Monday, March 23, 2009

Around the Bay: Route

As I've yet to find an official elevation plot of the route, I took the provided maps and manually drew the route out in RunSaturday's mapper to extract as much of the information as I can get. This isn't a perfect solution, as the elevation box is pretty small and trying to figure out detailed grades for each of the hills is largely impractical, but I'll take what I can get as I'm not aware of an easier way to obtain the data that I'm looking for. Further, as the provided maps have very little detail, it's difficult to tell exactly where the path will take us (I know which roads, but not details like which side of the road, nor how intersections, aide stations and relay points are handled, etc.) so at best it's a rough approximation.

Either way, it's what I've got so I'll have to plan around it one way or the other ;) The route itself goes around Hamilton Harbour, passing through Burlington at about the 19km mark. The first portion of the race is relatively flat, with the Burlington portion (approximately 19-28km) having a number of substantial hills. The plot of the route that I made up is available at the following link:

Using the elevation tool, I extracted the rough size, climb and grade of each of the major hills and have placed it below. Note that these were extracted from a relatively small anti-aliased graph (403x153px), so the values (especially for the shorter hills) are not particularly precise.

The other catch is that these elevation values are usually extracted from topographic maps, which don't always capture the details of landscaped paths (ie a gradual man-made ramp may simply appear as a sheer drop). As such, some of the finer points (especially at the ~26-27km region) may not be as bad as the plots indicate.

Location Length Rise/Fall Grade
8.4km-10.2km 1800m -18.7m -1.0%
17.8km-19.3km 1500m +14.3m +0.9%
19.3km-19.8km 500m -10.8m -2.1%
19.8km-20.5km 700m +8.7m +1.2%
20.7km-21.1km 400m +14.7m +3.6%
21.7km-22.7km 1000m +16.5m +1.7%
22.7km-22.9km 200m -4.3m -2.2%*
22.9km-23.8km 900m +11.7m +1.3%
23.8km-24.1km 300m -2.2m -0.7%*
24.1km-24.2km 100m +4.3m +4.3%*
24.2km-24.6km 400m -4.3m -1.1%
24.6km-24.9km 300m +3.0m +1.0%*
24.9km-25.7km 800m -35.2m -4.4%
25.7km-26.1km 400m +10.0m +2.5%
26.2km-26.4km 200m +27.0m +13.5%*
26.4km-27.5km 1100m -20.4m -1.9%
27.5km-27.6km 100m +17.9m +17.9%*
27.6km-27.7km 100m -8.3m -8.3%*
27.7km-28.5km 800m +17.8m +2.2%
28.5km-30.0km 1500m -11.3m -0.8%

* The provided elevation profile is scaled such that one pixel is equal to about 109m, and adding in anti-aliasing effects these values likely carry a margin of error of about +/-150m. As such, any values above marked with an asterisk are within that margin of error so they carry a significant amount of uncertainty.

Looking things over, the route doesn't look too bad at this juncture. There are a few extremely steep hills, however they are (a) relatively short and (b) the uncertainty generated by the plot makes it hard to gauge if they actually are as bad as they look on the plot. I'll have to play around with the various mapping programs that I have to see if I can get more detail out of this. Alternately, I'll also be searching various blogs to see if I can find anyone who has run this before and posted detailed recorded telemetry.

Edit (25/03/2009): After a little more digging I found a map of the route with a detailed elevation plot (via that appears to be more accurate than what I made up. In addition to a larger (and cleaner) diagram, this site also allows you to download the raw elevation data in a .csv file for more detailed analysis. As this post has attracted a lot of search traffic, it looks like a lot of others are looking for the same information ;) Either way, I've posted a detailed look at this data (including a link to the site) in 'Around the Bay: Route (Revisited)'.

Edit (30/03/2009): After actually running the race yesterday, I made some minor updates to the map to reflect the actual path of the run vs. what the provided maps displayed. Most of the course was pretty much correct, however the route into Copps was a little off. I also updated the final path along York Blvd, as the course stayed within lane two of the eastbound side of the road. Unfortunately, the rain during the race resulted in noisy altimeter readings so I can't really provide a refined elevation plot, however if you exclude some of the wild swings above the overall path is about right.

Edit (02/04/2009): Thanks to data provided by a fellow blogger, I've posted an accurate recording of the course elevation in 'Around the Bay: Elevation'. Please see that article for more detail about the vertical component of this route ;)

1 comment:

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