Tuesday, November 3, 2015

2015 Oceanside Double Century

Elevation Profile

This is a great double century course. It is virtually the same course as The Borrego Double Century with a couple alterations, but the event starts in Oceanside which is usually the lunch stop on Borrego.

I rolled out with the first group at 4:30 in the morning to take part in the group picture by Oceanside Pier.

The majority of the riders started early.

Part one: Start to check point #1. Escondido                                        0-34.5 miles

We rode along the beach for a couple miles before we turned on to Pacific Coast Hwy for a jaunt of about 9 miles into the Carlsbad area.
It was great riding along the coast in the wee hours of the morning. No cars, just a few surfers out getting ready to head into the water at first light. It was very warm out and clear with no wind. Last year we had a rain squall come through right about the time the ride started and heavy rain at the end of the event.

Rolling on the coast


Heading east on an empty road.
A small group of us stayed together along the coast and to our first turn which was east on Encinitas Blvd. We had a nice little group going and all stayed together and were making a pretty good pace as the climbing started right off the coast.

We were all in a nice single line climbing Del Dios Hwy next to Lake Hodges at about mile 27 when the unthinkable happened!!

Our group was rear ended by a hit and run driver!!

I was up front with Jeff Dewey and Dave Elsberry when I heard the large unmistakable sound of a bike being hit by a car.
In a split second I was slammed to ground hard!! I had another rider on top of me and I couldn’t move at all.
 It happened so fast that I didn’t know if the car had hit me or if the guy on top of me was hit. Then I saw his bike. The rear wheel was just folded. He was obviously hit by the bumper of the car in the rear wheel.

My friend Roland was a few yards behind our lead group when it happened and he saw the whole thing transpire. Here, in his words is how he saw it:

I was riding in a group of very experienced riders, Steve Meichtry, Jeff Dewey, Dave Elsberry, Jim Malone and two more riders unknown to me. Jim and I were riding about 60 feet behind the rest of the group as an older dark red or brown car passed us and moved into the bike lane right in front of us. What happened next seemed to take forever even though it was probably only a couple of seconds. In disbelief I watched the car bulldozing through the group of riders. It looked and sounded horrible. The car was not moving very fast even though this is a 45 mph highway (maybe faster?). That driver was either distracted, drunk or did it on purpose. The group was well lit and everybody was in the bike lane. There was simply no reason to hit them. I saw one rider flying through the air over the back of the car. I thought for sure he would never walk again. To my surprise he was already standing when I reached the group a few seconds later. Apparently he landed on top of Steve. That may have prevented more serious injuries. We found some parts of the car laying on the street. The right front light and bumper are damaged for sure."

Photos courtesy of Dave Elsberry

Photos courtesy of Dave Elsberry

Photos courtesy of Dave Elsberry

The man who was hit was bleeding profusely from his head but he really didn’t look too bad other than that. We both got untangled and stood up. He sat on the guard rail and someone called 911 immediately. I very slowly got up not knowing if I was really hurt bad or not. I moved all the appendages and they all seemed to be working. Blood was running down my leg from my knee and I could feel that the knee took a good hit. My elbow was covered by my arm warmer but I could tell it was bleeding underneath. I thought I was done for the day and that my bike must be destroyed.
 Well……everything with my steed was ok except the rear wheel. I must have protected the bike with my body when I went down.
I could not even move the rear wheel. I thought that spokes must have been destroyed when I was hit. To my surprise, the wheel just had been hit so hard that it went out of true. My friend Jeff, who saved my ride on the Mulholland Double a couple years ago by helping with my wheel, was able to help me true the wheel enough so it would not rub on the brakes when the calipers were full open.
We waited around for the paramedics to arrive and check on our friend who was hit by the car. They got him in the ambulance and were off.

We would find out later that he was OK and didn’t have to be admitted. That was great to hear. We were all very lucky.

Jeff, Dave and I continue on up the road. Everything seemed to be working OK except my knee did not feel quite right. I could not pull up on the pedal with the right leg during the pedal stroke.
With about 170 miles left to ride on the event, I was hoping that his would work its way out.

Dave kept going when we got to check point #1 at San Disguitas Park in the Escondido area. I filled up with water, talked to friends for a while and then cleaned up my wound. It still looked pretty bad. I opted to leave it open since it was already starting to scab over quickly. 

