Editor's Note:Our San Francisco correspondent and triathlete Ben Klau is getting ready to once again Escape from Alcatraz. He sent us this pre-race report.
For the first time in weeks, the seven day forecast for San Francisco contains no rain, and that includes what look to be ideal race weather, a low of 51 and a high of 75, for the 30th Escape from Alcatraz triathlon being held this Sunday.
I got my last pre-race swim in this afternoon at Aquatic Park, the protected cove at the west end of Fisherman's Wharf. Despite the white caps in front of "The Rock", conditions inside Aquatic Park were pretty similar to what I've experienced in past Escapes -- winds out of the west and continuous rolling waves which make it necessary to sight on landmarks above the waterline as opposed to on it. Current water temps are about 55 degrees, a bit colder than last year's Escape, which was held in June. Definitely wetsuit weather except for the truly brave (or maybe slightly insane).
Earlier in the week I hit the run course, which has a few changes from last year due to some restoration work on the bluffs after you pass under the Golden Gate Bridge. The first few steps of the infamous sand ladder are in a bit of disrepair (rumor is that the Parks department might have a plan for its ultimate removal), and about 3/4 of the way up the ladder the rails are nearly completely buried under the dune, making a difficult climb even more of a challenge.
On my way home I drove by Marina Green, the nexus for Saturday's expo and Sunday's race. The transition area is all set up and awaiting the arrival of some 2000 athletes, as are the grandstands and finish area.
Tents for the expo and the main stage were under construction as of Thursday evening. Although things were quiet today, it promises to be an exciting weekend!