For SOAS, we consider Oceanside 70.3 in our backyard. Since we are based in San Diego, it’s just up the road from our offices and it’s one of our favorite events. Not to mention our season opener. For those of you coming out for this excellent event that are not from the Southern Californian area... here’s some information we hope you find helpful.
The city of Oceanside is about a 40 minute drive north from San Diego and a two hour drive south from Los Angeles. That’s the good news. The bad news is that to get there you may have to take the 5 or the 405 freeway which can be incredibly congested. So when you get here, stay put for a while, enjoy the Oceanside pier and watch the surfers do their thing. Also don’t let your spouse forget their golf clubs... there are more than 90 golf courses close to the Oceanside area....some quite famous, almost all of them are spectacular.
Now the race...
The race was originated as an Ironman event in 2000 and 2001. Back then, it was completely held inside Camp Pendleton, the major West Coast base of the US Marine Corp. The Camp has over 125,000 acres of varied terrain and 17.1 more miles of shoreline. Truly, some of the best realty in SoCal. But after 9/11, the race was turned into one of the first 70.3 events, due to the heightened security. Now, the bike portion is the only part of the race allowed within Camp Pendleton. The City of Oceanside worked alongside Camp Pendleton to accommodate the race, going so far as to allow the one and only time of the year that anyone is allowed to swim in Oceanside Harbor.
The athletes will swim in Oceanside Harbor, cycle through San Clemente State Park and Camp Pendleton and run through Oceanside’s beachfront neighborhood. For an “Ocean Swim”, the water is generally somewhat calm since you'll be inside the harbor's protective wall. Guaranteed that the water will be down-right cold and the swells can pick up at the turn around.
The bike is really interesting since it combines stretches of flat at the beginning and the end that can be lightning fast with three pretty significant climbs in the middle. It is a beautiful ride through the base, and if you aren't inspired by the Marines manning the aide stations and cheering you on, then its hard to imagine you getting inspired by much. Chances are, you'll tell them you should be cheering for them!
The two loop run course is really flat and spectator friendly down the main beach boardwalk & nearby neighborhoods. The only risk is you wanting to plop down in the sand to watch the surfers or join a cookout.
An interesting feature of this race is that Accenture and the Challenged Athletes Foundation (one of our favorite non-profit organizations) are teaming to support eight injured military service members and first responders to race in Ironman event as part of CAF’s Operation Rebound. Additionally, CAF will be the official event charity for the race. Also half of the volunteer staff comes from units stationed at Camp Pendleton, so it truly a good time to give thanks to our men and women in the military community. San Diego is a major military town and we love our troops and encourage y'all to give them a shout-out or a hug!
For more race tips and info, check out our review at: http://soasracing.com/resources/race-reviews/rhoto-ironman-california.php
Have fun and a great race!