'Tis the season.
Race bug still buzzing inside of you? Whether you’re looking for a fun vacay or heading to a family get-together, these stellar holiday triathlons can be parlayed into travel itineraries for Hanukkah, Christmas, the Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Day—or whatever celebration you have planned.
Holiday Triathlon: St. Croix’s 2019 Triathlon
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
With the launch of what has been dubbed “The Beauty and the Beast Triathlon,” St. Croix will be celebrating 30 years hosting major international triathlons. This holiday event includes a long-course tri (1.2-mile swim/56-mile bike/13.1-mile run), a sprint (1⁄2-mile swim/8-mile bike/4- mile run), triathlon relays, and—for the first time—a sprint aquathon (1⁄2-mile swim/4-mile run). Highlights include swimming in Christiansted Harbor’s turquoise waters, biking on a challenging course that features a 15-percent grade climb known as “The Beast,” and a run that winds its way from east Christiansted to The Buccaneer resort, with festivities along the way.
Holiday Triathlon: Ironman 70.3 Indian Wells-La Quinta
Indian Wells La Quinta, California
Whether you want to do your first half-Ironman race or just one more before 2019 ends, this first-time event set in the idyllic spa resort communities of the Coachella Valley is your last chance. The race is set on a point-to-point course that starts with a one-loop, 1.2-mile swim in the clear waters of Lake Cahuilla in La Quinta. From there, the 56-mile bike section takes competitors on rural roads with views of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountain ranges and palm tree farms. The spectator-friendly, two-loop, 13.1-mile run sends athletes from the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens to the Indian Wells Golf Resort and back.
Holiday Triathlon: Christmas Sprint Triathlon & Duathlon
Looking for a warm-weather do- mestic vacation destination? Head to Florida’s Gulf Coast for some sprint-racing fun. The Christmas Sprint Triathlon begins on a sandy beach at Sugden Regional Park with a quick spectator-friendly 1⁄4-mile lake swim, followed by a scenic 9.3-mile bike, and finally a mostly shaded 3-mile run along- side wetlands, lakes, beaches, piers, and sailboat docks. The sprint duathlon starts with a 1-mile run, then finishes with the same bike/ run combo as the tri.
Holiday Triathlon: Christmas Cracker Triathlon & Duathlon
Christchurch, New Zealand
You don’t really need a reason to plan a trip to New Zealand, but this is a pretty good one. Organized by the Canterbury Triathlon Club, the Christmas Cracker Triathlon & Duathlon is a fun, low-key tradition in the largest city on New Zealand’s South Island. Remember, Decem- ber is springtime in the Southern Hemisphere, so the weather is warm and agreeable. This fami- ly-oriented event includes a sprint triathlon (1⁄2-mile ocean swim, 10- mile bike, 3.1-mile run) and sprint duathlon (1.5-mile run, 10-mile bike, 3.1-mile run) on spectator-friendly loop courses that wind through Scarborough Beach, Sumner, and Christchurch. The event includes junior and youth races as well.
Holiday Triathlon: Annual Mad Dog “Hair of the Dog”
St. Petersburg, Florida
Ring in 2020 with the fellow endurance junkies of the St. Pete Mad Dog Triathlon Club. The Hair of the Dog event is just what the name implies—an informal and untimed triathlon that will help you detox from the holiday partying that culminated in the wee hours before the race. Fortunately, the event starts at noon, giving everyone at least a few hours of sleep before racing into 2020. It includes a 1⁄4-mile swim, a 10-mile bike, and a 3-mile run, and the only entry fee is an old (but clean) race T-shirt. The club encourages participants to bring a favorite drink of choice and a dish to share at the fun cookout and social gathering that follows. One more thing: The official winner isn’t the fastest competitor, it’s the lucky person who draws a one-of-a-kind 2020 Hair of the Dog race T-shirt.