The Camino Real Double, starting in Irvine, CA, was the first double of the season and it started out wet. It rained all night before and the weather forecast was not good for the day. I took advantage of the early start and started at 5:30am, the mass start was at 6:15. I didnít any of the usual suspects I ride with during most of the doubles I ride. The first 9 miles are downhill and fast, but being in a city there are traffic lights to slow you down. Then it was time to start doing some climbing and working our way to the beach. Once we were on PCH we started working our way south through Laguna Beach, Dana Point, San Clemente and as far south as Oceanside.
Along the way there was a mini stop at Dana Point for water and limited snacks and a full rest stop at a campground south of San Clemente. While I was at the rest stop in the campground it started to rain. It didnít look like it was going to be a very hard rain so I did put my rain jacket on opting to just us the light jacket I had on already. I left the rest stop heading south towards Oceanside with one major obstacle in the way, a 7 mile ride down I-5. It was now pouring down rain, so much for not raining hard, and the traffic didnít slow down for the rain. I hooked-up with a rider to try get through this section a little faster, but couldnít stay behind him because of the rooster tail he was throwing up. Finally the off ramp for Oceanside appeared and off I-5 we went.
Once youíre in Oceanside itís time to head east to the lunch stop on the round-about way to Fallbrook and Bonsall. When you leave Oceanside its 7 miles on a bike path before getting back on the roads. I figured this way safest section of the ride since I had just been on I-5 in pouring down rain with traffic going 70+ mph, wrong. As I was about to leave the path I went under a bridge and made a right turn. There stopped in the middle of my lane was a jogger. I grabbed my brakes and being wet they didnít stop all that well. He never moved and I couldnít maneuver around him since I was now skidding. I hit him dead center, I didnít knock him down if fact he help hold me up since I didnít even have time to unclip and get a foot down. Neither one of us was hurt and all we did was just look at each other.
Lunch was the usual Subway sandwiches, sodas, chips, snacks and a few minutes of the bike. Right after lunch starts some major climbing and it is always fun with full stomach. The climb didnít seem that bad this year and I was up over it quickly. I was headed back to Oceanside after Bosall when the afternoon head winds kicked in. I hooked up with 2 other riders and we pace lined to Oceanside.
On its time to get back on I-5 and head north, but this time no rain, just fast cars. I got back to the rest stop in the campground south of San Clemente and saw some friends who were working the stop, Lynn and John. As I was putting my lights on my bike the weather didnít look that good. I left the rest stop headed to San Clemente and by the time I got there it started to rain. I did even have time to get my rain jacket out before it was a downpour and I was soaked. Within minutes the roads were flooded and then it started to hail, ouch that hurt, the hail was the size of large peas. I was riding on flood roads with cars slashing water on me in pouring down rain, fun. To top it off the temperature dropped and it was getting cold as the sun was setting.
I was now working my way back to Irvine in the rain, cold and dark through I donít know how many towns. The towns all run together and it is hard to tell when you go from one to another. I was getting tired and just before the last rest stop I found a Jack in the Box and stopped and had a burger, fries and a coke. I dropped down a hill to the last rest stop, checked in and quickly left for the final 25 miles. This ride is back loaded with most of the big climbs at the end. The climbs are through dark rural areas on roads with no shoulders. I finally found some friend on a tandem that I had been looking for all day and was able to ride in with them. At time when we were coming down some of the hills it was raining so hard that the rain hurt our face as it hit you.
We finished the ride fifteen minute before the cutoff time wet, it had rained for the last 6 hours and cold, the temp was 40 degrees for most of that time. Now it was off for a warm shower and some food.