Wednesday, March 4, 2015

2015 Camino Real Double Century

The Planet Ultra Camino Real Double Century is the first Triple Crown Event of the year.

I again staffed the event this year as in years past with my friend and recent tandem stoker Teresa (Tiger) Beck.  We worked at our usual spot located in the San Onofre State Park camping area.
The riders had perfect conditions for the event again this year.
I took some pictures at the start before we headed out on course to our rest stop.

Here are a few of them.
Here they go!

Rolling out at 6:15am

I raced with Luis on The Hoodoo 500 which he did on his fixed gear bike. He was doing this ride on his fixie too!!

Team TnT, from the Hoodo 500,  (Teresa and Teri) with me

John and Vic working hard getting everything ready for the riders.

Kevin was testing out his new leg after varicose vein therapy.

Look who stopped by for a visit. My friend Jim Cook who organizes The White Mountain Double Century

The following Saturday, the 28th, we did the staff ride.

This was my 127th Triple Crown Double Century. I have been doing it a long time and am still feeling great.

 We were pretty nervous about it since there was a serious threat of storms with a pretty nasty forecast including thunderstorms and heavy winds.
We had planned on starting late at about 6:15am and were going to catch up with some of our fellow Adobo Velo Club mates along the course.

We instead, at the last moment and after seeing when the storm was supposed to come in, decided to start around 4:30am. Our idea was to get down the coast and be headed back northbound before the predicted worse weather was supposed to come in during the late afternoon.  

We also, again, brought everything but the kitchen sink on the bike. WE WERE REAL HEAVY…….with the rack on the back of the bike and the bag packed full to the hilt with food and rain gear. We could really feel it on the hills. (I just call it good training)

Part One: Start to Dana Point. Mile 39

It looked very threatening and wet when we started and the wind was blowing like a storm was moving in.
We only had one rider do it with us this year, our friend Eric. It turned out that our other friends decided not to chance it with the forecast.

We rolled out at about 4:45am on a wet course.

It was so nice going that early. We had hardly any traffic which made it much easier handling all the traffic signals going from there and through the Newport Beach area. The worst thing is being on a tandem and up at breakneck speed and have one car set off a traffic signal up ahead. Most of the lights in the area are not on a timer and one car will set the light off.

We rolled through Newport and to PCH really quick and before sunrise and guess what……the wind was coming hard out of the west so we had a tail wind going south.

We made it to Laguna Canyon when it was just getting light to a spectacular sky with beautiful cumulus clouds.
Laguna Hills

Laguna Hills

We had some pretty good luck with the lights going through the Laguna Hills before hitting the coast again and rolling into Dana Point Harbor.

Dana Point Harbor
Part 2: Dana Point to San Onofre State Park. Mile 55

We did not stop and rolled hard up the coast through San Clemente before making our first stop at San Onofre. Teresa’s friend Evan was meeting us there to bring us water and bagels. What a guy.
We stopped to use the bathroom at the campground then rolled to meet him at Las Pulgas Road, the entrance to Camp Pendleton Marine Base.

Taking a break. Tiger with a mouth full of bagel....LOL!

Part 3: San Onofre to Bonsall.  Mile 88

After meeting Evan for Bagels, bananas and water, we entered Interstate 5 for seven miles to Oceanside.
It was a fast cruise up the Hwy in the tailwind although the tail wind didn't help this heavy tandem much. Hardly felt it. At that point we were riding a pretty leisurely 6 hour century pace.
Rolling into Oceanside on Hwy 5

We then connected to the bike path which goes quite a few miles inland from Oceanside.
It was great riding up the San Luis Rey bike path out of Oceanside. We still had a tail wind and averaged close to 20mph on the path while dodging joggers and kids.

We exited as usual at College Blvd for the stroll up River Road and North River Road.

The weather looked threatening off toward the Bonsall area and we started to feel a few drops of rain. We decided that, if we were good on water and feeling good, we would not stop at the usual lunch stop location. We wanted to get to Hwy 395 toward Fallbrook before stopping for water at the gas station there at the bottom of the blazing fast descent.

Part 4: Bansall to Oceanside.  Benet road.   Mile 122

We passed the lunch stop in Bonsall at about 10:30 am feeling great before starting the Circle R climb up toward Lilac Road. We stopped to help one of the locals with a flat tire a little way up the climb. He did not have enough C02 and we loaned him my high pressure pump.
The Circle R climb

Eric looking strong behind us on the Circle R climb. Local guy behind us is the one we helped with his tire.

