2008 Los Angeles Triathlon

Little did I know that the yearly LA Triathlon is held every first Sunday after Labor Day in the US and I’ve known it from the LA Times a day before its scheduled date. Since the bike route and the running turn-around point are just 10-minute walk from the house, I asked my son if he wants to see & watch the triathletes. Well, he said, yes, and we had to wake up at 7:00 AM of Sunday and walked all the way to the Walt Disney Concert Hall at Grand Boulevard.

While walking up along Beverly Boulevard towards the corner of Hope and Grand Blvds, we could see already the first triathlete approaching us on the bike/cycling event and followed by another one with a distance of at least 100 meters in between them. And one by one, the Professionals and Elite triathletes passed the corner of Grand Boulevard towards the finish area which was the Staples Center, a distance of 1.5 miles from where we were standing.


Greg Bennett of Australia won the Professional/Elite Class for the third time in a row with a time of 1:46:04 hours. He improved his time from his past year’s 1:51:49 hours. He won $ 10,000.00. 

Becky Lavelle, an Olympic alternate in the 2008 Beijing and the 2003 LA Traithlon Champion, won the Women’s Professional/Elite Class with a time 1:59:46 hours.

The Los Angeles Police Bike Patrol

I enjoyed watching the triathletes during their running event as the turn-around point was just few feet away from me taking some pictures of them. The Professional & Elite Class participated in the Olympic Distance (1,500-meter swim in Venice Beach; 40K bike ride; and 10K run) where they must pass the turn-around point for two times as one loop covers only 5K of the running route. Standing infront of the Walt Disney Concert Hall gave me a view of the incoming triathletes in their last dash for the cycling event and at the same time see them twice in their running event.

These are my insights and observations on the LA Triathlon and the triathlon as an sports events:

1) There is nothing like the Ironman Triathlon ( 3.8K Swim; 180K Bike; & 42K Marathon) in Kona, Hawaii as viewed from the TV during the early and mid-80s. Such event is more challenging and test the endurance of athletes being exposed to strong waves and current of the open sea; the strong winds and heat of the sun in the cycling & running events.

2) Technology in the triathlon bikes, accessories and attire had gone high-tech. How I wish the bikes are all the same for all the triathletes. I remember watching a triathlon in Subic in the late 80s with the US Navy as race organizers where they used a red-colored Schwinn-baloon/fat-type tire bikes with only one gear and handbreaks for the bike phase for all the participants. Maybe, if I will “race organize” a sprint triathlon in the future, I will provide BMX bikes for all the participants in the cycling phase.  Well, talking of “fairness”, such triathlon will be a nice event to watch!

3) The triathletes are tall and lean. I’ve never seen a single guy among the male professionals/elite with fats and big/buffed muscles except for some of the ladies.

4) Being competitive and elite/wordl-class in this sports event means more money and time for training as well for the needed equipment.

5) Registration fee is very expensive. A $200.00 registration fee is too costly where you are only offered  the basic water and sports drink provisions along the route. Well, I guess, there are lots of food to eat at the Finish Line.

The following were some of the details of the LA Triathlon:


Point to point Olympic distance course:
Swim: 1.5K (.9 miles)—Venice Beach
Cycle: 40 kilometers/24.8 miles—Hollywood and surrounding areas
Run: 10 Kilometers (6.2 miles)—Downtown. Ends at STAPLES Center

Point to point Sprint Course:
Swim: .4 miles—Venice Beach
Cycle: 31.5 kilometers/19.5 miles—Hollywood and surrounding areas
Run: 5k—(3.1 miles)—Downtown. Ends at STAPLES Center


Professionals: 6:45 am • Elite: 6:55 am Olympic: 7:00 am • Sprint: 8:30 am •
Bike only: 7:20 am. Awards at noon

2 thoughts on “2008 Los Angeles Triathlon

  1. Hi BR,

    Glad you caught that race. There were two from my team who were entered and both placed well in their age group. The Olympic distance is probably the most competitive for obvious reasons. Elites usually finish right around 2 hours, but some age groupers do so as well. In the end, it’s just a label anyway (being called elite or an age grouper).

    I know some triathletes who have raced forever in road bikes. The only reason why you’d want a tri bike is to be able to ride in the tuck or aero position. You can do the same with road bikes, but your aero position is not as sleek. I’ve seen new athletes do the bike leg using a mountain/off-road bike. Problem is, those things are heavy and it is very hard to maintain consistent speeds (just not designed for it).

    I hope you get to watch Kona at least on TV. That’s what I usually do each year, but in 2008 I get to huff and puff like the rest of them maniacs. Looking forward to it!



  2. qs, i’ve done a duathlon in the mid-80s and i used my mountain bike for the 40K bike ride but those cyclist who were using racers were minutes ahead of me and they still look fresh in the running event while my quads were stiffed already. yes, i still miss the likes of mark allen, dave scott, scott molina and scott tinley as they are still my idols as triathletes in the famous hawaiian ironman in the 80s to the mid-90s. after them, i just lost my interest in triathlon. anyway, i still have that desire to experience the sprint/olympic tri distance. congrats on your confirmation/acceptance to the 2008 kona ironman. good luck and stay fit & healthy.


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