I had the pleasure of being in Busselton at the weekend and had the opportunity to try the new bike course first hand. Conditions during the ride were around 25 degrees Celsius and a strong sea breeze at about 25 knots from the south/west. This would be a typical wind direction after midday in Busselton during December when bikes are still out but probably not expected to be quite as strong. It is worth noting the new sections of the bike course are not guarded by the large trees within the Tuart Forrest and the road surface is no where near as smooth as old sections. The new sections include Coast Road, Ludlow road north and Stirling Road.
This is now a two lap 90km course and the first change is Coast road (see turnaround point below). Coast road extends the length along the ocean in a north east direction. It is quite exposed without any shade or cover. This turn around will give you an immediate idea of what is to come for the rest of the lap as up until this point, the wind could have been only from behind.
The course is not quite finished as I had it on good authority from locals the first 1500metres along Ludlow road north (which was very narrow and challenging because of the surface holes) will be resurfaced prior to race day. Pink tags showed the preparation for work along this section.
This road then widened all the way to the turnaround at Peppermint Grove road (below).
It is then back to another new road - Stirling. This is more farm land rather than forest and as such the trip out along it was very fast from the tailwind but lookout when you turn back near Bussel Hwy as this is directly in to the prevailing wind with no cover.
It is then back to Ludlow road north (see surface pic below) before returning to the course from last year along Tuart Drive.
Overall expect this to be a slower bike course to previous years and more challenging with a rougher road surface (on the additional roads) and more exposure to the sun and wind. It will be a great test for strong riders and those that can hold a TT position for the entire 180km with crosswinds. I was also lucky enough to get a training session in along the run course which remains the same 4 laps along the beautiful Busselton coast line! The jetty sometimes never seems to get closer :)