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On October 6, a group of people skated the official
Long Beach Marathon Route. The race is Sunday, October
12 and they wanted to get an idea of what the route was
like. Here is a report by Lawrence Quimby, one of the
skaters who previewed the route.
RACE ROUTE REPORT - BY LAWRENCE QUIMBY
On Sunday October 6, 2003 a group of us set out to skate the LB Marathon course. Overall the course is in great shape and will be really fun to skate. It is the same course as last year, with one improvement for us. Oh, and some of the worst pavement has be resurfaced! Of course, this is an outdoor event over city streets and even after it is swept there will be pebbles, twigs and a bit of rough pavement here and there so keep your eyes open.
We started out on Shoreline Drive over a dozen of us; the pavement is excellent. We followed the course as best we could, took the bike lane over the Queen’s Way Bridge of course, and we picked up the course again near the Queen Mary at about the three mile mark. This morning there was water across the lanes at Chestnut leading to the bridge. I’ve been told that the city will turn off its watering next weekend and that the local businesses will too.
There’s nice sweeping lefthand turn on a slight downhill with a prevailing tailwind back under the the Queen’s Way Bridge that I really enjoyed. Harbor Scenic Dr. is good right up until the top of the off ramp where it joins Ocean. You are now at the top of the bridge, watch for the expansion joint -- it will be covered with a metal plate as it was last year. The pavement smooths out shortly, about one third of the way down the hill and there is a loooong straight roll out that’s three lanes wide.
The 90 degree right turn onto Magnolia takes you downhill to the downhill Golden Shore off ramp towards the Catalina boat landing. We’ll bear left and follow the road around towards and around the Aquarium. No bricks.
The road takes us back out to the excellent pavement of Shorline Drive. Turn right onto Shoreline Village Dr. and then a quick left to cut through the parking lot. Lots more good pavement.
At the end of the parking lot is a smooth transition up to the bike path. The city of LB has done a great job of making smooth asphalt ramps up and down curbs in addition to patching holes, cracks, rough spots, etc. The bike path is smooth concrete for the next 1.5 miles.
There is a ramp up to the Belmont Pier, at the top make a quick 90 deg left, followed by a quick 90 deg right turn to go down the ramp on the other side. The down ramp is like a sidewalk. Watch for the seams/grooves. Thereis a wide asphalt ramp just over the curb. You’ll want to be at the left approaching the bottom, because we’ll be bearing left to follow a small road between The Belmont Pool on the right and Yankee Doodle’s bar on the left. (Feel free to stop for some refreshment.)
The pavement on the road is good past the right turn at its end as it approaches a parking lot. The pavement there is a bit rougher, the worst spots have been patched, and then the last five feet or so before getting back on the smoooth concrete bike path are a real foot massage. There is actually a good line through there, but you really have to look for it and it may not be worth the effort.
At the end of the bike path we make a 90 deg left onto the near lanes of Ocean. The pavement here is good. From this point on, we have skated virtually all of the course in previous years.
From Ocean we turn onto Termino and go up a short block to Livingston and downhill to Nieto. The pavement is good all the way to Nieto where it turns into concrete with narrow tar snakes. So as you are charging up the hill, mind your feet and you’ll be fine.
There is a sweeping left turn at the bottom of Nieto onto Appian Way. Here the pavement is, mmm, not so good at the right side of the road. I think it’s smoother towards the middle and far side (which we will skate on our return trip).
Once we turn onto Park and then 6th street and on into residential streets, the pavement is very nice.
Here is the change from last year according to Roger who went over the course with Dan earlier this week: instead of turning left onto Colorado as we did last year, and skating up a ways and then making a U-turn (see #22 on the Turn Sheet), we will avoid that by making a right turn (skip to #26). This does make the course a tiny bit shorter, but it will be much nicer and safer to skate.
There used to be a short bit of not-so-good asphalt on Nieto on our way to the Marine Stadium area, but it has be repaved! The pot hole is gone. The long straight through the Marine Stadium has good pavement to the right side.
After that it’s mostly long straights with good to wonderful pavement the rest of the way to the fininsh. I did see three 2-inch wide cuts across the street (for cable?). They are easy to cross, but be mindful of them. Two of these are at the intersection of Ocean and Redondo, one cut on each side of the intersection. The other one was earlier on the course, but I’ve forgotten where. There’s a week to go, and I would not be surprised to find that these cuts to be filled before race day.
Thanks to everyone who joined in the fun this morning. It was a blast having over a dozen of us cruising along chatting about this and that. If you have comments to add, please send them along to me so I can include them in a late week update if needed.
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