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July 21, 2008

The View From My Office: Juyongguan Great Wall

During the Olympics, I’ll be working with photographers at the Road Cycling Course (CRC) venue, answering whatever questions they may have. Several days ago, I visited the starting line of the CRC, but for the first time in Olympic history, the race does not run in a complete loop -- the finish line, located at Juyongguan Great Wall, is 78.8 km from the starting point. Most of my time will be spent in the photo workroom, located just off the press workroom seen below. There will be 30 stations for photographers in the photo workroom with 18 large equipment lockers, and 126 stations for media in the press workroom. Both workrooms are located in a four-star hotel at Juyongguan, and are spacious and well lit. Wired Internet connections, cable television (with CNN, BBC, and for whatever reason -- HBO), mobile phone charging stations (compatibility details to come later), copy machines, snacks and beverages will be available in the workrooms.

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This is by far one of the most scenic venues, and photographers will be able to shoot the race with the Great Wall of China as their backdrop. I climbed the Wall (about 50 minutes to the top) to see if I’d be able to get a nice overall view of the finish line and venue complex, but the view is obstructed and the hike involves steep stairs and narrow passageways -- I couldn’t imagine hauling equipment up there without a lot of help (and plenty of water). Several of the photo positions -- seen at the bottom right of the image below -- are right by the finish line, but don’t provide for much of a view. Other positions are available and photographers may be able to shoot from open seats in the stands as well. There are a total of 132 photo positions at the starting point (near the Temple of Heaven in Beijing) and 120 at the finish line.

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While not designated as a photo position, a short walk beyond the entrance to the Great Wall will bring you to a section of the wall (seen below) that will offer a great view of the athletes as they approach Juyongguan. If the Wall is accessible during the race, there will be plenty of time to reposition while cyclists complete several laps before finishing the race.

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Zach Honig

The official word from the cycling folks is that all public information is currently available on the CRC website -- http://en.beijing2008.cn/sports/cyclingroad -- which implies that the course has not yet been made public. What I can tell you is that it winds through the streets of Beijing, passing the Temple of Heaven and Forbidden City (these would make great backdrops), before heading to the Great Wall via the Badaling Expressway (which will be closed during the race).

Zach Honig

I haven't been able to get anything yet -- but I have a couple pending emails so hopefully I'll have something soon.

Zach

Joel

How about the course for the 2007 "practice" race?

Thanks for your site!

Zach Honig

Thanks for the comments :)
I'm not sure if the road race course map has been made public yet -- I'll see if I can ask tomorrow.

Joel

Where can a street map of the course be found?

Dave Eulitt

Zach;

Your blog is providing some fantastic information for those of us who haven't arrived yet...I appreciate the work you're putting into your blog. It's like have a scout team in Beijing!

David Eulitt
Kansas City Star
Mizzou 1988

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