It was a nice climb and we just paced ourselves. It was a grunt on the heavy tandem but it went good to Lilac road.
Riding in this area is beautiful with some really lovely scenery and homes. We go through this same area on Race across the West, Oceanside Double, Borrego Double and many other rides. Wonderful area to ride!
We flew over the bridge spanning Hwy 15 and flew down Old Hwy 395 to our little stop at the gas station store. STILL NO RAIN!! It did look more threatening though.
We took about a 20 minute break.
Evan, our support driver was going to meet us once we got back to the Mission Viejo area.

Off we went up Old Hwy 395. I think this was the fastest I had ever made this trek up the hwy to Reche Road. We had a tail wind and it was really cool. Most times on this gradual climb we had to contend with heat in this area. I think it was the good company that made it seem fast.
The climb up Reche Road was again challenging as usual on the tandem. Eric just cruised with us and behind us the whole way up. We knew he could have just blown us away any time on this climb. It was good to have his company and we had some great conversations which made the ride go by much faster.

Once we cleared the Fallbrook area, we made a left turn on South Mission road for a great 4 mile descent down to Hwy 76.
We now had a head wind on 76 as we made our way back to Oceanside. We rolled back on to the bike path at College Blvd and again had a good head wind all the way to the check point location at Benet Rd.

Part 5: Benet Rd to San Onofre. Mile 137

We, once again, got on Hwy 76 and cruised into the wind into Oceanside. The wind was coming more out of the South-Southwest now rather than the West as it was in the morning. Could this mean a tailwind going northbound?
We got on Interstate 5 again for 7 miles in Oceanside and guess what……we had a crossing tailwind coming from our left rear. We made it back to Las Pulgas road in Camp Pendleton very quickly.
We rolled into the campground at San Onofre again at about 2:20pm.

Part 6: San Onofre to Trabuco Canyon. Mile 169

San Onofre under a beautiful sky and tailwind.....woo hooo!!

We rolled right through the campground and made a b-line for the Carl’s Jr. restaurant in San Clemente.
We grabbed some solid food and had a coke. We took about a 30 minute break then hit the road again.

We still had a tail wind and plenty of light and it looked like we may get through and out of Trabuco Canyon before complete darkness which would be nice.

The sky was spectacular as we cruised through San Juan Capistrano to Ortega Hwy and Antonio Parkway.
Antonio Parkway is a 10 mile climb that starts off with a pretty good grade (for a tandem). It takes us up into Ranch Santa Margarita at the foot of the Santa Ana Mountains and Santiago Peak. If we were going to get rain, this is where I expected it.
We told our friend Julie Stokes who lives in the area, that we would be rolling through there and she said she was going to see us somewhere along the course. We were about halfway up the climb when we saw her jumping around up ahead and waving to us. When we got up there we noticed she had coffee and French fries. What a girl!! 

We stopped and chatted, ate some fries, drank some coffee and headed on up the road as it was starting to get cold.
We stopped again in Santa Margarita where Evan had some water and cinnamon rolls for us before he headed home. Oh those were good……Thanks Evan!! We were all stocked up and put our warm outer layers on for the cccccoldddd descent into Trabuco/Live Oak Canyon.
We had plenty of light as we headed down into the canyon but it was cold.

Final section: Trabuco Canyon to the finish. Mile 169 to mile 195

We rolled very fast through the cold canyon before starting the climb out toward Cooks Corner and Santiago Canyon. Evan was driving support for us until we got out of the canyon and waited for us up at the summit.
The first time I did this climb on the tandem years ago with my brother in law Vince, it seemed tough. Now.....I am so used to it that is somehow does not seem that bad. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Teresa and I have been tackleing some very tough ones in the last few years.
We rolled over the top with Evan snapping a picture of us as it was getting close to dark. 

Climbing out of the canyon just before dark. The reflectors I put on the spokes work pretty good!!

Summit of Trabuco/Live Oak Canyon. It was actually much lighter than it looks. 
We flew down to the bottom and turned right on Santiago Canyon. We geared down and cruised up to the first summit before some real nice descending and minor climbs before reaching Jamboree Road for the left turn.
A couple of turns and we were back on Sand Canyon and rolling the final few miles to the finish.

We rolled back into the hotel parking lot at about 7:20 pm.

A perfect day on the tandem with no major storms like predicted. I guess our prayers were answered.

Here is the Garmin data from the ride with all the stats:

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