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!
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 ¾ 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.