The Las Olas International Triathlon is the first triathlon event of the year for us South Florida multi-sport athletes. A chance to see what your off-season training level (or lack of it) is, and what you need to work on. The Las Olas Tri course is beautiful but can be windy too! That was the case today with winds gusting up to 20mph, making things interesting for the swim and bike segments.
As is the case every year for this race, Daylight Saving Time started the night before. We lose an hour’s sleep, and it’s DARK at the race venue. This sometimes makes setting up the transition area a challenge, but the folks at MultiRace had it handled well. A large field of athletes showed up for the race, some from overseas too!
The Swim Segment
The swim segment was a bit of a challenge again this year. Seems to be nearly every year, but we deal with it. Seas were 4-6 ft because of the winds, which made getting in and out interesting for sure. Once out past the surf zone though, it was a decent swim in fast current. Once out of the water, it was a pretty long run up the beach to the transition area. There were volunteers there to help strip off your wetsuit, and some comical situations ensued.
The Bike Segment
Transitioning from swim to bike seems to always take me a bit longer than most. I have to figure out how to shorten my time in transition! Once on the bike, I’m off along A1A with a good tailwind behind me. We make a loop through John Birch Park then head back north on A1A. This is where things became a little scary. We are now in an area of tall buildings, and the gusts between buildings nearly caused me to wreck! I had to pay more attention and hang on tighter than usual.
Soon we are turning off of A1A to cross a drawbridge over the Intracoastal Waterway. Once across the bridge, we cruise through a beautiful neighborhood with newly-paved streets. Such a smooth ride! Once through the neighborhood, we cross another waterway drawbridge and go back through Birch park. After exiting the park, we do another loop of drawbridges before heading back to transition for the run segment.
The Run Segment
My bike-to-run transition was much faster this time, and I’m out on the course quickly. The run course is a simple “out and back” run: 3.1 miles out, 3.1 miles back. It basically follows A1A so there’s nice views of the beach and nice breezes (especially today!). Water stops and spectators are scattered throughout the course, and occasionally live music from restaurants along the way. Previous to now, there was a lot of cloud cover. Now the sun is out and it’s getting warm quickly. I decide to get into a faster gear and head to the finish line.
Las Olas is a race I have done every year for the last 5 years, and it’s very popular. The swims are generally tough, but safe, and the courses are well-marked with plenty of volunteers. My tri club (Fort Lauderdale Triathletes) has a big showing here every year, and it’s a big social event. I recommend it as a starter race if you’re interested in doing a triathlon. Besides the International distance (which I did), there’s a much shorter Sprint distance available.
Be sure to check out the photo gallery for the triathlon HERE
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