The LA Tri Club (LATC), located, luckily, in Los Angeles, California (or the club would need a different name), is the largest Triathlon club in the United States. With a membership of 1500, and growing, the LATC offers its membership some of the best, and most picturesque, training sites and opportunities, in the country. Along with many of the clubs national and local sponsors. But what the club offers even more so, is the support the members receive from each other. This club supports its members, as much as its members support the club.
Indeed, the various and numerous workouts, swim clinics, bike rides, and training runs, are all organized by LATC club members for club members. You will always find members with multiple Triathlon credentials willing to help the new members change a tire (a bike tire.), get through the oceans surf, or help them make it to the finish line of their first race . finishing in a vertical position. If you want to take it up a notch or two, the club can offer coaching programs to suit your needs and goals.
For the swimmers, our California coastline, and climate, affords 60 miles of ocean-front beaches for open water swimming, along with Olympic caliber open-air swimming pools.
Swimmers: If you prefer the pool, Santa Monica College Aquatic Center, the Rose Bowl Olympic Aquatic Center, and the many additional pools located throughout Los Angeles, offer a number of training programs for all levels of swimmers, from the speedsters, to those of us in the slow(er) lanes. And youll always find a few LATC members nearby. Usually talking, between lightning fast 100 meter intervals, about what they plan on having for breakfast.
If you prefer to swim the salty brine of the deep-blue, its in our backyard. Throughout the year, you can find swimming groups to hit the Pacific. (assuming they get up early enough). Even during the winters coldest months, with ocean water temps hovering in the mid 50s , you can find one or two fellow club members to hit the Pacific for a mile, or until they can no longer feel their extremities. We, er, I mean, these people have no real social life, and are always ready for companionship. And youll learn how to change from your swim gear to workday clothes, without a dressing room. Or a misdemeanor charge for indecent exposure.
Cyclists: For bicycling, we have hundreds of miles of routes throughout the Santa Monica Mountains, the Angeles National Forest, along the Pacific Coast Highway, and points beyond. If you want to climb hard, we have that. If you want to ride fast and flat, with the Pacific Ocean in the next lane, we have that. And if you want to start a winter ride, on a crisp sunny morning, with dry pavement underneath, and snow capped mountains in the distance, we have that.
Additionally, this being Los Angeles, you can plan on seeing a variety of celebrities during your ride. Some joining you for a bit, or some driving home along the Pacific Coast Highway at 7 am from their all-night soiree, just as your ride is starting. And how many other Tri clubs have their Governor, or a late-night talk show host, ride by on their Harleys?
For the Xterra crowd, we have more mountain trails for those of you that think nothing of rolling off a mountainside at 30 miles per hour. Plenty of paths to test it on the uphill, or let lose on a downhill. Just gotta watch out for the occasional deer, bobcat, skunk, or runner. (see below).
Runners: The natural beauty of our countryside, that you see while cycling, is also home to some of the best running routes in the country. You can stick to the pavement, or head off into the hills. Theres plenty of both. Just need to watch out for the mountain bikers. (see above.)
Though, as much as I enjoy getting lost in the mountain trails for hours at a time, once or twice a week is the necessary track workout. Again, with our climate, we are fortunate to have several outdoor rubber and dirt tracks located throughout the area.
But, if you want to just go, hit the trails. Driving only a few miles from downtown Los Angeles puts you in Gods country. Griffith Park , Angeles Crest, and the Santa Monica Mountain range, offer some of the most beautiful, and most challenging, training you can find. And theres always a few LATCers up for a weekend morning run.
Lastly, this club has more (member run) social gatherings, and more dinners featuring top sports personalities as guest speakers, than any other. You can get together with your fellow club members, to talk about your race, their race, how you COULD have raced better, etc. Or whos dating who, and why it will-wont work out.
But mostly, its the support from the members to the members. If you finish well on race day, theres a congratulatory handshake or hug. If you didnt have a particularly great day, like all of us, theres a nod for having given it a go, and support and encouragement for your next one. After all, its only a race.
Welcome to the best sport on the planet. And the best club in the sport.