You see a title like “LA Triathlon Series” and images of traffic-filled city bike routes and a runs with industrial scenery probably come to mind. Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The LA Tri Series takes place in a lush, green natural setting hidden from any city congestion. The site is Bonelli Park in San Dimas—about 45 miles east of Santa Monica (read: no ocean swim for those who seek calm waters in SoCal).
The LA Tri Series began in 1983, and the folks who put on the series (Tri Events) still adhere to running casual yet competitive races. The three races of the LA Tri Series include two distances: the “Long Course” Championship events and the shorter Tri Express courses.
Race No. 1 of this season was April 18, with the long course consisting of a 500-m swim, 24k bike and 5k run. Race No. 2 will be May 16 and consists of a long course (1k, 40k, 8k) and the shorter Tri Express (300-m, 13.5k, 5k). No. 3 is June 13 and gets even longer with an Olympic distance course as well as another short course.
I raced the April 18 sprint and fell in love with the laid-back, grassroots vibe this race series exudes. Many triathlons these days include lots of rules and high stress levels. Not to mention, long bathroom lines and hectic transition areas pretty much define triathlon morning.
Not the case in the LA Tri Series. There’s no body marking, no race-number stickers, no assigned bike racks and plenty of restrooms—no fuss. Just pay your entry, show up race day and have fun!
The venue includes a swim in a calm, clean and wave-free lake. No complaints there! The bike course resembles a mini Vineman with lots of rolling hills, some flats and natural scenery. Being comfortable with changing gears quite frequently will benefit you on this course.
The route is one loop that’s repeated twice for race No. 1 for a total of 24k; the following races include a bigger loop and more laps. Word of caution: there are several sharp turns, so it’s a wise idea to take a look at course maps before racing. I saw people dropping their chains out there.
The run takes participants through Bonelli Park, with views of the lake and greenery that make an otherwise taxing run seem peaceful. But watch out: there are some hills to conquer! Good news: lots of overhanging trees keep a good amount of the run shaded.
For the non-racers: The whole course is very spectator-friendly and all parts of the course are accessible.
Family and friends can have fun running around watching, cheering and taking pictures while the triathletes are out there giving it their all.
Final thought for triathletes: This course is challenging for veteran racers but also “calm” enough making it a great venue for someone’s first go at a triathlon. And if you stick around for post-race festivities, there are lots of prizes at stake!
You can read Tawnee's full race report (with lots more pictures) at HERE.
For more information on the LA Tri series please visit the web site HERE.
—Tawnee Prazak is a triathlete, USAT-certified coach, journalist and kinesiology graduate student. See what she’s up to at www.tritawn.blogspot.com.