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Team iFlyLAX.com powers through
the City of Los Angeles Triathlon
story and photos by James
September 9, 2002
To read a new story
about the 2003 race (as a solo competitor), CLICK HERE
To read part 1 of this story (pre-race), CLICK HERE
early morning sky is clear and the air is crisp on Sunday, September
8th at 6:00 A.M. as I arrive at the south Venice Beach parking lot
adjacent to the beachside bike path, which has been converted into
"T1" (Transition Area 1). There, hundreds of metal bike
racks will hold thousands of racing bicycles. After finding a slot
in which to place my own carbon-fiber framed 'Trek' road racing
cycle (similar to the one Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong
rides), I walk out onto the sand near the Venice Beach pier to the
race starting line, from where over 3000 swimmers will race into
the ocean for their 1500 meter swim, the first "leg" of
the 3rd Annual
City of Los Angeles Triathlon.
this is Triathlon and most of the swimmers who enter and
exit the ocean at Venice Beach will strip off their wetsuits (those
who chose to wear one), then hurry to find their own bicycle, exit
the transition area, mount up and begin an all-out effort -- leg
2: a twenty-four and a-half mile bike race all the way to downtown
There are 'relay' teams participating in the L.A.
Triathlon, too. Team iFlyLAX.com has divided
up the swim-bike-run duties between three athletes: swimmer Gina
Greco, cyclist James Reilly (this reporter), and runner Johnny Hossell.
I must admit, upon seeing the thousands of "multi-sport"
atheletes assembled at the start area who would race all three legs
of this event, I felt a bit wimpy even though this day would be
the culmination of months of personal training; and a true test
of my strength and cycling abilities as I played my part and pedaled
my way through the streets of Los Angeles, knowing that our team
runner was anxiously awaiting my arrival at "T2" next
to L.A. City Hall. There he would take the 'baton' and begin his
run up to Dodger
Stadium and back to historic Olvera
Street across from Union Station.
the beach I found my swimmer, but we had a problem -- Gina had eaten
something the previous night that was not agreeing with her this
morning. But when an athlete is part of a relay team, opting out
is not an option! So she pulled herself up by her figurative bootstraps
(with a little "gentle" coaxing from your's truly), donned
her cap and swim goggles, and dragged herself to the sandy starting
line. The cool ocean must have snapped her out of it, because she
put in a respectable swim and ran to my position at the transition
zone bike rack, made the 'tag' and sent me on my way.
Now, under normal circumstances I would not attempt
a solo bike ride through the middle of Los Angeles, Beverly Hills
and Hollywood to downtown. But with city streets roped-off and countless
members of the L.A.P.D. and L.A. Traffic Control officers protecting
the athletes right-of-way, the bike portion of the triathlon alone
was worth the experience. Auto traffic was not an issue as I put
my bike, my legs and my heart into high gear and power-pedaled through
the streets of Los Angeles, all the way cheered on by brand new
race fans ranging from friends and family members to undocumented
alien day-laborers and street people.
After nearly twenty-five miles of pavement and a little
more than an hour, I arrive at Transition Area 2. The solo triathlon
participants place their bikes again in protected racks and swap
cycling shoes and helmet for running shoes. For the iFlyLAX.com
relay team it's another passing of the baton; this time to our runner,
Johnny Hossell. As a veteran of many triathlons, including the Hawaii
Ironman, a 10K run is nothing new for Johnny. But the running
leg of this year's Los Angeles Triathlon was not an easy one; it
included an uphill staircase enroute to Chavez Ravine and Dodger
Stadium. Back at Olvera Street, at the end of the run, as both whole
event and relay participants, men and women, pass through the finish
arch, there is exhausted jubilation.
may sound like a cliche', but truly, everyone who races in the City
of Los Angeles Triathlon wins. Whether just to know you've done
it, or as part of a competitive athletic lifestyle, the realization
that you are one of a special minority of humans who would take
the extraordinary steps necessary to train for and participate in
such an event is a reward in itself. And did I mention the tons
of "swag" (free stuff) every racer receives at the registration
Expo and finish area?... Official T-shirts, posters, swim caps,
power food, energy drinks, free massages and a cool "Finisher"
on behalf of Team iFlyLAX.com I'd like to thank
the organizers and volunteers of the 3rd
Annual City of Los Angeles Triathlon. It was a fantastic event
-- easy online registration, computer chip timing system, pre-arranged
equipment transfer and excellent logistic management combined with
a fantastic race course and first rate crowd/traffic control make
this the premiere olympic-length triathlon event in the U.S. (a
shorter "sprint" length course is also an option for racers).
And the added bonus of making many new friends during the training
process and actual participation will ensure that I'll be racing
again next year... And just maybe as a complete triathlete: swimming,
cycling and running my way across Los Angeles!
Gina Greco is a veteran of last year's L.A. Triathlon, where
her corporate relay team won their division and finished third
overall. She is a regular participant in Masters Swimming
competitions in the Los Angeles area, and trains and competes
California Aquatics (SCAQ). Gina also donates her time
as a volunteer for the L.A. Triathlon and other competitive
Reilly (Cyclist) iFlyLAX.com
From his beginnings as a Motocross motorcycle racer in Florida,
James Reilly (47) shifted his efforts to human-powered cycles
in the early 1990's while living in the Los Angeles area.
He participated in road racing events with the JAX Bicycle
Center team, including the Mammoth Stage Race, and raced off-road
Moutain-biking events as a sport rider at Snow Summit in Big
Bear and other venues in the Southern California area. The
24.5 mile stretch of road between Venice Beach and Downtown
Los Angeles was his first time-trial/triathlon event.
A native of Brazil, Johnny Hossell (40) is an experienced
and multi-faceted athlete, who regularly competes solo in
triathlon competitions. A professional rower from 1979 to
1988, Johnny was both State Champion and National Champion
and competed in the Olympic trials in 1984. Johnny has completed
two Ironman triathlons in the USA, and ran the LA Marathon
in 1989, 1990, 1999 and 2000. He completed the Maui Channel
Swim in 1999, 2000 and 2001 and the Waikiki Roughwater Swim
in 1999, 2000 and 2001. Johnny's 6.2 mi. running route in
this year's L.A. Triathlon was a strenuous one, as it climbed
up to Dodger Stadium from Downtown Los Angeles and ended up
back at historic Olvera Street.
For more information on the City of Los Angeles Triathlon,
to see all the Professional and amatuer results and race times,
or to learn how Team iFlyLAX.com fared in the relay-team event,
click on the 2002 results page link.
The Finish Line Expo at Olvera Street... More free stuff!
part 1 of this story (pre-race), CLICK HERE