Race Radar: Southern California’s Chula Vista Challenge

  • By Bethany Mavis
  • Published Jul 23, 2014

The only triathlon in San Diego County’s South Bay, the Chula Vista Challenge has a point-to-point course that features a scenic, rolling bike course and a run that passes through the Olympic Training Center. Race director Mike Drury, who also owns the bike shop Pulse Endurance Sports in Chula Vista, started the race four years ago. “I’m always riding and running in Chula Vista. A friend of mine, Francisco Villaseñor, and I were talking about how it would be nice if there were a race in Chula Vista so that everyone could see how beautiful the training was in South Bay,” Drury says. “Next thing, we started a race.”

Drury and Villaseñor are both Ironman athletes, so the race has a well-run professional feel to it, say athletes who have raced it. The swim takes place in the calm water of the bay, then the challenging bike takes athletes through the hills of Eastlake. The run course takes athletes on the trails overlooking Otay Lakes and then on the roads through the Olympic Training Center. (The run goes past the Olympic torch, which was especially cool in 2012, when it was lit during the London Olympic Games.)

Drury expects 500 athletes for the Olympic-distance race, which takes place on a USAT-certified Olympic-distance course. It’s different from other San Diego County races in that it has a hilly bike course (most San Diego races are known for being flat and fast), and it has a mini-Ironman feel to it because it’s a point-to-point course—separate transitions caused race organizers to set up bike catchers at T2 to rack your bike.

“It is growing every year,” Drury says. “I think once people do it they realize how awesome the course is and they just keep coming back.”

For the first time this year, organizers are adding the South Bay Sprint Triathlon, which will feature a calm bay swim, a flat and fast bike course and a run along the bay. Drury expects 500 athletes for the first-year sprint race as well, to take place on Saturday, and some athletes will even race the sprint on Saturday and the Olympic on Sunday (“the double”) for a special medal.

RELATED: 2014 Triathlete Magazine Training Camp


What: Chula Vista Challenge/South Bay Sprint Triathlon
Where: Chula Vista, Calif. (near San Diego)
When: Aug. 10-11, 2014
Distance: Sprint (500-meter swim, 10-mile bike, 5K run) on Saturday and Olympic (1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run) on Sunday

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Bethany Mavis

Bethany Mavis

Bethany Mavis is the managing editor of Triathlete magazine. She's a mom, rec soccer player, multiple half-marathon finisher and is learning daily how to become a better triathlete.

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