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  • After crossing I-5 from Del Mar Beach, you turn left onto Vandegrift Blvd. and go down the hill to Stuart Mesa Rd. This is one of the last times your legs won't hurt - enjoy it!

    On Wednesdays, the light at Vandegrift Blvd. and Stuart Mesa Rd. signal the start of the Wednesday Ride. On May 20, 2000, it will signal the first of two tough loops on your bike. Now take the left and follow along . . .

    Only a half mile or so after taking the left on to Stuart Mesa Rd., "The Hill" stares you in the face. Not intimidating by Lanzarote standards, this bump will be noticed by your legs the second time around (if not the first). On Wednesdays, the top is the place to put the hammer down.

    The second hill of significance on the coastal section of the course comes about 3-3.5 miles after "The Hill". It comes after a nice little down hill which flattens for about 300-400 meters before climbing a bit farther than you thought it would when you first saw it from afar.

    The same second hill viewed about 1/2 way up looking back. Note that you've turned inland (that's the ocean in the background). Paula Newby-Fraser (front left) stays in the saddle for this one.

    After the second hill of the coastal section flattens out and turns North again, you'll come across some tanks and an obstacle course on your right. Bob "Adventure Bob" Shultz and Paula N-F cruise along in the presence of . . . Tanks?!


    Ironman California Bike Course (part 4)

    For those who ride between Oceanside and San Clemente, California, the first 15 or so miles of the Ironman California bike course will be familiar territory. After the course leaves Del Mar Beach on the West side of Interstate 5, it takes a left on Vandegrift Blvd. (on the East side of I-5) for about a mile down a fun descent to Stuart Mesa Rd. On race day, we're told that this descent will go left on the West side of the PX / Commissary and come back out onto Vandegrift to avoid military shoppers on Saturday morning - a road specially built for this event. For those who take part in the infamous Wednesday Ride, this is where the ride really starts. Only of a mile after taking the left on to Stuart Mesa Rd., you're faced with the 400-600meter climb up "the hill in Camp Pendleton". The top of this rise usually signals the start of some very fast riding on Wednesdays and on May 20th in 2000 will indicate to many athletes how their legs are feeling. While it's not as long or steep a hill as some of the others on the inland section, it will, nonetheless, get everyone's attention (especially the second time around).

    After this hill, come two more somewhat significant "descents" and "rises" before you reach Las Pulgas Rd. The first of these comes after a fast 2.5-3 mile section. The road does a nice drop allowing riders to pick up speed onto a flat 300-400 meter stretch before doing a gradual but longer than it looks, rise that seems to keep on rising as you approach the top. At the top, you've turned East and have to bend left again back into what will probably be a prevailing wind out of the North West. The flat-ish section after this climb goes about 1.5 to 2 miles with some tanks and an obstacle course on your right (the first of a few) and takes a nice, fast down hill that is a little faster than the first and runs out for about a half mile to Las Pulgas Rd. This intersection signals the only out & back section of the bike course. Wednesday Riders normally turn left here and exit the camp but, on race day, athletes will turn right and head inland approximately 2 miles of very gradual up-hill before turning around and coming back to the Las Pulgas gate exit.

    Does any of this mean anything to you? Are you really trying to get an idea of what the course is like? The best idea is to come out and actually ride it.