We headed over to the swim start at Hamsterly Beach about 9 am on Friday and a second time
on Sunday at 8 am. It has a nice sandy beach, although it is not a big area. The start and finish
has changed slightly from prior years. You enter the water from the main beach area and exit
on the other side of the railing area. The water is about 50 yards from the parking lot, which is
where I assume transition will be. The water was great, not too cold and really calm, which I
hear is typical. The wind doesn't tend to pick up until a little later in the day, around early
afternoon. It's really murky though, very green. I only encountered one or two pieces of plant life
though. And although fish were jumping, I didn't actually see any on the swim.
The swim start and looking back at the transition area….
I headed over to the bike start at Hamsterly Beach about 11. There are a lot of both small and large rollers on the route. There are a handful of stop lights/signs. There is a little bit of a climb on the way out to the main road and then a small descent as you head towards Oldfield. This is a good road for getting acclimated to the bike. Once on Oldfield there are a number of small
rollers, and then a nice descent as you get to the right turn for the longest part of the route, W.Saanich road. There are a few large rollers and then a killer descent, perfect for making up time and recovering. And then you climb, for about 1/2 mile. Then another descent. None of the hills are super steep, but steep enough to get into the lowest gear. With both loops I clocked
3806 elevation gain. After the first stop light on W. Saanich there is a good straight flat section (the first half of the route is twisty) for getting down into the drops. The route is really nice and there is lots of shade on the first half.Finally there is a right turn near the airport, and onto a false flat. It's windy! Then there's a right turn on E. Saanich. And a long climb, not super steep. But long. There's a nice descent before turning onto Wallace for a little more out and back. Wallace has speed bumps, but there are cutouts in the middle perfect for bikes. This road and Central Saanich are really open and windy. A lady I met on the route told me that the wind is an afternoon thing and shouldn't be an issue in the morning. There's a long little climb up to
Keating Cross and then a little hill as you turn onto Oldfield. I found this to be the perfect opportunity to feel exhausted, cuz there's another loop! The second loop seemed much faster than the first. Heading back to transition, Brookleigh is a good distance to spin a little before the run.
The run course is interesting. It's on a gravel and dirt packed trail around the lake. One loop is 10k. I saw a snake and a lot of horse poop! There are a lot of rocks and tree roots to navigate. There are also some really narrow sections. So narrow that I can see people getting pushed into the lake by a passing runner. It'll be interesting to see a whole racing pack going through them. Oh and it's not really flat. There are a lot of little hills. But it is very pretty! There is a lot of shade, but also some open areas that can get pretty warm. Water stations are every mile.
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