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Just what LA needed: a huge triathlon Sunday during Carmageddon 2

The bike course of the L.A. Triathlon
The bike course of the L.A. Triathlon
L.A. Triathlon
The bike course of the L.A. Triathlon
The run course of the L.A. Triathlon
L.A. Triathlon
The bike course of the L.A. Triathlon
The route of the 2012 Herbalife Triathlon

While officials are pleading with Los Angelenos to stay off the roads, 2,500 athletes from 29 states and 13 countries will descend on our streets for a triathlon Sunday.

Yes, this Sunday: Carmageddon 2 Sunday.

In fact some of the same officials who are encouraging locals to lay low are the ones who approved the race that will stretch from Venice Beach to downtown L.A. from Sunday morning through the early afternoon.

According to Jan Fambro, the spokesperson for the Herbalife Triathlon Los Angeles, the 12-year-old event already had all its permits in order when it was announced that Carmageddon 2 was going to happen during the same weekend. 

"We confirmed that date eleven months ago," she told KPCC on Wednesday. "Even after we found out that Carmaggedon was Saturday and Sunday we didnt have a choice. We couldn't change the date because of the schedule," she explained.

The L.A. triathlon, Fambro explained, is the second-to-last event of a national race whose finale is October 7. Athletes who prepare for such races book their hotel and plane tickets long in advance of the race. If it was changed it would make "a lot of people very unhappy", she said.

Fambro said that she doesn't expect any conflicts between the 405 closure and the race for several reasons: the route is west-east, the race starts at 7:15 a.m., and it finishes up far from Carmageddon at L.A. Live where most of the spectators will be.

"The greatest impact – although minimal – will be on participants coming from the San Fernando Valley," Fambro wrote in a email to participants. "SFV competitors should make their way to Pacific Coast Highway and come down PCH. Since the starting gun goes off for the first wave at 7:15 AM, triathletes will be leaving their houses very early in the morning, and traffic will be light, but they should allow extra time to make the trip."

Athletes can also take a shuttle from 12th and Figueroa to Venice Beach, Fambro said.

"A third option is to enjoy a stay-cation and get a hotel in Santa Monica, Venice, Marina del Rey or nearby area. A fourth option is to phone-a-friend and ask to spend the night. And the fifth and final option is to ride your bike and get a pre-race warm-up in at the same time. The course itself has not changed in three years and is not impacted by the 405 closure," she added.

Either the participants are not aware of Carmageddon 2, or they don't care. The event's Facebook page only has had one mention of the freeway closure happening during the race. After someone posted a link noting Carmageddon, a participant from Glendale showed nothing but optimism.

"Last time this happened...everyone stayed home and the roads were wide open...hopefully the same goes this year!" wrote Mark Allen Church wrote on the event's wall.

Spectators who wish to watch the swim portion of the race should be at Venice Beach pretty early as the pros jump in the ocean at 7:15am. Once the athletes emerge from the Pacific they will cycle down Venice Blvd. to downtown. Once downtown they will hop off their bikes and start the running race on Flower between 9th St. and 11th StThe awards ceremony will take place at Nokia Plaza at 12:30 p.m.

The LAPD has divided up the Sunday's street closures into three sectors:

  • Sector 1 – Venice Beach, Venice Blvd. to Fairfax Ave./Olympic Blvd. (approx. 6:50 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.)Note:  Note: Both the on and off ramps of Venice Blvd. at the 405 Freeway and Fairfax Ave. at the 10 Freeway will be closed when cyclists are on the closed course.  
  • Sector 2 – Fairfax Ave./Olympic Blvd. to 11th St. and Flower St. (approx. 7:10 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.) 
  • Sector 3 – 11th St. and Flower St. to 1st  St. and Grand Ave. (approx. 7:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.)