or am I imagining things?