Part 2:  Escondido to Inaija Park in Santa Ysabel. The pie stop.                        34.5-66 miles

Now we made our way to Ramona. We rolled out of town and into the countryside. We cruised passed the San Diego Wild Animal Park area before starting the long climb to Ramona.
Heading toward Ramona

 Although we had a few easy climbs thus far, this was the first climb with any substance. Just before getting there, my pump fell off my bike. I had to ride back for a while and then I found it in the grass by the side of the road.
Now I had to play catch-up which wasn’t fun with my bum knee.
I started the climb at a nice easy pace and kept it steady. I caught up with Jeff and Roland about halfway up and we rolled into Ramona together.
Jeff and Roland climbing to Ramona
Leaving Ramona we turned on Old Julian Hwy. This is a really nice climb of about 8 miles. Very little traffic and very picturesque.

We turned right on Hwy 76 toward Santa Ysabel and Julian. Now it was climbing once again until we reached Santa Ysabel.
Getting close to the pie stop.....drooling.....only a few short miles up the hill

Just a short climb and we were at check point #2 on the climb to Julian. I rolled into the park and by the time I got there everyone already knew about the accident thanks to social media.
 Now for some Julian Apple Pie!!!

Part 3:  Check point #2 to Lunch in Borrego Springs.                                          66-104.5 miles

Now came the long climb to Julian, the third substantial climb of the day. This was a beautiful climb. They changed the course this year and we took a road on the outskirts of the Hwy through all the ranch areas. It was beautiful and much nicer than the original route on the Borrego Double and last year’s Oceanside event. I hope they keep this section in the ride. It was more difficult but very quiet and rural. We all loved it!!

Heading up the hill on the outskirts of Julian
One thing that was different this year on this course is that we had a head wind most of the way thus far. It wasn’t a strong one but a headwind just the same. There was a mild Santa Ana condition forecast and we were getting it. This was actually a good thing except for the next section. Banner Grade.

For those who have not seen it from last year, here is the video I took while descending the grade on the tandem. I was not able to video this year on the steeper part of the grade because my helmet mount was damaged in the accident. (it was in my pocket on the camera when I fell and cracked)

Banner grade is a blast. 18.4 miles of mostly descending to Yaqui Pass. It’s about a 2,800 foot descent but we had a head wind much of the way down which slowed us down a little bit.
Quynh looking good on Banner Grade

The amazing Quynh

We reached Yaqui Pass for a short climb and then another nice descent into Borrego Springs. Every time I have done this course on either of the events, we had a very strong, blasting, headwind going the final 7 miles into town.  It’s brutal.
Jeff Dewey descending into Borrego Springs
This year we miraculously had a tail wind. It was fantastic but I knew that this was going to make for a very hot and toasty climb up Montezuma after lunch.

I rolled into lunch feeling pretty good. My knee was still feeling a little bit out of whack and I think it was effecting my other leg since I was favoring the injured one.

Part 4: Borrego Springs to Lake Henshaw.                                                         104-5-136.2 miles

I had a couple sodas as well as a great sandwich at lunch and then hit the road with my friend Q’s (which is short for Quynh, pronounced Quinn), and Roland. I saw a bunch of my Adobo Velo friends at lunch and hoped to catch up to them. They are a great and fun group to ride with on these events.

It was in the 90’s as we started the long climb up Montezuma Grade. This is the longest climb of the event and a beast. 11 miles and it climbs from about 580 feet above sea level to about 4,200 feet. That’s a whopping 3,600 feet in 11 miles in 90+ degree temps with a tail wind and no air.
I was praying that it would be cooling off as we ascended.

Right off the bat I started having trouble with my left leg…..not the damaged leg. I had been favoring the right leg so much that I started getting some weird cramps on my inner thigh of the left leg. I had to stop 5 times on the way up. I went through close to 100 Oz. of water on the first two thirds of the climb and was praying that there would be a water stop along the climb somewhere. My prayers were answered as I came around one corner and ran out of water……or was it a mirage?
Halleluia……It was my Adobo Velo friend Jet and I was saved. He was almost out of water but gave me what he had and a can of coconut water……ohhhh……that was good.
Quynh climbing Montezuma

Kirsten Fancy-K climbing Montezuma

Looking down at Borrego Springs. 1/3 of the way up.

The temperature on my Garmin registered a maximum temperature on the tarmac of 103 degrees. Luckily it did cool off after the first half of the climb.

