Dr. James Allen Watrous promoted this event with Randy Fish in 1986. Among other aspects of this first year, Dr. Watrous donated $300.00 to the Wayne Phillips Fund, which was most of the after expense balance for 1986. In 1987 Dr. Watrous became the sole director of the event. Ruth Barnes of the Los Angeles Wheelman had been the promoter from 1981 to 1985. In 1984 and again in 1985 Ruth Barnes had asked me to take over the event, which I finally did in 1986. Her dedication and commitment to successfully continue the tradition of this Double Century was outstanding.
In 1986 the start location was changed to Gibbel Park from that of the previous four years. This in turn required a few minor changes in the beginning and ending of the two one hundred-mile loops. The first loop was flat and the second loop was mountainous, as it had been in all previous years. In all of these years, neither of the loops has undergone any significant changes until 1994. In 1994, the second loop was significantly changed. This change was necessary due to the increased traffic flow at night on Highways, 371 and 79, which are still two lane narrow roads. The old second loop went through Hemet, Mountain Center, Keen Pass, Lake Hemet, Anza, Aquanga, Temecula, Murieta, Sun City, Winchester and Hemet. The new second loop went through Hemet, Mountain Center, Idyllwild, Pine Cove, Banning, Beaumont, Calimesa, Redlands, Moreno Valley and Hemet. This new second loop increased the total elevation gain for both loops from 8,000 feet to 9,800 feet., Of all the choices, this loop had the least elevation gain. Clearly, the increased elevation was not desirable for an early season double century.
In 1998, the second loop was again changed significantly from a mountainous loop to a relatively flat loop. The new total elevation gain is now 5,300 feet instead of 9,800 feet. Also in 1998, the event was done in August, instead of the normal March-April time period of the past. This date change was forced on the director due to a bicycle-automobile collision in October 1997. The resulting injuries and a second surgery (late March 1998) plus 75 hour work weeks left insufficient time to promote this event during the normal time period. The only option was an August date, which for this area of Southern California meant lots of hot temperatures. In fact, some areas did reach 103 degrees Fahrenheit during the hottest period of the day.
In 1999, the event is scheduled back in the mid April time period for best weather and beauty of the spring flowers blooming in this region of Southern California. Both loops will remain relatively flat. The first loop is the same route as in 1998. However, the second loop is modified in the Lake Elsinore area to improve riding conditions and eliminate 500 feet of climb. Having both loops relatively flat generates the second lowest elevation gain in the Triple Crown Series of double centuries with a total of 4,900 feet. Interesting to note that the second oldest Double Century event now has the second lowest elevation gain. We may consider adding the Idyllwild loop back as an option (highland route) when the event grows sufficiently large enough to include the cost of two different second loops. That is, the Hemet Double Double will have a lowland and highland double and three single century options.