Editors’ Picks: The United States’ Best Triathlons

  • By The Editors
  • Published Feb 13, 2013
  • Updated Jan 15, 2015 at 9:24 AM UTC
ITU World Triathlon Series San Diego. Photo: Larry Rosa/

Pacific West

*Paradise Meets Punishment*
Xterra World Championship (Kapalua, Maui)
Oct. 27, 2013
You’ve gotta qualify to partake in the particular kind of pain inflicted by this Xterra off-road course. It all starts with a one-mile rough-water swim, then it’s on to a lung-busting 30K mountain bike ride and 10K trail run through what is best described by race organizers as “a tropical roller-coaster ride through pineapple fields and forests.” Forget the world titles on the line—you’ll be stoked just to cross the finish line (and never feel so alive getting there).

RELATED PHOTOS: 2012 Xterra World Championship

*Back To Our Roots*
ITU World Triathlon San Diego
April 20, 2013, Olympic and sprint
History, convenience and a whole lotta world-class hoopla characterize the ITU San Diego race. Set in triathlon’s birthplace—Mission Bay—you’ll waste no time on logistics with a short walk to the start from most race hotels. But don’t hustle home after your finish; instead, grab a spot in the ample grandstands to witness the afternoon’s marquee event, where the world’s top pros duke it out, draft-legal style.

RELATED PHOTOS: 2013 ITU World Triathlon Series San Diego

*Mountain High
June Lake Triathlon (Outside Mammoth, Calif.)
July 13, 2013, Half-iron (new for 2013), Olympic, sprint
Think pristine alpine backdrop at 7,600 feet above sea level, with sweeping views of the Sierra Range anywhere you look. A (chilly) freshwater swim precedes a moderately hilly ride around the namesake lake and surrounding lakes. Racers then tackle a stunning yet equally challenging run course that’s a mix of road and trail. Bonus: one of the best finish-line spreads you’ll ever enjoy.

*Surf’s Up*
Sandman Triathlon (Aptos, Calif.)
Aug. 4, 2013, Modified sprint
Swim around the iconic cement ship at Seacliff State Beach, ride the tough yet charming Aptos hills and run four miles on calf-busting beachfront sand in hopes of scoring a beautiful sand trophy, handcrafted by longtime lifeguard Bob Dunker. Proceeds from your triathlon playtime fund the Junior Lifeguard Scholarship program, ensuring a strong next generation of swimmers and swim-course volunteers.

*Up At The Lake*
Rolf Prima Tri at the Grove (Cottage Grove Lake, Ore.)
July 27, 2013, Olympic and sprint
Nature-loving triathlon newbies flock to Cottage Grove Lake to soak up the sun in a warm and welcoming atmosphere for all levels. Athletes won’t want to miss the pre-race social, where a pro panel performs transition demos and participates in an all-inclusive Q&A. An easygoing, outdoorsy Oregonian vibe infuses every aspect of this race, from the lakeside camping option to the off-the-charts organic post-race feast served up by local café Laughing Planet.

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FILED UNDER: Features / Race Coverage

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