I rolled over the top and into the little town of Ranchita where there was a water stop.

Julius, Francis and Dante in Ranchita with the Yeti/Sasquatch

I topped off my camel-bac and my bottles and bombed down the hill toward the next check point in Lake Henshaw.
I really made up a lot of time on the descent and I knew I must be catching Quyhn, Jeff and Roland. Then I got a flat tire about 2/3 of the way down. It took me a while to fix it but not too long.

A big group of my Adobo Velo friends were at the water stop in Ranchita and they passed me when I was fixing my flat.

After fixing the tire and as I rolled toward the lake I could see that I was catching them. I got to about 1/8 of a mile from them when I reached the next check point.
Lake Henshaw

Lake Henshaw is on the south-east side of Mount Palomar. It is a really nice area and I had been by here on many events over the years.

I took a nice long break here with my Adobro’s. They had some really good homemade soup here…..yum.

Ohhh......that soup was good

Part 5:  Lake Henshaw to the Pauma Valley.                                                136.2-155.5 miles

I rolled out of the check point with my friends Francis, Julius and Dante plus a few more Adobo friends. It was a nice and very quick stretch around the foot of Mount Palomar with the guys until we had to climb out of the canyon.

My leg started bothering me again so I slowed way down and let them go. Once I got to the summit for the descent into the valley I bombed down and almost caught them before the next stop. I rolled into the smoothie stop (yogurt, strawberry smoothies are served here), right behind them.

Mmmmm....home made smoothies

Part 6:  Pauma Valley to Hwy 76 in Bonsall                                                        155.5-179.6 miles

Now came a very tough climb………COLE GRADE!! This climb is a beast with 155 miles in your legs. It’s not super long but VERY steep! It was a grunt with my leg to say the least. We pretty much stayed together as the sun set and it was pretty dark once we reached the top.

We rolled through Valley Center for the cruise through the ever confusing Lilac and West Lilac road area. For those who have done events in this area you know what I mean.

We made the turn on Lilac Road and were rolling along at a good clip when there was a Y in the road. My Garmin was telling me to go straight and that the right turn was a few miles up the road. I was out front and leading the group. They whistled from behind and said we were supposed to go right there. We were all tired. I thought maybe the mileage on my computer was off but I should have trusted it. We ended up going right……down a long descent and then ended up at a dirt road which dead ended into some houses. It was the wrong way. We had to climb back up to Lilac and go straight and my computer agreed telling me I was back on course with a nice long beep.

A few miles ahead we came to the turn to stay on Lilac and rolled through the hills the rest of the way to our next check point without incident. We made it through that section much faster than I did in the rain last year on the tandem with my friend Teresa.

I wasn’t going to stop at the check point but the food was so good that I made a nice long stop there with my friends. Adobo Velo was there manning it and had soup plus sausages with rice. It was soooooo good!!
15 miles to go and feeling good. It was pouring rain here last year by the buckets

Part 7:  The finish stretch.                                                                                             180-194 miles

We rolled out of there and flew down the Hwy toward Oceanside. The final stretch of the ride is about 7 or so miles on the San Luis Rey bike path into Oceanside. We flew down the path to the coast and the finish having it all to ourselves. It was so nice having no cars to worry about.

We rolled into the finish at 9pm for a nice lasagna dinner.

I can’t believe that I actually finished that last 170 miles after the hit and run! I had serious doubts along the way with the feelings in my injured leg.

Here is a compilation video of the entire event:

A big thanks go out to all my friends who had so much concern about how I was doing during and after the event. It could have been much worse but I truly believe we had Angels watching over us.

Thanks to Jeff Dewey for helping me repair my wheel at the accident site. It would have taken me much longer to true it up.
A big thanks to my friends Roland and his wife Nicole who offered to bring me a wheel at one of the upcoming checkpoints so I could finish if the wheel went bad. ( luckily it lasted the whole ride)

Thanks Quyhn for the hotel and dinner!

The volunteers on the event were fantastic and thank you very much for supporting us all.

Last but not least……A big Kudos and thanks to Anny Beck and the staff at Mountain High Cycling.  You guys put on a great event.

Computer data from the ride:

  • 197.5mi
  • 13:49:59
     Moving Time
  • 15,161ft

Elapsed Time16:33:22

No comments:

Post a Comment