Posted in Los Angeles

2022 Pasadena Triathlon Race Recap

At home after the race

On 12 March I took part in the 2022 Pasadena Triathlon – a reverse sprint triathlon that takes place at the Rose Bowl every year. The race comprises a 3-mile run once around the Rose Bowl loop, followed by three laps (9 miles) on the bike around the same loop ending with a 150-meter swim at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center.

I did this race for the first time in 2018 in a time of 1:20:30 and in 2019 I did the slightly longer Legends Triathlon at Bonelli Park in 1:16:39 (race recap!). So my A goal was to beat Bonelli, and my B goal was to beat my 2018 Pasadena time.

Why triathlon? Because of the plantar fasciitis I developed while training for a marathon back in 2013, I learned about cross-training and in time became interested in triathlon. I joined the Pasadena Triathlon Club in 2018 and rode with them until Covid arrived. I’m still very much a newbie as I’m not that great on the bike or in the water!

Race Preparation

One of my few talents is my ability to be organized and so I find preparing all the kit needed for the three legs of a triathlon an enjoyable challenge. USA Triathlon has a great guide for beginners along with a handy kit list. Pasadena Triathlon Club also offers free information sessions and transition practice for those interested in learning more – no need to be a member to join in these sessions.

I picked up my race numbers the night before but this isn’t essential if you plan to arrive early for the race.

Race Morning

I got up at 5:00 am (thanks to the cat), had a cup of tea and some oatmeal and got in the car at about 6:15 am. Luckily the Rose Bowl is only a 10-minute drive away so I was there in plenty of time. At about 6:30 am the parking lot was about half full.

I decanted the car and got my race numbers sorted (should’ve done it the night before). I thought I was being really clever bringing extra double-sided tape and scissors for the bike number — I folded the bike number over the crossbar as instructed, but then taped it to the crossbar instead of leaving it loose. I thought this would stop it from flapping about during the race, but sadly it did not!

Don’t tape your bike number down too hard!

I took everything over to transition and found a spot, remembering to count the rows so I could find the bike later, then got body marked.

My setup in Transition

Then I had a quick wander about to check everything like the entrances and exits to transition were as I remembered, then headed back to the car to kill some time. At about 7:15 am I got out of the car and went for a walk, before using the bathroom and heading into transition for a drink and to triple check everything. Transition closed at 7:45 am.

General view of Transition before it got busy

Then I did a considerable warm-up (20 minutes) to pass the time before heading to the start at about 7:55 am.


The race kicked off at 8:00 am with the Angel City athletes, followed a few minutes later by the 5k-only runners, followed by the sub-one-hour triathletes. I went in the next wave – the 1:00 – 1:15 wave – which left at about 8:06 am.

There seemed to be far fewer runners than the last time I did this race and I was able to run without having to dodge anyone. I allowed myself to be drawn along by the faster runners and consequently set a very quick pace for me (about 9:20/mile).

About 18 minutes after my wave started, the first bike came past on the inside track. I didn’t see the first woman rider until 26 minutes had passed.

With very tired legs I got to Transition, remembering to press the button on my watch (see below). It more or less went straight to my spot but there were a few people milling about looking lost.

I put on my helmet and gloves, grabbed an energy chew and some water then got my bike and walked it to the mounting point just outside transition.

Run Time: 30:47 (pace 9:20/mile)

Transition Time: 1:23


Then I was away on the bike: three laps of the Rose Bowl loop for about 9 miles total. It was a good change for my legs to be riding, and it was nice to be sitting down! As with the run, the first half of the loop is uphill, and the second half is downhill.

The merge from transition into the loop is a bit hairy but it was managed well by the volunteers. The main danger came from fat lycra men who insisted on overtaking with barely any room to spare at 30 miles an hour. One dickhead overtook me on the inside like that. In other places, packs of about ten men went past at speed. Unfortunately, on during the second lap, this led to a crash right in front of me as someone on the back of one of these packs touched wheels with someone ahead of him who was weaving about. From what I heard behind me it also caused a secondary crash. On the following lap, I saw an ordinary woman with a mountain bike being attended to by medical staff. Morons who behave like that ruin it for everyone. This is one of the only problems with this course – that super fast pros are mixed in with people on shopping bikes and kids going at 5 miles an hour.

Anyway, the other issue I had was that because of the way I’d cleverly taped my number to my bike it was flapping like crazy and razoring against the inside of my leg. Note to self: don’t do this again!

I made it into transition without any further incident and ran with my bike to my spot, getting a brief reminder of how hard it is to run off the bike. I dumped my helmet, gloves, and number belt, grabbed my swimming cap and goggles, and attempted to run the 1,000 yards to the pool. Some of this run is segregated from spectators but much of it isn’t. It’s rather an obstacle course to get there including having to run along the side of a grassy 45-degree slope just as you arrive at the pool. Definitely keep your shoes on for this part.

Ride time: 38:05 (14.7 mph)

Transition time: 3:19


At the pool entrance, I dumped my shoes (yay quick release laces) with everyone else’s and walked onto the pool deck trying to get my hat and goggles on while being sprayed in the face with water in the rinsing off area.

Thankfully the pool wasn’t a total melee like last time, and I got in the water and started swimming breaststroke. I’m not a great swimmer and I knew this was going to be the simplest way to get me through the three 100 meter laps. For some reason, my goggles kept filling up with water, which didn’t help matters!

At the end of the last lap, I staggered up the ramp out of the pool to finish. My final time was 1:18:47 which got me 12th place out of 36 in my age group and PR for this course.

Swim time: 5:16 (3:13/100m)

Total time: 1:18:47

Race medal


Here’s some of the kit I felt was extra useful for triathlon:

Essential kit: Tri suit, triathlon watch, quick release laces, number belt.

Tri suit: I have a Roka Women’s Gen II Elite Aero Short Sleeve Tri Suit. It was expensive but totally worth it for races. It’s really comfortable to run, ride and swim in!

Quick-release laces: I recently got some Brooks shoes (because Hoka was sold out). The laces are too short and I had to tie them in triple knots to stop them from coming undone during runs. So instead I spent some birthday money on these laces. They really do the trick.

Number belt: Last time I did the triathlon I had none of the above items so I was swimming in a t-shirt with my number pinned to it… not good for aerodynamics. So I invested in a Nathan number belt which was another good use of some birthday money.

Watch: I recently got a Coros Pace 2 watch. I wanted a watch that had an open water swimming option, and a Triathlon option, along with all the other usual functions – and importantly didn’t cost $500. Coros Pace 2 was just what I needed. I used the Triathlon function in this race and it worked 100% perfectly.

Coros Pace 2 – sample of the data it gave me in the app after the Pasadena Triathlon.


The Pasadena Triathlon is great for beginners. It’s an easy race to get some practice, iron out the bugs with your kit, and get a feel for Transition.

Now the only question is, what’s the next race?



Travel, photography, blogging, being an expat. And that's just in my spare time.

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