Saturday, June 25, 2011
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At 53 years old, the LA Wheelmens’ Grand Tour is the “Grand Daddy” of all Double Centuries. They offer five different routes; the Double Metric Century, the Lowland Double, the HighlandDouble, the Triple Century and the Quadruple Century.
The Lowland covers 200 miles with 5200′ of elevation gain. Regardless of the minimal amount of climbing, you would still need to cover the distance; 200 miles is still 200 miles. There is a very generous time limit of 24 hours with six checkpoints (CP).
The start/finish takes place at the WebsterSchool in Malibu. The route takes us north on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) to Port Hueneme and Oxnard, inland to Camarillo and Moorpark, back towards the coast at San Buenventura (Ventura), inland again to Casitas Springs, Oak View and Ojai, then back to the coast at Rincon Point before heading south along PCH back to Malibu. We ride through Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa BarbaraCounties.
We check out from the school at 5:15 AM, temp is 59F. We head out to Civic Center Dr and Malibu Canyon Rd to PCH. We stay on PCH for the next 25.7 miles; there are several climbs out to Central Malibu before reaching the flats along the coast. The coastal fog is keeping the temps at a low and provides us with a bit of mist. I like to take in that very distinctive “salt in the air” smell of the ocean. It really wakes you up!
At 6:15 AM, there are already a lot of surfers taking their spots along the beach and in the water. We also ride with Steve Sawyer, a SoCal GPC member whom we’ve met before on a previous Grand Tour.
We exit PCH at Las Posas Rd to Naval Air Rd which takes us pass Point Mugu Naval Base. The next 4.8 miles along Hueneme Rdis totally agricultural land. There are strawberry fields, flower nurseries, sod farms, a variety of vegetable fields and citrus orchards. We continue on Ventura Rd to Park Ave.
We reach CP#1 at Port HuenemeCommunity Center at 7:23 AM, mile 35. We say “hi” to Veronica and Ken S.
We go around the block on Bard and J St to Pleasant Valley Rd. We stay on PleasantValley for the next 12 flat miles. The first few miles is through a residential area with an oddly located small Chinese cemetery. That is followed by more agricultural farmland. I can instantly smell the sweetness of strawberries in the air. There are fields and fields of strawberries, cabbage, red and green varieties of swiss chard and more citrus orchards.
PleasantValley becomes Santa Rosa Rd just before crossing the freeway. We stay on Santa Rosa for the next 9 miles. The terrain is still flat through this area. We ride pass more farmland, orchards and nurseries.
The climb up Moorpark Rd takes us over to a residential area on Tierra Rejada and Peach Hill Rd. We reach CP#2 at PeachHillPark at 9:26 AM, mile 60. Temp is 65F.
We get back on Tierra Rejada to Los Angeles Ave and Somis Rd. Once again, the terrain is flat with more agricultural land. Watch out for the dangerous set of diagonal RR tracks on Los Angeles; dangerous only because you need to take the proper line to cross and at the same time watch for the onslaught of traffic coming from behind you.
The next turn on Crestview from Las Posas takes us through some very nice neighborhoods with a golf course and country club. There are several climbs on Crestview before the fast descent on Avenue De Aprisa.
We continue on Central Ave to Vineyard Ave and Hwy 118. The terrain here is flat along with more farmland and orchards. The sun finally comes through as we ride pass Saticoy; we stop briefly on Telegraph Rd to shed layers.
We reach CP#3 at ArroyoVerdePark at 11:38 AM, mile 88.
We continue on Foothill Rd to Poli, Cedar and Kellogg St. The warmth of the sun is short lived, it’s overcast and cool again as we head near the coast. We ride through a very cute neighborhood with well kept homes and manicured lawns and gardens.
We drop down to Ventura Ave and continue for the next 4.8 miles out of town through an industrial area. There are oil fields, orchards, a Pepsi plant, a steel plant and nurseries. The terrain here is flat. The sun is back!
We merge into Hwy 33 and continue on for the next 2.2 miles. Be cautious of the high amount of traffic here! The climb up Hwy 33 takes us to Creek Rd.
We stay on Creek Rd for the next 5.5 miles. It’s great to finally get on a quiet road with minimal traffic. The terrain here is flat with a slight downhill.
