Set against the beautiful backdrop of Arizona palm trees and historic London Bridge, HITS Lake Havasu Triathlon offers multiple distances, and abundant local attractions for visitors. From the Open distance (100m swim | 3 mi. bike | 1 mi. run) to Full Distance (2.4 mi. swim | 112 mi. bike | 26.2 mi run), there is something for newbies, seasoned athletes and everything in between.
Situated on the eastern shore of Lake Havasu, London Bridge Beach was a great location for a triathlon. This picturesque, family-friendly park had ample parking for athletes and spectators, with a very short walk to the event. The finish line was set among palm trees and soft grass, where family and friends happily parked themselves in the warm November sun, to wait for loved ones. Athletes had the option of warming up along the walking path that follows the Colorado River. There were numerous hotels, restaurants and grocery stores within minutes from the venue, and the off-season pricing was heavenly. My friends and I were absolutely shocked that this race has flown so far under the radar, for the most part. It was well attended, but not nearly as crowded as you would expect for a location like this. The atmosphere was relaxed, and the volunteers were well-informed and enthusiastic.Course
Even in November, the water of Lake Havasu was calm and, with a wetsuit, was perfectly refreshing. The mass start waves were broken up by distance and gender, and were well supervised with various watercraft. On their way to transition, racers were greeted by a crew of volunteers waiting to help strip wetsuits. The path to transition from the beach was on paved walkways and, although somewhat slippery, was well marked and staffed with volunteers.
Flow of traffic through transition was well thought out and only a short jog from the beach. Athletes were assigned to their bike slots, but regardless of location, there was ample spacing for gear. In addition to individual gear boxes, racers were also given stools—a simple luxury that was especially appreciated by the longer distance athletes. Also included were athlete-only port-a-potties for that last minute call of nature. In addition, bikes were kept secure by volunteers during the race as well as overnight.
Shorter distances will enjoy the long stretches of flats and rollers, as well as a jaunt past the international village that lines the river walk near the London Bridge. For the longer distances, if you’re craving some scenic views and one particularly psychotic set of hills, this course will leave you giddy. After riders cruised over the London Bridge, there were a few annoying parking lots to negotiate to shoot them out in the right direction—a necessary evil to avoid traffic and keep riders safe. From there, the majority of the course was comprised of false flats, rollers and beautiful views. That is, except for the previously mentioned hills that are placed about halfway through the long course. After the race, my friends and I tried unsuccessfully to get a picture that would do these few short, consecutive hills justice. They are crazy steep…like, laughably steep. While sitting at the top of the first hill in my car, it was so steep we couldn’t see the road descending below. My friend has a screw loose in her brain, and found great joy in accelerating her bike to 45 mph within seconds on the downhill, but that joy was short-lived when her momentum barely took her halfway up the next incline. She noted that there were racers walking their bikes down the hill. Her advice for training was simple, “…train for hills, but just understand that they’re part of the course for fun. It’s pure craziness—loved it!”
All run distances were treated to scenic views as they circle Windsor Park and Thompson Bay on island paths and roads. The aide stations were spread out evenly, and my friend added, “I brought all my nutrition with me, but didn’t even need to use it—I just ate from the aide stations.”
One big suggestion I heard repeatedly was to include a port-a-potty on the run course for the longer distances. Other than that, the reviews were glowing from athletes. Finishers receive a large medal and a great spread of pasta, fruit and water at the finish line. There was music throughout the entire event and an athlete dinner later that afternoon.
I would absolutely recommend HITS Endurance Lake Havasu Triathlon to anyone. The location is perfect for a November getaway and the race was run very smoothly. One of our half-distance racers commented, “I would LOVE to do another race with HITS–I think they do such a great job…I loved how you had your own setup space [in transition] with a chair and gear box–it was fantastic!”