By Kirsten Smith
The Loveland Lake to Lake Triathlon is one of Northern Colorado’s oldest and most popular triathlons. It started as an Olympic distance tri with less than 500 mostly local participants in 2002 and has grown over the past 15 years into an Olympic distance tri, a sprint distance tri, an aqua bike, a relay, and the USA Triathlon Regional Championships attracting almost 1,000 athletes from all over the US.
The mission of the Loveland Lake to Lake Triathlon is to provide triathlon enthusiasts with a safe and enjoyable event in which to compete, regardless of their competitive level. It promotes the triathlon sport and the opportunity to give back to the community.
The race director Peggy Shockley is a triathlete herself, so she knows first-hand how to create a race that the athletes will enjoy.
I did this race for the first time in 2003 and have done it several times since. One thing that is unique to this race is the bike course. It’s changed a little over the years, but has always been about 30 miles instead of the typical 25 for an Olympic distance race and the ride goes up to Horsetooth Mountain Park and skirts the south end of the Horsetooth Reservoir so the ride is also challenging and beautiful. If cycling is your strength, this is the course for you!
The race takes place at the Loveland High School and North Lake Park beach area. The transition area is at Owens Field on the south side of Loveland High School.
The swim for the Olympic distance is 1500 meters and for the sprint 750 meters. Both swims start at the swim beach and go counter-clockwise in a rectangle. The Olympic rectangle is twice as long. There are 4 waves for the swim, each starting 4 minutes apart.
The run from the swim back to the transition is longer than your typical transition for a smaller race and is slightly uphill BUT is on grass so it’s soft on your feet and by the time you get to your bike, your feet are clean from the sand on the beach! Bonus!
The Olympic distance bike course in general is uphill the first half and downhill the second half. There are three pretty steep climbs from miles 7-10, 11-14, and 15-16. Other than that, there are quite a few rollers, not many flat sections on this bike course! In the past there have been some strong winds coming back into Loveland and the day (late June) has been known to really heat up on the second half of the ride. My suggestion to anyone local doing this race for the first time is to ride the course in advance. The full course map with turn-by-turn directions in on the Loveland Lake to Lake website. The sprint bike course is basically a rectangle tour on the main streets of Loveland toward Fort Collins and back.
The run course starts through the park, winds through some neighborhoods, and ends up about a mile around the lake before you turn around and come back the way you came, finishing back up at the park near the amphitheater. The sprint run goes the opposite way through the Sculpture Garden and then back to the park at the lake, both races finishing in the same place.
This race always has great course support full of volunteers and spectators, especially at the finish line. This is a family friendly race because of the beach and park area where kids and families can hang out during the race. This race is known for its post-race meals, awards, after-race party, and popsicles. And it definitely still has a local flavor where you run into all the athletes from the local Northern Colorado triathlon community!
I’ll be doing the Olympic distance this year so I hope to see you out there on June 24th. There are still a few spots available to get registered today!
Lake to Lake swim course revision:
Athletes have requested a CLOCKWISE swim course, you’ve asked, and we’ll respond. The Sprint Course will no longer be in a separate area of the lake.
LOVELAND LAKE TO LAKE
is the USA Triathlon Regional Championship
event for Olympic, Sprint and Aquabike
See calendar event