jatwood - 2010-08-22 9:21 PM I completed Lake Stevens 70.3 my first HIM. And was lucky and my buddy who already signed up for 2011 CA HIM told me it was almost sold out so got in and the next day was full. Phew!!! pretty lucky. based on all the posts it seems like a pretty fun course. If any one has done both this and Lake Stevens is the big climb on this one any worse then the main climb at Lake Stevens? just want a little perspective... since I am in Oregon it will be a little tough to get down and preview the course, so any information or help would be greatly appreciated.
jatwood - Congrats on finishing your first HIM. It was a tough day up in Lake Stevens with the heat. I posted a comparison between Oceanside and Lake Stevens a while ago on the LS thread, but that focused more on the Lake Stevens course since the OP had done Oceanside a few times. You can check that out, but I'll elaborate a bit here.
I have done both Oceanside and Lake Stevens the past two years. It's hard to compare the bike courses since they're so different. I feel like the bike course at Oside is mostly flat with a few monster spikes. Lake Stevens is more rolling with a lot of ups, downs and false flats. There are some steeper inclines, but nothing like the larger two at Oceanside. Maybe the worst at Lake Stevens is like the last
(third hardest IMO
) hill at Oside. The hardest climb at Oceanside is much longer and steeper than anything you will find on the Lake Stevens bike course. I think it's at about mile 30 or so, just after entering the base for the second time up at Christianitos. You can see the hill coming from a long ways off.
One wildcard at Oceanside is the wind. I feel like it mostly helped us this year. The first 20-something miles of the race roll up the coast and the wind typically blows out of the south, so it's helping there. On the back side of base
(from mile 25-45
), the wind can be very strong, making for some tough headwinds at times and some very sketchy crosswinds in the downhill sections
(those bombing descents at Lake Stevens would have been considerably different with 10-15 mph crosswinds
). There is one "no-pass" section posted at 25 mph and I was hanging on for dear life - couldn't see how fast I was going, but I was on the brakes the whole time, fighting the death wobble. After the last climb
(around mile 45
), you turn towards the coast and the rest of the way is mostly dowhill or flat back to the harbor. Again, this year, the strong wind out of the east made this section very fast. Last year, it felt like we were fighting the wind the whole way back and it really wore on me in the last miles of the bike.
I would estimate that given favorable / neutral wind conditions, the Oceanside bike course is about 4-5 minutes faster than Lake Stevens. But turn that wind around and it could go the other way.
The run at Oceanside is pretty flat. There's one short
) shot up from the boardwalk that's pretty steep and there are a few rollers out towards the turnaround, but nothing like the long climb at Lake Stevens. It's also double looping, so you do everything twice.
The swim is tougher at Oceanside. Lake Stevens has the buoy line, so no one really gets off track all that much. Oside might be faster with the added buoyancy of salt water, but you turn around and head directly into the sun on the way back through the harbor. My goggles fogged up and I got way off course on the back half of the swim. A lifeguard paddled over to me and pointed me in the right direction. The other thing about the swim at Oceanside is that the water can be COLD!!! The past two years haven't been to bad
(right around 59-60
), but I have heard stories of previous years in the low- to mid-50s.
It's tough for me to compare my times from this year since weather, fitness level and nutrition all varied. That being said, I was 4:55 at both races. I ran a 1:32 at Lake Stevens and only managed a 1:37 on an easier course on an easier day back in April at Oceanside. I think I learned a valuable lesson in nutrition blowing up all over the CDA run course in June. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to my third crack at Oside - just so long as the water temps are not frigid, the wind is moderate
(or out of the southeast
) and it doesn't get too hot on the run haha!
Oceanside is a much more competitive race. 4:55 got me 4th AG at Lake Stevens, but was only good for 38th at Oside. Then again, there were 348 participants in the M40-44 and only 134 at LS, so it could just be a function of race popularity. I would think that Oceanside is by far one of the most popular 70.3 races on the circuit.
Another note is that the last Clearwater spot at Oceanside rolled down to 30th place. At Lake Stevens, it only rolled down to 6th.
Hope this helps.