Pictures of Cali 70.3 Bike Course
Posted By: KP
Date: Monday, 3 March 2008, at 12:36 p.m.
On Saturday, I rode from San Diego, north to Oceanside. My ride takes me over a lot of the Cali 70.3 bike course so I snapped some shots.
I'll give some context to each image in the space above the picture.
The first picture was taken by riding out toward the boat launch in the harbor. You are looking down the ramp you will use to walk into the water. Once waist deep, you take the plunge and wade out and to left of that small boat where you will line up to start in waves separated by 5min. Get in early and get used to the water temps so you will be able to breath over the first 50m of the race. The 5 freeway is right behind the trees in the background and the endtrance to Camp Pendleton is between the water and the freeway. Transition is to the left of the boat ramp as you enter the water // to the right as you exit.
In the other direction is your first view as you pedal or run out of T1 and T2. On the bike (where you see distant cars) you will turn left toward the 5 freeway and Camp P. On the run you will go straight into Oceanside, the boardwalk and then residential roads. The dreaded soft sand was at the end of that long road, but it was been removed from the course last year.
Within 3min of leaving transition you pass Joe's Crab Shack and see the pic below. It is the last thing you see before entering Camp Pendleton. This little hill doesn't look like much from this angle. However, it's the same rise that IM.com has on it's front picture of the race. There you'll see riders out of the saddle to get up over this blip. Get into your SCR and your smallest cog. I can't get over this without putting out 430 watts in my 39/27.
After passing through the Del Mar Beach area on base you leave offices, barracks and buildings. You'll pass behind the commissary, drop down a short hill on Vandegrift and turn left onto Stuart Mesa. Some athletes will be breathing too hard and will need to relax over this short gradual climb. The ocean water is cold and blood will still be in the upper body as you climb. Relax. Once over this rise, you will be able to get aero for a bit. The road then turns left out toward the ocean before you head up coast into what is usually a headwind/crosswind at about 10-15mph (typical). Stronger riders will be able to stay aero for most of the next 10 miles. Others will alternate up and down, using gears. I would control power spikes over the first hour of this course.
During this flat stage of the ride you will pass through parts of the base used for work and 'play' by the men and women of the Marine Corps.
I love those guys and appreciate access to the base each time I enter.
About 10 miles into the upcoast ride you will come to Las Pulgas. The picture below is the road you will turn right onto for the 4 mile out and 4 mile back part of the course. it is fast out with wind at your back and a bit slower with wind in your face coming back. Looking off in the distance you can see a dip in the hills. That is about 8 miles out. If you rode all the way out there you would hit Basilone. Las Pulgas T-Bones Basilone and you will be at the spot you descend one of the back climbs and staring at another to your right. You won't see that on the out and back as you only go half ay across; but fear not; you will see it later up close and personal.
Over my shoulder is this view that you see after coming back out of Las Pulgas. You turn right, go over that small rise and exit the camp down a short hill.
Then take a hard right and head up coast again.
Going up the coast and after a short section of very bumpy road that makes New Zealand seem smooth, you'll see this smooth Harrier landing strip. It is a false flat that has you riding into a breezy headwind. Your avg speed may drop 3-5mph here. Looking off in the distance about 10 miles is the first short steep climb (San Mateo). You will turn inland to get to it. It's only .6 miles long or 1k. Having a 27 might come in handy there.
Here is a closer view of the first climb from the ocean side of the course. You will climb the other side.
Before you get to one of the faster flatter sections of the course you get off the airstrip and go under a small bridge. It will be clean and smoothest if you ride where a tire would, not down the middle. Note the sign about tanks and tactical sh*t. Gotta love this course! That is the ocean on the other side of the bridge. Coming up is one of the beautiful parts of the course and coastline. California before Californication.
The State Park starts about two miles after the bridge and is fast & flat. It just keeps going like the shot below for longer than seems reasonable. When I was riding two weeks ago with a friend from Vancouver she said "that is the longest park I have ever seen". It is pretty cool.
As you exit the park you will enter the San Onofre area. There are the two large energy buildings to your left and then one of the more famous surfing areas in the world pictured below -- Trestles. Surfers from all over make their way here to what is a treasure.
This teenage gal had just spent hours surfing in ocean water sporting high 50s temps. Surfers are a hearty breed. Winter here gets cold cold cold when you are in the water. The women remind me a lot of the gals I ride with. Confident, comfortable with the boys and not to be pushed around. Surfing is like basketball or triathlon or any other sport. The cats that spend all their time at it, dominate. Simple formula. This gal walked miles to get to this spot and is walking miles to get home. I know because when I was having a quintuple espresso with a bear claw way up the road, she came walking by. Classic SoCal.
The next pick is after the bike path up out of trestles. You turn right onto Christianitos, cross the freeway and ride inland to ward the first climb we saw earlier. The Christianitos gate onto the base is up and down this road about 6 miles inland. The picture is taken at mile 22 of the course. You will be at mile 31 when you hit the San Mateo climb. The next two climbs are a bit longer and not as steep. Then the course has some fast downhill rollers that take you out to helicopter landing area and Vandegrift road.
The intersection below is at the corner of Stuart Mesa to the left (one of the first pics and looking back up Vandegrift. So you are back near where you started via a large loop that went inland. From the helo-port out Vandegrift is the 8 miles to transition. It is a bit of a wind tunnel formed by canyon walls as you head back to the coast. Save some gas for this part of the course or you will see major slowing and a dent put into your run plans. Strong, smart riders will make hay hear on their competition. Not because they out work them, but because they were smarter earlier and aren't seeing falling watts/HRs.
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