We turn on Montgomery St to Ojai Ave and Park Rd.The street signage in Ojai is on brown wooden posts with painted white vertical lettering, they’re like trail signs; it’s very hard to read on the go.
We arrive at CP#4, the lunch stop at SarzottiPark at 1:18 PM. Temp is 80F. We see Kitty and Bill here.
We make our way out of town through a bunch of quick turns on Grand Ave, Signal St, Aliso St to Bristol Rd. We continue on Palomar Rd to Chico and Cuyama Rds and cross Hwy 33 to El Roblar Rd. We then take La Luna to Hwy 150 and cross over the bridge to Burnham Rd.
We turn on Santa Ana Rd and continue for the next 4 miles on a road with minimal traffic. The terrain here is mostly flat with a short climb before crossing the bridge to Casitas Vista Rd. There is a secret check point under the freeway before the turn onto Ventura Ave.
We’re now back on Ventura Ave heading south. We go through town on Stanley Ave, Olive St and Main St. We are making our way to the bike path through EmmaWoodStateBeach. We hop on the bike path and head north; there are some great ocean views out here!
At the end of the bike path, we continue on Old Highway for the next flat 7.6 miles. After passing under the freeway, we follow a path that leads us onto the entrance to Hwy 101. We head north on Hwy 101 for the next 3.4 miles and take the Ojai/Lake Casistas exit.
We reach CP#5 at Rincon Point at 4:12 PM, mile 138. This rest stop is known for having Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I opt to have another standard favorite; a chicken cup o’ noodles.
We take the ramp back onto Hwy 101 and head south for the next 5.1 miles. Traffic is fast moving and we have to be on high alert. It’s alarming to see cyclists riding 3 abreast on this stretch of road.
We exit Hwy 101 at the Seacliff exit and return along the Old Highway. The smell of the salty ocean air is refreshing and the sounds of the waves crashing against the shoreline are quite the experience! We hop back on the bike path and make our way through Ventura.
We take South Garden St to Thompson and Figuero St. We stay on Harbor Blvd for 8.7 miles and cross over the ChannelBridge to Channel Island Blvd. We continue on Ventura Rd to Park Ave. We couldn’t make the turn on Park Rd due to the high volume of traffic so we had to go around the block and cut through a park to reach the last check point.
We arrive at CP#6 at Port HuenemeCommunity Center at 6:05 PM, mile 164.7.
It’s now only 35 miles back to the finish. We return via Naval Air Rd and Hueneme Rd back to Las Posas Rd. We take the ramp back onto PCH and savor the tailwinds for the next 25.7 miles. The ocean views are spectacular! The final run along the coast is just fabulous!
There are several climbs back on PCH into Malibu. The last little climb takes us to our turn at Malibu Canyon Rd. We manage to finish before dark! We arrive at the WebsterSchool at 8:20 PM.
The Lowland route certainly has fewer hill climbs but more urban riding. I felt auditory sensory overload the whole day; there’s a lot of traffic hum from the highway to the sounds made from all the big rigs and trucks roaring through the farmlands.
But then again, even with all the traffic through the farmlands and residential areas, we never got yelled or honked at by any passing vehicles. That’s a good thing!
Thanks to all the GT volunteers for being out there and supporting us.The post ride meal was great; BBQ chicken and beef tri-tip with baked beans, garlic bread and a salad.
Thanks to Mark for piloting the tandem!
Elvation: 5418 feet
Avg Speed: 16.3 mph
Saddle time: 12:34
Total Time: 15:05
Avg Climb: 2%
Max Climb: 10%
Weather: Morning coastal fog, overcast cloudy skies turning to sunny blue skies. Starting temp of 59F and reaching a high of 80F. Headwinds heading north with afternoon tailwinds going south.
This is the Grand Tour Lowland Double route:
Another amazing adventure! ..Joan
Hey…I'm famous! I'm in your Grand Tour video!!! I was in the group of 5-7 riders that kept passing and then being passed by you guys on the stretch up PCH towards Checkpoint #1 in the morning. Despite the early morning mist, it was a great day for a double!
Nice report and sooooo many photos! The GT is so much fun for the 200 mile route and get a bit more stressful when you doing it as a triple and quad. to begin with, you don't have so much time for photos. then, at the end, no one is there for you (no food, no massage, no people) which I learn from your video.